It’s hard to overstate how catastrophic the war in Ukraine has been to the West. The military campaign has cost the U.S. over $60 billion and counting. Worse, all this spending has come to naught. Russia has annexed four regions of eastern Ukraine and clearly has its sights set on Odessa, a major port city. If indeed Odessa also falls into Russian hands, the remainder of Ukraine will be a land locked country which will have lost at least 70% of its industrial infrastructure.
The propaganda regarding the war in Ukraine is very intense. Instead of being taken as gospel, perhaps it should be observed rather as a last gasp for the West. Need proof?
While the Western media is filled with stories of Ukraine victories… How many times have you heard about the small city of Bakhmut mentioned in the press? The answer is likely zero, unless of course, you’re paying attention to foreign media outlets. The battle for Bakhmut is probably the most consequential event since the war began.
Which leads you to wonder why there has been no Western media coverage reporting that the Russians are on the verge of taking this critical town?
Bakhmut is the administrative and logistic center for much of the Donetsk region. Once Donetsk falls, the Russians will have an easy segue to control the entire Donbass.
Evidence of the importance of Bakhmut is reflected in the amount of troops Ukraine has involved in this battle, compared to the so-called victories, which came in areas that were lightly defended by Russia. The PR value of these “victories” was their only true value. Militarily they mean little and will likely be retaken by Russia without much of a struggle. The recent mobilization of Russian troops is a far cry from desperation. Rather it’s a sign that Putin is merely ensuring that Russia can fully protect the large chunk of Ukraine that has been reclaimed as Russian territory.
The Ukraine military defeat will be solidly trumped by the economic loss of which the $60+ billion dollar handout by the United States / NATO plays a very small part. Europe has been shattered by the economic sanctions the West imposed on Russia for invading Ukraine and it’s not conjecture at this point to say that the U.S. will undoubtedly follow in Europe’s path. These sanctions have boomeranged with unimaginable force.
THE SCO AND BRICS STEAL THE SHOW
Lacking energy – a consequence of the sanctions – Germany will not be able to maintain its once mighty industrial base. Likewise, Italy, under the leadership of a virulent Eurosceptic government could succeed in launching its own currency, despite the likely efforts by the EU to sanction their banks. Incidentally, Russia and China are in line to be major Italian trading partners via the (BRI) Belt and Road Initiative.
Turkey saw the writing on the wall early and preemptively signed a $100 billion trading agreement with Russia, ensuring trade would exchange in non-dollar currency. Make no mistake, next to the United States, Turkey has the largest army in NATO by several-fold. Their relationship to NATO is tenuous if not nearly defunct. Turkey’s presence at the recent meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Samarkand is a likely prelude to join what has become the most important bloc of nations in the world.
The SCO is stunning evidence that even among bitter political and religious animosities, harmony is possible in the context of shared economic growth and security concerns. Current members include Pakistan and India, whose alliance comes as a shock given the deep rift of conflict over the Kashmir region, water and border disputes spanning half a century. Iran is the next likely candidate to join the SCO, with the UAE and Saudi Arabia on deck to follow. The SCO already includes several central Asian countries along with the two largest members- whose histories do not make them likely bedfellows – China and Russia. This dynamic duo also happens to be at the heart of another organization, BRICS, which is likely to be the financial center of a new monetary system.
PETRODOLLAR HITS THE ENDANGERED LIST
It’s not a hypothetical assumption to say the dollar’s days are doomed. Just continue to observe that dollar-based sanctions are nearly certain to destroy the EU as we currently know it. The recent OPEC decision to sharply cut oil production is evidence that the world’s most important energy producers prefer to ally themselves with the SCO over the U.S.
The U.S. dollar is the standard currency utilized to pay for oil trade, burgeoned by an international agreement between the United States and Saudi Arabia in 1945. This agreement cemented the global acceptance of the dollar as payment for oil and hence, the ‘petrodollar’ was born.
In hindsight, it certainly doesn’t seem to be a coincidence that the petrodollar came into existence directly following the elimination of the gold standard. After World War II, the United States held most of the world’s supply of gold. It agreed to redeem any U.S. dollar for its value in gold under the condition that other countries pegged their currencies to the dollar. A multitude of 730 delegates from all 44 Allied nations signed this deal at the 1944 Bretton Woods conference. It established the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency.
The simple fact that oil has been traded in petrodollars for nearly 80 years has been critical to the dollar’s role in global commerce. However, the days of dollar-based oil trading are clearly numbered. Furthermore, this is perhaps the most important factor pointing to the certainty of a new monetary system.
While a restructuring of the monetary system has been long overdue, the United States tipped the scales in Russia’s favor with sanctions that gave other nations no alternative but to trade for oil in virtually any currency other than the dollar. None of this would have happened had it not been for America’s crazy obsession with Russia. Lest we forget that Vladmir Putin requested to join NATO shortly after taking office circa early 2000’s (another interesting fact cleverly omitted by the Western media).
