# LUC MICHEL’S GEOPOLITICAL DAILY/ REVUE DE PRESSE : ‘POUTINE N’A JAMAIS PERDU UNE GUERRE (NEWSWEEK)

LM.GEOPOL - III-2021-1389 RP newsweek sur poutine (2022 03 03) FR

Karel Huybrechts pour
Le Quotidien géopolitique – Geopolitical Daily/
de LUC MICHEL (ЛЮК МИШЕЛЬ)/
2022 03 03/
Série III/1389

Voici donc la nouvelle version de mon quotidien géopolitique. Depuis quelque mois , je suis personnellement focalisé sur le lancement de ma radio en ligne et sur mes nombreuses emissions de TV (de 15 à 25 chaque semaine). Aussi j’ai décidé d’ouvrir les colonnes de mon Quotidien géopolitique aux collaborateurs de notre équipe international et et à mes revues de presse.
LM

REVUE DE PRESSE :
LES ÉTATS-UNIS ADMETTENT QUE « POUTINE N’A JAMAIS PERDU UNE GUERRE ET « POURQUOI IL VA GAGNER EN UKRAINE »

Le magazine américain Newsweek a prédit l’évolution des événements après l’achèvement de l’opération spéciale en Ukraine. Les analystes de la publication affirment que « la chute probable de la capitale ukrainienne – Kiev – déclenchera un règlement politique de la situation », après quoi « un gouvernement « ami » de la Russie sera vraisemblablement créé ».

Dans le même temps, en cas de négociations, les analystes prédisent le retrait des troupes russes d’Ukraine, comme l’a précédemment déclaré le représentant permanent de la Russie auprès de l’ Union européenne, Vladimir Chizhov . La probabilité « de céder une partie des territoires par l’Ukraine est indiquée ».

Les analystes disent que ce résultat sera « humiliant » pour l’Occident. « L’Ukraine perdra à jamais la possibilité de rejoindre l’OTAN et tous les pays post-soviétiques recevront un avertissement sur la réaction de la Russie à l’établissement de contacts avec l’Occident ».

En outre, les analystes ont mis en doute l’efficacité des sanctions imposées et futures contre la Russie. Ils soulignent « la confiance du président russe Vladimir Poutine dans le fait qu’il a préparé le pays à ces nouvelles conditions ».

« RESTAURER L’EMPIRE »

Pour Poutine, la fin de la guerre en Ukraine sera le « point final » dans un effort pour soi-disant restaurer « l’empire », résument les analystes de la publication. Auparavant, la porte-parole de la Maison Blanche, Jen Psaki, avait confirmé que les États-Unis n’enverraient pas de troupes en Ukraine pour combattre la Russie.

# EXTRAITS / EXCERPTS :
Putin Has Never Lost a War. Here Is How He’ll Win In Ukraine (02/26/2022)

As the battle of wills and might between Russia and the west over the fate of Ukraine unfolds, there is one key fact to bear in mind: Vladimir Putin has never lost a war. During past conflicts in Chechnya, Georgia, Syria and Crimea over his two decades in power, Putin succeeded by giving his armed forces clear, achievable military objectives that would allow him to declare victory, credibly, in the eyes of the Russian people and a wary, watching world. His latest initiative in Ukraine is unlikely to be any different.

Despite months of military build-up along Ukraine’s borders and repeated warnings from the Biden administration that an incursion could happen at any time, the February 24 pre-dawn bombing campaign that kicked off Europe’s first land war in decades seemed to come as a surprise to many Ukrainians. In major cities across a country the size of the state of Texas, stunned citizens, lulled into complacency by their president’s repeated reassurances that Russia would not invade, watched and listened to the sound of thunderous explosions targeting Ukrainian military bases, airports and command and control centers. Within 24 hours, the conflict spread rapidly, with Russian tanks and troops moving swiftly toward Kyiv, the capital; fierce battles in Kharkiv, the second largest city; and fighting around Chernobyl, the site of the disastrous 1986 nuclear reactor meltdown. Shock and awe, Russian style (…)

In an instant, Russian President Putin’s invasion of Ukraine destroyed the post Cold War security order in Europe—one centered, to Russia’s fury, by an often-expanding NATO alliance. Analysts expect that, once Kyiv falls, the military aggression will give way to a political settlement that puts a Russia-friendly government in place. By February 25, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was considering an invitation from Moscow to hold « neutrality » talks in neighboring Belarus. If those talks happen, Putin will then be able to pull back troops and end the conflict—while having dealt the West a humiliating blow. And that, military and Russia experts agree, may be the real point.

