On May 4, 2022, a local oil base was attacked by Ukrainian troops in Makeyevka, eastern Donetsk region, Ukraine
Since the outbreak of the Russian-Ukrainian war, Europe has been under the greatest pressure. Not only is the war burning on their own land, but the entire rhythm of life and work is disrupted by the war. The fierce fighting on the Ukrainian front, thousands of displaced refugees, soaring inflation, and severe economic situation make Europe facing unprecedented difficulties and challenges. The resulting three huge uncertainties gradually surfaced.
how long the war will last
This uncertainty hangs over Europeans like a sharp sword.
In which direction is the war going? How long will it take? On this issue, the Europeans have basically lost the lead. It is the saddest place in Europe right now that the war is taking place on one’s own continent and one cannot control the course of events.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres recently visited Russia and Ukraine and met with Putin and Zelinsky, two warring presidents. His impression is that only Putin is the one who decides when the war will end. The implication is that the initiative in the war is still in the hands of Russia.
But in fact Putin also seems to have lost the initiative to control the rhythm of the war. After Kyiv withdrew, the Russian army was still unable to break through the impregnable defense line of the Ukrainian army in the eastern region, let alone annihilate the effective force of the Ukrainian army. Over the past few weeks, the Russian army has obviously been constantly looking for weak links in the hundreds of kilometers of Ukrainian defense lines, in order to tear open the gap, break through the defense line, and then detour to outflank the Ukrainian army, annihilating the elite main force of the Ukrainian army in the vast expanse. Udong Plain.
But the strange thing is that the powerful mechanized troops of the Russian army have never been able to tear apart the defense line of Ukraine. With the continuous supply of weapons, equipment and ammunition from NATO countries to the front-line troops of the Ukrainian army, the Russian army’s attack will likely be met with more violent counterattacks and resistance.
It’s a race of time. If the Russian army cannot attack for a long time before the heavy weapons provided by the NATO group to the Ukrainian army become combat effective, what awaits Putin will be a war of attrition that he is extremely unwilling to see. It is the latest goal of the Biden administration to completely consume Russia’s national strength on the Ukrainian battlefield.
As U.S. Defense Secretary Austen said at the U.S. base in Germany, Ramstein said, the reason why the U.S. and his allies go all out to support Ukraine’s fight against Russia is to “weak Russia and make this habitual offender of neighbors no longer I will never be able to harass my neighbors again.” Austin’s speech is tantamount to asking Russia to finally surrender. Such a statement is exactly the same as what the United States said to Nazi Germany back then.
In this way, it is not necessarily up to Putin to decide when he wants to end the war. What’s more, after Zelinsky broke the myth of “the invincibility of the Russian army”, his morale was boosted and he threatened not to fully recover The territory, including the Crimean Islands, will never rest.
Currently Ukraine and the United States are actually a strong community. One wants to completely retake the lost country and drive the “aggressors” out of their homeland, and the other wants to completely crush Russia and make it unstoppable forever.
It’s just that poor Europe, to be precise, Europe other than Eastern Europe, was tightly tied to the chariot, not only did not dare to jump out of the chariot, fearing that its “famous name” would be ruined, but also had to overcome restraint and hesitation, “against one’s will. “to increase support.
Under the joint pressure of the Ukrainian government, the U.S. government, the opposition parties and rivals within the party, the German government was forced to accept the policy of “heavy armed assistance to Ukraine” is a typical example. The course and direction of the war is entirely dominated by the interaction of Russia, Ukraine and the United States, with the dignified European powers and the European Union being at best a passive follower.
Is the war escalating
Whether the Russian-Ukrainian war will develop in the direction of a nuclear conflict has also made Europeans restless.
Many people began to worry that if the Russian army was unable to attack for a long time, or even faced a counterattack from Ukraine, Putin would have no choice but to use nuclear weapons in a desperate situation.
This enormous uncertainty and risk began to haunt Europe’s intellectual elite. Not long ago, 18 well-known German writers, directors, professors and other opinion leaders jointly issued an open letter to German Chancellor Scholz, asking him to “remain true to his original aspiration” and to stick to and return to his original cautious “aid to Ukraine”. “policy.
