I know that most people in Europe are fed up with the war in Ukraine; that many of them believe that the high energy prices and the inflation are exclusively due to this war (which is not true, especially regarding the energy prices); that the refugees from Ukraine, most of which are speaking Russian, seem to be too many, and too many of them should be at home, fighting, not driving their SUVs in Germany; I also know that some people tend to believe too much of the Russian narrative. At the very minimum, they don’t like Zelenskyy, and they didn’t care about Navalny. But I decided to write this post for a different reason: I received two comments that I didn’t want to approve, yet they deserve to be addressed.

So I’ve got a couple of comments on my post where I said that I decided to ignore the upcoming apocalypse and to go on with my life. Not on my post about falling out of love with Varoufakis, because he said that NATO is the mother of all evils. There is an explanation for that: Varoufakis is far-left, and my reader is more like what’s commonly labeled as far-right. I’d rather classify such people as anti-establishment, the conspiracist version.

The first claim

Such people can’t be bother to try massacring the English language (the lingua franca of the 21st century so far), so both the comments and the links were in Romanian. Peu importe.

First, I was told about an open secret: that, if NATO didn’t set up military bases in Ukraine, the CIA did. The source article appeared in the NYT on Feb. 25, 2024, and it said: “For more than a decade, the United States has nurtured a secret intelligence partnership with Ukraine that is now critical for both countries in countering Russia.A C.I.A.-supported network of spy bases has been constructed in the past eight years that includes 12 secret locations along the Russian border.”

A CIA “spy base” is something else than a military base, but not being civilian, and being use for national security reasons, well, I suppose it’s even worse than a military base. Except that it doesn’t involve NATO, and it doesn’t protect the host country.

My problem with the whole situation is this: everyone knew that nobody ever planned to observe the Minsk agreements of 2014 and 2015, so what the fuck were Angela Merkel and François Hollande thinking? Were they the most retarded leaders of the West? Maybe the Americans told them to pretend to believe that such agreements would bring peace, in order for Ukraine to buy some time. If that was the case, this time wasn’t properly managed. And, of course, only a whore would sign a piece of paper nobody believes in.

Now, of course, there is the original problem: regardless of what gentleman’s agreement Gorbachev thought he had with James Baker, the reality is that NATO went on, and it expanded furthermore. The Warsaw Pact was dismantled, but NATO wasn’t. The Soviet troops retired from Eastern Europe and from the GDR, but the American troops remained in Western Europe. As I used to say, “In the war between Hitler and Stalin, the winner was Uncle Sam, and the loser was Europe.” It still is.

It was obvious that Russia was feared and not trusted, and that NATO kept being a shield against Russia, not against, e.g., Iran; so why pretend otherwise? Moreover, why continuing to increase the dependence of Russian gas and oil? I guess I can’t credit the Western leaders with any trace of intelligence, as they were the ones who allowed the West to become economically dependent on China.

After the annexation of Crimea in February-March 2014, how can anyone still sign what they signed in September 2014 (Minsk I) and February 2015 (Minsk II), even if the focus was on the conflict in Eastern Ukraine, particularly in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions? How retarded can some people be? And why on Earth were France and Germany part of these negotiations? They failed to establish a joint European military force independent of NATO, despite what Chirac and Blair convened in 1998!

There is no European army. The Franco-German Brigade is tiny. Eurocorps is just a word. The Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) is just a bureaucratic string of words within the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). The European Defence Agency (EDA) is yet another bureaucracy and nothing more. The EU Battlegroups aren’t anything any normal citizen would know about; does anyone remember about the European Rapid Operational Force (EUROFOR)? Finally, to date, the European Intervention Initiative (EI2) still didn’t do anything. The EU was only able to spend money on empty words and nothing functional. This is why NATO is still needed. Not because (what a stupid cliché!), “there was no war in Europe after WWII thanks to NATO.” Oh yeah, there was one. In Yugoslavia. Shame to everyone: Serbs, Albanians from Kosovo, Bosniaks, Croats, and to the Americans, whose only idea was to bomb Belgrade. But if there was no war between Germany and France, or between Germany and the rest of Europe, that wasn’t NATO’s merit. What we don’t need is subordination to the Americans. Why is everyone ordering the horrendously expensive Lockheed Martin F-35, when Europe has perfectly capable fighter jets such as Eurofighter Typhoon, Dassault Rafale, and Saab JAS 39 Gripen?

But maybe France and Germany did what Uncle Sam wanted. But what is it that the US wanted?

The second claim

I was then informed that, however, the imminent war with Russia was predicted and expected by everyone. That’s two different things: while it was indeed predicted, some refused to acknowledge the reality.

