History will register that the birth of the baby twins – Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics – only a few hours before 2/22/22, was simultaneous to the birth of the real, 21st century multipolar world.
By Pepe Escobar
As my columns have stressed for a few years now, Vladimir Putin has been carefully nurturing his inner Sun Tzu. And now it’s all in the open: “Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.”
The thunderbolt was months in the process of being meticulously polished. To paraphrase Lenin, who “created Ukraine” (copyright Putin), we did live many decades in only these past few days. It all started with the detailed demands of security guarantees sent to the Americans, which Moscow knew would be rejected. Then there was the Russia-China joint statement at the start of the Winter Olympics – which codifies not only the strategic partnership but also the key tenets of the multipolar world.
The culmination was a stunning, nearly one hour-long address to the nation by Putin shortly after the Russian Security Council live session deliberating on the request for independence by the DPR and the LPR (here is a condensed version.)
A few hours later, at an emergency UN Security Council meeting, Russian Permanent Representative Vasily Nebenzya precisely outlined why the recognition of the baby twins does not bury the Minsk agreements.
The baby twins actually declared their independence in May 2014. In 2015 they signed the Minsk agreements as one of the interested parties. Theoretically they could even be back within Ukraine if Kiev would ever decide to respect the agreements, which will never happen because the U.S. has vetoed it since 2015. Moreover, the people of Donbass do not want to be subjected to a regime harboring neo-Nazis.
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As Nebenzya outlined, “I would like to remind you that at the time of the conclusion of the Minsk agreements, the LPR and DPR had already declared independence. The fact that Russia today recognized it does not change the composition of the parties to the Minsk agreements, since Russia is not one (…) Another thing is that the Minsk agreements have long been openly sabotaged by Ukraine under the auspices of our Western colleagues. Now we see that many colleagues want to sign that the Minsk agreements are dead. But this is not the case (…) We are still open to diplomacy, but we do not intend to allow a new bloody massacre in the Donbass.”
And here’s the clincher, directly addressing imperial support for the killing of ethnic Russians in Donbass: “The main task of our decision [on recognizing independence] was to preserve and protect these lives. This is more important than all your threats.”
There you go: Responsibility to Protect (R2P), a concept invented by the Americans to launch wars, used by Russia for preventing one.
That certified nullity, German chancellor Scholz, deriding Putin’s characterization of a genocide in Donbass as “laughable”, was a decisive factor in the birth of the baby wins. Putin, in his address to the nation, especially took time to detail the Odessa massacre: “We cannot but shudder when we remember about the situation in Odessa, when people were burned alive (…) And those criminals who did this, they are not punished (…) But we know their names, and we will do everything to punish them (…) and to bring them to justice.”
What about China?
Geopolitically, in Eurasian terms, two huge questions stand out: the role of the CSTO and the response from China.
If we look at the Article 19, Chapter VI of the CSTO charter, we learn that, “any state sharing the goals and principles of the Organization and being ready to undertake the obligations containing in this Charter and other international treaties and resolutions effective within the framework of the Organization may become a member of the Organization.”
That would open the door for the baby twins, as soon as they have finalized all the bureaucratic endeavors pertaining to new, independent nations, to request CSTO membership. Incidentally, CSTO secretary-general Pashinian has already gone to Moscow to discuss it.
China is a way more complex proposition. One of the key tenets of Beijing’s foreign policy is the fight against separatism – embedded in the foundation of the SCO. So Beijing cannot possibly recognize the baby twins, or what would amount to Novorossiya – yes, Putin did pronounce the magic word – before Kiev itself does or, a serious possibility, completely disintegrates.
The Foreign Ministry so far has been extremely cautious. Wang Yi has reiterated “China’s long-standing position that the legitimate security concerns of all countries must be respected, and the purposes & principles of the UN Charter must be upheld.”
Further on down the road, presumably after some serious exchanges between Wang Yi and Lavrov, China can always find myriad ways to unofficially help the baby twins – including advancing BRI-related connectivity and sustainable development projects.
