THE Global Justice Movement Website

THE Global Justice Movement Website
This is the "Global Justice Movement" (dot org) we refer to in the title of this blog.

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Putin’s Tiger by the Tail

According to Renaud Foucart, a senior economics lecturer at Lancaster University in a recent article in Business Insider, Putin has put Russia into a “lose-lose” position.  In a “tiger by the tail” scenario, the country cannot afford to continue the war against Ukraine, but neither can it afford to stop.  According to Foucart’s analysis, the Russian economy has become so dependent on the war that “defense” spending is the only thing keeping up the illusion of viability.

"Hey, Babe, your place or mine?"


Adding to the problem, significant numbers in the Russian Federation oppose the war.  This is most evident among the intelligentsia and ethnic minorities bearing most of the human cost of the invasion.  They see little if any need for or benefit to be derived from a war waged to enhance a dictator’s glory and pour wealth into his already overflowing coffers while impoverishing themselves and their children for the foreseeable future, to say nothing of carrying out an endless war.

Draconian measures by the Russian Federation to suppress domestic protest and dissent, while currently effective, cannot be sustained.  Threats against other countries, including nuclear blackmail, lose their effectiveness if uttered often enough without acting.  Direct follow through is not Putin’s style in any event.  He prefers misdirection and deceit, operating through others while avoiding personal danger.

"I'll spot those Jewish Nazis!"


Putin’s nuclear threats are more dangerous to his own person than he can admit and have taken on an air of bluff and bluster, even desperation.  Consider this.  Crude realpolitik dictates for his threats to be meaningful Putin would have to target every other nuclear power in the world, including China, and eliminate all of them at the same time.

Other world powers, nuclear or not, as well as every person on Earth, would have only one target: Putin . . . and Putin has utterly destroyed Russia’s capacity to defend itself by trying to carry out a war of conquest.  Given that, it's likely everyone in the country would gladly surrender Putin to justice just to survive, even as the third- or fifth rate power Putin created to satiate his lust for power and money.

"Damn' Ukrainian drones!"


If the war ends, Foucart maintains, even with the conquest of Ukraine, Russia will collapse economically.  Even Putin does not have enough wealth to rebuild Ukraine or restore Russia, if he even survives the end of the conflict . . . which, historically, is highly unlikely.  The war in Ukraine is the only thing keeping Putin in power, and he knows it.  Further, the economic problem is worse if the conflict continues, as the “butcher’s bill” in terms of lives and wealth will only increase, as well as add to the ultimate costs of rebuilding and restoration.

Consequently, after years of all-out war and countless atrocities and war crimes, Russia’s dictator has achieved only a stalemate in Ukraine.  Russia’s — and Putin’s — survival after launching even a limited nuclear attack would be measured in hours, and Putin’s supporters (if not Putin himself) are fully aware of it.

'Nuff said.


Perhaps worst of all for the Russian Federation, Putin has committed the greatest blunder anyone can make in war.  He has made it clear he has slated Ukraine for obliteration.  This was fatal on Putin’s part.  The most dangerous opponent in any situation, especially when survival is at stake, is the one who has nothing to lose.

To break the stalemate, it is essential to introduce an element to put new heart into Ukrainians and undermine the willingness of Russians to continue sacrificing themselves to an insatiable Moloch.  As Plutarch hinted in the speech he attributed to Tiberius Gracchus, the most effective means to preserve one’s country is for its defenders, every Ukrainian, child, woman, and man, to own a piece of it.

A moral, free market, democratic alternative to today’s power-concentrating economic systems is essential if Ukraine is to survive the war and thrive in the twenty-first century and beyond.  CESJ’s Just Third Way of Economic Personalism as applied in the Economic Democracy Act (EDA) is ideal for this purpose.

"Excellent . . ."


According to the best military thinking, whichever side can best take advantage of the other side’s mistakes has the better chance of winning the war.  More critical from the perspective of economic and social justice, however, is winning the peace.  The Just Third Way of Economic Personalism, especially as applied in the Economic Democracy Act, would not only strengthen Ukraine economically to sustain the current military effort, but position the country to wage an effective peace after the war.

Strategically, Ukraine is uniquely situated to “weaponize economic justice” to bolster its own economy and ability to resist the invasion.  This will strengthen Ukrainian morale and weaken the Russian Federation’s, particularly considering Russia’s own rapidly deteriorating economy.


B-b-b-b-bad to the bone . . .

Nothing should be taken away from the military effort.  It should be increased if possible, underscoring the impossible situation into which Putin has put his own country.

At the same time, however, experts in psychological warfare can craft their attacks in ways to cause ordinary Russians to question the unjust war against Ukraine and the inevitable collapse of the Russian economy, win, lose, or draw.  Attention must be focused on the leader and the system which led Russia into a completely unnecessary war and set them on the road to ruin.  Ukraine might not have to win the war if outraged Russians would rise against Putin and win it for them, if the collapse of the Russian economy does not do it first.