Eurasia note #55 - West's Decisive Moment In Ukraine
Putin says unipolar world is dead; Neocons still seeking one more American century
Putin: “era of the unipolar world” is over; critiques “obsolete geopolitical illusions.”
Says U.S. sees itself as “God's envoy on earth, with no responsibilities, only interests.”
Cyber attack delayed Friday’s speech at the St Petersburg forum for 90 minutes.
NATO chief says war could last for years; food and fuel shortages a fair price to pay.
UK counterpart: we are the generation that must prepare to fight in Europe again.
Ukraine readies “hundreds of thousands” for the draft.
Ukraine suffering 1,000 casualties per day, up to half killed, say military experts.
Lithuania and Poland represent risk - and historic locales - for provocations.
Flashpoint in Syria, where Russia attacks militants undergoing U.S. training.
Germany to burn more coal, abandoning Green mantra under cover of sanctions.
World Food Program warns of shortages in east and west Africa.
If politicians fail to halt disruption, caused by policy not economy, it is on purpose.
(2,300 words or about 11 minutes’ reading time.)
Tbilisi, Jun 20, 2022
President Vladimir Putin gave his strongest defence since the start of the Ukraine offensive in February of why Russia feels compelled to act not just on border security but in reshaping the world.
He said the West was trying to hold on to a unipolar order in which a single strong power, and a limited circle of allies, bend international relations and trade systems to the interest of that one power. 
The declaration of the Russian point of view was met in the West by war talk, from present and past NATO chiefs, generals and prime ministers — with the exception of France and Germany, of whom, The Washington Post noted “behind the warm words, there was also plenty of cold calculation as Europe’s leaders push to end the war as soon as possible.”
Putin’s speech at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum on Friday was delayed for 90 minutes by a cyber attack. Earlier this month the head of US Cyber Command General Paul Nakasone admitted for the first time that the US was supporting Ukraine by conducting offensive hacking operations.
There is an increasing risk that conflict in Ukraine could escalate and not just on its borders.
Russia has attacked a base in Syria close to Jordan, at al-Tanf garrison where U.S. servicemen have been training local Kurdish militia. Russian forces gave advance notice to Americans who were not on the base at the time of the airstrike. A “miscalculation” could escalate to conflict, writes The Wall Street Journal. 
As we noted last month, Russian mercenaries are active in Africa’s Sahel region where they are offering security and protection to governments like those of Mali and Burkina Faso, in return for access to oil, gas and mineral resources. The U.S. is using its influence to push back against Russian energy companies, while Britain’s military, like many in Europe, has singled out the Sahel as a strategic objective.
Competition with Russia, or China for that matter, is about more than Ukraine.
The U.S. is deeply embedded in Kyiv, through eight years of military training of AFU forces, and is currently supplying real-time satellite imagery and guidance. Lockheed, Boeing and SpaceX are helping Ukrainians locate Russian targets. Dmitry Rogozin head of Roscosmos said Russia regards these companies as agents of the Pentagon or the CIA under the guise of private independent companies.
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg told Bild, on Sunday, that war in Ukraine could last “for years” and that food and energy shortages were worth the price of confronting Russia.
“We must not let up in supporting Ukraine. Even if the costs are high, not only for military support, also because of rising energy and food prices.”
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson wrote in The Sunday Times after visiting Kyiv on Friday of the need to avoid “Ukraine fatigue” and accused president Putin of seeking to regain every inch of territory ever inhabited by Slavs.
Such demagoguery is typical of Johnson whose only job prior to politics was a writer of scandalous articles. 
One cannot assume that threats of escalation are mere rowdy talk, however. The incontinent scribbler Johnson was elevated to Downing Street by his paymasters and he serves them, as his father Stanley did John D Rockefeller 3rd, along with the World Bank, the United Nations and the European Union.) 
Britain’s incoming chief of the defence staff General Sir Patrick Sanders underlined this on Saturday:
“There is now a burning imperative to forge an army capable of fighting alongside our allies and defeating Russia in battle… We are the generation that must prepare the army to fight in Europe once again.”
A more sanguine view comes from Col Douglas Macgregor (U.S. Army, Ret.) who argues that fighting will continue through summer — the question is whether autumn will see hostilities conclude. Russia is likely to add Odesa and Kharkov to the land it has largely secured: Lugansk, Donetsk, Zaphorizie and Kherson.
Macgregor commented: “Once Ukrainian forces immobilized themselves in static defensive positions inside urban areas and the central Donbas, the Ukrainian position was hopeless.”
Not only were immobilized soldiers sitting ducks for drone spotters and guided missiles, Russia rarely took up their offer of hand-to-hand street combat. Moscow never intended to occupy cities or take territory west of the Dnieper River, he said. Its stated objective was to demilitarize and de-Nazify — in other words to destroy Ukraine’s armed forces.
Turning kindergartens into military bases and sniping from hospital rooftops turned out to be a bad move. This tactic of the AFU, and more so Azov Batallion, of using civilians as human shields meant they were bogged down in residential districts — street fighting made it harder for Russians to enter but impossible for the Ukrainians to leave.
In the latest such example Col. Gen. Mikhail Mizintsev, head of the Russian National Defense Control Centre, said Ukrainian forces in Odesa have set up a stronghold in school No. 113 on Black Sea Cossacks Street.
Gen George S. Patton once said: “Fixed fortifications are a monument to the stupidity of man. Anything built by man, can be destroyed by him.”
It’s been argued that the reason Western intelligence was warning of a Russian invasion at the start of this year is that Ukraine itself was being prepared to move against the Donbas and Crimea, an argument that probably will never be settled. If so, NATO’s posture towards Moscow is not defensive — how could it be given the stated intent of expanding to Russia’s borders? It is at least considering war with Russia. That is the danger and there is plenty of supporting evidence.
Grim news for Ukrainians being presented with draft papers. Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine Anna Malyar said that “hundreds of thousands” of people are being readied for draft into the army.
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