The headline read “Lithuania issues updated Russian invasion advice booklets”. This author’s thoughts immediately returned to a “duck and cover” film they showed us in El Paso, Texas when I was in the 2nd grade. These pesky Russians, simply will not give up in their quest for world domination! But wait, wait just one minute…
What do Lithuania and the rest of Europe have that Russians need so desperately? What natural or human resource is deposited in Europe to the west of the Dnieper River, which is so valuable Vladimir Putin would risk annihilation over it? Before you are done reading this report you will understand completely the unmistakable truth of our times, Russia needs nothing from Europe or the west, except to be left alone. Read on and discover the truth of détente today, and how Russia’s real mission is enslaving all of Europe! (or not)
The answer to the question is, “nothing”. Russia has never needed anything but Russia to survive and thrive. The biggest country in the world, also possesses the most vast natural resources. On this point there are two facets worth examining. First, Russia’s development before Vladimir Putin was drastically curtailed by western influences, and especially during and just after the first Cold War. Second, while most consider the fall of the Soviet Union a bitter defeat for Russia, being loosed from the shackles of dependent satellite states actually strengthened Russia’s core economy. To put things bluntly, the United States did not exactly “win” the Cold War. As shocking as this may be, the reality is here.
Historically speaking, Russia has almost always been the target of conquest. This history (not revisionist ones) teaches us the Napoleon’s invasion of Russia, the Patriotic War of 1812, ended in utter defeat. Of the 680,000 soldiers who entered Russia with the Grande Armée, only 27,000 lived to tell stories of the bitter Russian winter. Then, in the Russo-Persian Wars, and in the Russo-Turkish Wars, both the Persians, and Ottoman Empires, lost and lost some more to Imperial Russia, during the last great expansion of the motherland. Interestingly, Russia actually assisted nations now aligned against her in these wars, as Czar Alexander I helped free Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Armenia, Greece and Moldova from the Ottoman Turks. Today NATO covets many of these lands as military partners clearly pitted against Putin’s Russia. To continue…
Next the Crimea War in between October 1853 to March 1856 must jog us into sensibility here, if not for the utter failures of Russia’s enemies; France, Great Britain, the Ottomans and Sardinia, then for the irony of religious conflict. In this invasion of Russia’s sphere, it was Roman Catholicism versus Eastern Orthodoxy that was at the crux of the conflict. Today these old religious differences play a role too, but I’ll get to that in the summary (please remember). Even though Russia officially lost this war technically, in the end Orthodoxy was reinforced. However, the Treaty of Paris and Russia’s failure to secure a victory paved the way for the great conflicts to come, in the end the so-called “Eastern Question” was not (and is not) resolved. Today we still see and feel the reverberations of discord left after the fall of the Ottoman Empire.
Then World War I saw the German Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the Austro Hungarian Empire, and the Kingdom of Bulgaria were pitted against Russia, Great Britain, France and the other allied powers. The German’s narrowly avoided the total invasion of East Prussia by the Russians, and there was a deadlock afterward in the east and west. The unresolved issues of WW I, led to the ultra-nationalism in Europe and World War II. It was during this “Great Patriotic War” that the most powerful armies the world has seen gathered on the field in Russia. The Nazis and their allies made the greatest gains on Russian territory since Genghis Khan and the Monguls, but were eventually crushed. After the war, the western Allies relinquished to the Soviet Union the most hard hit and devastatingly poor satellite nations in Europe to rebuild and support. At least this is a meaningful way for grasping the points I make today. The nations of the so-called Warsaw Pact actually represent an unbelievable achievement in cooperation, considering the relative position of West Germany and the war torn nations under western influence. It’s important to remember, the Soviet Union, and Russia proper, were utterly destroyed to the west of Moscow and Stalingrad. The nations of Eastern Europe left in the USSR’s sphere after the war were crushed by the war. Though western historians’ vilification of the Soviets control of Poland and others of these nations is not without cause, the burden and impact for Russians has never been weighed. The US, Britain, and to a lesser degree France, were all left to rebuild West Germany, but compared to the task laid before the Soviets, those nations bore nothing at all. West Germany rebuilt itself with loans from the London and New York bankers, Italy and other nations in this sphere faired far better than Eastern Europe, and the Cold War taxed the Soviets most severely.
