The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Macron & Many European Leaders Call For WWIII?

So, French leader Macron thinks Europe should send troops to Ukraine to fight Russia. (This is colloquially known as “declaring war on Russia.”)

rench President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday that sending Western troops to Ukraine should not be ruled out, as European leaders concluded a summit on supporting Kyiv.

“There is no consensus today to send ground troops officially but … nothing is ruled out,” Macron said at a press conference in Paris, where the meeting had just wrapped up. “We will do whatever it takes to ensure that Russia cannot win this war.”

“The defeat of Russia is indispensable to the security and stability of Europe,” the French president added.

The subject was first raised publicly by Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, who said a “restricted document” ahead of the summit had implied “that a number of NATO and EU member states were considering sending troops to Ukraine on a bilateral basis.”

Macron also announced that leaders agreed to set up a ninth capability coalition on deep strikes that will focus on medium- and long-range missiles. Other coalitions include artillery, air defense and de-mining.

This is, in effect, an acknowledgment that Europe knows Ukraine is losing.

So, there are two main possibilities here. First, it’s a negotiating ploy, to get a better deal for Ukraine. Second, they’re serious.

Let’s point out a couple things: Russia is outproducing the entire West in artillery shells and ammunition and Western armories are bare: they’ll run out in two weeks to a month of real war, at most. Second, China is not going to let Russia really lose a war, because they know who’s next and Europe has mostly been very willing to follow the US in anti-Chinese actions.

Iran, obviously, will support Russia as well. They know they’re on the list.

It’s actually not clear that the West would win this war: Russia is out-producing the West in terms of war materials, China is the undisputed largest industrial power in the world and it’s not clear that if other powers step in, China and maybe Iran won’t step in on Russia’s side. They really, really don’t want to: but the defeat of Russia, as already noted, is an existential threat to them.

Next, if either side starts losing, there will be a strong temptation to reach for the nukes.

On a smaller note, if Europe supplies long range missiles and those missiles hit something that matters (say the Kremlin, or the Bolshoi) things could get ugly fast. Seeking to expand the war further into Russia is certainly “legal” but it’s not wise. It won’t change the outcome of the war, it will merely make the war more likely to expand, which is why the German Scholz is correct to oppose it.

All my life, the charge against people outside elite circles has been that we are “un-serious”.

This is extremely un-serious behaviour.

I will note, further, that the reason Europe and the US can’t compete with China and Russia is that they simply refuse to reduce economic rents, lower living costs and make their rich less rich in order to reduce operating costs and oligopolies and monopolies sufficiently to ramp up production, both of war materials and, well, everything else.

They want to live like Kings, our elites, having the South send them materials and the Chinese and other nations send them manufactured goods, while using their populations for rent extraction so they can become richer and richer.

They have confused money with power. Money is only power when it can buy power. And increasingly, in the West, it can only buy power domestically, not internationally.

This is a grave mistake, and the graveyard of Empires.

Fools. And worse than fools.

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Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – February 25, 2024


The Most Likely “War” With Russia Scenario


  1. Oh the coming battles among NATO forces over whose divisions get shovels and which get pitchforks.
    Won’t the return of Russian affiliated portions of Ukraine to Russia enhance European stability by reducing flash points for violence?
    This is a sad attempt to boost flagging NATO (read U.S. especially) economies by priming the fiscal pumps for defense spending. As Mr. Welsh points out, our billionaires are down with our sacrifice, but not theirs. Beyond that is the question of resources for all these armaments. What NATO lacks the Russian Federation has in abundance.
    Amazing what a few well placed COVID infections can do for the course of history. How else to explain these massive misjudgments of Western elites?

  2. Tallifer

    Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine is “colloquially known” as a declaration of war against free Europe.

  3. VietnamVet

    History sure does rhyme. Emmanuel Macron; “The defeat of Russia is indispensable to the security and stability of Europe.” This all started in 2014 when the Obama/Biden Administration decided to do regime changes in Syria, Ukraine and Russia. The Ukraine Maidan Coup succeeded but the Russia and Syria color revolutions failed. This started the proxy world war between NATO and Russia that continues today that has turned into a replay of WWI with drones and missiles.

    The incompetence and delusions are astonishing. France has 280 nuclear weapons. President Macron must have ignored his nuclear launch briefing. There is a reason that “A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.” This statement was first made by Presidents Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev. It is true. As late as spring 2023, Ukraine and NATO said that the summer counteroffensive would retake Crimea although Russia said it would defend its homeland which now includes Crimea with nuclear weapons. Wars between nuclear powers are unwinnable because at some point the loser will use tactical nuclear weapons to avoid defeat. For example, Russia crossing into Poland would trigger a NATO nuclear response. Once triggered, the strategic ICBMs will be ignited to avoid a first strike. On the other hand, the Deep State and PBS NewsHour are prepping for a Ukraine holding action in 2024 and then another conventional weapons offensive in 2025 although the 2023 offensive went nowhere. This will assure the flow of funds to the war profiteers.

