Discover more from Black Mountain Analysis
Prospects for World War 3 – Dedicated to Andrei Raevsky, the Vineyard Saker
A strategic picture of the events of a collapsing Ukraine and the end of NATO
Recently there has been a lot of talk about where the escalating spiral will end. Will it evolve to World War III? Will there be a nuclear war? What are the determining factors? And what would indicate World War III is imminent? I’ll go through these questions in detail from a strategic perspective.
But, before I do, I’d like to write another short dedication to an author and analyst, that I value very much. I’m talking about Andrei Raevsky, better known under his pseudonym “The Vineyard Saker”. I’ve read his blog regularly since 2015, and before that for years occasionally. I learned in this time a lot from him with regards to strategic and comprehensive thinking. This is what he does wonderfully. Unfortunately, but understandably, he decided to stop maintaining and writing his blog. Thank you, Andrei, for everything, for recommending my blog and for all the analysis I/we have been able to read for years and even decades. All the best for you and your family going forward.
So, will there be a third world war? I would say yes, with absolute certainty. But there are a few questions left that need to be clarified before we start to panic. Personally, I see no need for panic…yet. But the following questions concern me:
When will WW3 break out?
Under which circumstances?
Which alliances will participate?
Where will the main battlefield be?
Ultimately: Will the big three powers directly clash on a large scale against each other?
I don’t have answers to these questions. But you can see that these are strategic questions as opposed to operational questions, such as those we are currently considering in Ukraine. I don’t think that the operational questions, such as whether 100 tanks will be supplied to Ukraine, or even 200 fighter jets, will decide anything about the likelihood of World War III.
What I hope to do here is to help readers develop their strategic thinking so that they can see past the short-sighted operational questions I mentioned before.
We at BMA developed a strategic and operational picture that is still valid. In fact, we can say that from my last operational update there is nothing to add. I can go even further. I see now, step by step, all the major and well-known podcast analysts jumping on my train. All are now talking not of big arrows, but of methodical grinding on several theatres to put as much pressure as needed on the Ukrainians so they can collapse. That’s perfectly fine for me.
For people who haven’t read my analysis yet, I strongly recommend reading the following articles in this sequence:
Further weapon shipments
Let’s start with weapons shipments. We will see later in this article that I assume that the war has escalated far more than both sides would have ever thought. From my personal standpoint, I assume, and it could have been observed in my former articles, that Russia planned with escalations up to the destruction of the third iteration of the “Ukrainian” army.
Destruction of the initial Ukrainian army (until April 2022).
Destruction of the Ukrainian army, equipped with Western light equipment designed to deter Russia, until the “third iteration” has been trained and equipped abroad. The second iteration had been defeated by the end of July 2022.
Soldiers trained abroad and equipped with all the weapons that countries with old Soviet stockpiles could have spared.
Destroyed by the time that General Gerasimov took command of the SMO (11th of January 2023).
This army is currently in the making, and it is already partially fed into the battle to prevent the frontlines from collapsing. Which is exactly their purpose; to keep the battle (Scorched Earth) up as long as physically possible.
This army consists of two components, intended to make sure that this goal will be achieved:
Soldiers who were mobilized a few months ago and trained abroad will comprise the professional part of this army. These are mainly “ideologically confused, highly motivated” people. There is also one single word for this. Nazism.
These soldiers will be trained on new western weapons and equipment. There is a high probability that the initial plan from a few months ago was to use them for another offensive, to produce another “defeat” for the Russians before the total collapse of Ukraine. But it looks as if events have overtaken the plan.
There certainly is no room any longer for any kind of offensive. These units will most likely be used for operational mobile defense. In other words, they will be used where it hurts the most in order to slow down the collapse. See BMA’s five theatres. The big question is, will this army be used wisely on the West side of the Dnieper in a mobile way to inflict the most possible damage on the Russians, or will it simply be fed into the Donbass meatgrinder and be buried along with the Ukrainian state?
Forced conscript army:
As far as I can remotely judge it, I have the feeling that all “ideologically confused highly motivated Ukrainians” are “depleted” or in the process of being depleted within the fourth iteration fire brigade. See above.
One of the reasons of course is that the government’s propaganda, i.e., the Ukrainian army had almost no losses, has fallen apart. It is now very well known within Ukraine that everyone who is drafted will either die, be seriously wounded or, in the best case, become a Russian POW.
There won’t be anything else left, because one of the goals of the Russians is the full physical annihilation of the Ukrainian army. Which will be achieved by summer 2023. At that time everyone will be dead, wounded, or captured. There may be some hardcore “ideologically confused and highly motivated” people that continue fighting, but they will only act on their own, not as part of an organized military.