This open letter is a support for Scholz, as well as a critique and counterattack against his opponents, in order to prevent the German government’s “aid Ukraine” policy from being kidnapped by the moral sermons of radical Ukrainian supporters. The authors of the open letter are not so much to support Scholz, but rather to criticize the view of “aiding Ukraine and resisting Russia” at all costs, trying to reverse the focus of social and public opinion, and pointing out that Putin “recklessly used nuclear weapons”. risks of.
In fact, it is a fantasy for many retired German generals to make Russia submit to the West militarily before using nuclear weapons.
The open letter argues that politicians’ responsibility for the value of human life should be universal rather than narrowly local and regional. In other words, the authors of the open letter believe that while sympathy for the Ukrainian people is admirable, this sense of responsibility and moral obligation to the Ukrainian people should not replace and dilute the sense of responsibility of politicians for the safety and destiny of all mankind. .
The letter hinted that it would be irresponsible for politicians to risk an escalation of the war and harm more European lives and world peace in order to blindly support Ukraine’s war of resistance to the end. Clearly, this group of German intellectuals firmly believes that it is morally short-sighted and politically cowardly to sacrifice the interests of the whole of Europe and world peace for the interests of Ukraine.
It is from this perspective that the open letter asks the German government not to continue to provide Ukraine with heavy weapons, not to add fuel to the fire, not to provide Russian President Vladimir Putin with an excuse to use nuclear weapons, and not to create conditions and preconditions for him to destroy Europe and world peace. , but to increase diplomatic efforts to reach peace through negotiations.
The open letter seems to speak the heart of many Germans and Europeans. Less than a day after the open letter was published, the number of signatures reached 100,000. However, there are also many critics of the letter’s view that “universal peace” takes precedence over “Ukrainian interests.” In particular, MPs from the Green Party and the Liberal Democrats said that the moral level of “public knowledge” had dropped to the point of “shame”.
This fiercely fermenting “line war” reflects a phenomenon that Europeans are aware that “nuclear war” is not far away from Europe. In fact, it is a fantasy for Russia to submit to the West militarily before using nuclear weapons, which is the consensus of many retired German generals.
However, where is Russia’s “nuclear threshold”, which may only be known by Putin. It is not clear what the ultimate goal of Russia’s “special military operation” is. If it’s just to “liberate the suffering” Ukrainian people and “demilitarize” and “demilitarize” Ukraine, as he said, there is no need for him to expand the war beyond Ukraine, unless he thinks it is the only way To block the military aid of NATO countries to Ukraine.
However, if Putin’s ultimate goal goes far beyond “liberating the Russian-speaking people of Eastern Ukrainian” and preventing NATO’s eastward expansion into Ukraine, then the risk of nuclear war will be a very real thing.
Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov has mentioned several times that Russia’s ultimate goal is to end the “hegemony” of the United States in the world. Just imagine how a country with a GDP of less than $2 trillion can end the “hegemony” of a superpower with a GDP of $20 trillion?
Zaporozhye, Ukraine, May 3, 2022, Ukrainian residents arrive in Zaporozhye from Mariupol, escorted by UN staff
The answer is clear: only a nuclear war will allow Russia to achieve this goal, because only in the field of nuclear weapons does Russia have an equal status with the United States. Both sides have more than 16,000 nuclear warheads, and Russia has more than a thousand nuclear warheads in place and ready to fire.
Powerless to control the development of war
If Lavrov is to be believed, we may be witnessing the prelude to a brutal world nuclear war. The ground war between Russia and Ukraine may be just the beginning of this world war. It is impossible for Putin to continue to tolerate the bloodshed of Russian soldiers, while the United States is standing by the river without wet shoes, watching the fire from the other side, while supplying Ukraine with weapons, while “appreciating” the drama of Russia being consumed step by step by the brave Ukrainian resistance.
