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Ukraine: Transfer of Power Balance from West to East

Ukraine: Transfer of Power Balance from West to East, Consortium News, March 31, 2022 

Own goal: Cameron Leckie says the Western response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is rapidly accelerating what had been a more drawn-out process.  By Cameron Leckie By Cameron Leckie
Pearls and Irritations   Most of the debate and coverage of the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian war in Australia and the Western world is decidedly banal. It is characterized by the simplification of an extremely complex situation to generate a narrative that can be summarized as Putin and Russia are evil and Ukraine is good.

This gross simplification is not helpful in either understanding the causes of the war, the nature of the war, its broader implications and most importantly of all, how it can be ended with the least number of additional deaths and injuries and damage to Ukraine’s infrastructure

The preponderance of human-interest reporting of the conflict in lieu of coverage of the war itself is illustrative. The heartbreaking examples of families torn asunder along with the brave exploits of Ukrainian soldiers or allegations of war crimes by Russia, whilst important, tends to trigger an emotional response rather than provide an accurate depiction of the course of events.

Partly this is because very few mainstream Western reporters, if any, appear to be located where the bulk of the fighting is, namely in the Donbass and around Mariupol. The resulting vacuum is filled by claims, many unverified and unverifiable, from the Ukrainian side, the aforementioned human-interest stories or the impact of missile strikes in and around the major cities. Truth has long been described as the first casualty of war. It would be unwise to think that this conflict is an exception. We should thus take a healthy dose of skepticism about the media reporting and analysis of the war — from all sides.

A narrative that seems to be gaining traction is that the Russian forces have culminated and Ukraine may actually be winning. This narrative could well be wishful thinking, influenced by the desire for Russia to lose, the overwhelming pro-Ukrainian bias of reporting and analysis and a misunderstanding of Russia’s aims and strategy…………………

Approximately 60,000 of Ukraine’s best trained and equipped troops are located in the Donbass. It would appear unlikely that this force is capable of anything other than localized tactical level manoeuvre at this point due to a combination of ever dwindling supplies of ammunition, fuel and rations, Russia’s dominance in the air and ground based combat power, and the effects of combat to date.

A narrative that seems to be gaining traction is that the Russian forces have culminated and Ukraine may actually be winning. This narrative could well be wishful thinking, influenced by the desire for Russia to lose, the overwhelming pro-Ukrainian bias of reporting and analysis and a misunderstanding of Russia’s aims and strategy…………………

Approximately 60,000 of Ukraine’s best trained and equipped troops are located in the Donbass. It would appear unlikely that this force is capable of anything other than localized tactical level manoeuvre at this point due to a combination of ever dwindling supplies of ammunition, fuel and rations, Russia’s dominance in the air and ground based combat power, and the effects of combat to date.

The direct Russo-Ukraine conflict is however just one level of this conflict. Ukraine is actually an unfortunate pawn in the much bigger conflict. As long time Russia analyst Gilbert Doctorow notes this is a

“full-blown proxy war between the United States of America and the Russian Federation, and it is about ending or perpetuating American global hegemony.”

Whilst the war in Ukraine will end sooner or later, the implications at a global scale of this proxy war will be of much greater consequence for a much greater period of time.

The Western response to Russia’s invasion has been to substantially increase its military aid to Ukraine (which is unlikely to change the outcome of the war) and implement economic (and cultural) sanctions of an unprecedented scale and nature on Russia.

This approach is unlikely to work for multiple reasons, the primary one being as I stated in my last article that there “are no sanctions that the U.S. or Europe can implement that will not have a greater impact upon those countries than on Russia or create further divisions among the Western powers.”

Whilst the sanctions will have a disruptive and negative effect on the Russian economy, they will not be devastating for the simple fact that Russia is too important to the global economy. The initial shock of the sanctions did not cause a collapse of the Russian financial system, nor did it result in a bank run. The ruble has already regained some of its value versus the U.S. dollar and Russia has (for now) made bond repayments.

Russia is far from being isolated. Whilst a majority of countries voted against Russia at the United Nations General Assembly, of more importance is the countries that are not sanctioning Russia. Outside of the West virtually no country is sanctioning Russia, including the world’s two most populous, China and India with the world’s second and sixth largest economies.

Russia has many willing buyers for its energy, mineral and agricultural produce. Countries not on Russia’s “unfriendly country list” will receive preferential deals for exports as already evidenced by the rupee-ruble oil mechanism with India and a natural gas and grain deal with Pakistan.

The impact of Western businesses withdrawing from Russia, whilst causing short-to-medium term disruptions, will in the longer term be managed through an expansion of Russia’s import-substitution policies and sourcing goods from other countries.


There are already reports that the sale of Chinese mobile phones in Russia have more than doubled whilst the Chinese financial company UnionPay is replacing VISA and Mastercard. The effect of the sanctions policy may very well be the permanent gifting of a market of 140 million people to Chinese and Indian businesses……………………

De-dollarization 

The sanctions, including the unprecedented freezing of a central banks assets, are also undermining trust in the Western financial system. The trend towards de-dollarization will rapidly accelerate from here on as countries seek to minimize the risk of trading with the U.S. dollar…………..

It seems clear that the Western powers have overestimated the impact that the sanctions would have on Russia, had not fully thought through the implications, were unprepared for the consequences and have no feasible way of reversing their actions. Meanwhile the majority of the world’s countries will continue to trade and maintain their relationship with Russia for the simple reason that it is in their interests to do so…………..

There is a good chance that 2022 will in hindsight be viewed as the decisive tipping point. Unfortunately, the penny has not yet dropped with Western governments and their compliant media of what their actions have triggered. Enlightened self-interest suggests that a major change in direction is required in the West, Australia included, to make the best of a bad situation.  https://consortiumnews.com/2022/03/31/ukraine-transfer-of-power-balance-from-west-to-east/

April 4, 2022 - Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international

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