Having said that, we can come back to the conscripts. Since no one wants to die for a lost cause (they know now that it is over and only the dying is left to be done), Ukrainian men are now hiding or otherwise trying to evade the draft. There are now mobile “conscription” teams scouring every city to catch men under any circumstances. The goal of depleting every able-bodied male Ukrainian is still active.
Well, these unmotivated people (to put it mildly) will be thrown into trenches to buy time. They have no other prospects than to either be killed or, if they are lucky, captured by the Russians.
This is the fourth iteration of the Ukrainian army. The last stand, so to say. One component should buy time by trading blood, the other component should inflict damage on Russia.
This is the last iteration. There are no more human resources left after this “Volkssturm” mobilization to carry on the fight. As I pointed out several times, Ukraine will experience this collapse by summer 2023.
What does it have to do with further weapons deliveries?
Well, the war can only be continued if these last Ukrainians have armored vehicles. The “confused” Ukrainians still believe in a victory with Western equipment. They wouldn’t continue the fight or charge Russian positions on their bare feet, without armored assistance.
The following circumstances apply:
The whole Soviet stocks of NATO and Ukraine are depleted.
The biggest part of the Ukrainian manpower is depleted.
So a new “Frankenstein” army is being built with all kinds of NATO stuff, to keep the Ukrainians motivated to die for the West. Frankenstein, because it is an incompatible mix of everything, a mix that has no battle value without combined arms ability.
Considering the current state of the Ukrainian army, nothing can help. In fact, it doesn’t matter anymore what the West is delivering. It has zero impact on the outcome of the war. The delivery of western weapons is only a motivator and enabler for the Ukrainians to keep up the fight until the last “mobilizable” men are killed or captured. The goal will be fully achieved.
Moreover, it will mean far more dead Russians, since the prolongation of the war means far more dead Russians. Which is NOT good.
What about red lines? There are red lines indeed. But I don’t think that Russia is measuring them by the amount and quality of tanks or planes that are being sent by the West.
I’m personally convinced that the red lines were agreed by Sergei Naryshkin and William Burns in Ankara on November 14, 2022. And these red lines, from my point of view, concern the control and security of territory after the war.
In fact, I assume that all kinds of weapons deliveries would be “tolerated”, but not with pleasure, by the Russians as long as there is no risk of lost territory. And Ukraine as a whole, except for places that could be negotiated away to other countries, is being considered as Russian territory.
Why is it accepted? The Ukrainian army is mostly defeated. Russia is fighting against the fourth and last iteration. The best people are already dead or have fled. And there is another major reason. I will cover that in the chapter “Wounded animal”.
The last point I want to cover in this chapter is Germany. Germany of course is being forced to send its tanks to Ukraine. It will have no military consequences, but the calculation is that Russia would escalate and break up relations with Germany for all times because of history. The United States desperately wants to destroy the relations between Germany and Russia forever. So, Germany would depend on America and wouldn’t benefit from the new BRICS/SCO-oriented multipolar world order.
Here are some personal thoughts and assumptions:
Germany wants Ukraine to collapse ASAP, so they come out of the hellish situation on which they are forced into by America.
Russia knows this and keeps backchannel doors open to Germany to manage the transition away from the American grip. I assume the tank deliveries won’t change much if there are no further escalations. However, if NATO troops are part of the escalations, we are in WW3.
The West is currently in sharp decline; economically, militarily and politically.
Nevertheless, we mustn’t forget that the West has been the dominant power for decades. So, of course, it accumulated a lot of wealth and a large military. And now we come to the problem. Russia, more or less, openly worked on implementing the new multipolar world order around BRICS and the SCO. The Americans were aware of this. At the same time the American empire, carrying on the work of other empires before it, has been working for the destruction of Russia. Therefore, the strategy is to turn all former allies and Soviet States around Russia against them and then trigger the internal collapse in Russia.
Well, both Russia and America activated their corresponding plans in 2022. Everyone wants something, but only one side will prevail. The winner in Ukraine will achieve its geopolitical goals. At least that’s what the parties believe. As of now, it should be clear to the politicians and secret services of all Western states that the war is over. Ukraine will soon fall, and with it the single-polar American-centric world order.
Russia won’t be destroyed.
What now? Well, the Americans know very well about their fate since their plan in Ukraine failed. This doesn’t need to be the end of the USA. They can become normal and powerful members of the future multipolar world order, sitting at the table with the other great powers. I think there are two possible outcomes.
Exactly this scenario. America becomes a “normal” multipolar power at the table with others. A single new world system emerges, which is controlled by an organization and not by states. Either a new kind of UN/League of Nations, or a fundamental reconstruction of the UN and purge of “Western” “influence” and “Influencer”. Hence, the “De-Westernization” of the world.
