by Hugo Dionísio for the Saker blog
While the numbers of Ronaldo and his “triumphant” signing for the “competitive” Saudi league are being discussed in Portuguese and European news, the world outside is spinning in such a way that the corporate press of the North Atlantic has a hard time keeping pace, opting to summarize the history of international politics in two main facts: the war in the East and Covid in the far-East. They don’t broaden the scope too much to avoid running the risk of fooling themselves.
Even within a framework of permanent confirmation of the premises perceived as real, constantly corroborated by the army of opinion makers, analysts, commentators and political analysts on duty, who, appearing to be very rational and pluralistic, never distance themselves from the essential and fundamental questions, the facts that will shape the year 2023, if debated and analyzed, would not fail to produce in the most immovable minds – those who only have certainties – the most inopportune questions.
If the conflict in the East will continue to shape much of the year to come, insofar as it was designed for this very purpose, it is important to remember two pieces of data that help to understand the ultimate reasons behind the aggression, violence and destruction that we are witnessing.
On the World Bank’s website (https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/MS.MIL.XPRT.KD?locations=RU-US), the data on “arms exports” show that since 2001 Russian exports in this field have not only approached those of the United States, but in some years (2002, 2013) have even exceeded the value exported by the United States.
It is not curious that the last year in which there was real value competition between the two countries was 2013. Between November 2013 and February 2014 Euromaidan took place, and in that very year a huge package of sanctions against the Russian federation (which had been in place at least since 2008) was passed, focusing especially on technologies imported by Russia for its largely public military industrial complex. As early as 2014, data from the World Bank show the sharp decline in Russian arms exports, which now account for a little more than 1/3 of US sales.
This data is not only relevant for us to understand the reason for Euromaidan, the imposition of a Russophobic regime and an entire escalation of weaponry that is well evidenced in the preparation that, for 8 years, was initiated by the neo-Nazi regime, building a totally disproportionate army and a network of fortifications in the Donbass reminiscent of Albanian bunkers. This data, together with others, confirms a number of premises that will shape our near future.
The problem is not just a “commercial substitution” problem. Not by a long shot. Martyanov explains to us, in 3 very important books, part of the problem. Under Putin’s reign, there was a reuse, modernization and optimization of all the installed potential left by the USSR and present in Russian society, not totally destroyed in the 90s, which allowed to offer to the world market more effective options from the military point of view, and, above all, much cheaper, considering the cost/benefit binomial. Today, the conflict between the two Slavic nations, has shown that US weaponry not only brings no substantial difference, but is outdated, especially in the field of artillery (long, short and medium distances) and air defense.
What Martyanov allowed us to foresee is that the U.S. could not allow an enormous number of world countries (from Algeria, to Saudi Arabia, to Turkey, India, Indonesia, Egypt, Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, or even NATO countries such as Greece…) to start buying technologies superior to theirs (such as the case of the S-400 bought by Turkey, which he says is superior to any American air defense system), but which, even when they are not superior, are incompatible with the NATO standard, which in itself raises two problems: 1. If the country joins or remains in the military allies, the fact of having different weapons systems raises interconnection problems taking away defensive and offensive effectiveness; 2. If it becomes an enemy country, it will rely on offensive systems against which NATO defensive systems are not experienced or tuned, and vice versa.
To see how important this is, look at the reluctance on the part of the US to supply large quantities of HIMARS or PATRIOTs, and even then, to supply only the most limited capabilities. As for drones, the same is true. Their massive use, namely the most advanced capabilities, will allow the enemy army to test, experiment and fine-tune their systems in relation to them. That’s why they don’t want to supply them. There is still the problem of the enemy capturing one of these systems (it seems that they already got the unexploded HIMAR missile warhead). On the other hand, their use in the conflict, without being able to point to substantial victories and a reversal in the direction of the trend, would bring very bad marketing for these weapons systems.
The reverse is also true. This is the reason why, in my humble opinion, the Russian army is reluctant to field its S-500 or even S-400 (betting more on modernized S-300, BUK and others), has only launched 1 or 2 hypersonics and there is no record of using Su-57 yet. In other words, we must not show everything to the enemy, because the battlefield is swarming with NATO sensors looking for tactical, technological, logistical and doctrinal information.
The effectiveness of the small Russian contingent in fighting ISIS, when compared to the means spent by the US in the same “fight”, raised an international security need, which already existed, but became of urgent resolution to US neocons. If the official discourse continued – and continues – in the direction of belittling and ridiculing the Russian potential, because sales had to keep increasing on one side and decreasing on the other, the fact is that the pentagon’s military analysts will not have failed to think that it was better to pay attention. Arrogance is often a show-off and deep down, it hides concern.
There are facts that help reinforce this perception. The fact that we know how NATO and the G7 have classified their threats and the entire policy of “containment” and “dismantling” of their military and economic power, which requires in-depth work of attrition, study and fine-tuning of strategies, which for many specialists already constitute what will be the antechamber of World War III (this time, hopefully, with its epicenter further to the east), gives us clues as to the direction of action.
