Will Russia Expand the Fight Beyond Ukraine in to Inflict Damage on the West? 

Rolo Slavsky asked me some questions. Here is one of them:

Will Russia expand the fight beyond Ukraine in some way to inflict damage on the West? 

Russia isn’t interested in damaging the West or taking it on. Russia is interested in finding ways to manage and limit Western interference in its war. Problem is how to achieve that.

Russia has that sort of leverage with Israel and Turkey because the two have their own bleeding ulcers that Russia could aggravate and because the two are capable of recognizing and acting in their national interest. Thus Turkey, despite greatly lamenting Russia’s expansion on the Black Sea, unlike the rest of NATO, isn’t shipping caches of arms to eastern Poland and — I would bet — sought payment for new Bayraktars in full. Israel has sent symbolic quantities of non-lethal aid to appease DC, but won’t even sell weapons to Ukraine and shot down a direct US request to allow the transfer of its excellent anti-tank missiles from Germany and Estonia.

How can Russia replicate that with the West? At exactly the wrong time for Russia the West is finally not embroiled in any quagmires itself. Even if it was, would the West be able to understand the Russian message? Russia can fire off a warning shot against Israel in Syria, and Israel being a classical self-interested power like Russia will know what that is about. But indicate a willingness to aggravate Western concerns and agendas and it can just as easily be seized on by the media and the hardliners to pave the way for even more interference in Ukraine.

Honestly, I don’t think Russia has good options or leverage here. But on the other hand, DC has been respectful of Russian power at least in the sense of eschewing getting involved directly. It is holding itself to a stricter boundary than the Soviet Union did in North Vietnam, so that’s something.

The US does recognize Ukraine is de facto in the Russian sphere of influence — if Russia is able to swallow it. It will try to cause Russia maximum indigestion but isn’t invested in any outcome. That’s quite the luxury that other powers the US intervenes against do not enjoy.

Here are the others: link

  1. Agarwal says

    It’s economic considerations that Washington and especially European capitals should be thinking about, but are not. Sanctions have been a surprising dud. I would argue that they achieved two things actually beneficial to Russia – end enormous ongoing Russian capital flight and raise energy prices enough to lead to record export revenues for Russia. They have also resulted in enormous energy inflation especially in Europe, hitting households and less talked about hitting European manufacturers who went from enjoying a cheap Russian gas price advantage to now having higher energy costs while Chinese competitors suddenly enjoy lower energy prices.

    I think everyone agrees oil & gas sanctions have been an enormous failure, the question is the seller’s boycott of Russia that the West is engaging in. I personally think this will have a net positive impact on Russia over the next few years, if sanctions actually stay in place that long. There are workarounds like sourcing Chinese components and capital goods, and just as importantly using sanction busters like Turkey and India to supply European components. I suspect that in all but the most sensitive areas (where there are adequate substitutes like Chinese domestic IP chips), Europe will turn a blind eye because Russia is the world’s 4th largest importer of machine tools and machine tool manufacturers in Northern Europe (and Japan) tend to be SMEs that need the money. More beneficially for Russia than just sanction busting or sourcing from China, the country will likely focus on making as many of its important inputs as it can. It has a chance to significantly develop its machine tool industry as well as oil & gas capital goods specifically. There is also likely to be increased investment in research universities (in fact a big initiative/funding increase was started even before the invasion).

    1. Oscar Peterson says

      Good points.

      When you say “capital flight,” you mean a reverse capital flight back into Russia.

      I agree that the sanctions afford opportunities for Russia if it has or can acquire the capital to invest in rebuilding domestic production capacity. Money to rebuild Mariupol, Severodonetsk and other places will have to be found somewhere too.

      1. Agarwal says

        Russia has been a huge net capital exporter for 30 years. We are talking trillions of dollars leaving the country over that period of time. I don’t know if there is now a net flow of previously expatriated money back into Russia, because of asset freezes, but there is now no new capital flight. Not only because oligarchs can’t safely take more money to Europe, but more importantly because the Russian government is no longer converting a big chunk of export earnings into $/€ forex reserves. There is now more money sloshing around inside Russia than before the invasion, and growing every month.

        To be honest I almost feel like the actual war itself is beside the point, other than the tragedy of many people dying on both sides. I never thought Russia needed more land, and if Russia wanted more people they would be better off trying more pro-natalist policies instead of capturing 10-20 million sullen Ukrainians. I still think Russia will take the Donbas and most likely Odessa as well, but the real outcomes will be on the economic front, where I think sanctions genuinely present strong opportunities for Russian development and recapturing some of the Soviet strength in science, technology, and industry, but without the inefficient economic system. But I don’t discount the possibility that it will all be for naught because sanctions will be dropped in 6-12 months and trade go back mostly (but not entirely) to pre-invasion patterns.

  2. YakovKedmi says

    One alternator medium talking to another. The question ye should ask each other, will there be a Russia after Ukraine ?

    Everyone, on all four sides of this Special Operation, carefully and religiously avoids asking the question (much less answering it):
    how & why it came that the Putin Russia leadership expected that the U.S. & NATO response won’t be anything more than what it was following the taking of Crimea ?
    what gave the Putin Russia leadership the idea that Joe Biden’s presidency would be a good time to conquer Ukraine ?

    The other group of questions that no one is willing to ask:
    Russia employs 1000s of spies; how did it happen that based on the reports of these spies the Putin Russia leadership concluded that in Ukraine they would receive salt & bread and flowers ? how did it happen that 1000s of spies were completely wrong ?
    //Had they known what was awaiting them in Ukraine, not one of the political or military leaders (not even Zhirinovsky) would have voted for this attack on Ukraine !!!

    General Shamanov
    (the Russian airborne elite unit at the airport outside Kiev was administered a spectacular bloody nose by the Ukrainian Infantry)

    The airborne general says, ‘Oh well, it was a mistake to expect flowers’
    No Sir & Robert, you cannot just brush it under the carpet like that ! Ye assembled a 200,000 men Expeditionary Force and cluster-fucked yourselves. You have to examine, and you have to expose yourselves to reality. You cannot just say that the whole entire political leadership and high command was/is made of Forest Gumps and Olga Skabyevas.

    In the long interview general Shamanov displays the deranged megalomaniac mindset —as if the guy had a bubble around his head and couldn’t imagine anything outside it. To put cake on the icing, he recapitulates how Empire Russia started on a hundred mile square Principality of Muscovy, but through blood & gore it conquered nation after nation, and grew larger and larger. And every conquered tribe in this gigantic cemetery of nations had to become “Russian” otherwise he was a Nazi who had to be denazified.


    There is a group of questions which the ignorant groupies in America should answer (if they had the capacity to think & reason).
    Since 2014 Jeff Rense, Alex Jones, David Icke have been telling their victims that V.V. Putin is in shining armour, cuming on horse-back, to save the village-idiots from George Soros and the Rothschild banking house. Have the professional charlatans of the conspiracy industry and the alternator media been infiltrated and penetrated by Russian operatives ? (we already know that they are ignorant liars) Prior to 2014 none them was a Putin fan.

    1. Kris says

      Maybe this is also a main question to know if it is really true…


      and then there is this:


    2. Arraya says

      I think the west v Russia binary may not be the best lens to view this through

  3. mijj says

    the West is doing quite well using Russia to inflict damage on itself.
    It seems Russia’s mere existence is giving the West cause to damage itself.

    1. Drapetomaniac says

      The West is run by children that have to have things their own way.

      It’s in run to failure mode.

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