While it can be argued Soviet rule was harsh and cruel for millions of people, many argue today that life under communism was better than the austerity we see now in Romania and elsewhere. This notwithstanding, it’s fair to say America and the NATO allies (pre-1991) were always in a more advantageous situation than their Soviet (particularly Russian) counterparts. This brings me to a final point, that of natural and human resources, and just what Russia really needs from Europe. Let me break this all down for you simply.
The most common commodities Russia currently imports from Europe are: machines Russians could make as easily, cars Russian production could produce, textiles, food products currently hurt by sanctions, and tennis shoes. Furthermore, the sanctions imposed on Russia by western nations have actually helped the Russians to fill voids in their GDP by making it necessary to replace foreign commodities. Put bluntly, Europe is more or less run out of natural or even manufactured resources Russians could ever want for, while Putin’s administration has dramatically expanded his country’s already massive self sufficiency. Taking over Lithuania and other Baltic states is a zero sum proposition for the Russians. The Eurozone is broke, overall unemployment is above 10%, while Russia maintains a 5% unemployment rate that is going down as Putin ramps up manufacturing. Get this, government bond yields in the Eurozone are in the negative at -0.38% yield at last count. Conversely (amazingly) even with the attack on the ruble and economic sanctions, while fighting an air war against ISIL in Syria, Russia’s 10 year bond yields are currently at 10.52%. Hello!
The current European Union debt is running at about €12.5 trillion euro. The US is rapidly approaching $20 trillion. Russia owes about $150 billion in US dollars and that is all. Let me emphasize this, Russia owes less than Greece does, less than Austria, less than Belgium, and less than Sweden too. Put another way, every German owed over €20,000 euro because of their government’s borrowing and bad decisions, while each Russian citizen only owes $1,000 US dollars (or 800 euro bucks maybe). Every Italian man-woman-and child owes about $40,000 dollars, and every Russian owes 1/40th of that!!! Italy should pray that Russia invades soon, and Spain should too.
Lithuania, at the behest of NATO, has updated its civil defense booklet telling citizens what to do in the event of a Russian invasion. The citizens there are pretty well off compared to the average European citizen, each only owing about €4,000 euro when they are born. But considering the tiny country’s miniscule ability to enhance life for most Russians, even should workers there be turned into slave labor, the likelihood Putin covets their limestone or quartz resources, since Russia is one of the world’s leading producers of anything Lithuania has. The same goes for the rest of Europe as well. Russia is the top producer of gold, 1st or 2nd in natural gas and oil, 3rd in coal, and 1st in iron, tin, lead and wood. By now my point should have sunken in abundantly. If Russia were to invade anywhere in Europe, Russians would be sharing their wealth with the future poor of the world. China and Southeast Asia took manufacturing, Russia and the BRICS have three fourths of the world’s remaining resources, and Russians own per capita, more real wealth than any people on Earth. Europe has banks and failed social-capitalistic service centers, how in hell could Putin justify invading this place?
In 1991 the Russians rid themselves of an Eastern Europe propagandized into believing the good old USA would ride in and deliver paradise! Radio Free Europe still operates to convince Poles and Romanians of the BIG RED MENNACE. NATO is in “job security mode”, and a quest to masquerade as defenders of the faithful. The real logic of true life though, it betrays the insane reason of Cold War dinosaurs. Washington and London think tanks are operating on decayed brain cells. Russia could care less, should care less than to even fantasize about a Russian speaking Paris. Putin does not need the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre, St. Petersburg is overflowing with art. The average Russian does not fly off to London to hear Big Ben, they head to Greece or Italy to lie under the warm Mediterranean sun. Not even Ukraine is so coveted as to provoke Putin to invade, or else Kiev would surely be under the Russian flag now. Crimea turned homeward, because NATO can never have Russia’s biggest warm water port. And the rest of this ludicrous “invasion” fairytale is just justification, to try and hide the death throes of a Euro, a dollar, and a pound.
There’s food for your imperialistic thoughts Lithuanians. If I am wrong, you’ll be slaving away making Russian shoes no matter what.
Phil Butler, is a policy investigator and analyst, a political scientist and expert on Eastern Europe, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.