How to get the United States into the water should be something Putin is racking his brains for. He can launch an attack one day on the grounds that NATO countries’ military aid to Ukraine constitutes direct participation in the war. This attacked country may be the most anti-Russian Baltic three, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia, or it may have the largest overseas air force base in the United States. of Germany. It may also be Poland, which is the closest to the United States, the most active supporter of Ukraine’s war of resistance, and the one that hates Russia the most.
The pain in Europe is that she has no power to control the development of war, she can neither avoid nor eliminate the uncertainty of nuclear war.
After allies were attacked, the United States had to enter the war, otherwise it would be shameless. However, the performance of the Russian armed forces on the battlefield in Ukraine shows that the Russian military may not be an opponent of NATO forces on the battlefield of conventional weapons at all. A small Ukraine can exhaust the Russian military, not to mention the combined combat power of NATO’s 30 member states.
If the U.S. government’s strategy is to use Ukraine to bring Russia down, Putin’s only logical response must be to effectively use all the means at his disposal, especially nuclear weapons, to bring down the U.S. completely, even to the point of death. Russia really has nothing to lose after being hit with unprecedented economic, financial and technological sanctions from the US and Europe.
Relative to Russia, the United States will lose more. Dozens of intercontinental nuclear missiles hit the United States, and the 20 trillion US dollar economy will be wiped out. Even if the United States’ surviving second nuclear strike capability completely destroys Russia’s economic core, the loss of the United States is 10 times that of Russia, not to mention the United States. The psychological endurance of human beings should be thousands of times lower than that of Russians.
In addition to the “9.11” terrorist attack, the United States has never suffered a military attack by an external armed force. The two “human flesh terrorist planes” made this superpower that has sent troops to countless countries like a “frightened bird”. More than 20 years later, Americans’ vulnerability to external attacks has not been significantly alleviated. Once the U.S. mainland is attacked by Russian nuclear weapons, it is conceivable that Americans will experience a psychological breakdown.
Unlike the United States, Russia has no barriers to its western territory. Historically, the Lithuanian Polish dynasty, France’s Napoleon and Germany’s Hitler have all driven straight into Russia’s territory. In the history of Russia, it has been expansive, and it has suffered from external invasions.
Even if Russia’s industrial system and urban civilization, which is not as advanced and prosperous as the United States, are smashed to pieces by the nuclear bombs of the United States, Putin, a hero who is destined to fight to the death with the United States, will find it worthwhile. The ruin of Russia in exchange for the destruction of the United States may be Putin’s final path.
Why do you say that? After Putin’s “quick fight” plan failed, the war in the Donbas region did not seem to be as smooth as he imagined, not to mention that now the entire Western world has been mobilized under the leadership of the United States to go all out to support Ukraine’s victory. this war. Ending the war with a “peace agreement” is no longer the West’s first choice.
Without a “peace agreement”, it means that the defeated are war criminals. If Putin cannot win this war, he is destined to be a “war criminal”. The attitude and approach of the United States towards “war criminals” are well known to the world.
If Wudong cannot be conquered for a long time, the Ukrainian army will be even more powerful after receiving more sophisticated equipment provided by the United States and Europe. It is not unthinkable that Putin will fall into a situation of “riding a tiger” or even losing the battle. Choosing between the fate of “war criminals” and the “terminator of American hegemony” should not be a difficult decision for Putin.
But no matter what Putin chooses, it will be difficult for Europe to accept. A Putin who wins this war will inevitably mean the complete bankruptcy of NATO, the discredit of the United States, and the European security landscape is basically dominated by Russia.
If Putin is cornered and embarks on the “road of nuclear weapons”, even if Europe is not the main target of the US-Russian intercontinental missiles, but the US has a large number of military bases in Europe, and paralyzing them first must be Russia’s first round of strikes the main object. In this case, it is inevitable that Europe will become a sea of fire.
The pain in Europe is that she has no power to control the development of war, she can neither avoid nor eliminate the uncertainty of nuclear war. She has no social basis to rise up against the “war policy” of the United States; nor does she have the courage to persuade Ukraine to make a “compromise and surrender.” Therefore, the uncertainty of fate will always accompany Europe until the outcome of the final confrontation between the United States and Russia is revealed.
