However, is it time for Europe to admit they fucked up and got caught with their pants down by Putin, by being so stupidly dependent on Russian gas that they will go into a severe recession or depression if Russia keeps up its gas restrictions ? And as a result maybe they need to take the bitter pill of removing/reducing sanctions on Russia so that the gas starts flowing again?
In a trolley-problem like scenario, does it make sense that 550 million people go through a depression to minimize the suffering of 40 million people?
I’m guessing most people here will be against giving in to Russia, and I’m not sure I’m for it either. Just wanted to ask whether there might come a time for Europe to admit they screwed the pooch and were caught unprepared to stand up to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
I’d vote no, although as an American, I feel that a European citizen may feel the need to balance the equation differently.
Leaving out morality, since this is framed as entirely an economic balancing point, giving into to Russia at this point means accepting semi-perpetual Petro-Blackmail. Because if they do cave, Russia has zero reasons to reapply this coercion every single time Europe takes any action. And they’ll (if they’re smart, and Putin is certainly smart enough) they’ll never allow much stockpiling, so it’s always ‘just in time’. So if Europe tries to discuss the Med pipeline again, oops, prices just doubled, or supplies are cut 50%.
And that leaves out concerns about what China and other expansionist states will do if Europe (and presumably others) cave.
So even leaving out the moral issues, the economic and political consequences short, middle, and long term are likely far worse than short term recession or depression.
But again, it’s easier for those of us separated by the oceans and not nearly as directly dependent.
Wouldn’t Ukraine be taking that bitter pill, actually? So that “Europe” doesn’t have to take a bitter pill at all? The premise of your question seems flawed.
Yes. Without question.
Europe is not a monolith in this case. only a minority of EU states are vitally dependent on Russian gas. Germany is the biggest. Non-dependent countries will tell the dependent ones that they made their bed and must now sleep in it.
Europe has been asking itself this question constantly for the past six months.
My outsider reading is that Europe contains large numbers who would gladly throw Ukraine to the bear, but that they are outnumbered by the ones who are outraged. Most heads of state are proceeding to take large economic steps to minimize the pain and separate themselves from Russia for as long as need be. The ones like Victor Orban of Hungary are in the minority.
I think they’re going to win because Russia was far more unprepared to stand up to Ukraine’s resistance than the reverse. Putin screwed himself and the strains are showing. Giving in now would be the worst possible move.
Very possibly. It would depend on how bad the depression would be. We already know how badly Russia is willing to treat the Ukrainians. And they were willing to start fighting before we started helping, so it’s not like they’ll just give up if we abandon them. They’ve see that Russia is far weaker.
That said, I agree with Chronos that this isn’t just about Ukraine. The attack there was just Russia’s first salvo in an expansionist effort, with the intent of raising Russia’s level on the world stage. And that is the real reason that the West joined the battle. Not because of the Ukrainians. Russia showed a weakness, and Europe and the US are exploiting it to take Russia out as a credible thread.
The last thing they want to do now is give up part way through, leaving Russia the ability to limp back home and regroup.
Sure he will. The Sudetenland is the last territorial demand Hitler will make on Europe. He won’t later swallow the rump Czechoslovakia or demand a Danzig corridor. Wait, wrong century, I mean the Donbas is Putin’s last territorial demand he will make on Europe. He won’t swallow the rump Ukraine or demand a Kaliningrad corridor.
That’s been my reading as well. I was quite surprised by the degree and kind of support some of the smaller and/or more traditionally neutral European countries were very quick to provide. For example, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland all of which are traditionally far on the neutral spectrum internationally were quick to provide not just weapons but the kinds of weapons that could be considered ‘escalatory’. For example, Denmark pledged coastal Harpoon anti-ship missile batteries prior to the sinking of the Moskva, and Norway pledged 22 M109 self-propelled howitzers while Germany was still dicking around on if and how long it would take to provide PzH-2000 self-propelled howitzers, and the Netherlands pledged their own PZH-2000s while Germany was still making up its mind. Bulgaria has quietly and unofficially sent its stocks of Soviet-era tanks and Su-25 Frogfoot ground attack aircraft, and Bulgaria has long standing historic ties to Russia, hence the reason it has been quiet and unofficial. Ties so deep that for example Bulgaria was the only member of the European Axis that refused to declare war on the Soviet Union or send troops to the Eastern Front during WW2, in in the face of Nazi German pressure to do so.
