Current Events

Winners and Losers and the winner take all

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News Story Sponsored by Mícheál Walsh: ‘It’s very simple. In the Soviet Union, we don’t believe our propaganda. In America, you actually believe yours,’ smiled a Soviet journalist to American colleagues.

Running parallel to the Special Operation, which in terms of Preventive Self Defence complied fully with the rules and principles of the UN, is the information war for hearts and minds.

Which side is actually winning the boots-on-the-ground conflict polarises opinion? My money is on a smug Putin leaving the battleground triumphant whilst simultaneously destroying American hegemony and showing NATO and Western weaponry as leaving much to be desired.

Then we ask which economies are the winners and losers. The Economist (August 26) conceded that ‘the Russian economy is doing better than even the most optimistic forecasts predicted.’ The International Monetary Fund agrees: ‘The Russian economy is doing well.’

On the field of battle the Ukrainian Army, despite their vacuuming up the arsenals of NATO’s Western partners, is still being outfought, outmanoeuvred and outclassed.

Hard-headed military, journalists and political pundits agree that Kyiv is on a hiding to nothing. However, the regime – Ukraine is a one-party state lacking independent media – cannot throw in the towel as Kyiv will be thrown into the long grass.

Hot air diplomacy no longer wins hearts and minds. In fact, the longer the uneven conflict lasts the more irrational the propaganda of the vanquished.

President Zelensky’s rhetoric is a parody of absurdities. The promised counter-offensives resulted in the Ukrainian armed forces being routed. Mainstream media faithfully mimics the irrationality that Russia shells its own Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station. More people believe in Santa Claus than trust Zelensky’s promised ‘liberation’ of Crimea.

In the realistic sections of the West, the ongoing debacle is increasingly morphing into reality and defeatism or stunned silence. The losses to the West are significant.

The Washington Post concedes that ‘Russia has expanded its control over a large part of the Ukrainian deposits considered among the richest in mineral resources in Europe.’

In terms of territory acquisition, Eastern Ukraine’s return to the Russian motherland is far from complete. As its forces advance, Russia is depriving Ukraine of the backbone of its economy, and its natural resources.

Although Ukraine was dubbed ‘the bread basket of Europe’ the country has deposits of 117 of the 120 most widely used minerals and metals, as well as reserves of fossil fuels. 

Russia has now bagged some of the world’s largest reserves of titanium and iron ore, deposits of pristine lithium and huge deposits of coal. Collectively, these reserves are worth tens of trillions of dollars; enough to pay off America’s out-of-control debt crisis.

East of the River Dnieper was known as the Ruhr of Soviet Russia. It was Eastern Ukraine that put Russia’s transport on wheels and created a space program ahead of America’s.   

History repeats. When at the start of World War II Germany recovered lands lost to Poland following WWI (1914-1918), British legislators shrieked in horror having in the meantime invested heavily in cheap Polish coal mining consortiums.

Are these lost assets important to the West?  A significant amount of other valuable energy and mineral resources used to produce everything from aircraft parts to smartphones are now under Russian control. 

This leads me to conclude the outcome of the Special Operation. Still in the air, which Russia has mastery of, is whether Russia will incorporate Ukraine’s Black Sea regions. If so, Ukraine will find itself a landlocked rump state half its previous size. The embittered Western Alliance is welcome to the crumbs tossed from the dining table.

The Western Powers will then be forced to explain to their disillusioned and increasingly rebellious electorate why a central European debacle with international repercussions and loss of Western hegemony and credibility could have followed so closely on the heels of the catastrophic Retreat from Kabul.

The hapless western alliance would have been well advised to learn from Count Otto von Bismarck: ‘I know a hundred ways to pull the Russian bear from its den, but not one to pull him back. Do not tease the Russian bear.’  ~ Michael Walsh

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