America could decide to stay an “opposite-pole”, against the multipolar world order. Then we would have two systems at the same time, competing against each other. The rest of the West and the BRICS/SCO states, competing and struggling for the contested bloc-free markets, until there are no bloc-free nations left.
Unfortunately, I assume that option two will prevail. Which is the worse option for the world and humankind.
What are the goals of such an America (The West)?
Completely draining power from all its colonies and making them completely dependent on the West. To secure markets and territory for the future struggle against the powers of the Heartland. At the same time weakening the Heartland, since Europe is an integral part of it, with a huge potential if managed correctly.
The depletion of the weapons stocks of Europe has the positive side effect that all these weapons will need to be replenished. Since the industrial production costs rose sky-high because of the blowing up of the gas pipelines (what a coincidence) and many other self-defeating reasons, Europe will struggle to reproduce these stocks themselves. The rationale is that they will come to America and beg for “cheap” weapons.
In fact, America is raping Europe and is forcing Europe to come back to them and beg for more. Perversion. Or how does Scott Ritter say? Odious!
Most likely the West didn’t expect that the war would develop as it did. I wrote several times about it. First, they expected that Ukraine would fall within days and then they would organize a guerrilla war. Then, after they saw that Russia was not waging a strategic doctrinal offensive but a SMO, they thought the West would win.
But none of it is true. Russia did not win within days, but Russia will not lose. In fact, Russia is defeating the West, its armies, and its economies in Ukraine. Who would have thought that?
America knows very well what its new role will be, so they are preparing for it by making Europe totally dependent on them. America is deindustrializing Europe and draining it for the next decade. Not only Europe, but all other colonies as well, including Canada, Australia, Japan, South Korea, etc.
Here is the problem. Since America is well aware of its impending downfall from a superpower to a normal but powerful nation, it struggles with a certain syndrome. When everything is well, all are happy and are competing to claim the success for themselves. When things go south, then the opposite applies. Everyone tries to blame the other. Which is currently the case in America. I will write a separate article about America. So, I’ll go over it quickly here.
There is not one single power that determines the course of the United States. The ruling oligarchy (the politicians are only “sponsored executioners” of the oligarchy) doesn’t know exactly which way to go. There are powers that want to choose option 1, away from the empire and towards multipolarity and there are also powers who don’t want to go down without a fight. Unfortunately, the majority of the establishment or oligarchy are supporters of the second option. And here we are. America is acting exactly as a wounded wild animal. It is biting, fighting, and scratching everyone around it. This is extremely dangerous for humankind. One mistake, and everyone dies.
This is what we see in Ukraine. Now that everything short of nuclear weapons will be delivered, what can be handled by the few capable Ukrainians left? And it would be idiotic for Russia to make a big deal out of it. It will be managed. Escalation management. Yes, a few thousand Russians more will die. Or if you count the Ukrainians as Russians, a few tens or hundreds of thousands more. But still, the world will survive.
It is up to Russia and the other civilized people to handle the rage of this wounded animal and contain it so we won’t need to use nuclear weapons or kick-off WW3. That’s why Russia is taking many hard punches without responding.
The challenge is for Russia to win the war in Ukraine without escalating too much, and to not trigger any reactions from the West that could still trigger WW3 over Ukraine.
Currently there is no potential for such an escalation if we consider only the Ukrainian and the Russian armies. The Ukrainian army will soon (by the end of the summer 2023) be gone. But the Americans could decide to sacrifice the European armies against Russia as another proxy force. Without American involvement.
It is not impossible, even though I think that the probability is very low.
Think of Polish and other European countries sending their own troops to defend Western Ukraine, Odessa or Kiev.
People don’t want it? There is not such a mood? There are no weapons? Who cares!
Create enough false flag operations within the EU and NATO, activate a large media campaign, and you will have fanatical Europeans cheering for war and volunteering to march on Moscow.
Such a scenario needs to be avoided. It is called “escalation management”.
Why did I write that Americans would use the Europeans as a proxy force? Well, Europe is no longer interesting for America. They are pivoting to the new hot spot for trade: Asia. Europe is done. It can be used like a used condom, to further weaken Russia. Throwing old stuff and human waves against the Russians is creating losses for Russia. Both in people and economically. Learn about opportunity costs. These are costs or revenues that you did not incur since you chose to do something less favorable. Hence, Russia could prosper by developing trade and relationships with the “New World”. But Russia would instead need to fully mobilize and put a huge part of its resources, money, and welfare into the military and war. This while other market actors are exploiting the absence of Russia on the world markets.
