Chess game in Ukraine – Then24
sharp bobby fischerthe only North American to have been world chess champion, precisely beating a Soviet champion (later nationalized French) Boris Spassky, that “chess is life”. Today, a game of chess is being played in Ukraine between Russians and Americans, with a few guests, including the Ukrainians themselves.
The American abandonment of Afghanistan was interpreted by many as a failure. This is also my opinion. But that Biden abandoned the Afghan regime doesn’t mean it had to be his policy anyway. In Afghanistan, the United States came to two conclusions. First, that it was not at all clear what he had lost there, and second, that the Afghan regime he had established was unwilling to defend itself, let alone put an end to the Taliban. Therefore, Biden, who had also lost a son in this war, gave the order to withdraw American troops. As we all know, the Afghan regime collapsed before the Western withdrawal was complete.
At the time, some analysts thought that this sign of weakness would jeopardize other countries in which the United States guaranteed, in one way or another, their defense, as in the cases of South Korea, Taiwan or Israel. But, in these cases, it seems clear that the United States is very clear about what it has lost, and moreover, in the event of a conflict, these countries are ready to defend themselves.
That Biden abandoned the Afghan regime doesn’t mean it had to be his policy anyway
To consider the withdrawal from Afghanistan as a sign of the immediate decline of the United States is probably a mistake. And the first place where this can be demonstrated is in Ukraine. Russia has concentrated more than 120,000 men on the border. But, so far, the only thing it has achieved is that neighboring non-NATO countries such as Finland and Sweden consider joining, because now their public opinion supports it. . What else, in Ukraine, all pro-Russian sentiment has disappeared. At the same time, the supply of weapons has increased and more and more civilians are armed.
Unlike the annexation of Crimea, it seems that the Western reaction this time will be more forceful. The problem for Russia is that an invasion can cost a lot of human lives, in addition to facing harsh economic retaliation. It is true that Europe, and especially Germany, would be hard hit if Russia stopped supplying gas. However, this does not affect the The United States, which will probably become the world’s largest gas exporter this yearaccording to forecasts by the International Energy Agency.
If the Ukrainians are prepared to defend themselves, then a tough stance on Ukraine costs the United States little. On the other hand, for Europe, the more than foreseeable cut in gas supply would mean an aggravation of the energy crisis. But still, Europe does not take the decisions within NATO, and nor can he allow a sovereign country in Europe to be invaded and make no decision.
It does not appear that Putin has anything to gain from an armed invasion of Ukraine. What is happening is that it seemed the opposite, that with the mere threat, Russia could take a new piece. The background was that in Crimea, the population did not oppose the Russians and the Western reaction was lukewarm. On the other hand, Europe, especially Germany, needs more expensive gas than ever. And the Afghan precedent highlighted the weakness.
The problem is that, although there are cultural and historical affinities, the population of the rest of Ukraine is not that of the Donbass, nor that of the Crimean peninsula. And that Biden can’t afford another humiliation for domestic political reasons, but mainly because of the rivalry with China. Of course, the European piece is the most misplaced in this game of chess.
We Europeans should invest more in the Common Foreign and Security Policy in Europe
Two lessons from this game of chess are that we Europeans should invest more in the common foreign and security policy in Europe. The second lesson is that energy policy is of enormous geostrategic importanceand this must be taken into account.
For example, the German decision to closing its nuclear power plants early has not only been very expensive for its electricity consumers, but has also weakened its geostrategic position. On the other hand, the fact that Spain has regasification plants and a gas pipeline with Morocco will allow Spain to supply the natural gas that Moroccans buy on the international market. This freed Morocco from a very serious supply problem and Spain from enormous instability. A political decision made possible because the energy infrastructure existed.
In this game of chess time is running out, fortunately, against the war. On the one hand, gas consumption is significantly reduced at the end of winter. On the other hand, in the spring, large-scale military operations are much more complicated in muddy terrain. Let’s hope all sides act rationally and don’t miscalculate, let alone believe that full-scale war solves problems, let alone brings security.
*** Francisco de la Torre Díaz is an economist and tax inspector.