Ukraine has just been figuratively and metaphorically played to advance to the next stage of the big game – Taiwan. China is being goaded by the US but President Xi will be smarter than President Putin.
There is much being written about the events of the past ten days and doubtless there is much still to be written. I leave that task to others, because this will be neither a short war, nor a nuclear war.
Why has this happened and why now are key questions, but the most critical question is – where is this going?
What is now abundantly apparent is that the ‘civilised’ Western political leadership has collectively and wholeheartedly thrown us, the world, into the quagmire of the cold war 2.0 with their manufactured, insane, frenzied and hysterical response to the situation in Ukraine and Russia’s invasion.
The narrative for this situation is being rigidly controlled through the western media machine, the 4th Estate, mainstream media.
What it is, is total perception management of an engineered crisis of admittedly significant consequences, particularly for the people of Ukraine and Europe. Unfortunately for them, the architect of this crisis, the United States, doesn’t particularly cares about the consequences. Their interest is the Great Game of empire and hegemony.
The ‘crisis in Ukraine’ was always avoidable. The internal dynamics and divisions that exist there were not insurmountable. Therefore, for it not to have been resolved peacefully, suggests strongly that it is desirable for particular powers to exploit and artificially escalate the situation to open conflict and expand the consequences of it far and beyond the borders of Ukraine.
One could write countless papers on the build-up to this conflict. The Orange Revolution, the intentionally provocative NATO Bucharest declaration of 2008, the February 2014 ‘Ukrainian colour revolution’, were staging posts to get to this point in time.
But what is so critical about this point in time that requires, on the face of it, thrusting the world into potential nuclear brinkmanship or a nuclear conflict scenario?
We shall look at the process that has brought us here and explain why the current ‘MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction)’ scenario is not the ‘mad’ scenario but a precursor to the real danger that is just on the near horizon.
Ukraine is the escalatory tool to get there.
Let us understand what the value of that piece of geopolitical real estate called Ukraine is to the prospective buyers to help to ascertain positions and rational.
What is Ukraine to the great powers?
Ukraine is everything and nothing to them. One just needs to ascertain who places more intrinsic value on the country, more than the other bidders, to grasp the moves in play.
To Russia it is everything. Strategically it is a core Russian interest, and will never be accepted as anything less by President Putin. It is his red line. Dominance of Ukraine is literally an existential threat to Russia’s sovereign security. However, on the 19th of February 2021 President Volodymyr Zelensky at the 58th Munich Security Conference stated the following:
“Since 2014, Ukraine has tried three times to convene consultations with the guarantor states of the Budapest Memorandum. Three times without success. Today Ukraine will do it for the fourth time. I, as President, will do this for the first time. But both Ukraine and I are doing this for the last time. I am initiating consultations in the framework of the Budapest Memorandum. The Minister of Foreign Affairs was commissioned to convene them. If they do not happen again or their results do not guarantee security for our country, Ukraine will have every right to believe that the Budapest Memorandum is not working and all the package decisions of 1994 are in doubt.”
In essence Zelensky was sending a message to NATO, Europe the US and Russia.To whom he was placing the most emphasis is not determined, but it was patently read as a threat by Russia, by Putin.
This is what I believe is being misinterpreted by the west: just how serious Putin and the Russian government view Ukrainian neutrality. If the launching of literally the largest invasion and military mobilisation in Europe since WWII doesn’t convey this to them, then I am unsure what exactly will!
Is Ukraine a strategic core interest for Europe? Or is it a strategic core interest to NATO, encompassing Europe? That depends on what Europe defines as the threat to their existence, which I would argue has been interpreted as such through the NATO lens rather than the European lens as a buffer to the Soviet Empire of the day.
The Soviet Union was expansionist. Russia has acted defensively to post-cold war security architecture that includes Georgia and Crimea.
From a NATO centric European position, Ukraine is a strategic defensive interest, not a core interest. Were it a core interest, Europe would have drawn Ukraine into the European Union long ago. They have not, and nor will they. NATO has promised and promised, but never acted on integrating Ukraine into NATO. And nor will they, so the question is: just how strategic did they and do they view Ukraine as being?