CLINTON, BIDEN AND BROKEN PROMISES
The title of this article poses the question of how many men does it take to destroy a nation? How many men does it take to cripple a dominant worldwide power, along with many of its major allies? In this case, two, President Clinton and Biden.
Full disclosure: I voted for at least one of them.
And this brings us to the extraordinary accomplishments of Presidents Clinton and Biden. At the end of the Cold War, Secretary Baker of the Bush administration had promised the Russian’s that any extension of NATO, would not go a step further than East Germany. That promise was broken by President Clinton.
In a speech made by Clinton several weeks before midterm elections in 1996 (that was billed as only partly political) was a deliberate goal to influence NATO ministers which would decide on new admissions in the first half of 1997. Until that speech, Clinton had been reluctant to give his imprimatur on NATO admission for countries that had been part of the Warsaw Pact and in some cases part of the Soviet Union.
Undoubtedly, one reason for Clinton’s reluctance was the opposition of many of the country’s foreign policy luminaries. Earlier in 1996, Susan Eisenhower, the granddaughter of President Eisenhower, who had been the first commander of NATO presented an open letter to Clinton signed by 49 of the most respected foreign policy experts in the academic, military and policy sphere, all who argued fiercely against NATO expansion. Susan Eisenhower viewed herself as taking up the banner of her later grandfather, who argued that NATO should be no more than a transitional organization to ease the transition to a new Europe.
Though not a signatory of the Eisenhower letter, George Keenan should be singled out for his opposition to NATO. Indeed, in his New York Times obituary he was described as the most important diplomat “in shaping policy during the Cold War.” During congressional testimony he described NATO expansion as:
“A policy error of historic proportions.”
And so, Clinton’s speech which stated the first eastern bloc NATO members should be approved in 1999 – whether intended to be political or not – marked a triumph of political considerations over the thoughts of the most knowledgeable people of the time. On March 12, 1999, Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland became the members of the eastern bloc to be admitted to NATO.
This brings us to the current president. The Clinton proposal for the expansion of NATO needed congressional approval and in 1998 was being debated in the U.S. Senate. Eric Schmitt of the “The New York Times,” March 20, 1998, summed up what turned out to be the most critical part of the debate. According to “The New York Times” two days after the debate began, then Senator John A. Warner, a Virginia Republican, and Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Democrat of New York objected to redrawing NATO boundaries. A major concern of the Senators was that the admission of the three eastern bloc countries in 1999 and the expected admission of the Baltic states in later rounds would lead to an ‘iron ring’ around Russia. Moynihan’s opposition is particularly telling in that it opposed the Democratic president.
Moynihan began his political career serving in the Kennedy administration as U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Though he served the senate as a Democrat, Michael Barone, the esteemed conservative commentator, described Moynihan, who was also a professor at Harvard as “the nation’s best thinker among politicians since Lincoln.” Moynihan summed up his position on NATO expansion by noting:
“We’re walking into ethnic historical enmities… We have no idea what we’re getting into.”
Moynihan’s comment, according to the Times, led to an eruption on the part of Delaware Senator, Joseph R. Biden Jr.
SOME THINGS NEVER CHANGE
The following content contains a series of quotes from the New York Times article by Eric Schmitt, dated March 20, 1998:
Nearly five hours into the debate, Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., a Delaware Democrat who is one of the leading supporters of NATO expansion, took the floor and erupted.
“I find this absolutely astounding!” Biden exclaimed, his face reddening. “Are my friends suggesting the Russians were justified in marching into Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania and annexing them in the name of preventing a ring from surrounding them?”
Stalking the Senate floor, flailing his arms, Mr. Biden continued: “If my friends are saying, anyone who votes for expanding NATO to include Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary, are tying this noose around a Russian neck, this iron ring, then, I don’t quite get it.”
Senator Warner, Virginia Republican, had earlier voiced his concerns that expanding NATO would increase the chances of American soldiers getting dragged into ethnic conflict, similar to the debacles in Somalia and Vietnam.
Senator Biden objected, “Vietnam and Somalia are not Central Europe, they’re not Poland, they’re not Hungary.” Biden’s rant continued well past his allotted time, to which Biden blurted out, “I will yield in just two seconds.” Reminded that he was already speaking on Senator Warner’s time, Biden temporarily calmed and said:
“I’m sorry, it just confuses me.”
President Biden appeared to be just as flabbergasted and confused two decades ago as he presents himself today amidst very serious geopolitical concerns…
So it should come as no surprise that when Biden and Putin had a conversation in January, about Ukraine, Biden denied Putin’s request that Ukraine not be allowed to join NATO. The rest is the unfortunate and destructive history that could have been avoided.
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