Horror scenario? Yes, but I don’t believe that it will materialize.
But we need to discuss it. We are talking about a wounded wild animal. Its actions are totally unpredictable. And it is always doubling down. So nothing can be excluded. We should be aware of it. And that’s why I decided to write down some important indicators, which can reveal when a threshold has been crossed, where there is no return.
Overt or covert mobilization efforts within the big European countries.
Overt or covert transition to a wartime economy/production within the big European countries.
If the number of mobilized troops of Russia exceeds more than one and a half million men. I’m talking only about the mobilized. Not about the already standing conscript and professional peacetime army.
Vladimir Putin’s calm demeanor vanishes for a long time. In fact, he would be visually very angry and his rhetoric would reach levels never seen before. See his behavior from November 2021 until February 2022 for a small sample of what we would see.
Active and official participation of NATO troops in hostilities against Russia.
Officially breaking off of relations between Russia and major NATO countries. Withdrawing of diplomatic missions and personnel, etc.
Total severing of all economic relations.
Russia withdrawing from many non-crucial markets without visible reasons.
Russia withdrawing from Syria.
Overt or covert full mobilization in Russia.
Withdrawal of the Americans from important and major regions without a clear reason. Say, a sudden withdrawal of the Americans from the Middle East, including its navy. The Americans would try to bring as much equipment and as many troops as possible out of harm’s way before the Russian barrages start to hit American bases worldwide.
As I said, I want to be honest and this is only my assumption… It is too late for triggering WW3:
The Ukrainian human potential is almost gone. And soon it WILL BE GONE.
The Europeans have been demilitarized. And they will be demilitarized further until this is over. There is not much which could be used to actually fight the Russians.
The Americans would withdraw its equipment to America or Asia. This is an important region. Europe lost its significance, and with it the obligation to NATO.
Article 5 says that the allies should consult on whether and how to support the member under attack. The decision of the individual member states could be to send medical equipment or simply to do nothing. This applies to America as well. America wouldn’t do much for Eastern European states. And it certainly would NOT fight Russia over them. I’m not yet sure about central and west Europe, since America will need them for reindustrializing their resources and industries.
Until this war is over, NATO will only be four letters on a piece of paper. To be honest, I didn’t expect it that way. I will point out my assumption, how NATO could be dismembered, in the “strategic outlook” chapter. But as it turns out, the NATO military branch will soon be done and gone. Left will be a club of people, who are meeting regularly to issue some threats out of a parallel universe in the direction of Russia. As I said, I’ll go deeper into this later.
I want you all to keep in mind that the ultimate goal of Russia is to secure its strategic security in the western direction by forcing the West to accept the new draft treaty for European security. Either voluntarily or by force. Force can be military, economic, or revolutionary. Don’t forget that part. In case of failure, we all are simply going to die. 😊 I pointed out the process and the reasons in detail in my analysis of Phase 3.
As I pointed out in the quoted article, whoever is cheering for Russia to lose is cheering for his own death.
The lynchpin – Odessa
The strategic lynchpin that determines whether there will be a Ukraine going forward or not, is Odessa. With Odessa, Ukraine could sustain some kind of economy by accessing the Black Sea. It would probably be enough to continue an existence as a classic American failed state, like Libya or some others that I won’t name so as to not insult the people living there.
If Russia takes Odessa or defeats the Ukrainian army somewhere else so that Odessa could no longer be defended, then the war is over. Odessa is more important to Ukraine than Kiev itself.
Odessa is also one of the strategic goals named by President Vladimir Putin, before he started the SMO. Read them in detail here. One of these goals is to bring justice to what happened in Odessa in 2014, when some fifty Russians were burned to death by Ukrainian nationalists. It is a personal goal of Vladimir Putin to take the city and seek justice for these deaths. Here are more reasons:
Odessa is a strategic city. Without it, there could never be something like “Ukraine” again. It wouldn’t be economically sustainable.
It would give Russia the control of a big part of the Black Sea. In fact, Russia’s dominance in the Black Sea couldn’t be contested anymore. Not only not from the Sea, but also not from the land or air.
Russia would have a deep outpost within the east flank of NATO, which is crucial. Think of radars, air bases, air defenses, missile bases, fleet bases, marshalling grounds, etc.
Odessa is a Russian city. Not just any Russian city. It is a highly important Russian city. It was built by a very popular Russian emperor, Katherine the Great. Moreover, it is a hero city. (See WW2 hero cities).
