Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
All this is precisely why I have been backing a strong European response to Putin (historically I am, to put it mildly, not a NATO hawk). Because the whole current crisis exists, and escalates, only because Putin wants it to. And I don't imagine for a single second that the situation is getting out of hand from Putin's point of view; I think he's loving it.

Here is where we see things differently. I am sure Putin will attempt to use this crisis, in particular if he has concluded that sanctions are a given anyway. But fundamentally, I see it as driven by a US media campaign. My grounds for that are:

  • Scott Ritter, and other commentators, who has been arguing during the fall that there is no invasion force gathered on the border, but that the US media campaign counts troops on Russian bases a fair distance from the border.
  • That the Ukrainian government - primarily Zelensky - has several times tried to tamp down the media campaign.
  • That the US refuses to present any evidence for its assertions, indeed getting huffy when a journalist asks what the evidence is. Lets see if I manage to embed a tweet, otherwise follow the link to twitter to see the clip with Ned Price and Matt Lee.

Really, the last one should be sufficient. If one power claims that another is about to wage war, they have the burden of proof. I think US propaganda learned from the Iraq war media campaing to not focus on faked evidence and statements that can be proven as lies, but instead doing a Gish gallop of claims based on secret evidence, leaks from unnamed officials, etc to create the desired story, which lasts even if parts are debunked.

Therefore I don't think a more robust answer to Putin would have helped, I think the US attempt of getting  the EU countries in line is part of whatever it is they are doing.

I keep coming back to the idea that it's all about Germany, and the SPD's great project of economic integration of Russia into Europe. In that respect, things have evolved significantly over the weekend : the Chancellor and the President, who were both firm partisans of Scröder's legacy, have now felt obliged to back their Foreign Minister... this is not necessarily what Putin intended.

Interesting times. The Energiewende announced by the coalition depends implicitly on Russian gas... but gas is eminently fungible.

That could very well be the real focus. But again, since I think it is US driving the crisis (unless they have lost control), I think a rift between Germany and Russia is what the US intended.

And if so it is working:

So far this month, the European Union has received U.S. natural gas volumes five times higher than Russia's pipeline deliveries, according to Polish outlet rp.pl, the first time in history in which American LNG has surpassed Russian gas deliveries.  

That was mid-January.

by fjallstrom on Mon Feb 21st, 2022 at 04:01:43 PM EST
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