June 20, 2024

Athens News

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The path of defeat. What the wars in Ukraine and Gaza showed


Israeli operations in the Gaza Strip. Illustrative photo

In 3 days it will be exactly 4 months since the start of Israel’s ground operation in the Gaza Strip. During this time, one of the strongest armies in the world – the IDF – with all its might was not able to completely take control of the entire sector (to understand, the area is about one and a half Mariupol with its suburbs).

Despite the fact that Gaza is under almost complete blockade, and the Israeli army is opposed by several tens of thousands of Hamas militants, who have neither aviation nor a developed air defense system and who have a minimum of heavy weapons.

But nevertheless, the war is going hard for the IDF and, as the Israelis themselves admit, could last many more months.

And in Ukraine, another one of the strongest armies in the world has been fighting for almost two years now – the Russian one, which, due to the factor of surprise, was able to capture vast territories at the beginning of the invasion, but then suffered painful defeats from the Ukrainian troops in 2022 and now considers holding the front to be its great victory during the counter-offensive of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, as well as advancement of several kilometers in small towns and villages of Donbass.

Less well-known in the world, but from the same series, is the actual defeat that the Houthis inflicted on the coalition led by Saudi Arabia during its intervention in Yemen.

And if we now simulate a war on some other front (without the use of nuclear weapons) – for example, between China and Taiwan, North and South Korea, India and Pakistan, then, most likely, events will unfold approximately the same as they are now in Gaza or in Ukraine – very long battles for some Korean or Taiwanese marinkas, rabotins and krynki.

And if, for example, we imagine a situation where in 2022 it would not be Russia that attacked Ukraine, but NATO armies would launch an invasion of the Russian Federation across the common border in the Baltic states and the Kola Peninsula (again, without the use of nuclear weapons), then most likely events would unfold the same way as in the war in Ukraine. NATO could capture, for example, the Kaliningrad region or Pskov, but then would be stopped somewhere near St. Petersburg, Novgorod and Murmansk. With the subsequent counter-offensive of Russia (after general mobilization).

And also, accordingly, the scenarios of the capture of Europe by Russia, which are often talked about recently, look absolutely fantastic. The Suvalka corridor to the Kaliningrad region, 100 kilometers wide, at the same pace as now near Avdeevka or Marinka, the Russian army (without the use of nuclear weapons) would have penetrated for at least ten years, even with only the Polish army in front of it (not to mention if they come to the rescue other NATO countries).

There are at least two reasons for this.

The first is military-technical. Just as during the First World War, a strategic impasse developed when the means of defense became stronger than the means of attack. And now it is impossible to create large strike groups for a large-scale offensive, since the enemy will discover them in a matter of hours or even minutes and deal a crushing blow to them. And those who do go on the attack will be destroyed in minefields and by targeted strikes from drones, artillery and ATGMs. Therefore, all advances are now proceeding slowly, in small groups and with heavy losses. The war turns into a battle of attrition with an unpredictable outcome – who will quickly run out of reserves of people, weapons and morale.

It is possible that military and technical thought will somehow find a way out of the impasse, but this will not be a prologue to quick military victories, since there is another reason – geopolitical.

When NATO aircraft bombed Yugoslavia in 1999, its leader Milosevic understood that there was nowhere for him to expect help. That’s why he agreed to the West’s conditions, losing control of Kosovo. When the US-led coalition attacked Iraq in 2003, Saddam Hussein’s generals also understood that there was nowhere to wait for help and they were doomed, and therefore resistance quickly ceased.

Now the situation in the world is fundamentally different – poles of power have emerged that are independent of the West and even hostile to it. If we imagine that the United States suddenly decides to attack Iran, the scenario will be radically different than in Yugoslavia and Iraq. Both Russia and China will certainly help Iran as much as possible. And therefore, Tehran will not give up and will provide stubborn resistance to the Americans, just as now Ukraine, with the support of the West, has been stubbornly resisting Russia’s invasion for almost two years. And for every military-technical breakthrough on one side there is an immediate symmetrical response from the other.

Therefore, in the modern world, war does not imply victory and the solution of any problems for the parties involved. It means that both warring parties have automatically already suffered defeat by the very fact of their participation in the war, and someone else won. And the only question is the scale of the defeat, which depends on how long the war will last. And if any of the parties initiates the outbreak of war, then for it it is tantamount to a voluntary jump into the abyss, the only consolation in which is that the enemy is also flying into the abyss nearby.

And it’s one thing when you are Hamas, which consciously agrees to the role of a “torpedo” to strike Israel, even with the threat of its own destruction, for the sake of fulfilling the tasks of its senior comrades, who have not yet directly intervened in the war. And it’s another matter when you yourself claim to be a “senior comrade,” but at the same time you personally start a war with all the ensuing consequences for yourself.

In this regard, it is worth mentioning the popular theory that through wars in Ukraine, the Middle East, possible wars in Taiwan or Korea, the non-Western world is trying to crush the “world dominance” of the West. And that these wars are extremely dangerous for the West. In Russia and in the West this idea is presented differently. In the West they say that “authoritarian regimes are trying to crush the rules-based world order by challenging the free world in a coordinated manner, opening one front after another.” And in Russia – about the fight against “Western globalists” and the “hegemony of the golden billion.”