Ukraine and the West will never accept peace with Russia as long as Russia holds territory that the West claims as well, such as Kherson, Crimea, etc. If the Russians would leave Odessa to Ukraine, under some kind of treaty, there would always be the danger that Ukraine rearms and uses Odessa and its access to the Black Sea to harm Russia. As we all know, and Russia knows even better, the West breaks ALL treaties that it signs.
Odessa is the last step before Russia can reunify with Transnistria. This is a problem which certainly needs to be solved. And it needs to be solved now. And it will be solved now.
In fact, you can take these arguments and flipside them, then you have the reasons why NATO (America) has a strategic interest to take Odessa. The arguments are essentially similar to these, why the West desperately wants to have Crimea. To be straightforward, Crimea and Odessa are by far more important to the West than Kiev or any other region of Ukraine. That’s why we always hear the talk about an offensive to retake Crimea. The question is, will the West have a strategic advantage against Russia or will Russia have a strategic advantage against NATO. The answer is obvious.
Considering all this, there is no chance in the world that Russia won’t take Odessa. No matter what agreements would be proposed, or what treaties signed, or whatever. Maybe there was a moment where it would have been possible. In Phase 1. MAYBE still in Phase 2. But since August 2022, all this is gone. There has been too much sacrifice to not go all the way through. In fact, it would be a huge insult in the face of all of the people who died on the Russian side, both civilian and military.
Nevertheless, there will be an Odessa moment. The moment when it is clear to everyone that Odessa can’t be defended. I’ll give you here an incomplete list of cases that could be considered as “Odessa moments”:
Siege of Odessa.
Collapse of Ukrainian armed forces.
Collapse of the Ukrainian state.
Complete destruction of the Ukrainian army.
Complete surrender of the Ukrainian army.
Cutting Odessa off further north, e.g., Transnistria.
An approach to Odessa by the Russian army with no troops left to defend it from the South.
This will be the most dangerous moment in the war. It is the moment where the West will need to decide whether it will surrender Ukraine or double down and intervene with Western troops. This is essentially the question over whether WW3 will happen or not.
Whatever decision the West might take, it is insignificant for Russia, for the aforementioned reasons. Russia would take it, no matter what the escalation threat of the West would be. Even if it would mean the end of the human race. There is no scenario where Russia would not take Odessa and the world would not go up in flames. None whatsoever.
Chickens in Odessa
And here we come to the problem. I described this scenario already in one of my operational updates (See here).
The Americans have the habit to go into a place and claim it forever, only through their presence. The rationale is that if they are there, no-one would ever dare to contest that, for example to avoid WW3.
This is essentially true, and it works well all over the world. See Serbia (our province, Kosovo) and East-Syria. Of course, there are many more examples. I call it the “Chicken game”.
Now, why has the 101st airborne division of the US Army been deployed to Eastern Europe — to Romania? My personal assumption is that they are waiting for the Odessa moment. If the Odessa moment happens, the US government (better, the US oligarchy) will have the opportunity to move the 101st into Odessa.
Why would they do that? The 101st is unable to fend off a Russian attack. It potentially could buy time until the US is able to mobilize a large force in Romania to relieve them. The truth is that such a force doesn’t exist and couldn’t relieve anything. Nowadays, Russia has conventional deep strike abilities with hypersonic missiles that are unstoppable. The whole European rear is undefendable. The Americans are not idiots, and their military planners know this.
So why the 101st? Well, they can be quickly deployed with helicopters and create facts on the ground. In fact they can create a big “chicken game” right in Odessa. This would create two problems for the Russians:
If now the Russians attack Odessa and the American troops, then they would have triggered WW3 from the Western perspective. This is mainly for the civilian audience worldwide to measure how a world war has started and how it could have been avoided. No one will ask why the Americans have moved in after the first missiles start flying. They might ask who shot first, but it doesn’t matter. All would die anyway in nuclear fire.
As I pointed out already above, Odessa is a crucial and wonderful historical city for Russia. In fact, Russia doesn’t want to fight in such cities, Russia wants to preserve them. If the Americans would move in, Russia would be forced to destroy Odessa to get them out of there. Again, it doesn’t matter anymore at such a point.
Will this “Chicken Plan” be activated by the Americans? I really don’t know. If they assume that Russia would back down if they move in, then it could happen. But such information would be wrong and the escalation would start. I personally don’t believe yet, judging by the political climate, that it would be triggered. But this assessment could change anytime. For now, I don’t want to issue any warnings.
Provided that such a “Chicken Plan” would be triggered by the Americans, there is still the question of which strategy the Russians would choose to get them out of there. Here are some possibilities:
There could be a very short timeframe for a diplomatic solution, but none that would leave Odessa in Western hands. More likely, some kind of geopolitical trade somewhere else to preserve humanity. By short, I mean no longer than 48 hours. The Russian army can’t wait for American armoured brigades/divisions to marshal in Romania to feed them into Ukraine to relieve the paratroopers (101st) in Odessa.