As for Kiev disintegration, that’s directly linked to Moscow demanding the immediate stop of the mini-blitzkrieg against Donbass, otherwise they will bear full responsibility. Yes, regime stalwarts will be hunted and punished – complete with a possible War Crimes Tribunal. No wonder all sorts of oligarchic/political rats, big and small, are scurrying away, to Lviv, Poland and the UK.
The Munich effect
The intervention of all 12 members at the Security Council session, combined with Putin’s address to the nation was the stuff of gripping geopolitical drama. Putin’s body language and the look in his eyes testified to the immense gravity of the moment – and it all came to the forefront when he embarked in a concise history lesson spanning a century.
Barely containing his anger at the countless ways Russia has been vilified by the West, and taking no prisoners when referring to communism, what mostly stood out was the clear-cut rendition of the insurmountable antagonism between the Anglo-American islands and the civilizational Heartland – or the clash between maritime powers and land powers. That Eurasia classic was the bulk of his exposition: the recognition of the baby twins took less than three minutes.
The Munich Security Conference, this past weekend, had made it all so explicit. Munich, as terrifying as it was in terms of a congregation of headless chickens posing as eagles, at least confirmed everything is in the open.
The enemy is Russia. NATO infinite expansion – to outer space – is against Russia. And then we had a parade of add-on threats: no disarmament in Eastern Europe, cutting off the Russian economy from the EU, end of Nord Stream 2, Ukraine in NATO, world order built on “universal liberal values”.
Munich spelled out No Compromise Whatsoever – which was exactly what Putin, Lavrov, Patrushev and co. expected, the warmongering rhetoric burying any meaningful discussion of migration, inflation, cyber wars, the European energy crisis and, of course, the only thing that matters for the MICIMATT (military-industrial-congressional-intelligence-media-academia-think tank complex, as defined by Ray McGovern): let’s milk this Eurotrash lot for untold billions in new contracts, let’s isolate Russia, let’s destroy Nord Stream 2 to sell them our ultra expensive LNG, let’s keep them on a leash – forever.
So actually it’s not even war against Russia: the $30 trillion-indebted Empire with a woke military attached simply could not afford it. Not to mention the certified freak out in case they receive a phone call from Mr. Khinzal and Mr. Zircon : cue to the spectacular Russian display of “military and technical” superiority, hypersonic and otherwise – staged, irony of ironies, in synch with the circus in Munich.
What we have here is so lame: just a lowlife offer-you-can’t-refuse racket to be inflicted on the EU.
The Indivisible Security dance
The rabid Munich “No Compromise” show; the imperially-ordered Ukro crypto-blitzkrieg against Donbass; and the role of the U.S. Lack of Intelligence Community – an Andrei Martyanov-coined howler – altogether sealed the deal for the Security Council deliberations and Putin’s decision.
Considering the ideological stupidity of the current Brussels gang – Stoltenberg, von der Leyen, Borrell –, incapable of understanding even basic economics, the fact remains that the EU without Russian energy is doomed. Martyanov stresses the algorithm: Russia can afford the break up with Europe. Europe cannot. The U.S. just wants to collect. And we’re not even talking about the dire, incoming ramifications of the systemic crisis across NATOstan.
Even as Moscow plays a very long, calculated game, as it stands that does not necessarily mean that Russia will be “winning” the baby twins while “losing” Europe. Russia’s strategic swing repeatedly baffles the Atlanticist combo. The U.S. lack of intelligence community was predicting a Russian “aggression” every other day – and still is. Instead they got the baby twins as the latest independent republics of the Global South.
Even before Munich, the Ukro crypto-blitzkrieg, and the recognition of the baby twins, Moscow had again warned it may respond with “military and technical measures” to ensure its own security after the U.S. and NATO blatantly ignored key points from its proposal for a long-term European security architecture, and instead “cherry-picked” issues from a package deal.
