War In Ukraine And The Resurgence Of Russia

By Alexander G. Markovsky | American Thinker | May 24, 2024

Image by AI

At the end of the 20th century, the Soviet Union was at the peak of its global influence. It was imbued with the conviction that the future belonged to communism and its dominance was destined and unending.

In 1991, the Soviet Union unexpectedly collapsed. The Warsaw Pact dissolved, and the newly formed nation, the Russian Federation, denounced communism and extended the olive branch to the West. In contrast, the United States and its NATO partners chose to capitalize on the desperate period of Russian history—specifically, the weakened economy and fragmented military—by making a provocative and threatening move to expand NATO closer to Russia’s doorstep.

Commenting on this decision, George Kennan, a renowned expert on Russia analysis and a highly influential American diplomat in the 20th century, as well as the author of the Containment Policy that eventually led to the fall of communism, stated in his 1998 interview with Tom Friedman of the New York Times,

“I think the Russians will gradually react quite adversely and it will affect their policies. I think it is a tragic mistake. There was no reason for this whatsoever. No one was threatening anybody else. This expansion would make the Founding Fathers of this country turn over in their graves.”

Western leaders disregarded George Kennan’s prophetic warning, ignoring any potential backlash from what Senator John McCain referred to as a “gas station masquerading as a country.” They ignorantly believed that, in case of a hostile response, economic sanctions would be sufficient to quash any resistance and turn Russia into submission.

On the other side of the globe was Andrey Belousov, Russia’s current minister of defense and, at that time, Putin’s trusted economic adviser. As a prominent economist, Belousov convinced Putin that, contrary to the widespread expectations, the Russian economy would not only overcome Western sanctions and maintain its export potential, but the sanctions would hurt and weaken the West more than they would do to Russia. Additionally, sanctions would compel Russian enterprises to manufacture goods and provide services previously sourced from the West, thus diversifying the industrial base and reducing reliance on imports.

Paradoxically, when the sanctions were imposed, he was not only vindicated, but they led to a more favorable outcome than Belousov initially anticipated. The sanctions have violated the core tenets of capitalism, such as the sanctity of contracts, protection of private property, and confidence in the banking system. As a result, there was no longer a need to acquire licenses for proprietary technologies and products, as Russian businesses could easily replicate them. It was a major windfall for the Russian economy.

Belousov’s appointment as the Minister of Defense recognizes that, after two years of war, his assessment that the Russian economy was significantly stronger than expected, while the combined economies of the West, which exceeded Russian GDP by twenty times, were much weaker than expected, proved correct.

Russia has managed to out-produce the West in terms of materiel and military equipment, showcasing rapid adaptation of its industry and army to any sophisticated weapons deployed by NATO while also making advances in modern warfare.

Moscow’s recent increase in military spending from 4.1 percent to 7.8 percent of GDP suggests that Belousov has also prevailed in his emphasis on state spending to boost arms production and consequently stimulate the economy.

Russia is not only looking to rebuild and expand its military-industrial complex but also intends to use it as a source of revenue. The Moscow exhibition of Western armor destroyed in Ukraine serves not only to boost patriotism among the Russian population but also to showcase to potential foreign buyers the shortcomings of Western equipment, particularly American weaponry. The key message is that Russian weapons are not only on par with Western ones; in certain aspects, they even outperform them and come at a much lower cost.

Military resurgence led to a geopolitical resurgence.

Friends and foes around the globe have acknowledged Russia’s capacity to endure the sanctions and resist the US and a united Europe economically and militarily. As the tides of war slowly favored Russia, Putin’s goals became geopolitical rather than military. During his recent visit to China, he presented himself as an emissary of destiny whose mission is to restore Russia’s national grandeur and assume a major role in East-West relations.

Although there were no discussions about establishing an alliance, numerous national interests support economic, military, and diplomatic collaboration. These interests are motivated primarily by Western trade practices inconsistent with the philosophy of free market capitalism and the proliferation of moral values, for which the people of Russia and China share a mutual disdain.

