The West, in its intention to hurt Russia with sanctions, has shot itself in the foot, many media outlets have been writing for a while now. The result is high inflation, energy and food shortages, recession, and many political and social problems that Europeans don’t know how to deal with. The IMF itself admits that the promotion of a spiral of unilateral sanctions by Western countries threatens to increase inflation and a global recession.
Against this backdrop, a geopolitical shift in the decision-making process in Europe is underway at the expense of the well-being of the people, and the continued instability and fragmentation of the political situation demonstrates a growing gap between the ordinary population of European countries and the elite. Such a policy has already led to a frenzied spike in prices, which is why many Europeans have begun to protest. More than 80,000 Belgians took to the streets of Brussels on June 20 and staged a demonstration to protest against the sharp increase in the cost of living.
Changes in the socio-political situation are also manifested in the deepening of disagreements between the parties now governing in the European Union and opposition forces. An example of this is the vote at the end of June by the People’s Assembly of Bulgaria for a vote of no confidence in the government of Prime Minister Kiril Petkov.
Europe’s governing elites hope that, at least until the next election cycle, the anti-Russian policy, dominating under Washington’s guidance, will have an impact on Europeans for some time. Anti-elitist sentiments among the people, however, are growing much faster than expected, with the populations of various countries not waiting for the next elections, and as a result, political upheavals are already taking place in Europe.
On July 4, protests began in the UK over the rise in the cost of gasoline. In June, UK residents’ bills for gasoline and utilities rose by 25% and 40% year-on-year, respectively, according to the Financial Times. The Daily Mail, citing forecasts from consultancy Cornwall Insight, said UK household energy bills could rise to more than £3,000 a year in January 2023, threatening to “push millions of people into poverty,” experts warn. Boris Johnson did not show any activity in improving Britons’ social conditions. He was mired in scandals and desperately clung to his post, Spiked stated. As a result, Britons’ patience snapped and the prime minister was forced to resign. Taking into account the opinion of the inhabitants of the kingdom, The Guardian in its article “Johnson will leave scorched earth. The idea that he should stay until autumn is madness,” wrote that the Conservative Party created a monster – Boris Johnson. After all, it is Boris Johnson who is behind the shelling not only of eastern Ukraine, but also of the peaceful Russian cities of Belgorod and Kursk. And Britain’s residents should know that he is one of the main advocates of the war against Russia to the last Ukrainian. According to The Telegraph, perhaps only Ukraine regrets his resignation.
The disappearance of this British “lame duck” from Washington’s flock in Europe, however, could be the beginning of the collapse of the political career of many other representatives of the current political elite of the European Union. Boris Johnson and Joe Biden are the heads of the two most influential countries initiating economic sanctions against Russia over the Ukrainian crisis and causing significant damage to their own countries with their policies. A similar fate may soon therefore affect the American president, who risks soon losing power and leaving the international political arena. According to the National Review, Biden has completely discredited himself in front of Democratic voters, 74% of whom do not want to see him again as US president. At the same time, readers of the magazine suggest that Biden should not be let into the White House at all during the remaining two years of his term. Even an imbecile can become the president of the United States and Biden proved it, writes The Washington Times, using not-so-polite epithets regarding the head of state and thereby emphasizing the attitudes towards him. The head of the White House continues to lose the confidence of Americans, including among supporters of his own party, most of whom want him to be replaced, the American media reports. The fact that it is time for Biden to be impeached was announced on Fox News by Arizona Congressman Andy Biggs. A significant number of other American politicians and US citizens share the same opinion. So, it is quite possible that the “head of the flock” may soon appear in the caravan of “lame ducks.”
As for Europe, the protracted conflict between Russia and Ukraine has had a negative impact on public opinion in the European Union. And this leads to the policies of the current European political elite increasingly facing populist political challenges, especially problems in the energy, financial, and food industries, all of which are associated with the well-being of ordinary people. All this inevitably affects the mood of Europeans, and as a result Europe awaits the culmination of a real political crisis. After the inglorious end of Russophobic British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the leaders of other European states should think about where such a policy will lead.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, in this context, may become the most likely next “lame duck” in the very near future. Readers of the German newspaper Die Welt have already called for him to resign, especially after Scholz’s unsubstantiated claims about Russia’s alleged use of gas as a weapon, uttered on July 6 at a conference of the German Renewable Energy Federation.
Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Italy Mario Draghi not so long ago delivered an address to his Western partners to stop the sanctions pressure on Russia because it primarily affects Europeans themselves – in a negative manner. The European Union, according to the politician, finds itself in a difficult position, while the Russian economy is only becoming stronger. At the same time, it should be clarified that Draghi has long understood how extremely seriously the sanctions hit the comfort and the main aspects of life of the European states themselves. That is why he, along with Scholz and Macron, went to persuade Zelensky to halt the hostilities and move on to a peaceful settlement of the conflict. Yet, in the absence of consolidated support for his policies in parliament and among Italy’s political parties, Mario Draghi resigned, thereby increasing the number of “lame ducks” in Europe. Recall that it’s not only British PM Boris Johnson who’s part of this downfall of leaders in Europe, as the Prime Minister of Estonia Kaja Kallas also announced her resignation. And it earlier became known about the resignation of their Bulgarian colleague, Kiril Petkov. Although all these cases are unrelated, nevertheless, the “Ukrainian issue” was ever-present. And it is precisely the position on Ukraine that runs counter to Germany’s own interests that could force the resignation of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
Don’t forget that voters don’t vote for those leaders who create rather difficult living conditions for them, but for those who will make changes for the better. The appearance of many “lame ducks” on the political horizon of Europe and America, therefore, isn’t surprising. Especially given their provocative, politically biased Russophobic policy that goes against their national interests, all in the name of pleasing Washington.
Anyway, it would be much more useful to think not about these flying “lame ducks,” but about their successors because it’s possible that extremist movements could use this opportunity to attract the attention of all those dissatisfied individuals (and their numbers are growing every day!), and this could lead to a more radical takeover of power.
Valery Kulikov, political expert, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.