Ukraine, of course, is not a NATO member; the possibility that it might join the Alliance some day, as other countries that were once part of the old Soviet bloc have done, is a key issue in the current conflict. Putin’s actions, a brazen defiance in the face of repeated warnings and threats of sanctions from U.S. President Joe Biden and western allies, now make it a certainty, if it wasn’t before, that membership will never happen. Putin’s aggression will also serve as a stark warning to countries formerly part of the Soviet Union of the possible repercussions of getting too cozy with the West. The post Soviet status quo in Eastern Europe was one « that [Putin] never accepted, » says Fyodor Lukyanov, editor in chief of Russia in Global Affairs, a Moscow-based foreign policy journal. « It ate at him. He believes Russia was treated [by the West] as a second class citizen after the Soviet Union fell. »

Now, western diplomats and intelligence officials believe, Putin seeks to decapitate the western-leaning leadership in Kyiv headed by Zelensky and replace it with a government that will be loyal to « the new Tsar, » as former Estonian President Toomas Ilves calls Putin. That could happen, U.S. intelligence officials tell Newsweek, within days. Putin does not want, nor does he need, to occupy the entire country to accomplish his greater goals, intelligence analysts and officials say (…)

WITH A NEW REALITY ON THE GROUND IN EASTERN EUROPE, ILVES CONTINUES, « PUTIN THEN WANTS TO REWRITE THE SECURITY RULES OF THE ROAD BETWEEN HIM AND NATO. »

Ukraine itself appears to share at least part of that view. A statement from Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukraine’s presidential chief of staff, and shared with Newsweek by Ukraine’s embassy in Washington, outlined what Kyiv suspected were Moscow’s goals. « The Office of the President of Ukraine believes the Russian federation has two tactical goals—to seize territories and attack the legitimate political leadership of Ukraine in order to spread chaos and [to] install a marionette government that would sign a peace deal on bilateral relations with Russia, » Podolyak said.

A United States that thought it was pivoting to Asia, and focusing on China—a country that is its preeminent rival going forward—has now been dragged back to Eastern Europe, where for centuries so much blood has been spilled. Putin now has the world’s full, undivided attention, in the same way that every Secretary General in the Soviet era did. In chilling televised remarks after the invasion had begun, Putin said, « whoever tries to interfere [in Ukraine] should know that Russia’s response will be immediate, and will lead to such consequences that you have never experienced in your history. » Putin’s subsequent announcement that he was putting Russia’s nuclear forces on alerts, underscored the threat.

RUSSIA IS NOW BACK IN THE LIMELIGHT, A NATION THAT IS DEMONSTRATING, WITH A DISPLAY OF MILITARY MIGHT, THAT IT REMAINS A GREAT POWER.

Which is precisely where Putin wants his nation to be. He believes Russia should at all times command respect from the rest of the world, « and when it doesn’t command respect, it should command fear, » as Lukyanov of Russia in Global Affairs puts it. Mission accomplished. As Rose Gottemoeller, former deputy secretary general of NATO and a long time Russia watcher characterized it recently on the CBS podcast Intelligence Matters, « This is [Putin's] ‘look at me’ moment. »(…)

Within hours of the invasion, the United States and its allies responded by sharply ratcheting up economic sanctions but it’s unclear whether the moves will deter the Russian leader (…)

How effective the sanctions will be is unclear. Putin, for his part, believes he has effectively made his country sanctions-proof. Russia has over $630 billion in hard currency reserves, and rakes in $14 billion per month in oil and gas exports. As Russia’s ambassador to Sweden, Viktor Tatarintsev, told Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet days before the invasion began, when the West ramped up threats of financial penalties in a futile effort to prevent military action, « Excuse my language, but we don’t give a shit about your sanctions. »(…)

But U.S. intelligence officials privately do not share Biden’s optimism about « mass disobedience. » One official who spoke to Newsweek on background because he is not authorized to speak on the record said, « After the government in Kyiv is dismantled, there will be no opposition within Ukraine for us to support militarily. »

« AFTER THE GOVERNMENT IN KYIV IS DISMANTLED, THERE WILL BE NO OPPOSITION WITHIN UKRAINE FOR US TO SUPPORT MILITARILY » (US OFFICIAL)

His pessimism is rooted in Putin’s past behavior, most notably when he presided over a scorched earth campaign to brutally put down an insurgency in Chechnya more than 20 years ago. He says, « It’s not realistic to mount an opposition campaign (…)

Indeed, Putin’s history as a commander in chief of Russia’s military shows that there may be reason to doubt Biden’s optimism that Ukraine will turn into a quagmire for Moscow. Beyond the ruthless campaign to put down Muslim rebels in Chechnya, he hived off the two sections of the former Soviet state of Georgia that he wanted to control in 2008. Then in 2014 he took back Crimea in Ukraine, and set up separatist movements in two heavily Russian provinces in the east, Donetsk and Luhansk. (Two days before the February 24th invasion, Putin declared those two provinces were now « independent republics. » )

And on the complex battlefield in Syria, where the U.S. and Russians risked conflict, former President Barack Obama funded opposition rebel groups, including some tied to Al Qaeda, then failed to enforce his own red line (…) Putin sent Russian troops in with one goal: that Assad maintain his grip on power. He remains in office to this day.