Moscow will not let the Americans run away from the by now notorious 10-page Russian response. Putin, addressing the Stavka, had already warned “we are in a situation (…) where we are forced to resolve it.” Which bring us to what John Helmer niftly qualified as Russia’s black box defense. The beauty is no one knows what’s inside the black box.
Enter, once again, the “military-technical measures” that will be “reciprocal” (Putin) to what U.S. and NATOstan are already deploying against Russia. They won’t necessarily be implemented in the Black Sea, the Sea of Azov, in the airspace above Donbass, even in cyberspace. It could be anywhere – from the Syrian theater to Latin America.
Surprise! That’s what strategic ambivalence, ambiguity, or – let’s get down to the rhythm – swing is all about. You don’t believe in the principle of indivisible security? Fine. Now we dictate the security rhythm. You’re not gonna stop deploying nuclear weapons outside your territory? Fine. Here’s some reciprocity. You’re not gonna accept legally binding guarantees of our security? Fine. Meet our “military-technical” measures.
Now dance, suckers.
February 21, 2022: Information Clearing House —
Russia recognition of the LDNR – a few initial thoughts
February 22, 2022: Information Clearing House — I listened to the full Russian Security Council meeting, then to Putin’s address to the nation, then the signing of the the treaties on cooperation and mutual support.
The first thing which I want to point out is that this was a very carefully orchestrated event, and I don’t just mean today’s live meetings and signing. For those of us who follow Russian politics very closely there can be no doubts that all this was prepared long BEFORE the Russian ultimatum to the West.
This is “the plan” which Putin once openly referred to.
Let me make this clear: this recognition should NOT, repeat, NOT, be seen in isolation. It is just ONE PHASE in a PROCESS which began at least a year ago, or more, and there is much more to come.
Next, that must be repeated again, this is NOT about the LDNR, the Donbass or even the Ukraine, this is about a new security architecture on Europe and, therefore, on our entire planet.
This means that Russia expected exactly the reaction she eventually got (western politicians are fantastically predictable, being both ignorant, stupid and arrogant) and that gave her a legal basis to take the current action (call it R2P, or moral duty, or genocide prevention or whatever else you wish).
I want to use this opportunity to express my deepest gratitude to President Biden and Chancellor Scholz who both played their role to perfection, especially Scholz with his “laughable genocide talk” comment. More generally, a lot of the credit for what just happened today goes to the leaders of the Empire who played their hand exactly as the Kremlin hoped they would.
Next, I immediately want to mention sanctions. Let it be clearly told: whatever sanctions the West now agrees upon will be what they would have done in any case. I repeat: today’s recognition of the LDNR will have exactly ZERO influence on the West’s maniacal determination to destroy Russia and her people. In other words, the coming sanctions were unavoidable. That means that Russia “lost” exactly *nothing* through that move. In fact, both during the RSC meeting and his speech, Putin hinted that, if anything, western sanctions have been mostly beneficial to the Russian economy (especially the real economy, not just the value of Russian stocks or the Ruble).
Sanctions is a topic which only matters to western politicians (and their 5th and 6th column in Russia). Russians 1) remember that during her history both Russia and the USSR were more or less always under some kind of sanctions anyway and 2) that the goal of the West is not to reach an equilibrium with Russia, but to subjugate and destroy her (Putin himself said so many years ago).
In this context, the endless focus on sanctions (from hell or otherwise) is not only immoral, it is plain stupid.
Next, I want to mention four specific threats made by Putin today (note, since the PR folks at the Kremlin are still working at their usual snail’s pace, I will have to make them by memory, please keep that in mind):
- Those responsible for the massacre in Odessa will be punished by Russia.
- Putin is demanding an immediate cessation of the shelling and shooting along the LOC.
- Russia will physically prevent the Ukraine from US/NATO deploying offensive weapons to threaten Russia.
- Russia will show Banderastan how to organize a *real* “decommunization” (after indicating that the Ukraine was created by the CPSU).