This is all reminiscent of the situation on the eve of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, when Western media wrote about how the Russians would capture Kyiv in a few days or weeks and what a huge defeat it would be for the West, as if egging the Kremlin on to attack.

However, if we take on faith the “golden billion” theory, now popular in Russia (it says that Western countries want to maintain their dominance and high standard of living at the expense of the rest of the world), then, based on it, what is the real danger for the West from wars? , in which he is not directly involved?

Because two non-Western countries are at war – Ukraine and Russia? Or, for example, because Koreans will kill each other? Or Mainland Chinese and Taiwanese Chinese? Or Pakistanis and Indians?

And is the West really interested in globalization processes now?

In fact, globalization benefits primarily Russia, China and other non-Western countries. Because due to free (or relatively free) access to markets and technologies, the non-Western world received the opportunity for accelerated development. Production is being transferred from the West to the countries of the “global South”, which provoked the deindustrialization of the United States and EU. And as a result, the West is now losing economic competition. And all the bells are ringing there about the expansion of Chinese goods, with which the EU and the US cannot compete.

Therefore, the West, if again based on the concept of the “golden billion,” is interested, on the one hand, in curtailing the processes of globalization, and on the other hand, in maximizing the weakening of the countries of the non-Western world while simultaneously consolidating the Western world.

A series of wars between countries in the non-Western world is the best way to achieve both goals.

The war in Ukraine gave rise to a whole bunch of military, political and economic problems for Russia, strengthened the consolidation of the global West around the United States, and ousted Russian oil and gas from the European market. Instead, oil and gas came there from America.

A war in Taiwan will drag China into a long-term confrontation, create threats to Chinese foreign trade by sea, and make it possible to justify the most severe restrictions on the access of Chinese goods to the European and American markets, and to all other markets as well (due to secondary sanctions). It will cause an outflow of investment from both China and the entire region.

The war in Korea will “turn off” another economic competitor of the United States and the EU—South Korea. Will create risks for Japan. Even more investment will flow from all of East Asia to Western countries.

The war between India and Pakistan will have the same consequences. Or Iran and Pakistan. Or Iran and Turkey.

A major war in the Middle East will complicate Europe’s economic ties with Asian countries due to the threat to transportation routes, increase the EU’s dependence on economic ties with the United States, and at the same time destroy the importance of Dubai as a relatively independent and rapidly growing financial center from the West.

As a result, the world will return to the state of the early 20th century, when a developed industrial economy existed only in Europe and North America. And the West, in full accordance with the concept of the “golden billion,” will become like a prosperous Elysium from the famous science fiction film against the background of wars, poverty and devastation throughout the surrounding world.

And this result will be achieved by someone else’s hands, someone else’s blood, and even under the slogans of “the fight against Western hegemony and the golden billion.” After all, it was not Biden, but Putin who launched the invasion of Ukraine. And Taiwan is unlikely to be the first to attack China. Just like South Korea to North.

Therefore, for non-Western countries to go to war with each other is a suicidal decision.

However, such a scenario is also dangerous for the West, which, unlike the Elysium space station from the film, is still located on planet Earth.

The main risk is that the West itself will be drawn into a war for which it is not prepared and in which it does not want to participate. And this war could very well become nuclear. Because non-Western countries also have nuclear weapons and, if the war takes a bad turn for them, they can use them both against their direct opponents and against the West. This primarily concerns Russia, which has the world’s largest nuclear arsenal. Based on this threat, there are several concepts in the West. The first proceeds from the fact that Russia needs to be crushed in any way, to inflict military defeat on it, to cause its collapse, and therefore it is necessary to support Ukraine as much as possible. The second proceeds from the fact that the first concept means a very high risk of a nuclear collision, and therefore the war must be ended as soon as possible. And some go even further and believe that it is necessary to make global peace with Russia and make it an ally of the United States and the EU (that is, relatively speaking, to take the Russian Federation “on board the Elysium”), because in the unstable world of the future Russia’s natural resources and nuclear arsenal It can help the West a lot. But in fact, the West is now implementing the third, “middle” concept – do not stop the war, continue to help Ukraine, but carefully, so as not to provoke Russia into escalation. That is, let the war smolder, and then we’ll see. Perhaps , the concept will change to one of the first two.

The second risk is that new wars will cause new migration flows to Western countries, where this issue is already leading to fierce confrontation.

The third risk is an internal split in the West itself between right-wing conservative, nationalist and left-liberal circles. This creates very great political tension, and in the future threatens the unity of the US and the EU (if Trump comes to power in America). Plus financial imbalances after 15 years of actively flooding Western economies with money supply.

That is, if the whole world flares up in wars, then the West may not be able to stay on the sidelines.

Therefore, the ideal option for humanity is global agreements on a new world order, taking into account the changes that have occurred in the world and the interests of all countries. This will allow us to develop stable rules of the game and focus on common solutions to global problems.

However, history shows that leading powers do not always act rationally. And very often it is suicidal. The First World War ended with the collapse of the empires that initiated it, and eventually ended the era of world domination by Western European powers. Although it began very cheerfully and with general enthusiasm.

But now, at least in front of the whole world, there are examples of wars that are already being waged. And their cost and consequences are quite obvious to everyone.

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