BTW, I assume that after Donbas, Russia/Putin does have plans for more expansionism adventures. I was not suggesting otherwise.
It’s just that in this round of international chess, maybe Europe takes the L, which gives it time to totally disentangle from Russian oil/gas dependence, so that by the next round (more of Ukraine territory, Bellarus, Georgia, ?) it will have the ability to fully cut Russia off and starve it.
OTOH, as folks are saying, maybe the best strategy is to just continue as is and just muscle through this winter.
As an American who has been in Europe for several years now, I will confirm this from a local perspective.
But I will add that it still remains largely an abstract ethical question, that the really painful ramifications have not yet started to bite, beyond higher gas prices and constant shortages of some specific consumer goods like corn oil. Public sentiment could drift as the situation becomes more difficult going into October and November. I hope not, I hope solidarity holds, but the situation is fluid.
short answer, NO!
As previously stated, Putin has the dubious honor of being the second dictator to try to expand by swallowing its neighbors on dubious claims in a century, so we Europeans all knows what will follow if we step back.
For the time, Europeans states are putting in common facilities like liquefied gas from Spain heading to Germany, or having an electrical common grid.
this may be tough, but it will be tougher for Russia.
In every war against an aggressor like Putin, there are some people who would rather capitulate rather than make the sacrifices needed to resist the aggression. Every time we listen to those people, though, shit just gets worse. The best time to stand up to a bully is right now.
And sure, there will be short-term pain for Western Europe, but the pain for Russia will last a lot longer. Every new source of energy that Europe brings online to replace lost Russian gas and oil will be there forever, permanently reducing the need to buy from Russia, and thus making this kind of blackmail less and less effective as time goes on. Any short term pain is worth it to prevent further Russian aggression, and to permanently eliminate the economic threat of Russia.
We tried to engage with Russia after the collapse of the USSR, but Putin and his ilk had no interest in building a modern, prosperous state. All they wanted was to loot Russia and establish further political control over the population. It’s time we bite the bullet and stop trying to deal with him as if he were an honest man. He isn’t.
Oh, also remember this: All of those weapons the West are giving to Ukraine; why do you think they were made to begin with? Why do we have so many? All of the anti-tank missiles were made to destroy Russian tanks, all of the anti-air missiles were made to destroy Russian planes, all of the anti-ship missiles were made to destroy Russian ships. And we have so many of them because that’s how many tanks, planes, and ships Russia had. By sending our weapons to Ukraine, they’re serving exactly the purpose they were built for, and now that so many Russian tanks, planes, and ships have been destroyed, we no longer need the weapons we used to destroy those. The costs of aid to Ukraine were already paid decades ago.
Russia is playing a dangerous game that, hopefully, it can never win. As the west pours billions into Ukraine, Russia’s allies talk a good game. I’ve not read about North Korean or Chinese money pouring into Russia to support its economy. I’ve not seen North Korean or Chinese soldiers fighting side-by-side with Russia.
It’s Russia against Ukraine, Europe, and the US; sooner or later, enough Russian men will die, change will happen, and it will be ugly when it does. All because Putin wants to put the USSR back together. If Europe gives in, Russia will continue to expand, and we can all sit back and wait for the next country to fall, and then the next…
I think that a ”surrender,” especially now, would change the political landscape enough so that if this did happen, the “next round” wouldn’t necessarily look anything like this one, reducing the effectiveness of the preparation.
Denmark and Norway were founding members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Note the North and Atlantic and look at a map.
So hardly neutral.
As for the question of the OP. Hell no. It’ll hurt us a bit in the short run. In the long run, Russia will hurt more, as evidenced by their demand in getting paid in Rubles. Of course, Ukraine is hurting the most.
Giving in will put Lithuania, primarily, at risk for pressure regarding passage to Kaliningrad. Since the three Baltic states are all NATO, I doubt even someone as crazy as Putin would opt for an outright invasion, but there are other ways. There is also some doubt regarding Poland and Hungary (EU members) as well as Serbia. All three have been loosely aligned with Russia for quite some time.
There has been some talk about Moldova going into some kind of Federation with Romania, which makes sense, since they are not NATO members, is small - both in population and area - and squeezed between Ukraine and Romania.
It’s really a chicken race, and I my hope is that Russia runs out of funds, before Western Europe runs out of energy. The ongoing shift to renewables is actually helping some.