At the time of writing the Ukrainian army is locked in a bitter struggle against the Russian army to defend its cities and countryside after a unilateral attack which began Feb 24, 2022.
This situation represents the most serious geopolitical event since the ‘Cuban Missile Crisis’, plunging Europe into a continent-wide response of staggering proportions.
To put it in perspective:
- Germany is re-arming
- The US is increasing its forces in Europe
- The West has sanctioned the Russian central bank, and removed the Russian financial system from the global financial system
- Western governments are seizing billions in private property, and western companies are shuttering operations in Russia
- Sweden and Finland have indicated they now wish to join NATO
- Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova have applied to join the EU
- Switzerland has joined in sanctions and is supplying aid
There are no half-measures in that list. This is the real deal.
Taken altogether, this is an unprecedented situation that matches the highest mobilizations of the cold war. The west is now locked in a long-term confrontation with Russia which will have untold consequences.
Initial military advances in Ukraine have stalled leading many western commentators to portend the invasion as a deep miscalculation on the part of Russia, verging on abject failure.
However, we must caution that attitude, knowing that we are discussing the Russian military – an institution that is steeped in the art of Maskirovka. Additionally, it is an institution that does not share western values and has demonstrated to be a savage Machiavellian competitor. The first reports of confused teens in the front lines and a low-grade uncoordinated attack ought to have your spidey-senses tingling.
Alternatively, we must look at the material facts regarding this conflict. First and foremost, that with the world’s largest landmass – an unconquerable swath rich in raw resources and industrial capacity, and a population of 145 million – this is a foe that can sustain a lengthy confrontation. We are back to relying on Mackinder’s heartland theory once again.
Ukraine is going to tie up the Russian conventional military for some time. Indeed, the Ukrainian military, combined with their heroic political leadership and staunch civilian support, may be the most battle-ready western force currently on the continent.
Russia appears willing to destroy Ukrainian cities, kill civilians, do intense damage to the infrastructure, and sustain heavy military casualties. Most importantly, they’re prepared to threaten the west with nuclear weapons. In other words, they’re in it for the long haul.
Western commentators have rightly asked the ‘then what?’ question regarding the Russian invasion, and I agree this is the key question moving forward.
To penetrate the deep cloud of Maskirovka surrounding this situation, we need to ask ourselves what goal is actually worth a deep confrontation with the west, the destruction of Ukraine, and the catastrophic reality of that campaign? The only answer that stacks up is the geopolitical domination of Europe.
This is a concerning topic to explore, but if you apply that lens to this situation, a lot more pieces fall into place. Western populations need to be prepared for a generational conflict with Russia. We have returned to the ‘grand game’ of geopolitical struggle that characterized the 20th century.
Is the EU and NATO ready for this conflict which is now at our doorstep?
What can be done at this late hour to make it ready?
 Reminiscent of WW2 when Soviet internal enemies were forced at gunpoint into battle with no chance of retreat.