A direct attack on Odessa by simply levelling it to the ground with everything inside, to not give the Americans time to catch up to their paratroopers. A painful solution.
Increasing the pain dial for America all over the world to force them to voluntarily withdraw. Hence, sinking the US Navy (which could be triggered anytime by Russia with her long-range hypersonic missiles), or bombing all the poorly protected US bases worldwide with a focus on manpower and equipment and the destruction of the whole NATO infrastructure in Europe.
There is nothing that could be done against it, since there is currently no technology that can shoot down hypersonic missiles. This strategy is only limited by the number of available missiles. I’m not sure how many of these have been produced to date.
You see, it would be much preferable if the West simply accepts the return of a Russian city to Russia. I want to be straightforward. I don’t want to see either an Odessa moment or a Russian attempt to expel the chickens.
One more remark. Scott Ritter also is referring frequently to the “Odessa moment”. I only want to highlight that we have here a similar concept, but it is not the same. As you surely have figured out on your own.
In this chapter I want to present a few strategic considerations.
Poland and its options
I think first there were considerations to intervene directly in Western Ukraine through Poland. Not to fight the Russians, but to secure territory. And I also think that President Putin made it crystal clear in one of his early speeches during the war that such actions would trigger lightning responses. Most likely he was talking about a hypersonic rain over Poland. These intentions died down afterwards. Nevertheless, it seems that Poland is still eager to seize some parts of Ukraine that Poland considers former Polish territories.
This, of course, is an interesting fact.
Well, Russia wants to force the West to implement the new draft treaty for European security. Hence, to push back NATO influence and military infrastructure in Eastern Europe. In former articles, I presented the economic axes which could trigger a European political collapse. Here, I’m going to present some strategies on a geopolitical scale.
Poland is openly talking about taking former Polish territories. Russia is highlighting this fact in the media. Even Dimitry Medvedev often highlights it on his Telegram channel. But apart from highlighting it, there don’t seem to be many objections. In fact, I believe that it would have some advantages for Russia if Poland would indeed take the Lvov oblast. First, see the map.
Russia could indeed allow Poland to take the Lviv oblast marked above. It is an oblast that is highly committed to and associated with Stepan Bandera ideology. They are deeply anti-Russian and one would struggle to call them Russians or former Russians. In fact, taking, appeasing, and governing it would be a burden to Russia. It will be a burden for Poland as well, but they want it. 😊
The big advantage is not about governing or appeasing it. No, the big advantage is that it would trigger major tensions within the EU and NATO, especially between Poland and the other major EU countries like Germany, France, and Italy. I remember a comment from the German chancellor Olaf Scholz in 2022. Reportedly, he privately said to the Poles that if they insist on reparation payments from Germany, that Germany could remember about former German territories that are currently part of Poland. If Poland takes Lviv, then this dispute would escalate.
Tensions in the EU and NATO absolutely contribute to the implementation of the new draft treaty for European security. Not voluntarily, but by diplomatic force. 😊 So I truly can imagine that such a move could take place if the Polish really want it, but in agreement with Russia, not against Russia’s will.
Here we come to two major constraints:
The oblasts north of Lvov mustn’t be touched by Poland. These are buffer and security zones for Belarus.
The oblasts to the south of Lvov also mustn’t be touched by Poland. These are the geopolitical gates to the Eastern European states. So to say, land bridges through states that are not controlled by the West. West Ukraine (to be done), Hungary (will break free as soon as the land bridge is established) and Serbia (the same).
If Poland were to claim these territories, there would be a lightning response by President Putin. I think the message was clear to Poland.
I explained it already in my analysis of Phase 3. It is possible that West Ukraine (minus Lvov) won’t join Russia. Who knows? But it certainly will be taken, demilitarized, and denazified. Afterwards, it could be released in some kind of pseudo-independence, with Russian military bases on its territory to secure this state. But this “pseudo-independent country” would be crucial because it would be Russia’s gate to Eastern Europe. Its land bridge.
Black Mountain Analysis is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Hungary, Serbia and the end of NATO
And here we come straight to these land bridges and trade routes.
Before I begin, I just want to remind you about my articles “Economics and Empires 1” and “Economics and Empires 2”. Essentially, Serbia and Hungary currently are being held hostage by the West. Since they are landlocked countries that are also hostages to America, but more submissive hostages than other European nations, Serbia and Hungary can’t develop independent foreign politics or foreign trade. If they don’t do what they are told, many things can happen to them apart from military action:
Blockade of trade routes.
