by HELMHOLTZ SMITH
Now that the Ukraine war is dragging to a close and NATO is running out of willpower, money, guns, tanks and artillery shells, with shaky economies, unstable politics, too many angry farmers and new wars (domestic and foreign) to worry about, it’s time to remember just how it all began.
Easily, lightheartedly, stupidly –
if you don’t know anything, everything looks easy.
False assumptions and false history explain how Washington and the NATO it controls got into this mess.
- Assumed Russian economic weakness. They believed that the Russian economy was weak, easily demolished and that Putin’s rule was based on sharing the loot with underbosses. Sanctions would cripple the economy and cut the underbosses’ takings and they would get rid of Putin and that would be that. Maybe Russia itself would break up. “Cripple the economy”, “Ruble to Rubble“.
- Assumed Russian battlefield incompetence. They swallowed the “Three Alibis“. Russians were no good at war and only beat the Germans because Hitler made stupid decisions, it was cold and they had endless manpower resources. The work of David Glantz’s team was forgotten.
- Assumed NATO superiority. They believed that NATO training, weapons and everything else were wonderful, superior and “game changers” – ooh, so powerful! Russian weapons were junk, they were running out of them, superior NATO training and weapons would make the disheartened and untrained Russian oafs run screaming in terror.
- Bad history. They swallowed the postwar falsification of history – captive nations, “communist subjugation of free people” – all Nazis were Germans and Hitler drove the trains. Nazi collaborators became brave freedom fighters who dreamed of the American Way. We knowingly let Nazis into our countries? No way. So when Putin talked of Nazis in Ukraine, they knew he was just making it up.
And so they bet the farm on an innocent “captive nation”, yearning to be a democracy just like us, which was attacked by a clumsy, stupid mass army of imperialist incompetents from a country with a feeble economy and unstable politics. No wonder it all looked so easy.
Russia hasn’t collapsed, run out of weapons, the ruble isn’t rubble and Putin is still there. The Russian economy, says the IMF, grew more than any G7 country last year and its military, says General Cavoli, is stronger and those who were then sure that “Putin is finished”, now tremble for their foundations. And maybe NATO has ruined itself.
If you start with imaginary assumptions, you’ll get imaginary results. As they say in German “Putin wurde brutal unterschätzt.”