Again, I will repeat here what I wrote above: this recognition should NOT, repeat, NOT, be seen in isolation. It is just ONE PHASE in a PROCESS which began at least a year ago, or more, and there is much more to come.
Unless the Ukies get it – and they probably won’t – I fully expect Russia to openly extend here “military umbrella” over the LDNR. That does not mean that she will have to move troops in, though that now is also a possibility, but that any future Ukie ground operation will be countered by the full might of the Russian military. Officially this time. The Ukros along the LOC have heard it from Putin’s own mouth: we got a crosshairs on each one of you. While I wouldn’t put *anything* beyond the Ukros, I believe that today’s clear threat will have a strong deterrent effect, whether the Ukies admit it (not gonna happen) or not.
After listening to it all, I still have a few questions to which I did not get a reply yet:
- In what exact borders does Russia recognize the LNR and DNR? Along the LOC or along their original administrative borders? (see map). I strongly suspect that for a while Russia will keep a flou artistique on this topic, but what Putin meant was a recognition of the LDNR in their original administrative borders. If I am correct, this ALSO means that Russia will not liberate the rest of Banderastan, which I also fully approve of: the Ukrainians need to liberate themselves for once, enough of that constant waiting for the Moskals to liberate them from their “western friends”!
- Putin mentioned the immense sums of money Russia has poured into the Ukraine even after it turned into Banderastan. Will Russia *finally* impose an economic embargo on that Nazi state?
- The DNR/LNR having just been recognized, they are not members of the CSTO. Not only that, but I very much doubt that all the members of the CSTO will recognize the LDNR anytime soon. So if there is the need to launch a “coercion to peace” operation, will Russia act unilaterally, maybe with Belarus, or will she try to get some kind of joint operation with other countries? This just in: the Russian MoD has announced that it received the order to provide/ensure the safety/security of the LDNR! That means a peace enforcement (coercion to peace) has been ordered!
Some will be tempted to focus on what the western politicians will say or do next. I sure have no idea which they might or might not do next, but I would advise them to be extremely careful, because the mood in Russia is determined. If anybody still believes that Putin is bluffing, then wish them good luck because the best they can hope for is a quick, painless, death.
For the US Americans everything is measured in Dollars. For Europeans, everything is measured by Euros. During WWII Russia lost 27 million of her own people, two thirds of them civilians, as for the Chinese, they lost a whopping 35 million. These are countries and nations which will not be broken, or purchased, by Dollars or Euros.
Then there is this: if the West slaps “sanctions from hell” on Russia, what will the leaders of the West do the day AFTER they impose such sanctions? The truth that the West is already “out-sanctioned”. But let’s assume that there will be even more sanctions. From hell, no less. Then what?
Nothing, of course.
Russia has already long turned away from the West, not only culturally but also economically (Mishustin confirmed that today). If the EU wants to commit economic seppuku – that’s fine by Russia. The Kremlin is quite willing to turn up the pain dial, but if western leaders want to increase the pain dial on each other (the US dialing up economic pain for the EU), by all means, Russia won’t object.
As always, I suggest that we not jump to any further conclusions too quickly: let’s wait for the full, official transcripts, then the statements of key politicians (who will be tasked with implementing/interpreting these statements). In this situation, words matter (at least those of Russian officials).
I will conclude by a warning: I fully expect the CIA/MI6 agents in Russia (5th column: liberals; 6th column: emo-Marxists and pseudo-patriots) to unleash a MAJOR PSYOP offensive against Putin personally and this decision. Arguments will include anything and everything in between “not enough” and “too much” including the inevitable “too little too late”. If there is one thing you need to know about both the 5th and 6th columns in Russia is that for them any success by Putin (or even while Putin is in power) is categorically unacceptable and must be denied at all costs. So while they claim to hate each other, they really hate Putin much more. In fact, they hate Putin much, much more than they love Russia. I strongly urge all the readers to always think cui bono when you will hear their endless defeatist wailing!
Okay, I will end it here: let’s see what happens next.