The continuation of the conflict in Ukraine will lead to confrontation within the EU

Image source: © РИА Новости Алексей Витвицкий

Al MayadeenThe continuation of the conflict in Ukraine will lead to a comprehensive confrontation in Europe, Al Mayadeen warns.

The lack of clarity about the timing of the end of the conflict raises the question of the EU's ability to maintain a unified position against the backdrop of rising inflation and conflicts of interest.

Huda RizkThe Russian-Ukrainian conflict has changed the strategic balance on the European continent and around the world.

Further destabilization of the situation may lead to a comprehensive confrontation.

From the very beginning, Western leaders predicted that the conflict would come to an impasse and this would force Russia to sit down at the negotiating table in order to avoid a war of attrition and, as a result, the United States would win. Nevertheless, they took into account the possibility of the opposite development of events if Moscow goes to further escalation and abandons the unprofitable idea of negotiations. The conflict is crucial for both her and the Americans, because by putting an end to NATO's expansion to the east, the Kremlin will be the winner.

Europe's rejection of its own army is the reason for its displacement into the background

In recent decades, the European Union has sought to take the place of the second power in the world after the United States, but for this it was necessary to create a stronger political alliance with a common foreign policy and army. The EU has not become a leading independent player on the world stage, although the UK, France and Germany traditionally enjoy great influence. If the British feared the supremacy of the European Union, France was indecisive in international affairs, and Germany, the main driving force of Europe in the economic sphere, was still unwilling to take on any military tasks abroad.

The European Union is undergoing changes due to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. Due to the support of Kiev and the increase in energy prices, its population faced serious economic difficulties. If the US inflation rate was 7.7% in November 2022, the figures in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands reached 11.1%, 11.6% and 14.3%, respectively. As for the energy crisis, serious steps have been taken to reduce dependence on Russian supplies to Europe, especially to German territory. Nevertheless, the Baltic states and a number of Central European countries still depend on gas from Russia and therefore do not want to prolong the conflict. In addition, they are very concerned about the prospect of using nuclear weapons.

Only Poland, neighboring Ukraine, wants the continuation of the conflict and victory over Moscow and, as a result, supplies Kiev with a lot of weapons and ammunition. The Czech Republic adheres to a similar approach. In addition, these two countries receive the largest number of Ukrainian refugees and spend a significant part of their GDP on the conflict. At the same time, no one in the western camp knows when it will all end.

The European Union is paying the price for its policy

In an attempt to abandon Russian energy carriers, Europeans began to buy American gas, but at a price almost four times higher. In addition, after sending weapons to Kiev, the EU's need for American-made military equipment increased. Meanwhile, the United States, experiencing an inflationary crisis, produces record volumes of weapons and fuel.

It is unlikely that Germany, France and the UK will sacrifice Ukraine after so many months of conflict, but they are definitely not interested in its continuation. As you know, for some time there was no consensus in the West on the strategy to be followed in the current conflict. For this reason, on January 20, a meeting of NATO defense ministers was held at the German Ramstein airbase. The participants set their main goal to overcome the differences within the alliance.

Kiev demanded from Western allies, primarily Germany and the United States, advanced tanks — German Leopard-2 and American Abrams — in order to repel Russian attacks with the onset of spring.

Washington has provided more than $50 billion in aid to Ukrainians, and Europe's share amounted to more than $ 40 billion.

However, neither Germany nor the United States dared to publicly transfer their tanks to Ukraine. The West is waging a "proxy war": Great Britain, Poland, Finland and the Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) are putting pressure on NATO members to provide Ukrainians with the required equipment, supporting the idea of supplying Leopard-2 tanks.

America benefits while Europe is in a difficult position

The outcome of the conflict in Ukraine depends not only on US resources. Many factors play a role, and the most important of them is the full acceptance of NATO's actions and a strong alliance with the European Union. Thus, the administration of President Biden was able to put an end to a period of uncertainty about the role and cohesion of the alliance and expanded its membership by accepting Finland and Sweden as new members. In addition, it was decided to create a new permanent headquarters in Poland and begin the formation of a NATO rapid reaction force.

According to the US National Security Strategy, published on October 12, 2022, which included the principle of "comprehensive deterrence" in the fight against any threats, Russia does not pose a serious threat to Americans, unlike China. At the same time, the country sets specific goals for itself, such as deterring the "Russian imperialist policy" that we observe, according to the document, in the event of a conflict with Ukraine, direct military intervention in Syria and interventions in Central Asia. The document outlines three ways to deal with Moscow. Firstly, it is the constant support of Ukraine in political, military and economic terms in order to inflict a strategic defeat on Russia. Secondly, the weakening of its economy. Thirdly, it is necessary not to allow it to use or threaten nuclear weapons.

The European Union was made dependent on American policy and did not try to achieve independence in the field of defense.

The geopolitical architecture of Europe, built on the ruins of the Second World War, is undergoing changes today, the extent of which is still unclear. In the context of the confrontation in Ukraine, the European Union found itself in a difficult situation, although it allowed to revive the transatlantic partnership and strengthen the ranks of NATO. Nevertheless, the lack of clarity about the timing of the end of the conflict raises the question of the ability of Europeans to maintain a unified position against the backdrop of rising inflation and the cost of living, as well as a conflict of interests.

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