A Pole, a German, a Frenchmen, and a Swiss meet in a bar, or was it a Swiss, a French, a German, and a Slovak, I forgot. However, what otherwise sounded like the beginning of a quirky joke was in fact an informal luncheon by some of the brightest analysts of the European Union in early December last year. Nationalities aside, the topic of the lunch was, of course, the Ukraine.
The basic question was simple, Are We at War? Will Russia win? What’s the consequence for Europe if Russia wins? What is the European Union willingness to defend the Ukraine and willingness to mobilize Europe to go to war? If we are at war, then what is the strategy? How do we win?
The illustrious group agreed, if we are at war that than in cyber, we are at war. Cyberwars have no beginning and no end. Cyber has no boundary.
But besides cyber the war in the trenches continues, casualties on both sides are piling up. A culture of strategic exhaustion is adopted by both sides. This is neither new nor revolutionary. New is the tactical glass battlefield. Both sides see what the other side is planning. Deception does again become important. The killing becomes routine sort of a mechanical, tragic but a sideshow. We are at war.
Since we are now accepting war is the currency of today, what is the strategy for the near-term future? The lunch group conclusion is that four main strategies apply.
We Are At War!
Accepting Europeans facing a peer adversary with a history of violence, brutality, violations of human rights and disregard for the protection of culture and its humanity. The consequence of Russia beating the Ukraine is a strategic defeat for the European idea. The concept of war is abstract for Europeans. It’s bizarre. It is violent, destructive, and revolting to the senses. However, it must be done. As it was done to destroy the German war machine the Russian needs defeating. A war of attrition must be applied.
…and its allies near and far. Decisive and strategic. The strategy is simple. The objective out of textbooks. The attacker must be defeated. On all fronts. Wherever the Russians are a threat, the Russians must be defeated. The Russian nuclear fleet must be scuttled. The Airforce must be destroyed. Strategic commando operations must cripple the defense industry. No more hiding behind the Ural, out of reach. The Russian army is within reach!
The Ukrainian foreign minister said recently, ‘Every city, village, town the Ukrainian army surrenders is closer to your homes. Peace in Europe is over!’ The Russians must be beaten!
We except the surrender of the Russian forces. Unconditionally and immediate. A process of returning the territories occupied will be agreed on. A conditional process of surrendering of the war cabinet and incorporation of a peaceful transition will be initiated. Peace returns. But Russia must be defeated!
The current conditions are closely watched by near peer rising challengers to the new hegemon, the European Union. The United States is largely a subservient client state of Europe and in the orbit of China, Turkey, with emerging Africa and states in Asia.
The United States are embroidered in an ideological dispute between the Republican and the Democratic parties for years to come. The political climate is a mouth service and serves the U.S. interest first and foremost. The newly rise of a new player on the scene is seen with mistrust within Washington power circles and Russians playbook operations. To off balance the distrust for Kyiv is bizarrely matched with Russian ambitions to bring the U.S. power circles closer to Moscow. If the Trump administration beliefs he brings ‘peace in our times’ he is mistaken.
However, the power brokers in Washington forget foreign relationships are born out of necessity rather than ambitions. Hence regardless of who is on the lever of power in the U.S. congress the long term relations with the Russian Federation are determined in a bilateral fashion.
We are on the verge of a multi-conflict ranging across Europe, embattling Asia, unhinging Africa. The evil forces may not be as evident as they are present, but the ideological battle is present. For years forces of moderation in the Islamic world gave lip services to the moderate European or American forces. Now a battle between good and evil is emerging.
by Marc Dubois