Russia’s hatchet may be blunt, but many European countries don’t even have a hatchet anymore.
We are almost a year after the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The human, economic and military toll for Russia and Ukraine is insane. However, the two sides are not ready to start peace talks. On the contrary, they dig deeper and use an increasingly warlike language. In the months to come, hundreds of thousands of young lives will once again be thrown into this horrific battle.
While kyiv claims it can also retake Crimea, there is growing talk in Moscow that the Russians must prepare for a long-term confrontation with the West. They consider it their sacred duty to liberate Ukraine. Because today Russians are threatened as “Jews” of the 21st century. The “special military operation” has become a war, a war for the self-preservation of Russia.
The zombie army of forced recruits and hastily gathered weapons is a blunt hatchet, but a gigantic hatchet.
Russia has long accepted that the new offensive will be crude and brutal. Although it still has large arsenals of less modern missiles, restrictions on trade in technology have made it more difficult to produce precision weapons. So Russia must rely on its brutal large-scale firepower. To do this, it produces gigantic quantities of ammunition, artillery, small arms and tanks. It is also almost self-sufficient in these areas.
It creaks and quivers in the Russian economy. Not all nuts on new Russian tanks will be equally tight. The zombie army of forced recruits and hastily gathered weapons is a blunt hatchet, but a gigantic hatchet.
It feels like the calm before the storm again, like last year. Many Europeans think it won’t be too bad. Or they’ve grown accustomed to violence in a dangerous way: “If this is the new normal, it won’t be too bad.” But it’s not easy. The whole spectrum of escalation remains open: from brutal mass offensive to nuclear deterrence.
At the same time, Europe remains vulnerable. There has never been so much misunderstanding in Eastern Europe of our passivity and distrust of our strategic solidarity. We are more dependent than ever on US energy and weapons. Higher defense budgets are by no means enough to fill the gaps in our own armed forces. Russia’s hatchet may be blunt, but many European countries don’t even have a hatchet anymore.