Epictetus, a Greek Stoic philosopher, wrote about 2000 years ago, “We cannot choose our external circumstances, but we can always choose how to respond to them.” The Western leaders, whose most distinct feature is negative IQ, instigated an unnecessary war by NATO’s eastward expansion. As George Kennan pointed out, “No one was threatening anybody else.”

The war was supposed to weaken Russia, yet it brought about the reverse of what Washington and its NATO allies set out to accomplish. Russia’s response to adversities will likely result in Russia emerging from this conflict even stronger economically and politically than before.

Alexander G. Markovsky is a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research, a conservative think tank that examines national security, energy, risk analysis, and other public policy issues. He is the author of Anatomy of a Bolshevik and Liberal Bolshevism: America Did Not Defeat Communism, She Adopted It. Mr. Markovsky is the owner and CEO of Litwin Management Services, LLC. He can be reached at alex.g.markovsky@gmail.com

May 24, 2024 | 12 Comments »

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12 Comments / 12 Comments

  1. Russia is waging war against white Christian Ukraine with the aid of anti-Christian communist China, Iran and NK. I find it amusing that western self-proclaimed Christian conservatives are pulling for Russia.

  2. Russia’s situation in Ukraine is very similar to that of Germany when it launched its March 1918 invasion of France, in a final effort to knock Britain and France out of the war.. The offensive pushed the French forces back dramatically, and seemed on the verge of capturing Paris. But the then the finance minister warned the military high command that the treasury was broke and had no more money to pay for the war. The French took advantage of Germany’s inability to pay or supply its soldiers to reverse the battlefield and push the German’s back dramatically. Finally the military high command, led by Hindenberg and Ludendorff, surrendered, more or less, to the allies in November 1918.

  3. The Russians are moving forward on the battlefielf of Ukraine. They are heavily vombarding Kharkov and may take the city. Although the Ukrainian resistance is fierce. However, Ukrainian drone strikes have destroyed a substantial number of oil storage facilities, weapons storage facilities and air bases. And they have almost completely destroyed Russia’s Black Sea fleet. A substantial drop in the revenue Russia receives from its exports of natural gas and petroleum has made it difficult for Russia to continue
    to pay for the war. These developments are the only way to explain Putin’s attorney general’s arrest of seven high-ranking Russian military officers, and his dismissal of several others, including Defense Minister Shoigu. His appointment of a professor of economics with no previous military experience to be the new Minister of Defense is evidence that Russia is running out of the money to fund the war, and that Russia needs someone who is an expert at cost-cutting and budget management in order to continue fighting.

  4. HI, Adam

    I’m glad we’re both still alive. I think I had my first personal 911 run last week I was OK, by the time we got to the hospital.

    Wife and I got our ballots in the box — something to live for. 🙂

  5. Adam

    You are not simply a supporter of Zelensky. You are a NeoCon. Defend your position on Ukraine.

  6. Was this discussed on Israpundit?

    Zelenskyy says he can’t consider Russia-Ukraine war equal to conflict in Gaza
    ‘Russia’s occupation and invasion of Ukraine did not begin with a terrorist attack by people with Ukrainian citizenship on the territory of Russia,’ says Ukraine’s president
    Burc Eruygur |
    19.12.2023 – Update : 19.12.2023
    Zelenskyy says he can’t consider Russia-Ukraine war equal to conflict in Gaza

    ISTANBUL

    Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Tuesday that he cannot consider the Russia-Ukraine war equal to the Israel-Palestine conflict in Gaza.

    “Russia’s occupation and invasion of Ukraine did not begin with a terrorist attack by people with Ukrainian citizenship on the territory of Russia,” Zelenskyy said during an end-of-year news conference in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv in response to a question by Anadolu.

    Zelenskyy argued that in the case of the Russia-Ukraine war, people lived in their own independent state and “the enemy came in and killed our people.”

    “So these are different things,” he said.

    (I question the veracity of how war started)

    Zelenskyy also said that Ukraine recognizes the independence of both Israeli and Palestinian people, as well as the “tragedy” ongoing in the region and its humanitarian consequences.

    https://www.aa.com.tr/en/russia-ukraine-war/zelenskyy-says-he-can-t-consider-russia-ukraine-war-equal-to-conflict-in-gaza/3087372#:~:text=Zelenskyy%20also%20said%20that%20Ukraine,region%20and%20its%20humanitarian%20consequences.

