By Carlton Joseph
The people of the world need to become vocal and put pressure on President Biden and Western powers to use diplomatic efforts to end the war in Ukraine. President Biden, the US political class, left, right, and mainstream media seem to be moving the world toward World War III, as they pressure willing and unwilling European allies to send weapons to support Ukraine. The mantra from all the western major media houses and the administration is that, sending more advanced systems would enable Ukrainian forces to repel the Russian forces, not only to survive, but to win, take back territory and prevail as a sovereign independent state in Europe.
Unofficially, Ukraine is now a member of NATO and, except for actual soldiers on the ground, is receiving all the military assistance that any NATO member is entitled to. The next escalation will be sending military personnel to train soldiers, and ultimately NATO sending troops. How Russia reacts will determine if we enter World War III.
One can understand Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky wanting NATO to become more involved in the war, because the deeper the involvement, the easier it is for the war to escalate, bringing Ukraine closer to NATO membership. For weeks, Ukraine has asked allies to supply it with up to 300 German made Leopard 2 battle tanks; several allies had the tanks in their inventories but were unable to donate them unless Germany gave its approval. Caving to pressure from Biden, NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Britain, Poland and other European countries, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz agreed to send 14 German-made Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine, while allowing NATO allies to send more German tanks. This is despite concern by most Germans that it could lead to an escalation of the war and retaliation by Russia,
America is forcing its allies, especially Germany, into a protracted and potentially deadly proxy war with Russia. Worst, sending tanks to Ukraine conjures in the mind of many Germans, a deep-seated aversion to military aggression and its uncomfortable associations with the country’s Nazi past. Also, sending German tanks in February will reignite memories of the battle of Stalingrad, the longest and bloodiest engagements in modern warfare, when Hitler declared that upon taking Stalingrad all of the city’s male residents would be killed and its women deported. Fortunately, Russia stopped Hitler, and ultimately turned the tide of WWII in favor of Allied forces. This weapons transfer could potentially mobilize additional Russian support for President Putin whose approval rating stood at 81 percent in a December poll.
Germany is being pushed into the frontline of this war at the risk of its own security and contrary to its economic interest. By sending weapons to Ukraine and ending its reliance on Russian energy, she is terminating the policy that was pivotal in ending the cold war in 1970, and effectively severing all relations with Russia.
Several economic institutes in Germany have reported that sanctions have cost Germany a 5 percent loss in real wages, the largest loss since 1945. Also, people cannot afford to pay their rents, gas prices, energy prices, and petrol. And, for the first time in Germany’s history, people cannot afford to pay for food and had to go to public food services for relief.
War and sanctions are threatening to bankrupt the most powerful economy in Europe. According to the Parliament’s deputy speaker, the extra money Germany is currently planning to spend on energy imports from elsewhere other than Russia, would be withdrawn from other areas, as the surplus can be “neither printed on a money printing machine nor covered by taxpayers.”
Canadians and Europeans should be concerned. Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau immediately announced that he would donate at least 4 Leopard 2 tanks, and will send more in the future. Britain has promised to send its Challenger 2 tanks, Poland has pledged some Leopard 2s, and France, in addition to providing its state-of-the-art Caesar artillery system, Crotale air defense system and its highly mobile AMX-10 RC light tank, is contemplating sending its heavy-duty Leclerc tanks. These weapons will not produce victory for Ukraine. It will instead prolong the war, leading to more senseless Russian and Ukrainian’s deaths, and destruction of Ukraine’s infrastructure. What we need is more diplomacy.
In fact, allied countries, like Canada and European countries that use the mixed market, or social market economy model, must realize that following America’s lead, will result in them having to dismantle the social safety nets that have kept their countries vibrant since WWII.
The German Institute for Economic Research stated that the war is wreaking havoc on the German economy and could lead to a 3 percent drop in GDP this year. Before the war Germany was a net exporter of electric energy to European countries, but, today she is not able to export electric energy. The result is that the French government has urged its national utility EDF to restart the country’s 32 moth-balled nuclear reactors as soon as possible. So, the war, while wreaking havoc on Europe’s economies, will also halt global progress on climate mitigation.
Meanwhile, America’s economy is benefiting from the war. US energy industry, oil, and fracking companies, made more than $100 billion profit last year. While Russia’s Gazprom firm, that sanctions were supposed to hurt, made more than $40 billion profit in the first half of 2022. Also, the Wall street Journal revealed that Europe, the home to some of the largest armament producers in the world, is straining to provide enough ammunition for Ukraine and for itself, endangering NATO’s ability to defend itself while supporting Kiev. This problem will also benefit the US military industrial complex, because they can now sell their weapons to Europe.
European concerns that America has no allies is correct. America’s allies must understand that America is the only regional hegemon in the world, and she’s determined to keep it that way. If Europe is weakened in the process, America just gets stronger and is able to dictate military, economic, and social policy to its allies and probably the world. At the same time, one must remember that survival dominates all other motives, and Russia might resort to nuclear weapons if its survival is threatened.
The world does not need WWIII.
(Trinidad-born Carlton Joseph who lives in Washington D.C., is a close observer of political developments in the United States.)