Vladimir Putin launched what he was sure to be a short and glorious march of conquest in Ukraine by his conscript army. It was to be the start of a Russian imperial restoration cementing his historical place as a new Peter the Great. History is written by the winners, the former Soviet KGB man well understood.
War in this sense of glory may be a sort of healing balm for a leader reportedly suffering from cancer and more. Perhaps this might be his last and greatest act, beating back NATO arrogance and marching on from Ukraine into Moldova and beyond.
Reality has so far sung a different song
The Ukrainians fought like lions defending their democracy and freedom against a conscript army, many of whom were told they were going on maneuvers. Russian tanks were destroyed in large numbers by Javelins and aircraft by Stinger missiles. The Moskova, flag ship of the Russian Black Sea fleet, was sunk by a Ukrainian made cruise missile. The Russian Army suffered enormous casualties. Economic sanctions savaged the Russian economy including Europeans taking steps to stop buying Russian oil and natural gas. Live on global television, the world watched brutal, indiscriminate attacks on civilians, on schools, hospitals, infrastructure. Finland and Sweden are now seriously considering NATO membership.
Instead of responding to the climate change emergency call by the IPCC 2022 Sixth Assessment Report to cut carbon emissions by 50% by 2030, war spending is getting the biggest boost. According to the IPCC, “near-term actions that limit global warming to close to 1.5°C would substantially reduce projected losses and damages related to climate change in human systems and ecosystems, compared to higher warming levels, but cannot eliminate them all (very high confidence).”
Money is pouring into more and more war spending. The $813 billion dollar U.S. ‘defense’ budget proposal is a 4% increase for the Pentagon. The U.S. already spends more than the next 11 countries combined. NATO as a military alliance is revitalized, not cowed. Enormous resources are being poured into Ukraine by the U.S. and NATO nations. Germany has decided to send heavy artillery and 50 Gepard air-defense tanks as well as self-propelled howitzers to Ukraine and increase military spending to 2 percent of GDP by 2026, as well as separating themselves from Russian oil and gas. There’s nothing like a ‘good’ war against a tyrant to bring many of the world’s democracies together, committed to spend more and more on war and crushing a hated enemy.
The war in Ukraine in the spring is crippling spring planting in one of the world’s key grain producers supplying 30% of the world’s wheat. “2022 is likely to be the worst year from a food crisis and global hunger and starvation perspective,” says Dr. Rajiv Shah, president of the Rockefeller Foundation. The enormous numbers of refugees fleeing the war zone is a precursor of more and more climate change migrants to come.
Dealt a losing hand, it’s hoped that President Putin decides soon to declare victory and bring the troops home and move on and let the healing begin.
The prospects for war at the moment are far brighter than those for peace. The U.S. and NATO are looking forward to giving Russia a beating to degrade their capacity to wage more wars. The military superiority from phenomenal war spending justifies more war spending. Russia has obliged the U.S. and it’s allies by threatening the U.S. with ‘tactical’ nuclear weapons and testing new ICBMs and hypersonic bomber aircraft. Putin has become the Pentagon’s best friend to justify more and more weapons systems and more and more spending.
The basis for peace is clear if the contending parties, now Ukraine, Russia, the U.S. and NATO want to pursue the path of a non-aligned Ukraine free of foreign interference. There has been little evidence that Russia, the U.S. and NATO are thinking or talking about peace. War is in command.
The stakes are too high to ignore the pressing issues of global ecological survival, global food crisis, and an end to war. The facts are on the table. Will we keep our eyes closed and can say we never saw the obvious? The clock is ticking. Peace summits should supplant war summits.
1 Germany sending geperd air defense tanks to support Ukraine defence.
2 Germany to send self-propelled howitzers to Ukraine.
3 IPCC 2022 Report.
4 IPCC 2022 Summary for policy makers.
5 IPCC Press Release.
6 Ukraine War Threatens Global Food Supplies.