In an interview on March 18, 2019, Alexey Arestovich (Алексей Арестович), in Ukrainian Oleksiy or Oleksii Arestovych (Олексій Арестович), had some interesting “predictions” about the future:

He was right and realistic to state that:

  • If Ukraine were to want to join NATO, Russia would probably start a massive military operation against Ukraine, in order to devastate it and make it uninteresting for NATO.
  • “With 99.9%” certainty, the price of Ukraine’s joining of NATO is a major war with Russia.
  • If Ukraine won’t join NATO, Russia will take it back in 10–12 years anyway. So a big war with Russia is preferable; then joining NATO after having won against Russia.
  • He even predicted an attack from Belarus and the creation of new “people’s republics” in the East.
  • The most critical years: 2020 to 2022. (The pandemic couldn’t have been predicted.) If not, then 2024-2026 and 2028-2030.
  • The only way to deter Russia from attacking Ukraine after joining the Membership Action Plan? “Attacking” Russia with sanctions and embargoes before any war started. Furthermore, “throwing an American aviation group” in Ukraine, possibly having NATO contingents stationed around Kyiv, “and so on.”

The last part was 100% what I thought NATO should have been doing in the weeks or months that preceded the war! Why on Earth didn’t they do it?! Even if Ukraine wasn’t (and isn’t) a NATO member, one cannot attack military NATO installations without getting busted!

Now, it’s too late. As for the expectancy, things are much more complicated.

The reputation-based, massive online prediction solicitation and aggregation engine Metaculus had this thing, Will Russia invade Ukrainian territory before 2023?, which was discussed on Less Wrong: Predicting a global catastrophe: the Ukrainian model. Being a libertarian piece of crap, the conclusions are partially wrong. This one is correct: “Pundits can be safely ignored, with the exception of the rare experts who have a verifiable good track record. Even the most qualified experts could be confidently wrong.” But this one is BS: “If prediction markets say that the global catastrophe will occur with a high probability, they’re most likely right.”

Geopolitics is not economics. “Markets” cannot predict anything. “Prediction markets” are a sham. Such aggregators only aggregate opinions, which can be completely baseless, but then they bash the experts! (Most of the experts are frauds, but most experts in anything are frauds! Most CEOs are also frauds.) Even stock markets are humoral, emotional, impulsive, not based on reason and facts. Behavioral economists have debunked the old myth of rational markets and rational agents.

In the case of Ukraine, those top decision-makers from the Pentagon and the CIA who helped train the Ukrainian army knew for sure that a war was imminent. They seemingly didn’t want the rest of the world to know that. I advance the theory that even the US Presidents were not fully informed about the joint CIA-Pentagon operations in Ukraine, at least not about their post-2014 magnitude!

When, a few days before the invasion, Zelenskyy himself said that no invasion would take place in the immediate future, he was trying to avoid a massive exodus of men of age to fight, and also to blind Russia. But those Western leaders, especially the Europeans, were just pathetic. Most likely uninformed, but grotesquely stupid.

Fast-forward to the end of times

Right now, it’s difficult to predict anything. Even those who were informed of the preparation of the Ukrainian army, and who knew that Russia would invade, were still poor planners. They underestimated Russia, specifically Putin’s willingness to sacrifice no matter how many people, his ability to switch an entire country into the “war economy” mode, and the benefits of having friends among the countries that hate the US. The Europeans were also too hesitant to offer the necessary military help, and the production of weapons and ammunition couldn’t start in time.

I personally believe that Zelenskyy was a great leader at the beginning of the war, but then he started making mistakes. He’s not in the military, that’s why. The collective West also made the mistake of relying on a propaganda war based on the personality cult of Volodymyr Oleksandrovych: did the world really need the book “A Message from Ukraine: Speeches, 2019-2022”, released on November 29, 2022, and translated in many languages?

The Russian propaganda (despite the official censorship of official Russian TV channels and websites!) and the useful idiots from the GOP, not counting part of the European so-called “far right,” especially Hungary’s Orban (note that Giorgia Meloni strongly supports Ukraine!), played a major role in the erosion of the initial support for Ukraine. The stupidity of the EU added insult to injury: the energy prices were already skyrocketing as early as five months before the invasion, “thanks” to the mechanism of the European Energy Exchange. And the millions of the refugees from Ukraine included too many fraudsters and rich people who have benefited from copious social aid from governments such as Germany’s.

Note that Arestovych is now a staunch critic of Zelenskyy. He fears the transformation of Ukraine into an ultranationalist, monocultural dictatorship, especially given the assaults on Russian language and culture. Recently, he claimed: “I’m not so much a critic of President Zelenskyy himself, I criticise the Ukrainian system — a corrupt system, which, if it doesn’t change, means we can’t win this war.” Maybe Zelenskyy should reconsider his line of thought and listen to this: “For me, one of the main mistakes of President Zelenskyy was to appeal to the West using an emotional argument. We will have to change this policy. We have to place a calculator between us and the collective West and start to think: what are the real profit calculations? For the United States, it’s mostly the titanium industry and lithium industry, which they were very interested in within Ukraine, but I see nothing of that. We have to start to be interesting to the West, not just in terms of values and ideas and democracy, but material profit. What could the West gain from a partnership between Ukraine and the West? I mean industry. I mean agriculture. We have to calculate what we could do to make real profit for the collective West.”

