Putin Misplays His Cards, what Could Have Been a Winning Hand has become the Road to Armageddon
Authored by: Paul Craig Roberts
Every day that passes raises my concern that the Kremlin is mishandling a dangerous situation and making it more dangerous. Putin and Lavrov send every wrong signal. The message they should be sending is “Don’t Tread on Me.” Instead, Lavrov whines that his “Western partners” are being mean to Russia, and Putin offers energy so NATO countries can continue their war against Russia and be saved from freezing to death while they are fighting against Russia.
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Putin still doesn’t understand that he is at war. He speaks as if Russia is a member of the European Community.
The UN General Assembly passed a resolution demanding that Russia repudiate its reincorporation of four former provinces of Russia and unconditionally withdraw from Ukraine. Lavrov says that Washington is conducting “diplomatic terror” against Russia by controlling by intimidation the General Assembly’s vote.
How could Lavrov have expected any other outcome? If Lavrov wants the vote to go the other way, Russia, instead of the US, must become the country that pays the bills. Is Lavrov so out of touch with reality that he expects the UN to do anything but support Washington, the paymaster?
Aljazeera reports that two days ago Putin offered to ship natural gas to Europe through the one undamaged Nord Stream pipeline. This is the same Europe that is sending railway cars of weapons for Ukraine to use to kill Russians. This is the same Europe that supports Washington’s sanctions against Russia and imposes additional sanctions on its own. This is the same Europe that calls for regime change in Moscow and bans Russian athletes, performances of Russian composers and musicians, steals Russian assets, and refuses to comply with contractual agreements.
But the President of Russia wants to support their war effort against Russia by selling them energy. Does the Kremlin represent Russia, or is the Kremlin a marketing agent for an oil company?
The German government told Putin “NO,” we prefer for Germans to freeze to death and for German industry and economy to shut down than to displease Washington by buying your natural gas. How long before we see Putin on his knees begging Germany to let him give them the gas?
Putin knows that Washington and NATO Europe are determined to destroy Russia and break the country up into principalities comparable to Germany before the unification of Germany in 1871. Putin recently addressed the Russian people on the West’s declared threat against Russia, so why does he beg Europe to let Russia strengthen Europe against Russia by supplying Europe with energy?
In Washington the neoconservatives who control US foreign policy see the inconsistency between Putin’s words and deeds as Putin’s irresolution and inability to use force. This is why Washington is so confident that Russia can be defeated.
I think Washington is misreading the situation, and so is Putin. Putin is trying to avoid a real war and trying to show Europe that he is a friend and not an enemy. Putin’s play is obvious. He is telling Europe to ditch their Washington master and enjoy warm winters and operating industry with Russian energy. It would even be better for Americans who would continue to have parts for their BMWs, Porsches, Mercedes, and VWs.
Washington sees Putin as a person whose red lines are fictional and undefended. The recent Russian strikes, belatedly after eight months of being at war, against Ukrainian infrastructure are regarded by neoconservatives as being a weak response to the Ukrainian attempt to blow up the Crimea bridge. It was a tit for a tat, not a demonstration that Ukraine faces destruction if Ukraine widens the war beyond the Russian police action in Donbass.
The neoconservatives who make Washington’s war policy regard Putin’s willingness to allow the Ukrainian government to conduct war against Russia while Russia leaves Ukraine protected from attack an indication that Russia lacks the will to really fight.
Consequently, Washington believes that it has the advantage and will continue to escalate the provocations, expecting from the Kremlin only Lavrov’s whining and Putin’s offer of energy aid to NATO Europe.
At some point soon arriving, Russia is going to have to really fight and show the military competence and determination necessary to cause Washington to pull in its horns, or Armageddon will be amongst us.