For quite a few years now a political me-me has been popular in Russia : “We criticize the president not for being too Putin, but for not being Putin enough.” The salt of the joke is ob-vious – while supporting the policy of the national leader, many Russian citizens would like him to often act more harshly, decisively and harshly.
Putin’s trademark rest-raint, a tendency to step-by-step decisions and the se-arch for compromises, the ability not to get lost in em-otions in situations where you want to rip and throw, command respect, but at the same time, certain for-ces are interpreted as weakness, and sometimes even as a betrayal of national in-terests. This is especially tr-ue of foreign policy issues, in which, according to the turbopatriots, the Russian president has been showing outrageous gentleness and indecision for many years.
Fortunately, most of the country’s citizens themselves are well aware of the wisdom and strategic correctness of Putin’s approach. However, as a result, any situation when Moscow suddenly abandons restrained and pacifying rhetoric and makes this or that demarche makes one nervous – because this is always a sign of extraordinary circumstances, behind which one can expect the most unexpected events and radical changes.
Last Friday, Russia did just that – it is no coincidence that in the comments of experts on the draft agreements with the US and NATO published by the Foreign Ministry , such formulations as the “red line” and even “ultimatum” regularly appear , and in some places uncertainty and anxiety are felt in the intonations.
And for good reason. The Russian state did what was wanted of it – and some political forces even demanded – for many years. But this move is so contrary to the traditional line of our foreign policy that it is a clear signal that something out of the ordinary is happening. And since we are talking about military issues, there are even more reasons to tense up and get nervous.
The situation is aggravated by the fact that for almost eight years now, Russia’s relations with the West have been a series of acute crises. The toxic foreign policy environment with shrill accusations of all sins in Moscow has become so commonplace that one has to look retroactively for an explanation of why this step has been taken by the state leadership at the moment. Why not half a year ago, when media-political hysteria was also raging in the West, accusing our country of aggressive intentions towards Ukraine ? Why not after the Skripal case, or the Boeing shot down over Donbass , or accusations of us in chemical attacks in Syria ? Why now? What has changed and what to expect next?
Of course, the answer to this question has many layers and different aspects.
However, it seems that the determining factor this time was not so much Ru-ssia’s relations with the W-est, but the global situation – and mainly not in politics, but in the economy. Beca-use the very essence of the global hegemony of the U-nited States and its Europ-ean allies is concentrated in the economic sphere – they are the main beneficiaries of the existing system, receiving bonuses from it that are disproportionate to their contribution.
So, perhaps, the main event of the outgoing 2021 was the transition to the open phase of the global crisis that was rolling on the planet, and its deployment began in the West itself.
The financial and regulatory structures of the United States and European countries no longer assure their citizens that high inflation is short-lived and soon everything will return to normal. Production and logistics chains are torn, commodity shortages for an increasing number of positions are becoming an everyday part of life. The energy sector is covered by the crisis, and energy prices are breaking records, which is increasingly affecting the wallets of citizens. Agricultural experts are horrified to predict the onset of a global food crisis in the new year due to an acute shortage of fertilizers. Bubbles are inflating in the world’s major stock markets. The list of problems can be continued for a long time.
Sometimes the opinion is heard that there is nothing unique about what is happening – after all, cyclical recessions are an integral part of economic life. For example, the 1970s were economically very difficult for the West, which then lived with high inflation for years – those indicators, by the way, have not yet been achieved. And during the crisis of 2008-2009, there were enough “cassandras” that predicted the inevitable collapse of the dollar, but everything was more or less successfully resolved.
In a standard situation, these arguments would indeed be impressive. But the problem is that we live in a completely non-standard situation: the global economic system has completely exhausted its potential for development in a normal format. Now, every year, every month and even every day of maintaining the status quo, the West, as the main beneficiary, must resort to emergency measures. The main of these was the policy of quantitative easing, launched just to overcome the crisis of 2008-2009 and postponing (but not canceling) the collapse of the West-centric system. Moreover, a common opinion among economists is the belief that by this step the West not only delayed the inevitable, but also guaranteed an even greater catastrophic future collapse.
In fact, high inflation and the other problems mentioned above are just a sign that the colossal money supply poured into the world economy and unsupported by anything is getting out of the control of the regulatory bodies of Europe and the United States. The situation is now developing in accordance with its own logic, which simply ignores the administrative measures of the responsible structures.
If so, then Russia (as well as China and other powers working to transform the world system) faces a double challenge.
On the one hand, they face a window of opportunity to accelerate the overthrow of the United States from the global throne by increasing pressure on them. Since, although the weakening of the West has been going on for a long time, the crisis phenomena that have manifested itself indicate that the process has moved to a qualitatively new level, which means that it is foolish not to take the chance.
This is all the more topical since our side has actually completed the process of creating our own – alternative to the Western – strategic mechanisms and procedures necessary for the smooth functioning of the national economy and relations with other countries. Be it the production of goods, the movement of funds, cash settlements, the dissemination of information, the alignment of interests, and much, much more.
On the other hand, the current situation sharply increases the risks, including the military, because, as you know, a cornered beast becomes especially dangerous. And given the degradation of Western elites, most of whom have never personally faced difficult challenges and know nothing but a smooth armchair career, it is impossible to exclude openly inadequate decisions and steps on their part.
If we consider Moscow’s initiatives from this point of view, it becomes obvious that the published draft treaties with the United States and NATO , like the statements of our officials, are aimed at solving both problems at once.
First, both in essence and in form, they are not proposals for discussion, but really an ultimatum – a demand for unconditional surrender. They simply do not envision a good way out for the West without losing face – well, except to stand proudly and eventually unleash a war with Russia. Judging by what kind of throwing began from the other side, they are quite aware of this there.
And secondly, it is precisely the maximum emphasis on military issues and the unprecedentedly harsh official rhetoric of Moscow that emphasizes that Russia is ready – both morally and technically, and in all other senses – for any development of events. And the reputation earned in previous years confirms that it will not rust for the Russians to actually use weapons – if they deem it necessary.
Here it is worth recalling the words of Vladimir Putin , who bluntly stated in the summer that if Russia had sunk a British destroyer that staged a provocation off the coast of Crimea, this would not have entailed any large-scale consequences: do not consider the screams in the world press as such. Undoubtedly, at the moment, the Western General Staffs are frantically furling NATO military facilities and plans for operations near the Russian borders, realizing that if Moscow considers any of this an anti-Russian provocation and “takes measures”, then it will not become a casus belli – but on the other hand will make the alliance get out of there, tail between its legs.
In general, Russia’s tough pressure on the military direction is aimed at cooling the hottest heads in the West, who probably thinks that the use of military methods against our country can be an excellent way to overcome the global crisis – at Russian expense. How it turned out as a result of the First and Second World Wars in the last century.
No, this time the West will pay itself.