by Mike Whitney, The Unz Review:
Do you know why Henry Kissinger’s speech at the World Economic Forum touched-off such a furor?
Kissinger didn’t criticize the way the war in Ukraine is being conducted or the lack of progress on the ground. No. What Kissinger criticized was the policy itself, that’s what triggered the firestorm. He was throwing a bucket of cold water on the people who concocted this loony policy by telling them to their faces that they “got it wrong.”
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And, they did get it wrong, because the policy they are currently pursuing is hurting US allies and US interests. That is the metric we use to determine whether a particular policy is stupid or not and, unfortunately, this passes the “stupid test” with flying colors.
Let me explain: Our basic strategy is to “weaken” and “isolate” Russia by severing Russia’s economic ties with Europe and goading them into a long and costly quagmire in Ukraine. That’s the plan.
Now you might think that it sounds pretty reasonable but– according to Kissinger– it’s the wrong plan.
Because US National Security Strategy identifies China as America’s number one rival (which it certainly is) so, naturally, any policy that makes China stronger, runs counter to US strategic interests.
Got it? So, the question is: Does our proxy-war in Ukraine make China stronger?
And the answer is: Of course, it does. It makes China alot stronger because it forces Russia to strengthen relations with China.
What does that mean in practical terms?
It means that relations between the world’s manufacturing powerhouse (China) and the world’s second biggest producer of hydrocarbons (Russia) just got a helluva alot better because of Washington’s counterproductive war in Ukraine. That’s what it means. It also means that– as relations between the two countries improve– the pace of US imperial decline is going to accelerate as the non-dollar zone expands and bilateral trade gradually replaces the current US-dominated global trade system.
You can see this happening already. The war in Ukraine has triggered a shocking collapse in global trade, major disruptions in critical supplylines, unprecedented food and energy shortages, and the greatest redivision of the world since the breakup of the Soviet Union. Washington has decided to stake its future and the future of the American people on a senseless geopolitical gambit could turn out to be the greatest strategic catastrophe in US history.
Kissinger grasps the gravity of the situation which is why he decided to put in his two-cents. But he wasn’t just critical of the policy, he also offered an ominous warning that has been almost-entirely ignored by the media. Here’s what he said:
“Negotiations need to begin in the next two months before it creates upheavals and tensions that will not be easily overcome. Ideally, the dividing line should be a return to the status quo ante (…) Pursuing the war beyond that point would not be about the freedom of Ukraine, but a new war against Russia itself”.
There it is in black and white, but let’s break it into two parts to get a better sense of what he’s saying:
- The policy is wrong
- The policy must be changed immediately or the damage to the US and its allies will be severe and permanent. (“Negotiations need to begin in the next two months”)
That might sound too apocalyptic for some, but I think Kissinger is on to something here. After all, look at the massive changes the world has already experienced since the conflict began; the disruptions in supplylines, the food and energy shortages, and the rolling-back of the globalization project. Pretty big changes, I’d say, but they’re probably just be the tip of the iceberg. The real pain is still ahead of us.
What is this winter going to look like when home heating bills go through the roof, industries across Europe succumb to the higher energy costs, unemployment soars to Great Depression levels, and rolling blackouts become a regular feature of life in the west? That’s what the future holds for Europe and America if the policy isn’t reversed and a negotiated settlement quickly reached.
Putin has already stated that Russia will not put itself in a position where it is economically dependent on Europe again. Those days are over. Instead, he is redirecting critical energy flows to China, India and beyond. Europe is no longer a priority customer, in fact, they have emerged as a threat to Russia’s survival, which means, Russia will continue to reorient its production eastward.
How will this impact Europe?
That’s easy. Europe is going to pay more for its energy that any country in the world. That is the choice they made by shrugging off Russia’s legitimate security demands, and that is the outcome they will have to live with.