Macron, Scholz, Biden and that strange desire for war on Russia

If before there were two of us dancing the Hully Gully, now we are too many. The verse of a famous summer song by Edoardo Vianello fully reflects what is happening on the international front in relation to the war in Ukraine. Where it is no longer just President Zelensky who is asking for weapons to strike Russia within its borders. Yes, because now France, Germany, Poland, the United Kingdom, Finland, the Baltic countries and… the United States have also got involved.

Therefore, there is little to sing or be happy about. Certainly, this applies to Moscow, but also to Europe, which is burdened by the not too veiled threat of Vladimir Putin, who, by dint of agitating the bogeyman of nuclear power, could be tempted to actually use it in order to prevent the humiliation of seeing his homeland again violated by European forces.

It would be the first time since German troops penetrated Soviet soil with 134 divisions: it was June 22, 1941 and for a moment the world truly feared having to speak German for many years to come. Operation Barbarossa, this is the name of the invasion plotted by Hitler, was a failure for the Axis but history seems not to have taught much.

Today we are certainly not in the same situation as then, but the feeling is that we are like in 1914 or 1939, when a world war was still avoidable and yet ever closer. For this reason, the news that above all the newfound Franco-German axis declares itself in agreement in authorizing Kiev to bomb Russian territory – until now a taboo of Western support for Ukraine, which has stood the test of time, despite some targeted incursions – makes shiver.

Not only that, another little word was uttered by Macron: instructors, advisors, Green Berets, first of all French and then Europeans, could soon parachute onto Ukrainian soil to reinforce the front ranks of the Ukrainian defense line and advise military strategies directly from field. Don't you believe it? In reality, many are already there and are part of the “international brigades” that assist the Ukrainian soldiers in the order of a few thousand, albeit in a personal capacity (there are also some among the Russians). But volunteers are one thing, officers are another.

So what is the ultimate goal of French President Emmanuel Macron? And which one is that of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz? It has been said several times, perhaps to exorcise the threat from coming true, that such “warmongering” declarations are merely functional to cheer up the French and German electorate in view of the European elections.

But even when NATO, through its secretary Stoltenberg, and ultimately the White House itself, state one that Ukraine must be “free to use the weapons of its allies against Moscow” and the other that “Joe Biden is evaluating the revocation of the limitations placed on Kiev on the use of American short-range weapons to be used against Russia”, some doubts arise.

Meanwhile, Poland and Finland have already joined the chorus, in photocopy statements: «Kiev can use our weapons to strike Russia. There are no restrictions,” said Deputy Defense Minister Cezary Tomczyk. And again: «Ukraine can attack Russia with weapons given by Finland, which has not placed any special restrictions on its aid to Ukraine» informs the Helsinki government.

Macron, however, has done much more: if for months he had been hypothesizing about sending French military instructors to coordinate the defense of the Ukrainian front lines, he now indicates precisely which Russian cities to hit, complete with maps circled for the camera. My colleague Scholz explained better what these locations are: «The objectives must be the sites from which the attacks start and not others, perhaps of strategic or tactical value for the war».

This is a 360 degree turn for pacifist Germany, which does not bode well. Can this just be a provocation? A challenge to Putin's arrogance? Or is there more? As for the French president, he was the first to go to Moscow to see Putin in the dark days of 2022, when everything was uncertain and still possible. Kept at a distance (even physically) by the head of the Kremlin and mocked by him on several occasions, over time Macron has shed his role as peacemaker and – either out of wounded pride or because he has well understood that it is completely useless to talk to the Russian president – decided it was best to wear a helmet.

And so we find ourselves today, when the European Union still officially assumes that the material is used “in accordance with international law” (whatever that means) and abides by the NATO premise of not attacking Russia. But unofficially Brussels is increasingly united in teaching the Russians a lesson, so that Moscow does not win the war and agrees to end hostilities. But to do this, we need to impress Putin and hit him where it hurts him most, that is, in his home.

Now, in analyzing previous Ukrainian attacks on Russian territory, we cannot forget the multiple incursions of the “Legionaries of Freedom for Russia” and the “Volunteer Corps” (i.e. Russian fighters trained by Kiev) on the city of Belgorod, near the border with the Kharkiv region, where military logistics and supply facilities for the invading troops are located. But neither can we forget the strikes on fuel production plants in various farther away locations, including St. Petersburg, and the kamikaze drones on Moscow itself, one of which ended up on the roof of the Kremlin on the night of May 3, 2023 (a move more psychological than anything else).

Not to mention the boycott of the North Stream gas pipeline and the damage to the bridge that connects Crimea to the territories of the Russian Federation. Since this year, Kiev's forces have also launched around thirty attacks that have damaged more than 15% of Russian fuel production, angering the Kremlin.

However, Moscow has so far dismissed such attacks on its territory as “acts of terrorism”, while also stating that Ukrainian drones would not be able to fly so far without the West's help. Which brings us back to where we started. That is, the West – we – are already at war against Russia, we just pretend not to see it or want it.

According to many military analysts, the real objective of Ukraine and the Atlanticist strategists who whisper in Zelensky's ear would not only be the territories around Belgorod, but rather Crimea. And this for two reasons: first, the West still recognizes the peninsula as Ukrainian territory, and therefore Kiev would be legitimately entitled to reconquer a territory taken from it by force, from where the attacks promptly start against the regions of Zaporizhia, Odessa and Kherson. The United Nations itself could not deny it.

Second, Crimea is both Vladimir Putin's flagship and Achilles' heel: if the area were placed under incessant attacks, the Kremlin would be forced to defend it at all costs and to mobilize additional forces (since Ukraine has practically annihilated the Russian Black Sea naval fleet), which would undermine both the image and self-confidence of the Russian armed forces, already weakened by two years of military failures.

It is true that Moscow still has the strength to continue this conflict for years, but attrition, sanctions and a possible distancing by China would almost definitively isolate Russia. Which, incidentally, has never really clearly won a war since the time of the tsars.

As for us, as Domenico Quirico says in La Stampa, «dealing with the military industrial (and financial) complex once it has managed to get a foot in the door is terribly difficult, it leads you where you didn't want to go». And, in fact, no one would want to come to direct confrontation with Russia. But, without realizing it, that chapter has already begun.