And to America?
Ukraine is nothing but a stepping stone. Ukraine is not a core strategic interest to America. Ukraine acted as a buffer between NATO and the Soviet Union during the cold war. With the demise of the Soviet Union and the end of the cold war and America’s rise as the unipolar superpower in the world, Ukraine’s value as a buffer diminished, as the strategic threat of the USSR had diminished and therefore its strategic relevancy to the US diminished also.
NATO and America could handle a weakened and impoverished Russia without the need for the cold war level security apparatus of old. Therefore, this is why the current situation will remain a conventional conflict, unless as part of the hysterical response, Russia’s sovereignty and the Russian government’s existence come under threat.
Then the rules of the game could change. Because this is essentially the US game plan with Russia: cripple the economy, turn the populace against their government, ferment a revolution and topple the ‘communist government’ and replace them with a pliable vassal ally to serve US interests.
Why is Ukraine a stepping stone for American strategy?
Simply and briefly, pre-2000’s Europe, outside the western hemisphere, was always the top core strategic interest to the US, throughout WWI and WWII and the cold war.
As stated, with the demise of the Soviet Union the geopolitical paradigm shifted, the threat was changing. America was now top dog. However, post 2000’s — actually post China’s ascension to the WTO really — the US started waking up to the reality for them that the ‘beast in the east’ was rising and posed a credible if not existential threat to their unipolar hegemony.
Consequently, Europe, as the next core strategic interest to the American strategists after the western hemisphere, was diminishing in strategic threat relevancy and was usurped by North Asia – China.
The United States focus shifted to Asia, China, with their ‘Pivot to Asia’ under the Obama administration. From then to now has been a concerted program of laying the groundwork for the ultimate challenge in the minds of the US strategists – taking on China and introducing ‘democracy’ to the country and replacing the hostile ‘communists’ with a pliable bedfellow to turn China into a vassal US ally. Indeed, one can start to understand why Chinese and Russian leaders have such an aversion to democracy as defined by the west.
Why is Ukraine the stepping stone for the United States? It is a consolidation, corralling and rallying of the troops. NATO had become ‘stale’ with years of nation state members budgetary underfunding. This was addressed in part by then President Donald Trump when he took exception to members not contributing more financially to their defence.
This had also contributed to a malaise in Europe and NATO towards the entire security architecture and the situation required a catalyst to galvanise Europe and NATO. Although NATO expansion had continued in two major waves post cold war 1.0, the rationale for NATO was quite literally questionable post 1991. Back in February 2021, NATO revised article 5, the mutual defense clause of NATO – an attack on one is an attack on all.
They did not merely revise it on a technical level to include Cyberwarfare as a raison d’etre for also activating article 5, they revised it on a geographical scope as well, extending NATO’s remit far beyond their designated geographical remit.
They had already reached beyond that with Afghanistan, but that was a largely American managed affair. NATO being drawn in after the 9/11 attacks invoked article 5.
There is a more deliberate function to revision of article 5 regarding geographical scope of NATO operations, that is the inclusion of the ‘Indo-Pacific’ as a theatre of operations.
Therefore, the plethora of defence pacts already in place and refined to narrow participatory qualification to a handful of countries to invoke article 5 now becomes a greater threat. The interlocking defence pacts will ensure any country caught up in a deliberate, accidental or otherwise (read false flag operation!) with China can activate article 5.
What do you think the ‘aspirational’ Australian submarine deal was really about? A new refined and sharpened defence pact, narrowing the field of necessary activation for broader participation.
What Ukraine is about, at least from an American perspective is this: corralling NATO, rallying the troops, and reinvigorating the military posture of Europe.
The collective hysterical response is patently engineered, and not simply a response to Vladimir Putin invading Ukraine.
Remember, whilst still fresh and not lost to the fog of war, that the sanctions being imposed on Russia were prepared in advance and indeed some had been imposed in advance of Russia’s invasion. Invasion or no invasion, these sanctions were pre-emptively drafted and implementation had begun. The hysteria cloaks this and allows for massive ramping up and introduction of more sanctions.