    The only realistic way to avoid Armageddon is an Armistice and a DMZ on the line of contact now. If a nuclear war is somehow avoided, the Western Empire will lose the perpetual war with Russia, China and Iran due to their superior resources, manpower, industry, and leadership that isn’t as incompetent. There is a shortage of ocean oil tankers due to the blockade of the Red Sea by the Houthis. Secular USA is already being sectioned into theocratic regions that are imposing travel bans on women seeking reproductive healthcare. Europe and North America will not survive with the neoliberal global aristocracy in charge that enriches itself at the expense of the inhabitants. The fall of western civilization is assured if an equitable society and good government are not restored.

  4. j

    Offtopic, but I hate your new header picture. The lecturing crow has a smug face, and the listening crows are borderline idolizing. I’m not happy with the position this puts me in as your reader, and I find this to be taking away surprisingly much from my years-long enjoyment of your blog. Maybe I’m not the only one? Please reconsider this picture…

  5. Soredemos


    Freedom is when you install Nazi coup governments and plan to commit ethnic cleansing.

  6. Bill R

    Having continually poked the Russian bear, the West was surprised that Russia’s warnings over expanding NATO was Russia’s line in the sand. If the West attacks Russia they will start WW3, and because of their poor economies and weapons, it will quickly escalate.

  7. Feral Finster

    Stop kidding yourselves. Any debate is for show purposes only. By the time you read about a “debate”, the decision has already long been made.

  8. Feral Finster

    Macron is a european, a sniveling cuck and a european who craves the approval of his American Master and will happily start WWIII if that gives him the chance to kiss Masters Feet one more time.

    The fact is, the sociopaths who rule the West would gladly exterminate 99% of life one earth if that was the price of dominion over whatever was left.

  9. GrimJim

    Ah well, so much for that death bet.

    I was too generous; I had not realized the depths of the idiocy to which Western leadership had fallen.

    That they believe they can start WWII and maintain their power, let alone win, is sheer idiotic madness. Such abject psychopathic narcissism.

    Their best “win” from this scenario is getting to their palatial bomb shelters before everything blows… There is no other “winning” scenario.

  10. Mark Level

    Pretty much spot on as usual, Ian. When things like this develop, I usually go to the Duran website for a deeper dive. Alexander Mercouris & Alex Kristoforo have been seriously working the Russia beat for many years.

    Some background on Macron’s bloviating— so about a month ago, Russia (I won’t say “Putin” coz it’s not one-man rule, despite all our propaganda) hit a hotel holding 320 French mercenaries in Ukraine, killing all or most all of them, then called the French ambassador in for a good tongue-lashing. Macron put out a mealy-mouthed missive a couple days’ later denying all those French Mercs died or were even present. It is actually debatable that they were Mercs, most were regular French forces, a few Foreign Legion as well, but the former are straight on the Republic’s dime for payment. AND the French Constitution & laws bar service members from fighting in places not at War with France. (I know, I know, Tallifer could respond in the style of Leona Helmsley & chide “Laws are for the little people!”)

    The Exceptional Empire makes the rules & gives the Orders. E.g., Blinken recently chiding the Russians said NO ONE is allowed to redraw boundaries & borders, but– US did it in Serbia-Kosovo 1990s. Israel is still holding onto the Golan Heights as well as areas of Southern Lebanon decades after invading them, & I believe areas of Syria (which the US illegally occupies as well.) In fact, Blinken was called out by a reporter viz the Golan Heights right after his statement and said “despite the law” (tacit recognition Israel like the US violates international laws) it’s in Israel’s “strategic interest” for “survival” to keep the stolen lands. Oh, but there could be future “negotiations” on the matter– I will assume in a century or two.

    Back to Macron however. Alex K suggested the entry to war language is meant to scare US Republicans into sending the $61 billion so more Ukranians can be ground up in the advancing Russian Meat Grinder. And he agrees with you, the Germans, even the worthless Brits (half their Air Force cannot fly, more or less the same with their formerly world-spanning Navy, thank you Maggie!) have said no to this insane idea.

