Hybrid War is being fought predominantly in the economic/financial battleground - and the pain dial for the collective West will only go up.
By Pepe Escobar, posted with the author's permission and widely cross posted.
The ironclad fictional "narrative" imposed all across NATOstan is that Ukraine is "winning".
So why would weapons peddler retrofitted as Pentagon head Lloyd "Raytheon" Austin literally beg since late February to have his phone calls answered by Russian Defense Minister Shoigu, only to have his wish finally granted?
It's now confirmed by one of my top intel sources. The call was a direct consequence of panic. The United States Government (USG) by all means wants to scotch the detailed Russian investigation - and accumulation of evidence - on the US bioweapon labs in Ukraine, as I outlined in a previous column.
This phone call happened exactly after an official Russian statement to the UN Security Council on May 13: we will use articles 5 and 6 of the Convention on the Prohibition of Bioweapons to investigate the Pentagon's biological "experiments" in Ukraine.
That was reiterated by Under Secretary-General of the UN in charge of disarmament, Thomas Markram, even as all ambassadors of NATO member countries predictably denied the collected evidence as "Russian disinformation".
Shoigu cold see the call coming eons away. Reuters, merely quoting the proverbial "Pentagon official", spun that the allegedly one-hour-long call led to nothing. Nonsense. Austin, according to the Americans, demanded a "ceasefire" - which must have originated a Siberian cat smirk on Shoigu's face.
Shoigu knows exactly which way the wind is blowing on the ground - for Ukrainian Armed Forces and UkroNazis alike. It's not only the Azovstal debacle - and Kiev's all-around army breakdown.
After the fall of Popasnaya - the crucial, most fortified Ukrainian stronghold in Donbass - the Russians and Donetsk/Luhansk forces have breached defenses along four different vectors to north, northwest, west and south. What's left of the Ukrainian front is crumbling - fast, with a massive cauldron subdivided in a maze of mini-cauldrons: a military disaster the USG cannot possibly spin.
Now, in parallel, we can also expect full exposure - on overdrive - of the Pentagon bioweapons racket. The only "offer you can't refuse" left to the USG would be to present something tangible to the Russians to avoid a full investigation.
That's not gonna happen. Moscow is fully aware that going public with illegal work on banned biological weapons is an existential threat to the US Deep State. Especially when documents seized by the Russians show that Big Pharma - via Pfizer, Moderna, Merck and Gilead - was involved in several "experiments". Fully exposing the whole maze, from the start, was one of Putin's stated objectives.
More "military-technical measures"?
Three days after the UN presentation, the board of the Russian Foreign Ministry held a special session to discuss "the radically changed geopolitical realities that have developed as a result of the hybrid war against our country unleashed by the West - under the pretext of the situation in Ukraine - unprecedented in scale and ferocity, including the revival in Europe of a racist worldview in the form of cave Russophobia, an open course for the 'abolition' of Russia and everything Russian."
So it's no wonder "the aggressive revisionist course of the West requires a radical revision of Russia's relations with unfriendly states."
We should expect "a new edition of the Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation" coming out soon.
This new Foreign Policy Concept will elaborate on what Foreign Minister Lavrov once again stressed at a meeting honoring the 30th Assembly of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy: the US has declared an all-round Hybrid War on Russia. The only thing lacking, as it stands, is a formal declaration of war.
Beyond the disinformation fog veiling the application of Finland and Sweden - call them the Dumb and Dumber Nordics - to join NATO, what really matters is another instance of declaration of war: the prospect of missiles with nuclear warheads stationed really close to Russian borders. Moscow already warned the Finns and Swedes, politely, that this would be dealt with it via "military-technical measures". That's exactly what Washington - and NATO minions - were told would happen before the start of Operation Z.
And of course this goes much deeper, involving Romania and Poland as well. Bucharest already has Aegis Ashore missile launchers capable of sending Tomahawks with nuclear warheads at Russia, while Warsaw is receiving the same systems. To cut to the chase, if there's no de-escalation, they will all eventually end up receiving Mr. Khinzal's hypersonic business card.
NATO member Turkey, meanwhile, plays a deft game, issuing its own list of demands before even considering the Nordics' gamble. Ankara wants no more sanctions on its purchase of S-400s and on top if be re-included in the F-35 program. It will be fascinating to watch what His Master's Voice will come up with to seduce the Sultan. The Nordics engaged in a self-correcting "clear unequivocal stance" against the PKK and the PYD is clearly not enough for the Sultan, who relished muddying the waters even more as he stressed that buying Russian energy is a "strategic" issue for Turkey.
