‘One thing is absolutely clear: There will be no ‘business as usual’ – that is, normality’

Written by The Frontier Post

Petr Akopov

The series of summits of the leaders of the Western world continues this week – from Bavaria, the “Big Seven” moves to Madrid – for the NATO summit. And for the first time in full force: they even take the Prime Minister of Japan, which is not part of the Atlantic Pact, with them. Kishida will attend the summit as a guest, but given that China’s threats and challenges will be included in NATO’s doctrinal documents for the first time in the Spanish capital, the Pacific guest can feel like a full-fledged partner. The main attention at both meetings was given to Russia and Putin, more precisely, to the responses to the “threat for the West” emanating from them.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has already announced a decision to increase the alliance’s rapid reaction force from 40,000 to 300,000 people, including the buildup of forces in Eastern Europe, in particular the Baltics. Atlantists are preparing to fight with Russia – in Ukraine or even on their own territory? No, they “simply show”, that is, they demonstrate their power. Moreover, they use any convenient opportunity for this – as it was at the very beginning of the meeting of the “Seven” in Elmau, Bavaria, when Boris Johnson suggested taking off his jackets in order to “show that we are cooler than Putin,” and Trudeau jokingly recommended”make a show of bare-chested riding.” Hu-mor for a get-together — especially if you recall that photos of Putin on horseback with a naked torso give a negative machismo and even sexual connotation in the West, and not in Russia. An inferiority complex of dependent Western political managers in front of a free man?
In general, the entire summit in Elmau came down to a deliberate demonstration of “pectoral muscles”, starting with an exchange of remarks from Biden and Scholz about how satisfied they were both with the unity of the West, otherwise Putin assumed that a special operation in Ukraine would sow discord in the “Seven” and NATO. What does it mean that Putin, who has been talking about the limited sovereignty of the Europeans for many years, harbored such naive hopes? Not from anything – it’s just impossible not to once again praise each other for solidarity.
It’s just that what to do next with it is absolutely incomprehensible: to increase the NATO contingent in Europe, to give more money and weapons to Kiev ? And to believe that “the Kremlin must be defeated in Ukraine,” as European Council President Charles Michel wrote ? But the Kremlin owes nothing to anyone but its own people — and the “unshakable cohesion of the G7in solidarity with the Ukrainian people. Money, weapons and political support. Everyone mobilized for Zelensky and Ukraine,” as the same Michel wrote, they cannot force Putin and Russia to refuse to achieve their goals in the Ukrainian direction. The West can continue to pretend that it is confident in its ability to prevent this, talk about the inevitable defeat of Russia, – the more painful it will be later, the more difficult it will be to admit your own defeat.
And that moment will inevitably come, sooner or later. Moreover, after all, you will have to talk with Putin, who has already been repeatedly declared Hitler, somehow. And to explain to their own citizens why it suddenly became possible to communicate with a “war criminal” again? The Anglo-Saxons behave most recklessly towards Putin (we do not consider the Poles and the Balts – they are not in danger of “seeing Putin” anyway), well, the United States, Great Britain and Canada are betting on the “defeat of Russia”. Which is not visible even in NATO optics. Meanwhile, the X-hour is approaching, and not only on the Ukrainian fronts. Less than five months remain before the G20 summit, the first face-to-face meeting of world leaders in three years.
They will gather in mid-November in Bali – and the chances are very high that this time no coronavirus will prevent all twenty presidents, prime ministers and crown princes from coming to Indonesia.
Back in early spring Washington and Londonthey tried to get Indonesian President Widodo to refuse the invitation of the Russian president, but received a quite reasonable answer: no one can be excluded from the G20. Indonesia, however, agreed to invite Zelensky – on the second day of the summit, a meeting is held with the heads of the countries – guests of the forum. Whether Zelensky will be president by that time, what will remain of Ukraine is all a big question. But Putin will arrive – and what should the Anglo-Saxons do in this situation. Biden, Johnson, Trudeau and new Australian Prime Minister Albanese? Not to come to demonstrate their indignation? That is, to desert, but try to pass it off as a victory? It will not work, just as it has already failed to persuade even our own partners in the “Seven” to support the demand that Putin not be invited.
This became clear back in the spring, when at one of the G20 events, a meeting of finance ministers, only representatives of the United States, Great Britain, Canada and France left the hall during a speech by Russian Minister Siluanov. Moreover, the latter is clearly on his own initiative, because President Macron constantly reminds of the need to “talk to Russia.” And now the games around the boycott of Russia at the G20 have completely ended – after the G7 summit, all Western countries have decided. We must go to Bali.
First, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said that she opposed the idea of boycotting the G20 summit due to the fact that Vladimir Putin would participate in it :
“We should think carefully about whether the G20 will be paralyzed. So I don’t support it. In my opinion, the G20 is too important, including for developing countries, for us to again allow Putin to destroy this structure.”
Everything is as usual: the West imposes sanctions, but calls the rise in prices Putin’s, Western countries were not going to go to the G20, but Putin again destroys it. True, a way out was found – to go to “tell Putin to his face everything that we think about him and his actions”: “One thing is absolutely clear: there will be no “business as usual” – that is, normality.”
What kind of normality is there when the West destroys with its own hands not only ties with Russia, but also its own economy. By mid-November, the consequences of rising energy prices will become even more tangible – and then, of course, it’s time to threaten Putin with new sanctions, for example, for undersupply of gas (which they themselves decided to gradually phase out).
The compatriot was also supported by Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who said that “the G20 must continue to play its role. Everyone agrees on this. And that is why there is a common belief, as von der Leyen put it, that we do not want to torpedo the G20.” That is, apparently, on the “Seven” a collective decision was made to go to Bali, although how to behave there is still not clear, including Scholz. When asked if he would sit at the same table with Putin (meaning the general meeting of the G20), the chancellor did not give a clear answer: “We will make a decision shortly before departure, because by then the situation in the world can change very much.”
There is no doubt that the situation in the world will change greatly in the coming months, but it is already completely different from what it was at the beginning of the year.
The only thing that will definitely remain unchanged is the interests of Russia, which are defended by Vladimir Putin. In Bali, he will defend them not as a “defendant in the court of history”, as the Anglo-Saxons would like, but as the leader of a power that cannot be ignored and it is useless to try to defeat. And everyone who wants to express “what he thinks” to his face must be prepared to hear in response something that the West will not like very much, but will be close to the rest of the world. You don’t even have to try to be “cooler than Putin” – it still won’t work.

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