Denial of critical supplies.
Closure of air space.
And all this without openly admitting it, but by inventing reasons. The West loves to use Croatia for trade restrictions against Serbia into the European direction. Croatia then invents some reasons why Serbian lorries aren’t allowed to drive through Croatia. And similar stuff.
That’s the reason why Serbia has been forced these many years to say that it wants to join the EU, even though the people don’t. Such fealty is required by the West, to not press Serbia down again.
And here comes the war in Ukraine and “West-Ukraine” into play. If Russia manages to secure the land bridge to Hungary in Western Ukraine, then the whole house of cards built on blackmailing Eastern Ukraine falls apart. Russia would have through Hungary, which faces problems like Serbia’s even though Hungary is part of the EU and NATO, direct access to Serbia.
It would allow Serbia and Hungary to freely choose with whom they want to trade and have relations. Hence, the whole heartland would be open to these countries, including the SCO and BRICS states. The West couldn’t threaten these countries any longer with blocking them from trade and supplies, and if military threats are employed, Russia could deploy troops or provide unlimited military assistance through the corridor.
However, I could imagine troops only in Serbia because it is a brother state. This would be a huge part of the solution for the Kosovo problem, which is a Western-occupied province of Serbia. Today, NATO can threaten Serbia with bombing in the case that Serbia is protecting its citizens in Kosovo. If Serbia would have direct land and air access to Russia, things would be completely different. Apart from that, Russia left the imperial path with the Soviet Union, which is good! Russia won’t spend blood and money to maintain a remote empire anymore.
Exactly this would be the death of both the EU and NATO. Why? Look at my second map.
The black lines are the new main trade routes with the initial “breakaway” countries, Serbia and Hungary. They in fact are waiting for these routes to be opened. As long as they aren’t open, both countries need to endure massive intimidation by the West.
The red lines represent potential new trade routes between Russia (BRICS/SCO) and single Eastern European countries. When these nations see how Serbia and Hungary can develop independent policy and trade, ever more European countries would join this model and break free from the Western influence/blackmailing/colonialism. As soon this begins to unravel, it would be the end of NATO and the EU. Combine this with the economic pressure, due to the self-sanctions and to Poland’s possible seizure of Lvov, and NATO and the EU is finished. Of course no one should imagine that such a centrifugal process would be finished overnight. We are talking about a few years.
You see no lines to Romania? Well, Romania is by far the most submissive colony without a single bit of an own will. I don’t know how much it could free itself, even with land access to Russia.
You might want to argue that some of these countries (Croatia, Greece, etc.) already have access to the sea. Yes, but they have no land access to Russia. In theory, they could do independent trade. But in case of military escalation, they would be on their own without the land bridge to Russia.
There is something we mustn’t forget. Russia is not yet mobilized in any reasonable sense. I’m not talking about full mobilization. Russia isn’t even partially mobilized yet. But remember one thing: if the West would force Russia to switch its economy to a full war economy, her society also goes into full war mode and if her losses exceed a reasonable number, then the West will get what it got after Napoleon and Hitler. A Russian society, army and war machine that can’t be simply “switched off” after it reconquers Ukraine. If you have a million or even two-million-man army standing on the Polish border, then this army will do what their ancestors did. They will march to Berlin or even beyond and put an end to the new threat to Russian statehood.
We haven’t reached this point yet. And if there won’t be an escalation which would include western troops IN Ukraine, we won’t ever reach this point. Nevertheless, if the West would escalate with Western troops in Ukraine, this point could be reached easily.
As NATO is currently demilitarizing itself on a large scale and soon will only exist as four letters on a piece of paper, you can imagine what will stop the Russian army on its way to Berlin. Nothing.
Is Russia powerful enough to do that? This question is totally insignificant. Remember what happens if Russia loses militarily. Given the state of NATO, there is not much they could do against such an event if Russia fights doctrinally. Ukraine represents a civil war between Russians. President Putin said repeatedly that he still considerers the Ukrainians as brothers and Russians. That’s the reason he takes care that the civilians suffer as little as possible within such a war environment. You should not even try to think about what weapons and strategies would be applied against a hostile nation like Poland or (fill in the blank). Certainly not a slow grinding to only destroy the enemy army.
Nor does it matter how loudly people would scream “ARTICLE 5”. This is not a magic spell that would make the Russian army vanish. You think there would be a nuclear retaliation by the United States? Nope! Europe is a used condom for the Americans. The new cool guys are in Asia. America will never ever put itself at risk for a used condom. Pardon, for Europe.
Again, I don’t see such a scenario happening. But nothing is certain.