Europe’s future place in the world
The direct consequence of the Russian-Ukrainian war is the complete “decoupling” of Europe and Russia. The breadth and depth of the “decoupling” can already be seen in the strength of the sanctions imposed on Russia by Europe and the United States. It can be said that the Russian-European relationship established since the Russian Tsar Peter the Great in 1682 has basically been destroyed, and even the relationship between music and cultural exchanges has not escaped the “spillover effect” of the sanctions.
The only remaining link in Russia-EU relations is the energy supply relationship, but it is estimated that it will not last long. It is the EU’s established policy to completely cut off energy relations with Russia, and Europe is stepping up its steps to kick Russia out of European energy suppliers.
Germany’s economy minister recently announced that Germany’s dependence on Russian oil has dropped from 33% before the war to 12%; natural gas has dropped from 55% to 20%. He calculated that this year’s “decoupling of oil” from Russia is no longer a big problem for Germany, and it is only a matter of time before it gets rid of its dependence on Russian natural gas.
Putin’s “special military operation” against Ukraine is, in a sense, Russia’s “final goodbye” to Europe and the West. The Slavic nation, which has been oscillating between Europe and Asia for more than 300 years, has finally made a choice between the two: determined to run the Eurasian economy and become a truly Asian country.
The Russian-Ukrainian war has exposed the essence of the relationship between Europe and the United States. The “strategic autonomy” that has been touted for many years is like a piece of waste paper in front of Russian tanks and missiles.
Russia’s U-turn eastward is a loss for the United States, and it is a loss for Europe, but it is their unprecedented economic sanctions that have accelerated Russia’s Asianization. If Russia finally gets its wish to seize the Odessa region and surrounding territories, then the border of Eurasia will advance westward to the western part of the Black Sea, where Russia and Moldova will be bordered in the future. Getting along, countless uncertainties await Europe.
No matter how the Russian-Ukrainian war ends—Russia’s defeat and surrender, Ukraine’s defeat and cessation of territory, or Russia and the U.S. losing their great power in a nuclear contest—Europe cannot avoid her relationship with the U.S.
The Russian-Ukrainian war has exposed the essence of the relationship between Europe and the United States. The “strategic autonomy” that has been touted for many years is like a piece of waste paper in front of Russian tanks and missiles. But what happens after the war is over? To further strengthen transatlantic relations so as to continue to rely on the Americans for the security of Europe, this is probably the choice of most Europeans at present.
But what if something goes wrong in America? Even if the U.S. finally wins over Russia, that doesn’t mean Europe can “sleep in peace” under U.S. protection. What if Trump comes back? What if the United States is forced to secure American interests and sacrifice European interests under Russia’s “nuclear threat”? Europe, which has been abandoned and despised several times by Washington, should have an unforgettable memory of the uncertainty brought about by this security weakness.
How the relationship with China will develop in the future is also a huge unknown for Europe. The Russian-Ukrainian war has also brought the relationship between Europe and China into a trough, making the relationship between China and Europe, which had been improving slightly, once again in trouble.
Naive European leaders, including German politicians, thought that by imitating the United States and casually threatening economic sanctions to keep Beijing away from Russia, they kicked Beijing’s iron plate.
However, Beijing does not appear to be closing the door. Liu Xiaoming, the Chinese foreign ministry’s special envoy for North Korea, has made sudden and intensive visits to U.S. and European capitals over the past few weeks, it seems, not just to address North Korea. It seems a bit unreasonable to come to Europe to talk about the distant North Korea issue when the Russia-Ukraine war is raging.
It is not excluded that Beijing is conducting shuttle diplomacy, trying to explore a new way of its own in resolving the Ukraine crisis. After all, it is not in China’s interest for the United States and Russia to move towards a “nuclear contest”.
If this Russian-Ukrainian war becomes uncontrollable and evolves into the third world war, it means that the origin of the three world wars in the world so far is Europe. As the saying goes, “there are no more than three things”, and Europe should really reflect on why the Europeans’ ability to control the outbreak of war is so so. Without reflection, Europe will forever live in a state of uncertainty.