Counteracting financial Shock'n Awe
By now it's evidently clear that open-ended Operation Z targets unipolar Hegemon power, the infinite expansion of vassalized NATO, and the world's financial architecture - an intertwined combo that largely transcends the Ukraine battleground.
Serial Western sanctions package hysteria ended up triggering Russia's so far quite successful counter-financial moves. Hybrid War is being fought predominantly in the economic/financial battleground - and the pain dial for the collective West will only go up: inflation, higher commodity prices, breakdown of supply chains, exploding cost of living, impoverishment of the middle classes, and unfortunately for great swathes of the Global South, outright poverty and starvation.
In the near future, as insider evidence surfaces, a convincing case will be made that the Russian leadership even gamed the Western financial gamble/ blatant robbery of over $300 billion in Russian reserves.
This implies that already years ago - let's say, at least from 2016, based on analyses by Sergey Glazyev - the Kremlin knew this would inevitably happen. As trust remains a rigid foundation of a monetary system, the Russian leadership may have calculated that the Americans and their vassals, driven by blind Russophobia, would play all their cards at once when push came to shove - utterly demolishing global trust on "their" system.
Because of Russia's infinite natural resources, the Kremlin may have factored that the nation would eventually survive the financial Shock'n Awe - and even profit from it (ruble appreciation included). The reward is just too sweet: opening the way to The Doomed Dollar - without having to ask Mr. Sarmat to present his nuclear business card.
Russia could even entertain the hypothesis of getting a mighty return on those stolen funds. A great deal of Western assets - totaling as much as $500 billion - may be nationalized if the Kremlin so chooses.
So Russia is winning not only militarily but also to a large extent geopolitically - 88% of the planet does not align with NATOstan hysteria - and of course in the economic/financial sphere.
This in fact is the key Hybrid War battleground where the collective West is being checkmated. One of the next key steps will be an expanded BRICS coordinating their dollar-bypassing strategy.
None of the above should overshadow the still to be measured interconnected repercussions of the mass surrender of Azov neo-Nazis at UkroNazistan Central in Azovstal.
The mythical Western "narrative" about freedom-fighting heroes imposed since February by NATOstan media collapsed with a single blow. Cue to the thunderous silence all over the Western infowar front, where no mutts even attempted to sing that crappy, "winning" Eurovision song.
What happened, in essence, is that the creme de la creme of NATO-trained neo-Nazis, "advised" by top Western experts, weaponized to death, entrenched in deep concrete anti-nuclear bunkers in the bowels of Azovstal, was either pulverized or forced to surrender like cornered rats.
Novorossiya as a game-changer
The Russian General Staff will be adjusting their tactics for the major follow-up in Donbass - as the best Russian analysts and war correspondents incessantly debate. They will have to face an inescapable problem: as much as the Russian methodically grind down the - disaggregated - Ukrainian Army in Donbass, a new NATO army is being trained and weaponized in western Ukraine.
So there is a real danger that depending on the ultimate long-term aims of Operation Z - which are only shared by the Russian military leadership - Moscow runs the risk of encountering, in a few months, a mobile and better weaponized incarnation of the demoralized army it is now destroying. And this is exactly what the Americans mean by "weakening" Russia.
As it stands, there are several reasons why a new Novorossiya reality may turn out to be a positive game-changer for Russia. Among them:
- The economic/logistics complex from Kharkov to Odessa - along Donetsk, Luhansk, Dnepropetrovsk, Zaporozhye, Kherson, Nikolaev - is intimately linked with Russian industry.
- By controlling the Sea of Azov - already a de facto "Russian lake" - and subsequently the Black Sea, Russia will have total control of export routes for the region's world-class grain production. Extra bonus: total exclusion of NATO.
- All of the above suggests a concerted drive for the development of an integrated agro-heavy industry complex - with the extra bonus of serious tourism potential.
Under this scenario, a remaining Kiev-Lviv rump Ukraine, not incorporated to Russia, and of course not rebuilt, would be at best subjected to a no-fly zone plus selected artillery/missile/drone strikes in case NATO continues to entertain funny ideas.
This would be a logical conclusion for a Special Military Operation focused on precision strikes and a deliberate emphasis on sparing civilian lives and infrastructure while methodically disabling the Ukrainian military/logistics spectrum. All of that takes time. Yet Russia may have all the time in the world, as we all keep listening to the sound of the collective West spiraling down.