Now we are coming closer to my conclusion.
Initially I said that there will be a WW3. And yes, I think there will be a WW3. But I doubt, at least for now, that it will be triggered in Europe. And I also doubt that its main battlefield will be in Europe, although there will be a battle in Europe.
The big battle of our time will be in Asia and in the Pacific. And not today but in 2030. The battle will be about throwing the United States out of a region where it doesn’t belong. China is preparing two strategies.
The best-case scenario for the world would be if BRICS and the SCO bring the American imperial economy down in such a way that it couldn’t sustain its empire and network of military bases any longer. Thereby it would withdraw under an economic and social collapse from its bases abroad. Don’t get me wrong. I do not wish the American people their downfall. Absolutely not! I like Americans (the people, not the imperial parasite) as much as I do anyone else. I wish for the American people that their country comes out stronger through the hard times that are ahead. That they manage to become a normal nation among others and that every single American becomes prosperous. This with normal trade relations with other nations, without the need to bomb them to get good trade conditions.
Option two is war. Accordingly, China is currently building the biggest military the world has ever seen. But it is not ready yet in terms of quantity or professionalism/experience. But it certainly will be within the next few years, 2030 at the latest. Russia pinning down the empire in Europe and depleting it is the biggest gift China can get. That’s why China will do what it can to sustain this status. Therefore, China is helping Russia to circumvent most of the sanctions.
And Russia is more than returning the favor. She is buying time for China with her blood as a side effect of her existential struggle against NATO.
Well, I will stop here since I’m planning to write a separate article about the struggle in the Pacific region. But please keep the following in mind. I can make more or less accurate predictions for the timeframe of one year (operational). I can explain the shape, probabilities and boundaries of a strategy, which covers up to three years. The actual implementation could look completely different. And anything one writes (including me) that makes predictions for a time beyond three years (vision), is simply a fairy tale.
Nevertheless, I’ll try to write such a fairy tale about the Pacific region in another article. But I’ll mark it as an assumption and also as one possible scenario between infinite possible scenarios. Hence, you’ll need to consider it to learn backgrounds but apart from that you should take it with a grain of salt.
Okay, we reached the end of the article. I’ll try to sum it up and make a conclusion.
The question that this article seeks to answer is about the prospect of a World War developing from the Ukraine crisis. I see a probability of 90% that the Ukraine war will not evolve into a World War. Unfortunately, 90% is still far from certain! There is still a possibility that the West will try to push proxy forces (Poland, Romania, Germany?) into Ukraine to create a bigger “local”/continental conflict, while the Americans focus on Asia. Here we are at 5%. And above that, there is a probability of 5% that the United States will directly intervene (See Odessa moment, etc.), which certainly would evolve into an instant World War.
Peace after Ukrainian army is defeated (90%)
Developing war between Russia and European proxies within Ukraine/Europe (5%)
American intervention à World War 3 (5%).
That is, of course, still too high. We are talking about the human race.
Indeed, there are two major determining factors which will decide whether there will be an escalation or not:
The “Odessa moment” and the “Western Ukraine” moment.
The West will try to do what it can to avoid giving Odessa to the Russians. This is for strategic military considerations. If the Russians have it, they will have a strategic advantage and leverage over NATO. If NATO has it, the same applies to NATO against Russia.
“Western Ukraine” moment:
Here we are talking about Russia’s land access to Hungary and thereby to Serbia. Essentially, if Russia gets it, NATO and the EU are done. History. Not instantly, but within a reasonable number of years.
I can only leave you here and say that when one of these moments is imminent, start praying to whomever you are praying to.
Nevertheless, I want to end this article on a positive note. Because I AM positive. Everything depends on the decisions of the oligarchs in the United States. Are they willing to let Ukraine go or not, when they are threatened with global annihilation? These guys are not idiots. Sure, they want to possess power over others, but in the event of a nuclear war they and their children will possess nothing. Exactly as everyone else.
Even though they seem to have no reverse gear and they are always doubling down, in this particular case I assume that they would do the right thing and vacate Ukraine. Why is there still a possibility of 10% of escalation? Well, Russia (BRICS) is engaged in escalation management, to provide a safe way for the Americans to transition into a normal state.
And here we come to the fact that not even the Americans and their oligarchs can control everything. It is possible that a crazy group of people, either within America or within Europe, could suddenly do something extremely stupid when they feel that the end is near. Think of Poles or the Baltic statelets or some extremely crazy American neoconservatives. The good thing is that I don’t give more than a 10% chance to such an idiotic chain of events.
Edited by Piquet (EditPiquet@gmail.com for inquiries)
Black Mountain Analysis is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.