If sanctions were being imposed before an invasion occurred, then it is obvious the invasion itself was not the raison d’etre for them and has become the ‘public rationale’ for them. So what were they prepositioned for then? Simple. Regime change, internal dissent and potential to ferment that so sought-after ‘Russian colour revolution’ (colour as yet to be determined).
Syria of Europe
The war itself will utterly destroy Ukraine, It will become the Syria of Europe with an insurgency style conflict bogging down Russian forces, draining their moral, their treasury – already under intense pressure from the most draconian sanctions imposed on any country. The volume of ‘lethal aid’, a new euphemism for arms trading, will ensure any such insurgency is sustainable for the long term. NATO will have reason and justification for ever increasing military budgets and force posture on its eastern flank.
What is also damaging, is the collective western virtue signalling, whereby corporations are piling in with just about everyone else to disconnect Russia from the world, from shipping companies, ports, car manufacturers, tech giants, sporting organisations. They are all essentially aiding in cutting Russia off from the world. This is forcing Russia and China closer than ever on strategic interests, militarily and economically.
The unprecedented exclusion from SWIFT, but more so the seizing of Russian federal reserves, is where the game totally changes. And this messaging will not be lost on China. Nor for that matter on many other countries outside the western hemisphere and Europe, watching closely the combined efforts of the western liberal democracies aligning almost in totality, against the ‘enemy of the west’. For now that enemy is Russia.
But it is important to recognise the situation now is being used to change the rules of the ‘rules-based international order’ to allow for ever more draconian interpretation and application of future actions, when needed.
Where is this going next?
So, with the stage set in Europe, the script of the ‘rules based international order’ being edited, the rallying and consolidation of NATO and the EU, the bogging down of Russia in Ukraine, the upending of its economy, the US can now turn their attention to what they are really strategically concerned about – China – their ‘core strategic concern’.
Let’s not forget that episode in summer of 2021, the inglorious rapid withdrawal from Afghanistan. Does anyone really still think that it was the inglorious, humiliation it has been cast as? Or do they now realise it was an absolute necessity to allow for strategic reorientation and positioning of combined US / NATO force posture?
With all the pressure points being pressed over the past couple of years, watching the games in play and the various elements of the strategy over those years, has been like watching them all blended into a tumble dryer on 1200 spin cycle, and trying to discern if there is a picture to see in this mosaic of chaos and mayhem.
But it is not chaos, anything but. It will appear increasingly so to many that the world is in a state of flux and chaos sprinkled with a dash of mayhem, particularly to those taking the end of days apocalyptic view of the current situation in Ukraine.
But there is structure to this, a great deal of structure at that. When one awakens bears and dragons from their slumber they may not react as you think they may.
That structure includes Hong Kong,Xinjiang, the South China Sea and most importantly Taiwan
Taiwan and the new script of ‘The rules based international Order’
European Union individual nation state members actions over Taiwan, particularly in 2021, have been presented as ‘unilateral actions’. Essentially, the EU deflected responsibility to the fact that EU nations act in their sovereign interests first and EU collective interests secondly.
This disingenuous posture has been employed to cloak a structured program of gradual repositioning of the EU and other western nations to the Taiwan issue. In essence it is erosion by stealth of the ‘One China Policy’. The US is most certainly encouraging, if not steering this strategy, as they themselves are employing the same principle of the erosion of the ‘Strategic Ambiguity Policy’ by stealth, in parallel to EU juxtaposing and repositioning on Taiwan.
A Hong Kong start
Step back to 2014 and the Hong Kong Umbrella Movement protests: They were a staging post in the overall strategy of disengagement and built up to confrontation with China, just as the February 22nd 2014 ‘Ukrainian Colour Revolution’ was a staging post and built up to conflict with Russia.
As the colour revelation of 2014 in Ukraine created the situation that brought war in 2022, the Umbrella movement and what followed in Hong Kong facilitated the emergence of the 2019 protest movement that was designed to undermine the ‘One Country Two Systems’ policy, but not for Hong Kong – for Taiwan.
