Fortunes of War

Before the wheels of war have a chance to stick in the mud of Ukraine’s autumn rains, they are turning to reverse in a direction entirely contrary to Russia’s intended war aims.

Vladimir Putin’s speech on September 7th at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, indicated the potential scale of strategic defeat Russia is facing from its conflict with the West over Ukraine.  

More significant than his denial that Russia had lost ‘nothing’ because of the operation, (news to the thousands of injured and the bereaved families), was his assertion that the world is now orientating economically towards the East, as the West declines. 

This would be wishful thinking if Russia was to actually benefit from this.  In reality it’s tantamount to an admission that Russia’s destiny now is to effectively be a vassal state of Chinese imperialism.  A tarmacked petrol station of the ‘Belt and Road’ initiative. 

This, accompanied by the humiliating intelligence that the Russian army is increasingly dependent on North Korean castoffs as NATO rapidly integrates the high-tech military assets of its imminent new members Sweden and Finland, couldn’t be further from the plan of February 24th.

While the world’s fuel industries enrich themselves on war profiteering and arms manufacturer’s fortunes mount with new contracts to replace equipment at home and keep the Western war effort supplied. Russia is now forced to give up its strategic initiative in eastern Ukraine.  In surrendering its few key strategic gains of the last 7 months, including its supply and control base for its Donbas offensive, the city of Izyum, Russia faces further retreat or reinforcing from the south, risking the loss of Kherson before winter sets in. 

The Ukrainian government is hailing a turning point – again perhaps news to the fighters and the dying – but it could in fact lead to a dramatic and frightening escalation.  Russia is now under increasing pressure to change the categorisation from a ‘Special Military Operation’ to a war, it’s only constitutional route to official mobilisation and mass call up. 

Too late to change events on the ground in what millionaire Zelensky describes as the most crucial 90 days ahead in Ukrainian history, but conflicts have only ever escalated from mobilisation and workers on both sides will ultimately pay an ever-higher price.

The war continues to serve the West as its ‘go to’ excuse as to why bosses’ profits must rise while workers’ wages fall in real terms, but as the Queen’s death in the UK shows, the rich will resort to any opportunity to say we are all in this together. 

Here the unions and the Labour Party seem to agree with them, calling off our only effective weapon against the war abroad, which is class struggle at home.

We are told by Ukraine’s First Lady, Madame Zelensky, that we in the UK should count our blessings, as we are only paying for war in the price of fuel while Ukraine is paying the price in blood. 

This “let them eat cake.” response may well come back to bite her as anger mounts when poverty, cold and shortages increase the deaths of workers and the poor in the western capitalist heartlands. 

Social peace because of a dead queen will only last so long.  If too long, the class struggle will rightly bite the union bosses too.

Article by Dreyfus 12/09/22