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Oh no! In a mysterious mechanical failure, both Nord Stream pipelines through the Baltic Sea have suddenly ruptured, cutting off a major supply of natural gas from Russia to Europe and possibly causing an environmental disaster as well.

Who is responsible for this? Oh, come on, it’s not hard to take a guess.

As long as the Nord Stream pipeline existed, it was a potential diplomatic and economic weapon in the Ukraine conflict. Though Russia was still supplying gas to Europe, there was the possibility that they might cut off gas to put pressure on Europe, or that the desire to keep the pipeline operational would nudge Europe toward seeking a negotiated end to the war.

Now, with the pipeline gone, so is that leverage. Of course, it’s also massively damaging to Europe’s economy and energy security. But whoever destroyed it didn’t seem to care much about that.

Comically, the U.S. has put out statements about how it is ready to help its allies in the wake of this unfortunate incident:

The United States is “ready” to help European allies after leaks erupted from the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines carrying Russian gas to western Europe, a senior White House official said Tuesday.

“I’m not going to speculate on the cause, and I know our European partners are investigating. We stand ready to provide support to their efforts,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“This just drives home the importance of our efforts to work together to get alternative gas supplies to Europe and to support efforts to reduce gas consumption and accelerate true energy independence by moving to a clean energy economy.”

There are several lessons to draw from this development. First, European sovereignty is even faker than it looked a few days ago. When it comes to the most important questions of trade, development, and war and peace, the Globalist American Empire calls the tune, and NATO “allies” dance to it.

But the more important message, in fact a critical one, is this: the Globalist American Empire is playing for all the marbles against Russia, and is ready to do whatever is necessary to elongate and escalate the war. And that puts the entire world at tremendous risk. 

When Russia launched its war of aggression in Ukraine, it expected a quick victory and the easy extraction of pro-Russia concessions from the Kiev government, possibly including the partition or total annexation of the country. That is not what Russia got. Instead, it got a slow, costly grind of a war. Since the final fall of Mariupol in mid-May, Russia’s gains have totaled barely 2,000 square miles, and those gains were then offset in a single week by Ukraine’s recent counter-offensive around Kharkov.

But last week, Russia signaled that it’s far from giving up in response to these struggles and humiliations. Instead, it is prepared to prolong and further escalate the war. On Sept. 20, the Duma approved legislation sharply increasing penalties for soldiers who disobey orders or surrender to the enemy — a measure that evokes Order 270, Stalin’s decree ordering soldiers to fight to the last man against invading Germans. Meanwhile, Russian puppet administrations in the Donbass and Kherson announced and then held referendums on joining Russia. Were these referendums legitimate? Of course not. But the fig leaf of legitimate annexation gives Russia the pretext to defend the territories it has captured with an overwhelming amount of force, possibly including tactical nuclear weapons.

Vladimir Putin invoked that nuclear threat in a speech to the Russian public last week:

Washington, London and Brussels are openly encouraging Kiev to move the hostilities to our territory. They openly say that Russia must be defeated on the battlefield by any means, and subsequently deprived of political, economic, cultural and any other sovereignty and ransacked.

They have even resorted to the nuclear blackmail. I am referring … to the statements made by some high-ranking representatives of the leading NATO countries on the possibility and admissibility of using weapons of mass destruction – nuclear weapons – against Russia.

I would like to remind those who make such statements regarding Russia that our country has different types of weapons as well, and some of them are more modern than the weapons NATO countries have. In the event of a threat to the territorial integrity of our country and to defend Russia and our people, we will certainly make use of all weapon systems available to us. This is not a bluff.

In the same speech, Putin announced a “partial mobilization” of the Russian armed forces, with 300,000 reservists being called up to active duty. Even in a “partial” form, this is Russia’s largest mobilization effort since World War II. And the mobilization may be expanded at any point.

So, both Russia and America are escalating the Ukraine war, tit-for-tat. How will this war end? Revolver can only guess. But let us pause here for a brief story.

In 1700, the not-yet-an-empire of Russia attacked Sweden.

The war was one of the least justified in history, motivated entirely by greed for territory. Sweden’s king Charles XI had recently died, and his heir was not yet eighteen. Russia, along with its allies Saxony and Denmark, sought to hit Sweden while it was weak and take everything it could.

Russia ended up with more than it bargained for. Though not even in his 20s, Charles XII proved to be a military genius more than capable of defending his surrounded kingdom. He first knocked Denmark out of the war within a few weeks via a surprise attack. He then sailed his army to the fortress at Narva, in Swedish Ingria, which was under siege by a Russian army. The battle that ensued was one of the most lopsided in history. The Swedes, outnumbered almost 4:1 and fighting on the offensive during a freezing snowstorm, completely shattered the Russians, inflicting close to 20,000 casualties and sustaining fewer than 2,000 themselves.

After his massive victory at Narva, Charles XII had many opportunities to negotiate a favorable peace with Russia. He did not, and the main reason was moral outrage: Charles believed the war had been an unprovoked war of aggression, and the only acceptable peace was to totally defeat his enemies and strip them of their thrones. Eventually, he launched a full-scale invasion of Russia to do exactly that.

The end result: calamity.

