there Ukrainian warEurope, global chaos. and the China in the window. reformer Discuss it with Dario Fabry Domino’s director, one of Italy’s most reliable foreign policy analysts.
The Ukrainian war has entered its second year. What is war?
It can be described as a war of attrition on the one hand and a war of stalemate on the other. Attrition by the Russian will, in the sense that the Russians have brought it to this level since they understood, now nearly a year ago, that there would be no military offensive, and that they did not have the skills to take Kiev. At that point, they turned the war into attrition, into attrition, that is, to their demographic advantage. The losses are very large, but in this scheme of logic, the one with the ability to absorb them best, and thus the most densely populated, usually wins. This is the old military doctrine that was actually Soviet. The USSR has always lagged behind the West in technology, but he said: we are more than ready to die. On the other hand, it is actually a stalemate war. They focused on Bakhmut for three months. It was now a ruined, ruined city, almost terrifying booty. And it is not clear why. No one, not even the Russians, if they took control of all of Bakhmut tomorrow, would have won the war, by any means. It has acquired symbolic value. Sure, Bakhmut is on an important road axis, but it’s not like it was once conquered, you could say you have all control over the Donetsk region. A dead-end war that has been stuck in the same places for months, unilaterally waiting for a Russian attack that has not yet materialized as announced, and a Ukrainian counter-attack that is also being announced these days, and we will see it with its arrival. New machinery and equipment, what it will consist of in late spring, more or less.
An immediate “truce” on current lines in Ukraine was proposed yesterday by President Alexander Lukashenko in a letter to the Belarusian Parliament. How do you read this case?
There are, in my opinion, two possible explanations. Or Lukashenko deliberately moved to invoke a truce to show he had room to maneuver outside of Putin, moreover in the days following the announcement of the transfer of Russian tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus. In order to “break free” or at least to show himself more independent than he really is, he demands a truce without any preconditions. Or, and this would be more important, it might be that he plays good cop to Putin, in the Russian realizing that the stalemate I mentioned earlier is difficult to resolve, and then suggesting some sort of truce that could crystallize the positions reached at this moment. If it was just an initiative by Lukashenko, just to say we are not Kremlin advocates but support peace, it would have almost no value. Another thing, and all this must be checked, is Putin’s good voice. It remains that the Kremlin has stated that the special operation is continuing.
The war is in the heart of Europe, but won’t Europe remain, at the political and diplomatic level, “the greatest absentee”?
If we want it one vote, absolutely yes. European countries are always divided on everything and tend to be divided on this war as well. If we take the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, from Poland to the three Baltic states plus Romania – they are the vanguard of Ukraine’s defense. For them, this is an opportunity to close scores with Russia and finally impose an order on it from which it can no longer escape. Then there are the western countries that we are. We, especially the French and Germans, have been in reality and continue to conduct a dialogue vaguely, without striving for an end. Because of them, the Russians, partly because Putin has little desire for dialogue, far from it, and partly because we understand that at the moment it is not us Europeans who are giving the cards, but the Americans and Russians. The divisions in Europe are very clear. For now, the Western Front is holding out because there is a fairly common awareness that a Russian victory cannot be in our interest. On the other hand, the Western Front is holding on because the Americans are still able to hold it together. Let’s think about penalties…
Sanctions always have a dual purpose: the first is to strike at the enemy, and therefore Russia. And we apply it. Because we believe them, to a degree, but without hiding behind a finger: They are all American inspired. The Americans leave, and we follow. The other function of the sanctions, which the Americans interpreted in this way, is to keep the front together. They beat the enemy but they also say: if you deal with the enemy, the punishments also befall you. If you try, you will immediately be subjected to direct trade and economic sanctions. The Western Front continues to hold out for these two reasons, but the divisions are wide, and this is underlined by the fact that there was no European voice in this war.
A major player not only on the Ukrainian front but on the world stage is China. “China at the Window” is the title of Domino’s volume on newsstands and bookstores. What are the purposes of the Chinese dragon?
The Chinese dragon entered this war overnight. At first he was afraid of her. Meaning, he was afraid that it would backfire for him. Because China was Ukraine’s first trading partner. The new Silk Roads had to pass through Ukraine. Over the years, the Chinese, through so-called “land grabs”, acquired large estates to feed their population in what was once the granary of Europe. But after overcoming this fear, as soon as the war started, the Chinese entered the present stage, that is, considering this conflict as beneficial to their interests.
Because on the one hand, it distracts Americans who look less at the Indo-Pacific than they could if they weren’t so busy in Europe. On the other hand, we must remember that the Russians and the Chinese are not allies, not friends. They are united by a common enemy: the United States, but the Chinese are happy to see Russia engulfed in a conflict like this, so Moscow is now forced to sell gas, grain, and oil below cost to the Chinese and has by all intents been. And it is aimed at a kind of junior partner of the Chinese system. This benefits Beijing. If China were to choose, this war would drag on, perhaps at low intensity, without the death or recovery of the two main adversaries: Russia and the United States. They can also sign up for a cease-fire, because it will help the Chinese tell the world: We are the good guys in this matter, we preferred a truce, unlike the Americans, say the Chinese, who are fighting this war with everyone. their strength while we do not. But China’s main goal is for Russia not to collapse. A cease-fire in favor of Moscow, as evidenced by the Chinese 12-point plan. Continuing the struggle to benefit from it, or at least in favor of a cease-fire in favor of Russia.
A bipolar system was followed by global upheaval, not a new multilateral rule.
That’s it. We often close ourselves inside our fence, the western periphery, thinking that we interpret and represent the whole world. But this is not the case. Let us think, for example, of the two major votes taken in the United Nations General Assembly, at the start of this war and last February 23rd, almost a year after it began, and see which countries abstained from voting or even sided with the Russian invasion, a meticulous account says. Governments representing 4 billion people are on this front. There is a world outside that even if it does not have sympathy for Russia as such, it feels the opposition of the American system and the very powerful Western system. In a war like this, even if he is the aggressor, even if he is a usurper of lands, that world sees Moscow as an object of support. Consider India, which abstained from voting. India has a population of 1.4 billion people and it is also a democracy. They are all subjects who say: between the West, which we unfortunately know too well, and which is a colonialist, and the warmongering United States, and Russia, in this war we choose the latter. It clearly shows a space that China is trying to occupy, a space to combat the United States. The Chinese narrative for these weeks is to say: We represent the southern hemisphere. We are not for Russia as such, we are against the United States. The American Monopoly, on a narrative level, suffers a setback with this war. The United States has shown a great ability to rally the West around itself, by hook and by crook. But they are struggling elsewhere. It is “another place” with a population of 4 billion. Xi Jinping’s visit to Moscow came on the 20th anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq. With the war on terror, in that schizophrenic phase of monopoly, the United States left around the world, outside the West, a very bad image of itself that this war is relaunching, even if this time the Americans are in line to attack. But outside the West they don’t care because they say: there is someone, Russia, against the “American” West and that’s enough for us.
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