The Cold War years
In a Netflix series scripted against the backdrop of the Cold War, Russian KGB agents are integrated into American society. As in Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent, they only come out of their shadow and the comfort of their American identity when they are ordered by their handlers to carry out a plan, such as “bomb a place” or “kill” someone. ‘a. Sometimes these KGB agents are torn between their home country and their love for the American way of life. Many Hollywood offerings build on this ideological conflict of agents and how they abandon their commitment to Marxism and Leninism and the stability of the Soviet state in favor of the United States or Western countries.
With the exception of a few documents on the famous double agent, Kim Philby, who belonged to the British foreign intelligence service, MI6; there was no mention of the many other Western intellectuals and spies who crossed over from the decadent West to the revolutionary Soviet Union. All of this happened before the sprawling Union collapsed in 1991, and Russia and the rest of the breakaway countries were sold out to the Washington Consensus pursuing the same neoliberal economic policies.
Ideally, the Russia-Ukraine conflict that began in 2014, spurred by the US and other NATO countries, should have opened the floodgates for the Russians to defect to the US or Europe, but there was no notable or high-profile celebrity move in 2014-22. The truth is that there is no ideological conflict that causes people to opt for a system different from the one prevailing in Russia. The great collapse of socialism in 1991 and the fall of the Berlin Wall had the effect of erasing the differences that might have remained between the peoples of the two worlds.
Looking for a place to park their ill-gotten funds, the Russian oligarchs shifted their wealth to Western banks, away from Putin’s prying eyes. However, there was no protection for them once the United States and Europe imposed their claustrophobic sanctions against Russian investments in different parts of the world. They did not even spare the luxurious yachts moored in many countries. It was clearly an illegal act, but the United States found the laws to justify these actions.
Washington DC also found ways to seize Russia’s roughly $300 billion of the $600 billion war chest that Moscow had set aside for this “military operation.” It didn’t take long for Russia to fill this vacuum because during the 8-month war, it earned $1 billion a day from the sale of expensive oil and gas. The friendly attitude of the world’s largest oil supplier, Saudi Arabia, has helped Russia’s cause. Riyadh has refused to show enthusiasm for US President Joe Biden’s demand to increase oil production and lower prices. The Saudis saw merit in Russian pressure to keep production low and prices high. In this way, most oil-producing countries enjoy windfall profits that shift global wealth from Europe to fossil fuel producers. This angers Europe the most because it has been pressured by the United States to give up Russian gas. The United States has benefited enormously from the sanctions it has imposed on Moscow. One of the main achievements of the Ukraine-Russia war is that Moscow is not really fighting with Kyiv but with Joe Biden and Washington.
Why is the United States so determined to defeat Russia?
The conflict between Russia and Ukraine, as Russian President Vladimir Putin said, is a legacy of the breakup of the Soviet Union. Russian leaders have been attentive to US designs to embrace Ukraine and diminish Russia. The UK, for its own reasons, has been at the forefront of this strategy. The advice of foreign policy experts like Henry Kissinger and John Mearsheimer was not to antagonize the Russians and threaten their existence. Quite visibly, the United States has recently persuaded independent countries to join the EU and NATO. This despite the fact that President Putin had wondered why NATO was still relevant when the reason for its existence, the Soviet Union, had been consigned to history. Russia waited in vain for accommodation from the United States, but it never came. Worse, its policy of using natural gas to integrate itself as a European power has not pleased Washington.
In 2014, Russia managed to capture Crimea from Ukraine. He also found to his mortification that the United States had entrenched itself in Ukrainian politics, while its officials, Victoria Nuland, and Ambassador Geoff Pyatt were busy in Kyiv Maidan providing cakes and helping those protesting. against the Russian-backed president. Since then, the two countries have been at war with each other, and if the Russians are to be believed, more than 14,000 people have died in this low-intensity war. The Russians unearthed Ukraine’s Nazi past to show that what was happening was a continuation of World War II. Moscow also alleged that the Ukrainian Azov Brigade wore Nazi insignia like the swastika and was populated by US-mobilized mercenaries. History has been dredged up to find out more about the reasons for this fratricidal war.
His Orthodox Church backed Russia, and the violent confrontation was seen as an attempt to settle an old dispute between the two divisions of the Christian faith. These differences date back to the Middle Ages when the capital of the Byzantine Empire, Constantinople, representing Eastern Christian Orthodoxy, was invaded by the Ottomans in 1453. Russia and Greece became heirs to this Orthodoxy, but it was never reconciled. with the loss of the Empire to the benefit of the Muslims.
Either way, there is still a lack of clarity in the minds of many as to why the war between Russia and Ukraine continues to rage even after eight months. Now the war has entered a phase where it can escalate into something dirtier. Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed fears over Ukraine’s use of a dirty bomb, which is another name for a nuclear device. This has dire implications and could create a catastrophe from which Europe and the world will struggle to emerge any time soon.
There is a convergence of motivations for the UK and the US when it comes to trapping Russia in the Ukrainian quagmire. Unbeknownst to most people, the UK is at the forefront of providing training, weapons and intelligence to the beleaguered Ukrainian military. They also manage the social media of President Zelensky of Ukraine and his country. The UK’s grouse with Russia is deeply rooted. They hate Moscow for pursuing an independent foreign policy and undermining NATO.
The United States also has similar concerns. He wants to see Russia diminish and end Europe’s gas dependence on Russia. It is largely forgotten, but the war against Ukraine was mounted by Russia under extreme provocation from Washington. Long before war was officially declared on February 24, 2022, skirmishes had begun much earlier on the Ukraine-Russia border. This is why US President Joe Biden was so confident that Moscow was about to attack its neighbor. The United States also provided weapons and logistics. Some believe the war in Ukraine was precipitated by the United States because it does not want the Russians to get their hands on many of the biological and germ labs that have grown in the Eastern European country. There are claims that these labs have something to do with the spread of the epidemic in different parts of the world. Fox News and right-wing media regularly talk about Biden’s son, Hunter’s interest in these labs. However, there is near-unanimity that the war is really between the United States and Russia, and it won’t end until Putin and Biden meet and make up.
European powers suffering from an extreme economic crisis hope that a collapse or reduction of Russia will help them to rearrange the contours of the continent and NATO. Germany was therefore accused by France of being disloyal to the concept of the EU. French voices claim that Berlin is building a pact with the countries of Eastern Europe and abandoning those of old Europe. Germany managed to cover its flanks by filling its tanks with oil and gas to get out of the crisis in the short term, but hopes that the war will not worsen it to upset its calculations.
The future of the world depends on the evolution of the crisis in Europe. In order for the war to end, many agreements will have to be made, including one to bury the origin of the Coronavirus deeply.
Sanjay Kapoor is a senior journalist based in Delhi. He is a foreign policy specialist focused on India, its neighborhood and West Asia. He is the founder and editor of Hardnews Magazine and he is also the general secretary of the Editors Guild of India.