The Battle of Poltava

Charles’s army was wrecked by the coldest European winter in five hundred years, then crushed at the Battle of Poltava quite close to the current frontline in the Ukraine war. Sweden lost its empire forever. Russia, meanwhile, has been a world power ever since, and Tsar Peter entered history as Peter the Great.

Russia — ambitious, violent, and thuggish — attacked a smaller neighbor. Russia — poorly-led and overconfident — suffered humiliating defeats. But Russia — vast, determined, and essentially unconquerable — soldiered ahead, and simply outlasted its enemies to win a victory.

What happened then may happen again today.

The chief cheerleaders of the Ukraine war have responded to Russia’s recent escalation announcements with mockery, gloating that Russia is headed for defeat and urging NATO to seek the country’s maximal humiliation in return for peace. Michael McFaul, Obama’s former ambassador to Moscow, reflects the most typical voice in this crowd.

In response to Putin’s warnings of possible Russian nuclear weapons usage to defend its “territorial integrity,” McFaul repeated his (insane) argument from last April that Ukraine would win even if hit by nuclear weapons.

Just a few days before, McFaul called for maintaining maximum pressure on Russia until it evacuates Crimea and hands over its political leaders to be imprisoned or executed.

McFaul’s demands are not a serious proposal for peace. They are a demand for total victory, no matter how many lives have to be destroyed in the process. Like King Charles three centuries ago, McFaul may be driven by a powerful sense of righteousness. But his self-righteousness is only setting up Ukraine, and perhaps the world, for calamity.

Russia may be getting embarrassed in Ukraine. But in the end, it has more resources, more industry, more weapons, and far more manpower. And even if it doesn’t have the power to conquer Ukraine, it indisputably has the power to destroy it, and every day the war drags on, the possibility of Russia growing that desperate remains.

Disturbingly, many observers notice Russia’s desperation, and consider it a good thing:

Obviously, Max “My Wife’s Son” Boot is an idiot, but this situation ought to alarm everyone else. Putting Putin in a situation where he has to win, or else die, radically increases the risk that he will do something insanely destructive as a Hail Mary to save himself. The response to such a situation is not hardball, but to provide an offramp for de-escalation. Yet this is what the West has steadfastly refused to do from the beginning of the crisis.

It doesn’t have to be this way. The war has demonstrated, definitively and beyond a doubt, that Russia is not a conventional military threat to the United States or its essential allies. The idea of Russian tanks steamrolling their way from Bialystok to Bordeaux was always stupid, but now its is far more definitively so. If Russia, at enormous cost to itself, cannot occupy more than a quarter of Ukraine, it is never going to occupy Europe. The hardware losses alone suffered by Russia these past seven months will take years and billions of dollars to remedy.

These revelations ought to serve as the basis for a serious peace deal. Russia’s obvious military weakness gives America an opening to offer magnanimous diplomatic concessions. Why exactly does America need NATO troops stationed right on Russia’s doorstep, when the “threat” of Russian conquest is so flimsy? These concessions in turn can offer Russia a way to save face while scaling back its objectives in Ukraine. To stop the cycle of escalation, one side has to choose to break it, and America is the one in the best position to do so.

But instead, the West is being guided by extremists who seek Russia’s destruction, not for geostrategic reasons but for ideological ones. They see Russia’s recent struggles solely as an opportunity to expand their war goals and back Russia further into a corner. McFaul’s demands are essentially a demand that war continue until Russia’s unconditional surrender. And these demands are even more ghoulish because, even in a vacuum, Ukraine’s total victory isn’t desirable. The Ukrainian territories held by Russia before the war’s outbreak overwhelmingly want to be in the Russian Federation, and this is beyond dispute. Insisting on forever war until their reversion will mean sacrificing thousands of lives and billions of dollars simply to give Ukraine a chance to engage in retaliation and victor’s justice against a Russian-speaking “enemy population.”

The best outcome to the Ukraine crisis has always been a negotiated one which acknowledges Russia’s on-the-ground gains and assuages its security concerns in return for bringing Ukraine long-term peace and political independence. That was the best outcome before the war, and it remains the best one even now. But every day the war drags on makes that negotiated end harder to achieve, while indulging warmongers and war profiteers who treat Ukraine itself like a video game arena.

Four months ago, when Congress voted Ukraine a $40 billion check for the war, in a piece entitled “Why Funding Ukraine Is Just Dead Wrong”, we at Revolver argued that:

Americans are paying billions of dollars to marginally increase the chances that they and all of their family members die horribly in a nuclear war. That’s it. This military aid isn’t encouraging a peace deal; in fact, U.S. aid has hardened the resolve of both countries and pushed them further away from the negotiating table. This aid isn’t saving Ukrainian lives. Rather, by allowing the war to go on indefinitely, it simply ensures that more will be killed.

America holds all the cards in the Ukraine. Biden could bring both sides to the negotiating table and end the war just by threatening to turn off the weapons spigot. But instead, America has sent the message that it will fund Ukraine indefinitely and without restriction, all just to deplete and humiliate Russia. In the process, America pushes Russia further into a corner and invites nuclear war.

READ THE REST: Why Funding Ukraine Is Just Dead Wrong

The past months have entirely vindicated Revolver’s warning. Half a year of war have not brought Ukraine closer to peace. But they have brought the whole entire world closer to Armageddon.

Need we say more?

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