At war, on the ground…
… in the distance, you can guess who you are aiming at and, up close, you see your co-defenders, but to tell the truth, winning or losing? You can’t say from the ground.
By satellite during the day, you just see grey and smoke, but at night, black and fire appear within the shining frantic permutations of a long snake of fire.
When you talk about good guys and bad guys, you are just keeping score. It does not help, and deducing trajectories from local points is pure nonsense. There are no more good maps, but then…
In Ukraine, who is fighting whom and why?
The answer is given by the world map of energy needs.
At that level we understand that what is happening in Ukraine is only the last step into in the « world energy war »: the United States has a deficit (production 19%, consumption 25%) in competition with a rising Asia (China, India, etc.) which is dependent of foreign sources for 60% of its needs. Russia meanwhile – with 30% of the world’s gas reserves, 6% of its oil reserves, 20% of its coal and 14% of its uranium – is the second largest exporter of oil and oil products and the leading exporter of natural gas.
let’s look at the head-to-head situation…
The United States consumes 25 barrels of oil per person per year, the Europeans 12, the Chinese 2 and the Indians only one.
When we know that they consume 25% of the world’s energy while producing only 19%, we understand their desire for hegemony: it is dictated by their energy dependence.
Their growth depends on this global hegemony which, in such a divided country, is the only way to prolong the ‘American dream‘.
With Asia, a rising power, relying on foreign sources for 60% of its energy needs, the security of the United States is at stake…
– in the control of energy flows (shipping lanes and straits, gas pipelines),
– in the control of oil and gas producing countries,
– therefore in the subjugation of Russia itself which today, with the support of China, India, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, would like to make the most of its resources,
– and finally in the domination it intends to exert over China, its potential competitor.
Putin’s valorisation of Russian energy through exports
Now it turns out that Vladimir Putin had written a thesis in 1996 where he stated that the transition of the energy sector to a market economy was the real way to revitalise the Russian space and lift Russians out of poverty. Three years later, Boris Yeltsin appointed him prime minister.
Since then, Putin remained at the centre of power and has never ceased to push this policy of valorisation through exports. This is why his diplomacy systematically promotes the international order.
The multipolar world he advocates is commercial
This puts him at odds with the rhetoric of the Cold War (Soviet empire greedy for territory vs. American democracy protecting Western freedoms).
In today’s confrontation, the American empire, greedy for the energies of others, is the universal threat, and the very rational Russia is the apostle of a gentle trade oriented towards « each one his share« .
The “non-negotiable American way of life” on one side, although mainly for the hyper-weaponized Americans vs “Russian survival and resurrection from the 20th century abyss”, the opposition is head-on.
Is a less destructive outcome possible?
Yes, if we take advantage of the truce that will follow the inevitable defeat…
1) to balance the well-conceived World Energy Trilemma by 2050 more seriously than has been done so far because, in any institution of international ‘cooperation‘, conflicting scenarios are avoided while everyone is secretly preparing them. « More seriously‘ therefore means that, beyond the experts, politicians are committing themselves but, in three decades’ time, such commitments are as good as precedent, not much more.
2) to give as much security as possible to those who have lost a lot, not to give them the revenge they are denied, but a chance that tomorrow for them will be better than today, provided that, even though irreducibly separated by the past, we can temporarily agree on tomorrow… and more if we like!