He seems to be right also in terms of the “positive motivation” necessary for recruiting more troops. Even if the West’s military help doesn’t falter, there is still the unsolved problem of the limited availability of troops.

I’ll end by quoting Arestovych from the same interview with UnHerd:

I think if we get into realistic policy, we have to say there’s no way to liberate Donbas. Maybe in five or 10 years, even in Crimea, it could be possible. But the only goal we can have right now is not to give Russia more territory inside Ukraine, and to force Russia to give up this military way of dealing with Ukraine. … We have to make a new system of security in Europe, because the previous Potsdam/Yalta so-called system, which was created in 1945, does not work at all.

It’s absolutely impossible [to support negotiations between Ukraine and Russia]. It’s very stupid to speak about this negotiation. We have to negotiate for an all-new security system for Europe, taking into account all sides of this problem. Russia does not feel itself to be secure. And we can laugh about this, and say that we never had an aggressive approach towards Russia, but Russians think so. And they are ready to kill for this security question. So we need a huge negotiation, with both sides, all Nato members, all EU neighbours, all natural states which are interested in the security in Europe, to create a new so-called Potsdam/Yalta system, because the alternative will be 10 or 15 years of war.

I think it’s a World War. It looks to me like the Thirty Years’ War in the 17th century. For me, the modern age started at this time. So for me it’s now, philosophically speaking, the end of the modern era. The modern era started with the Thirty Years’ War, and it will take another Thirty Years’ War to end it.

The modern period of development is ending. … [The project of standardising the world, making everyone similar, is] coming to an end. The world is much more various than standard. And what is the main tension from the Global South to the global West? You can’t standardise us, we are completely different from you. We are asking for the right to be different. Some traditions are not for us, and we are ready to go to war even, ready to fight with you to have the right to be different.

[Cultures like Russia, like Iran] are starting to fight against the system which has been established in the world for the previous 300 years. First of all, is the so-called Westphalian peace agreement. And they are fighting against this main principle of the system.

The main question is what we’re living and dying for. And Ukraine, as a society and a culture, has a huge number of answers to this question. We are completely different. The main problem of Ukraine is that some politicians starting in 1991 to transform Ukraine from a poly-cultural and poly-national state, into a more mono-ethnic and mono-cultural country, like most of European countries like Poland. But it means the loss of territory that is completely different — Russian speaking territory, for example, in the East of Ukraine and the South of Ukraine. And a lot of Ukrainians, these 4.5 million Ukrainians who didn’t want to be recruited by the state, they didn’t want to be recruited for this political idea. […] I think a lot of Ukrainians do not be want to be part of a project of a mononation.

I think Ukraine has to be one political nation but poly-ethnic and poly-cultural. Because if we want to hold Ukraine in its 1991 borders, even officially we have 58 nationalities here in Ukraine. Unofficially it’s more than 100: a lot of languages, a lot of different cultures, a lot of different histories, of regions. Ukrainian is a state which was created from the parts of great empires — Austro Hungarian, German, Polish and Russian — and we have absolutely different traditions.

For me, the price for Ukraine to get into Nato is a big war with Russia, as I said in 2019, openly, it was in our media. I think the price for the West to get Ukraine inside Nato is a big war with Russia and the collective West are not ready to pay this price. This is a problem. And for me it’s completely unrealistic for Ukraine to even hope to be a part of the European Union or Nato. It’s impossible in this real-life situation.

But what are we going to do? We, the Westphalians.

I forgot to mention one important aspect of the situation in Ukraine. What matters the most is not that Russia wants its empire back, or that Putin wants to “make Russia great again.” What matters the most is this:

  1. This is not a “normal” war. What happens there is a series of massacres, or a genocide. What Russia did in certain instances infringed upon every single written and unwritten law of the war. They even kill their own troops! This is savagery.
  2. Putin is not “just” an authoritarian leader. For the first time since the demise of Stalin, in Russia, there can be no political opponent. Anyone who, even without any real chances, tries to oppose the regime, dies. Shooting seems to be rare these days, but radioactive tea, poisoned underwear, an epidemic of defenestrations, “blood cloths” that got too agile—you name it. This cannot be accepted, no matter how “different” Russia, Iran, and China would want to be.

So what are we going to do? Russia can fight on in Ukraine for at least two years, Lithuania says. But can Ukraine fight back? And what happens next? Meantime, Chinese police officers will soon start patrolling in Hungary. This is a living nightmare.