Washington Announces $3 Billion Military Aid to Kiev. Worldwide Impacts, Devastating Economic and Social Consequences
On August 24, Ukraine’s Independence Day, Washington announced about $3 billion in military aid to the country. According to the White House, Kiev is to receive “air defense systems, artillery systems and munitions, counter-unmanned aerial systems, and radars” to ensure it can “continue to defend itself over the long term”. The question is precisely how long – the United States is already overburdened there, as Europe is quietly abandoning the cause, while the Americans are also escalating tensions in Asia with China over Taiwan.
Six months on, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine has brought millions of migrants and refugees to Europe. In a post-pandemic global economy already in a bad shape over a global supply chain crisis, the heavy sanctions against Moscow have, to a large degree, backfired against the US and Europe, and also increased the risk of food insecurity in Africa and the Middle East.
Russia has admittedly been slowing down its operations so as to minimize civilian casualties and restore peace in the areas it controls, as Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu remarked on August 24. Albeit ridiculed by the Western press, this allegation is indeed credible, considering the fact that Ukraine has, from the very beginning, militarized residential areas as part of human shields tactic (as denounced by Amnesty International) – and also considering the fact that, most experts expected Russia’s operation to end very quickly with its victory.
Many Western experts have been advising Washington to exercise restraint, while concluding that the current crisis was caused by the US own overextension of its power and by NATO’s expansionism. Chinese experts, such as Cui Heng, an East China Normal University’s research fellow, hold similar views. He sees the current Russian military campaign as the “aftershock” from a 2014 crisis initiated by NATO’s expansion and American use of “color revolution to jeopardize regional order and balance of power.”
Song Zhongping, adjunct professor and commentator, in turn argues that, while facing NATO’s eastward expansion, Moscow had no choice but to try to create a buffer zone to safeguard its own national security. The conflict, he adds, may have benefitted American industrial complex, but has brought major social and economic troubles to Europe. He concludes that a prolonged conflict can backfire on the US itself, as its sanctions have brought a “reverse-dollarization” and even fomented a new multilateralism tendency amongst African, Asian, and Latin-American states, which have been increasingly opting for non-alignment and multi-alignment.
Song Zhongping’s point is clearly exemplified by the BRICS group consensus at broadening BRICS+ cooperation so as to include other emerging states, such as Turkey, and even Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. Even a historically staunch US ally such as Saudi Arabia has come to find the US dollar hegemony system to be quite risky and is therefore seeking alternatives.
On August 23, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg himself, while urging Western nations to continue providing aid to Ukraine, admitted that it will be hard and that European countries will have to “pay a price” for such a support. There will be “consequences”, according to him, “not only in the military sphere, but also for industries”, and therefore Europe must increase its production. He added that the coming winter will be tough, but also said that it could take “years” to support Kiev. While supporting Ukraine, he said, NATO must also make sure there is no escalation.
Those are indeed hard sacrifices the US-led NATO is asking of its European members. One wonders how exactly the European bloc might benefit from such an endeavor.
It is widely known, for instance, that the dramatic energy price rises in Europe since 2021 could have been at least partly avoided if Nord Stream-2 pipeline connecting Russia and Germany had not been delayed. The latter suspended the certification of the pipeline on February 22, after Russia recognized Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics and US sanctions ensued. Nord Stream 2 AG, as a result of that, filed for bankruptcy and fired all employees – although the bankruptcy procedure has been suspended by a court decision, the matter has seriously affected the local economy in Germany.
Moreover, Germany’s Central Bank has said the country had not experienced such high inflation rates since the 1970 oil crisis. Some estimate it could soon top 10 percent this autumn. Europe is currently haunted by the specter of a recession, amid limited energy to warm households during the coming winter, and rising food prices – which increase the risk of food insecurity.
Meanwhile, Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline is running empty.
Russia is currently supplying only 20 percent of what it normally supplies, due to maintenance issues and Western sanctions, and it has announced it will completely shut the pipeline for 3 days, for maintenance – the flow could thus decrease even further. To ensure that households, hospitals and schools are not left literally in the dark and freezing, German industry will be the first to see cuts in supplies. In this case, with factories shutdowns and working hours reductions, one can only imagine how this would affect German workers. Europe can of course reduce its energy dependence on Russia, but such a thing can only be accomplished in the long run.
It is not even clear whether Europe can survive next winter, and the bloc faces a deep crisis while it embraces Ukraine in contradiction with its own values.
To sum it up, the US-led world order is clearly collapsing, while Washington tries, at any cost, to prolong a conflict which benefits no one.
Uriel Araujo is a researcher with a focus on international and ethnic conflicts.