THE ULTIMATE GOAL
WHAT IS PUTIN’S ENDGAME NOW?

The Russian leader is fueled by rage and seeks revenge against the West for his homeland’s perceived mistreatment, says Peter Rough, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, a conservative think tank based in Washington. The country Putin grew up in, and the one he served as a KGB officer, dissolved in 1991. In its stead came chaos at home, and, in Putin’s view, betrayal from abroad.

The demise of the Soviet Union, he has famously said, « was the most catastrophic geopolitical event of the 20th century » (worse, even, than World War II, in which 20 million Soviet citizens were killed). His resentment over what happened to his country, particularly in the immediate aftermath of the Soviet collapse, is more widely shared by Russians than many in the West appreciate.

As the Moscow bureau chief for this magazine in the early 2000s, I saw organized crime take over businesses large and small; the country’s finances were in shambles. The government was unable to pay the salaries of a once proud military. I interviewed an Army colonel stationed on the Kamchatka Peninsula, in Russia’s far east, who wept as he confessed he wasn’t able to buy his wife a birthday present a few weeks earlier because he had not been paid his wages in months.

If Putin Picks Puppet Ukraine Leader, Viktor Medvedchuk is Odds-on Favorite NATO States May Give Sanctuary to Fleeing Ukraine Forces as Russia Advances. Boris Yeltsin, once the democratic hero who helped bring down the Soviet Union, had turned into a drunken mess as the first freely elected president of Russia; his inner circle was corrupt, enriching themselves as ordinary citizens struggled amidst the post Soviet chaos (…) Twenty-two years later, in an extraordinary 55-minute speech to his country on Monday February 21, Putin aired many of his grievances in a way he rarely had publicly before, as a prelude to war. In it, he said, « Ukraine is not a separate country, » and that « Ukrainians and Russians were brethren, one and the same. » Kyiv, in his view, had been ripped unceremoniously from Mother Russia when the Soviet Union dissolved. He then recounted the West’s early promise not to expand NATO.

He recalled how coldly then President Bill Clinton responded to his query, not long after he became President of Russia in 2000, about whether Moscow could ever be a member of NATO. He recalled, bitterly, how he was assured that NATO’s expansion eastward—to include countries that had been members of the Warsaw Pact, Moscow’s former client states—would « only improve their relations with us, even create a belt of states friendly to Russia. Everything, » Putin said, « turned out exactly the opposite. They were just words. »

HOW DOES PUTIN SEEK REVENGE FOR THIS BETRAYAL?
TO THE EXTENT HE CAN, HE WANTS TO PIECE TOGETHER A NEW RUSSIAN EMPIRE.

Not necessarily every province of the former Soviet Union, but those parts of the pre-Soviet empire, established by the Tsars, who were largely Russian speaking, orthodox Christian and who looked first to Kyiv, and then later to Moscow, as the political, cultural and spiritual center of the world.

Putin is a nationalist first and foremost. Ukraine, plainly, is central to this vision. But it also includes the countries—former Soviet provinces—that are now effectively Russian client states (Belarus), as well as those Moscow wishes to control yet again: the Baltic states of Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia (the latter three are now members of NATO, for whom the alliance is obligated to fight in the event one of them is attacked.) Putin in his pre-invasion speech said it was « madness » that the Baltics were ever allowed to leave the USSR. He has demanded—preposterously—that the Alliance pull back to its 1997 stance, when there were just 16 members, as opposed to 30 today.

With the invasion of Ukraine, analysts believe, Putin hoped to shake NATO. He wanted, says Douglas Wise, a former CIA officer and deputy director at the Defense Intelligence Agency, « to further divide our allies, and cement existing fissures and disunity within [the Alliance] and the EU. He also believes he can benefit by humiliating the Western leaders and institutions when they fail to develop credible and practical options to counter his aggression » (…)

https://www.newsweek.com/2022/03/11/putin-has-never-lost-war-here-how-hell-win-ukraine-1682878.html

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