Russia decided enough was enough and kicked off direct involvement in eastern Ukrainian hostilities. The fog of war has been thick, aggravated by a digital fog of war. The world sits watching with several days elapsed and the International Community is gearing up aid and involvement. To borrow from Lenin, this has been a week where decades happened.
The decades preceding this war are important. Much happened and much of it out of the media narrative. The Cold War ended and like many post-1945 wars, America won the war and lost the peace. In summary, Bush promised no expansion of NATO. Clinton & Bush II decided expanding NATO was a good idea. Clinton’s administration believed aiding Russian individuals in looting former Soviet assets was another good idea. Rumsfeld promoted New Europe as a dynamic opportunity for the Pentagon. Ukraine experienced a color revolution in 2005. No NATO membership then because pundits questioned how NATO would supply it. Ukrainian president Yanukovych did not sign an EU trade agreement and tilted towards Russia’s trade bloc, and what do you know Euromaiden happened. Most obvious sign that the new regime was a US State Department creation was the new Ukrainian treasurer needing to get her citizenship just days before taking office since she was American. An eight year civil war in eastern Ukraine has occurred as America sent billions in military aid to Ukraine ($2.7 bil) and then rumblings about joining NATO started. He we are now. No context of the February 2022 situation is complete without this but sadly, the media avoids this timeline of events.
Putin’s invasion was a shock to the post-Cold War order because here was an invasion that America did not approve. The world watched air power on display but not American fighters and bombers. That is America’s MO! America provides naval security for the global trade lines but to use air power without American approval would incur America’s wrath. It was a post-Cold War crime. The first break in this was Russia providing air support to Syria, at Syria’s request, in their civil war. Something changed in the global game with that, and this Ukrainian war is another step. There is no return to the old order.
In the days since, we have seen other changes, which foreshadow an end to the old order. The dream of an integrated globe-spanning order is gone. All those Washington Consensus plans involved pulling Russia and China into that order. Now actions point to fissures and a bifurcation. Performing an exorcism of Russia from the global financial system will have knock on effects. The broader effect is that if it can be done to a nuclear power, it can be done to anyone. The financial alternatives to SWIFT, rating agencies and bilateral trade agreements in domestic currency all were set ups for this moment, and here it is.
One can not avoid seeing the use of money in a banker run empire against opponents. Canada did unprecedented financial moves against truckers a whole fortnight ago, and now we see the American led banking system perform the same on a nuclear power of over 100 million people. These are the tools they have and are just as much warfare as bombs and bullets. American orders went out to private and international organizations and they did as America said. If the American led system enacts all of these moves now, they will have used all the arrows in their quiver.
News watchers who believe in European nations being sovereign must feel silly, if only for a moment. American control is laid bare for even the most unaware. American news consumers may not put it together, but heads of states around the globe can. Modi in India has felt the heat at times and must be aware. Why would they ever trust the American led suite of organizations and businesses ever again? How can they carve out enough sovereignty to survive? These occupy their debate sessions now.
For all the threats and tough talk online from pundits, the worry about oil, gas and agricultural commodities lingers. Consider tough talk and China. America could not do this to China. They provide too many products. It is bad enough for the American bank empire that this could cause all those BRIC financial dreams and schemes of the 2010s to come true. China could enjoy being the main piece of a system that wrecks the dollar. China itself has many options versus America as they watch this unfold. China can cut off rare earth minerals, and what war machine could America use? Forget threats. We cannot properly investigate Chinese espionage due to racism. Good luck Taiwan.
The fog of war is real, and 24/7 internet does not fix it. Anyone paying attention online has been bombarded with pro-Ukraine messaging. The Ghost of Kiev. Snake Island. They are just two of many widespread memes and PR messages that are not real. Twitter and Reddit are non-stop Ukraine/Marvel memes. Ukraine might not have prepared for an invasion perfectly, but their social media game is like a Disney movie roll-out. As with covid, all stories supporting the desired narrative spread like wildfire. These super positive bits of public relations do not match real time war maps nor match the desperate measures Ukraine is going to in order to build manpower. Pumped by this meme propaganda, pundits online call for No Fly Zones like this is a small conflict not against a nuclear power. War propaganda has found new tools, and still pushes the same buttons. In fact, you are watching the great pivot out of covid into anti-Putin hysteria with a side helping of environmental initiatives to fight oil producers. Same feverish level. Same shrill tone.
That likely won’t matter in the war. It will matter for post-war framing. America is not restarting Keystone or promoting domestic oil drilling, but we can go green to fight the evil Putin oil-igarchy. Prices might be $9 a gallon at the pump, but it will fight authoritarianism. Talk of a No Fly Zone (post-Cold War tool) is thrown around, forgetting the planes such a zone would shoot down are flown by a nuclear power. This is not Iraq or Libya. Even if hostilities end quickly, the damage done with these financial and diplomatic changes will be hard to unwind. The three decades long post-Cold War order is over, and it only took a week.