    Especially the last point.

  7. Michael

    Yes, as you say, some are saying Putin realizes he is losing the Ukraine invasion; and he does not want his ultimate defeat to lead him to the fates of Saddam Hussein and Muamar Kadaffy.

    Then you will likewise not defend Netanyahu… Why you people on a Jewish site?

  8. The sanctions have been biting more than the Russophiles realize. Many Russian factories as well as oil and natural gas mining facilities were built with the assistance of Western companies who have severed their trade relationships with Russia as a result of the sanctions. The result is that many Russian factories and oil and gas wells have trouble finding replacement parts when some parts wear out or break, and need rplacemnt. The workers at these facilities do the best they can by either building their own replacement parts or buying “authentic” Western manufactured parts on the international black market. However, the homemade replacement parts often don’t work too well, and the imported “authentic” Western-manufactured parts bought on the international black market are very expensive. The result is that Russia’s production of goods for everyday, non-military use has been curtailed. Of course Russia manufactures plenty of parts for its own military equipment. But production for civilian use, including production of cars, has been slowed by the spare-parts crisis, leading to prohibitedly high prices for many consumer goods.

  9. Hi, Adam. We cross-posted.

    I haven’t paid much attention to Russia the past few days; and of course China gets scant coverage anymore as well. Both those dictators have been occupied for the past few years, cleaning their respective empires — not of corruption, which they use for an excuse, but of potential rivals. This trend has accelerated during the past year.

    Isn’t this what happened before in those places, under Sun / Mao and Lenin / Stalin (and also Hitler and others)? It will happen in the West as well, if the new oligarchs succeed in establishing their “Great Reset” revolution.

    Yes, as you say, some are saying Putin realizes he is losing the Ukraine invasion; and he does not want his ultimate defeat to lead him to the fates of Saddam Hussein and Muamar Kadaffy.

    It’s too hard to get fair coverage of that situation, though. I’ve really soured on Denys Davidov and the Times, who now openly mock Donald Trump to win favor with the Bidenists. That’s a bad move, in my opinion.

  10. Additionally, sanctions would compel Russian enterprises to manufacture goods and provide services previously sourced from the West, thus diversifying the industrial base and reducing reliance on imports.

    This is the old Communism & Cold War model. During that contest, the Communist Bloc isolated itself from the Great Power bloc ot the US, UK, Canada, France, Italy, Germany, and Japan (the G-7). There was no interconvertibility of currencies between the two blocs, no military trade, no large-scale exchange in the areas of education and athletics, etc. The Communists compared themselves among themselves, and the G-7 did likewise. Unfortunately for the Communists, the West had a stronger, more powerful ideological base that encouraged investment, competition and innovation. The Eastern Bloc ultimately capitulated, and strove to copy Western ways. In the case of both Russia and China, this brief period of unity and progress is now being systematically dismantled by the two “Caesers” (a nod to the illustration accompanying the OP), to make way for a new Stalin-Mao regime. They both want to repeat the former mistakes, but somehow “this time” it will miraculously have a different result. Someone once called this the definition of madness.

  11. Markovsky is not aware of the latest developments concerning the Russian military. Not his fault in this case because information about this matter only came out in the last few days. Putin clearly does not share Markovsky’s view that Russia is winning the war. He has been conducting a massive purge of the Russian military over the past few days. At least seven high-ranking Russian army officers have been arreated over the past few days on corruption charges.
    They have been replaced by officers who are not well known to the public. Other prominent military people have been fired, including minister Shoigu, who has been the hMinister of Defense for several years. He has been repllaced by an economist with no military experience. Obviously, Putin is very concerned about cutting costs of the Russian military. Obviously he is very concerned about corruption and embezzlement in the Russian military, which has been reported inWestern sources for years. Putin’s purge suggests that these allegations are true. Obviously Russia is running out of money to fund the war.