The creation of funds for the construction of a negative image of opponents confirms this direction: For example, on page 89 of the US federal budget, chapter “Department of State and Other International Programs”, we can read “$400 million for the Fund against the malign influence of the People’s Republic of China. Additionally (…) the budget allocates 682$ million for Ukraine and an increase of 219$ million above what was given in 2021, to continue to counter the malign influence of Russia.” It is in the final part of the paragraph that we realize what these 1.2$ billion are really for, namely “disinformation” (should be read as: counter-information) or “civil society resilience” (should be read as: money for NGOs). After this can anyone still believe everything they read and see in the corporate press about these two countries? Even knowing that US pays to produce and publish information to combat these countries? And knowing that the so-called “media” is in deep economic crisis and tremendously dependent on the use of such funds? Only if the belief is religious!
But the data on the European Union trade with the Russian federation, confirm in which plan(s) the action is played. According to Eurostat, with the exception of the small Baltics, Sweden, Ireland, Denmark and Finland, ALL the others imported more than they did in 2021. And this is all despite the 10th package of sanctions that is already on the way. Explain this? Where is the “don’t contribute to Putin’s coffers”, “don’t contribute to war funding” or “let’s wipe out the Russian economy”? As written in the Times of India, the US knew very well that they were not going to affect the Russian economy. What they knew was that they were going to kill the German and European economy, thereby fattening their own.
In other words, it’s all talk for the herd. This talk can be translated as “buy everything more expensive, because we buy without long term contracts”, “buy energy more expensive so that American shale oil and shale gas become the EU’s main focus”, ” no way buying weapons to them”, “to end cooperation in sensitive areas such as nuclear fusion, a project that was being developed in France with promising results and in which Russia was a fundamental partner, and it is not by chance that the USA also competes in this field and does not want competition”, “not to export cutting edge technology to the Russian Federation” and “to suppress the country’s main commercial partner, which was the EU, with the exit of most multinationals from that country”.
This is where we can confirm the real goals of the war that started in 2014. Aligned with the founding objectives of NATO, the first “Russia out” is already achieved; the second “German down” has already been achieved with the election of Sholz and his bunch of very “well” Ivy League-trained woke boys, girls and half boys and half girls; the third “Europe in” is achieved with the sanctions, which force the EU to give up one of its main economic partners, the main one in cheap raw materials and energy, and, in time, also having to give up its main trading partner, China. All under the guise of the fight against dictatorship and the violation of human rights.
There are already two other facts that will have enormous importance in predicting the events that await us. One is the mobilization in Poland of 250,000 reservists, aged up to 55, which has led to thousands of men fleeing the country, a fact that is not reported on the “credible” TV stations of the North Atlantic. If we link this event to the annual increase for some years now in the military budget of that country (far above NATO’s requirements), it is easy to see which people will be the next to be thrown under the crusher. Thousands of mercenaries, many former soldiers of the Polish armed forces, have died in Bahkmut. But there are plans for all sorts of things, whether by some Polish elite to occupy the Galician region, or by the Neocons to use Poland as the next guinea pig to “weaken” the “enemy”.
The other, which foreshadows the preparation of what is to come, is further east. First they used their CIA-funded boys, mobilized from Taiwan and Hong Kong (yes, the ringleaders have been identified), to mobilize small demonstrations in China against Zero Covid policy. The Zero Covid policy had the power to stall and somehow freeze the attack that the US was preparing on the country, using the predictable deaths to bring about regime change. During these almost three years the country was able to prepare for the fight against the pandemic, but Washington did not want to give them that much time. That is why, after having pushed for the lockdown – as if it never existed here – they are now attacking the country because… it ended with Covid Zero.
This is what is called being arrested for having a dog, and arrested for not having one, which shows the seriousness and the real intentions of these people. Now, they accuse China of “hiding data”, calling the leaders liars and treating the people of this millennial country as fools, they accuse the “hospitals of being crowded”, as if ours were not crowded EVERY DAY ALL THE TIME, and after having died MILLIONS of people in the U.S. and colonies, they say they are “very concerned about the number of cases”. As if over here Covid is over.
Of course, and this is hilarious, the song-seller Van Der “Lies”, who happens to be the wife of the director of one of the main laboratory that works with Pfizer, went running to “offer vaccines to China”. For our pockets this “offer” would mean a few more billions paid in taxes, for Ursula it would mean another lost cell phone, but for the Chinese, whose civilization is 5000 years old… It takes more to fool them. Very little, almost nothing, has been discussed about the real effects of this mass vaccination, but the payment to Twitter (proven by the Twitter Files) to shape the information about the vaccine, does not bode well for what we will find out in the future.
Consequently, as early as 2023, we may well have to brace ourselves for empty shelves. The intended closing of the European borders with China that US will try to impose, would not fail to have this effect. The increased funding to the WHO (the same one that lied about the masks, remember?), also provided for in the federal budget under the guise of “Strengthening US Leadership in International Institutions,” has already delivered its first fruit with news such as “WHO doubts the data provided by Beijing.” Of course it doubts!
Whether it is because we pay the highest prices for energy and raw materials, or because the attack on our main trading partner is going to accelerate and reach top speed… there we will have to pay dearly for what we previously thought was cheap!
And at this pace we will discover that we had no reason to leave 2022 behind!
Hugo Dionísio, lawyer, policy adviser, analyst and researcher at the Portuguese workers trade union confederation (CGTP-IN).