The text below was first written as a comment for The Duran community on locals.com, a focal place for anyone interested in geopolitics, a gathering of friendly, civilized people, a nexus for interesting discussions and a hub for useful information exchange which I can’t recommend enough.
The 3000 characters limit for comments there proves a very useful constraint, in my case. Some later corrections, rephrasing and improvements might and will happen, The Duran version should be considered as a raw first draft.
The first shot for the current war in Ukraine was fired when the attempted western backed coup in Belarus failed. Russians securing Belarus inside their geopolitical sphere ensured that critical flank is protected. From there on it was only a matter of time until a military clash would happen on the only possible battlefield left – Ukraine.
In the ‘strange war’ before the actual Russian invasion we had a Kazakhstan intermezzo which proved to be a gigantic western flop, despite the ‘investment’. No doubt Russia was this time prepared.
I never anticipated the war will start so soon and, in my mind, I always hoped it wouldn’t start at all. In hindsight, it is easier to notice it really was inevitable and, in fact, all the signs pointing to its imminence were present.
The West made the first move on the direct confrontation path. Belarus falling under western pressure would have represented an Achille’s heel for Russia, arguably an even more dangerous development than Ukraine balancing into the western camp in 2014. In the last year or so, witnessing how Russia rapidly consolidated its hold on Belarus, the West tried to consolidate its grip on Ukraine. A silent build up.
Alas, the hubris reigning supreme in the West made them reckless. Instead of crossing fingers and hope they could shape and equip a powerful Ukrainian army and really help and stabilize the Ukrainian state, they pushed them to act cocky on the eastern contact line. In a way, just the valid pretext Russia needed, firstly for boosting internal cohesion. The measurably real threat against the separatist regions was a good enough reason.
The military confrontation clearly started prematurely from a western point of view. They were insufficiently prepared.
On the other hand, the ‘Collective West’ might have thought they are prepared for the economic war, but even if they relied on competent economic strategists for planning, which is debatable, euphemistically speaking, this kind of colossal clash is without precedent in history. An all out economic war on Russia is not comparable with, say, the pre-WW2 strangling of Japan. Not to mention the West got the sequence wrong this time – you first push the targeted country on the brink in order to leave them with minimal resources to carry a war, which was not the case with Russia who could rely on an unlimited resource flow.
The Anglo-Saxon disdain for continental Europeans, including the arrogant view they have of France and their master/conqueror superiority syndrome about Germany, might prove terribly self-defeating. You can not expect to take on Russia only with the decrepit British bulldog and the Poland & Romania vassals on your side. You absolutely need at least the two powers which allow the EU combine to exist and hold together. With both of them unhappy and with a plethora of suffering European states this adventure looks more and more like the ‘beggars crusade’.
One more thing. I’m not certain the West leadership (whatever that means) was fully aware of the fast developing implications a coup in Belarus, even a successful one, could trigger. Let alone a failed one. Other factors pertinent to US internal politics might have obscured, in American eyes, the major significance for the Russians and the magnitude of risks involved. For an armchair observer, like myself, the rather speedy resolution of the attempted coup induced a business as usual feeling, while the Russian decision makers most likely went into full ‘red alert’.