    I will weigh in on Bill’s concern while closing. I sometimes share your posts on the evil Facebook (for the half dozen of my over 100 “friends” who will read a political post) & I think a graphic like this could turn away views with distraction. I understood that you chose Ravens or Crows as extremely bright avians, practically at a human level, and hadn’t analyzed it in depth to the point of seeing the “Leader” Crow having a smug expression. However, the fact that only one is speaking & 5 eagerly listening does suggest the Great Man thesis & Slave Morality in followers, which I find very contrary to the overall geist of this blog. So I’ll vote maybe change it as well.

    Let’s have Every (Wo)Man a King/Queen & no need for “Leaders, Watch the Parking Meters!” as the bard once sang.

  11. Purple Library Guy

    Seems most of them have now backed off.

  12. mago

    Hey j, I wouldn’t call the new banner
    caca, but maybe Tallifer’s intentional jabs and jibes might qualify. Caw caw said the crow.

    More to the topic, I’m skeptical about the back room money boys allowing the nuclear option because it would mess up their world.
    They can let Macron and his ilk crow all they want. In the end the overlords call the shots, and WWIII is not in their interests, although I could be wrong. It’s happened before.

  13. Keith in Modesto

    Regarding: “The lecturing crow has a smug face, and the listening crows are borderline idolizing.”

    I have no strong feelings for or against the new header image, but I did just spend a little time contemplating the expressions on those crows’ faces, and I can scarcely fathom anyone ascribing either smugness or excessive admiration/reverence to any of those crows.

  14. bruce wilder

    Ian traces the “intellectual” deficit to its most likely source: the governing classes are paid too well by the ruling class to consider any policy that might solve any problem at the expense of our rulers’ income, wealth and gross greed.

    And, since every significant problem is directly tied to the ruling class having rigged the system — every system — in favor of upward redistribution of wealth and income, no problem can addressed by a rational policy or solution.

    It really is the case that politics as seen on teevee and Tick-tok is irrational and unreal, full of stories with little to no factual foundation. My X-twitter is full of absurd conspiracy theories today and not from people I follow.

  15. capelin

    “Officially” send troops.

    Curious as to the reaction of the French public.

    Chiefnerd just retweeted a u.s. army base noise schedule showing increased? heavy artillery/ heavy fight training. Maybe it’s just signaling to the Ruskies.

    @ j

    I had the same thoughts, a little bit, as i’m wary of gurus and hierarchy.

    The thing is, we are kinda all gathered here, as equal beings; but drawn together by what one being, in particular, has to say.

    Perhaps more visually representative of the writings proper, than the comments section.

  16. Jan Wiklund

    Economical crises bring madmen into power, as Keynes said.

    He also said that war is the only reason for government investments that the pourgeoisie can think of.

    But let’s suppose the present warscare is a ruse. That the state bourgeoisie of the Nato countries have observed that the national threat in Russia has permitted the government to shove the oligarchs aside and bring some health into industry, even make it grow. And that the European/North American state bourgeoisies want to repeat the trick: shove our oligarchs out of power and get our industry in shape.

    Of course it isn’t a hot war they want; they know as well as we do that it would be suicide. They want a cold war, like in the 50s. The 50s was a good decade in everything except the cold war, and maybe they want to repeat it?

  17. And the crows arrrrrre — gone! I didn’t object to them. Of course crows look smug. They know they’ll be here when we humans are gone; probably pecking out the eyeballs from our corpses. Ian — remember the Aesop’s Fable of the two men and the donkey, who tried too hard to please the jeering villagers until their beast fell off a bridge and all their goods were lost. You can’t please everybody! The current snippet of apocalyptic artwork is also in keeping with your theme. Charles Hugh Smith uses the image a lot to illustrate his dire posts. There was also a good Twaater thread I saw recently from an art historian about the Top 10 apocalyptic paintings (lotsa Bruegels) that included this. I’d drop a link but I lost track of it.

  18. different clue

    I still hope that someday may be found a way with digital surgery tools to somehow do a photo shop-and-transplant operation which could bring back a replica of the good old raven.

  19. Carborundum

    I find this apparently uncontested notion that the armories are bare quite interesting. I don’t know how it is in other countries, but I know for certain that this is not true for us. I can’t think of a single area where we’ve contributed current issue systems where it’s more than 10% of inventory (and usually it’s been stuff that we’re not actually using due to force manning levels or stuff we purchased). There are consumables where that theshold may have been topped (e.g., winter combat gear) but those are generally in a context where we never intend to field a force large enough for the level of war stores we retain. Looking at 155 shells, we’ve already replenished the amounts we shipped from war stores (another 20K was purchased on the open market).

    I strongly suspect this is less an issue of “can’t” than “won’t” in more areas than is assumed.

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