The 1C2S was the target of the HK 2019 protests. Most – not all, everything else during that episode has been either collateral damage or unanticipated gains. The protests in Hong Kong literally aided the incumbent Taiwanese President Tsai to be re-elected and therefore maintain continuity of the strategy.
Ratcheting up the temperature
It is no coincidence that relations between China and the US had started to sour and deteriorated rapidly from 2016 onwards. The narratives on trade and tech were fostered in parallel to the Xinjiang “genocide”, and the human rights and forced labour allegations. The temperature was further ratcheted up with increasing US military activity in the South China Sea and the Taiwan Straits, a policy of continuity of provocation.
Just as there has been a constant and sustained media campaign to keep Russia as the great evil on the doorstep of Europe, there has been this media strategy and campaign to demonise China. Being dispassionate about it, looking at it objectively, one can see that to instil the level of conditioning for labels take time to plant and propagate within the target audience.
The western audience, and sadly audiences further afield, have been subjected to a sustained demonisation of China. There had been saturation of their and global media on the above-mentioned issues for almost eight years now. That is sufficient time to instil the messaging that the architects wished to convey – China is evil.
The preparations for conditioning the ‘audience’ for the acceptance of the need for conflict has been meticulously and strategically thought through and implemented. The stage has long since been set regarding both China and Russia as the great evils of the world (China much later than Russia as they were serving the capitalist machinery – until they became a threat to the capitalist system of dominance).
The audience is conditioned into not simply acceptance but also vehemently supporting the actions that come next. Just look to the virtue-signalling responses of the entire western world to the Ukraine crisis if you need evidence that this program has been successful in its objective.
The same situation has been crafted and prepared and is now ready for China.
Coming weeks and months
The activities of western countries and governments towards Taiwan’s status will become more vocal in the coming weeks and months, particularly as the war in Ukraine becomes uglier, casualties soar, destruction becomes widespread, ‘the resistance’, armed to the hilt by the west, pits itself fully against the Russian aggressors in a brutal insurgency that will be presented as a war time act of resistance with echoes of WWII reinforcing it.
The public relations campaigns have all but already been won, for the west anyway. The western nations will play heavily on the woke virtue signalling to endorse Taiwan as a ‘democratic state’ under threat and risk from the great Satan that is China.
Remember Joe Biden’s pronouncement in December 2021 that the ‘2021 Democracy Summit’ was about “Democracy versus Autocracy”? Well, as he said in his state of the Union address. “This is our moment”. Biden knows this is America’s major play at defence of the hegemony. Everything is to play for as we drift through the chaos and mayhem that will define 2022. And everyone thought 2021 was a year to forget!
The Taiwan card has been held up the US sleeve whilst at the geopolitical table, with hints of an ‘all in’ coming soon. Hong Kong 2019 was not about the South China Sea, the Trade War, The Tech War, Xinjiang; they were but component parts of the broader strategy. Hong Kong was about one country two systems, and therefore Taiwan: so any delusions that the Taiwan card is being prepared to come into play should be dispelled.
Do not underestimate the power of nationalism that will drive both Russia and China’s response to the emerging challenge to both countries. The western leaders, particularly the Americans, tell their people they are engaging in an existential struggle against communism, the great evil!
However, it is not communism that is the indoctrinated rallying point in the successive generational conditioning of their people.
No, President Joe Biden has made it quite clear what the new cold war is about. He laid it out with his Secretary of State Anthony Blinken in December 2021 at the launch of the ‘Democracy Summit’ – this is a struggle, as they see it, between Democracy and Autocracy.
The participants were decided by and the ‘teams’ were determined by the United States then. It was a defining moment for the world, but not many perceived it as such then. The objectives have long since been established, the show(down) is ‘now’. It has started with Ukraine.
Be under no illusion, this is not a simple case of rolling the dice and seeing how they fall.
This is a very structured and long thought-out escalation, and Ukraine has just been figuratively and metaphorically played to advance to the next stage of the big game – Taiwan / China.