Sweden and Finland are expected to join the North Atlantic Organisation, NATO, as soon as possible after the governments of both countries announced their membership on Monday. Social Democrat Magdalena Andersson, the Swedish Prime Minister, made the announcement at a press conference in which she destroyed the Nordic country’s non-alignment stance.
Finland. For its part, after seven decades without conflict with the bordering country, Russia decided to break the calm, the possibility of calm, by adhering to war plans. It remains to be seen whether both countries will be part of the deployment of armaments and radars aimed at the demonised Russia. Putin, for his part, has warned that he will not tolerate such weapons deployments.
To help us understand this climax on the European continent and the possible consequences of the enlargement of this military alliance, we have with us writer and journalist Adrian Mac Liman. Hello Adrian, how are you? Thank you for being with us once again.
Friends, good morning.
Adrian, tell us, what are the reasons that led Sweden and Finland to join this anti-Russian crusade?
Well, it has to be said that this is a very old project. It’s not something spontaneous, it’s not something relatively new, it’s something that came about in the 1990s and it came about shortly after the break-up of the Soviet Union. At that time, when it seemed that we had liberated ourselves, I mean not only Europeans in general, but also the world, that we had freed ourselves from the threat of war. American universities were commissioned to prepare a report on the possible litigation, weakening, annexation of Soviet power. In the early 1990s, I think it was in 1992, a very interesting report came out from Yale University which talks about the project of dismembering post-Soviet Russia and the possibility of relegating it, let’s say, to the level of middle powers, regional powers, as President Obama said.
I repeat, this is a well-thought-out, well-studied project that has been put into practice since then, what did the report say? I will summarise it in a few minutes. The truth is that it is a very long document, which was difficult to read and, above all, it made my hair stand on end when I read it. It said the following: How to get rid of Russia, it has to be the policy of the pincers. NATO in Europe on the one hand and China in Asia on the other. Today we have seen that only the first part of this project has been achieved, i.e., to have the pincers on the European side. With China, the American political scientists were wrong, and they were very wrong. In the sense that when China was called upon to join this anti-Russian alliance, first Biden and then the top officials of the European Union, the Commission and the Parliament received a very kind and serious response from China. Look, please do not interfere in our internal affairs. We know what China’s position is today, i.e., it is not going to join the boycott. On the contrary, they have common plans and let us hope that these plans will serve to unblock, to a certain extent, or rather to block this initiative. It is an initiative in which, as you said, Sweden and Finland are the last steps. The last neutral countries in Europe, to make matters worse, countries that border the Russian Federation, which I had to convince to join this defence project. Which in this particular case is everything but defence.
Of course, Adrian, but apart from that one thinks, in this context where it is really more dangerous than ever, we say it is reckless, to a bear that is pawing at Ukraine, so to speak, to go and bother it now is like… Why, after so many years of not wanting to join this anti-Russian initiative, would these two countries do it now? What do they have to gain or what are they afraid of losing?
These countries are doing it, in my opinion and it seems to me, out of obligation. In other words, the pressure they have been under in recent weeks, as I said in recent months, has been very strong and the pressure is not exactly coming from Brussels, or if it is coming from Brussels, it will be from NATO headquarters. In short, it is an initiative that aims to form a conglomerate of countries that will go against Russia, against the bear, as you say, and try to show the bear that the West, in this specific case and the Alliance, are much more powerful. It is a miscalculation on the part of the Alliance. First, it is a miscalculation on the part of the governments of those countries that are creating enemies needlessly. Russia has always had very good relations with Sweden, but less good relations with Finland. They had a couple of wars with Finland in the last century. But, in the end, a kind of ten-ten relationship had been established with these two countries, which broke down at that moment and was dangerous both for these countries in terms of their defence and what was to come, as well as for the rest of Europe. That, unfortunately, we will see in the next few weeks and I think what we are going to see is not going to be kind or pleasant.
Adrian, I’m listening and you’re talking about a miscalculation, right? From the West, from NATO, Sweden and Finland. And I was wondering, and I want to ask you, was it not foreseeable that this would also happen for Putin? I mean, Putin could have calculated that this was going to happen, yes or no, as you see it, isn’t it also a miscalculation from the Russian side? I’m asking you because I’m in doubt.
Well, from the Russian side, indeed, it is a miscalculation, not limited to what is Sweden and Finland, but to the Ukrainian operation. Those of us who live in Europe and know the mentality and ideology of the Kremlin in Moscow are convinced that there has been a huge strategic miscalculation. That is to say, for the Kremlin the entry into Ukrainian territory was going to be a kind of triumphal stroll. And it was not. It wasn’t for several reasons, there is the nationalist factor of the Ukrainians that has to be taken into account, and I think that little account has been taken of all this. It’s the Great Power mentality, I’m the strongest, I can take them on. I’m going to reassure them if they get a bit nervous about these guys and on the other hand, the fact that Moscow or the Russian army didn’t expect to meet such strong resistance from the Ukrainian side. What’s going on in Ukraine? This is not a war of Russia against Ukraine, it’s a war of NATO against Russia. And since we have a lot of Atlantic Alliance weaponry sent and mobilised in Ukraine, this war can go on for a long time. This, in my opinion, is where the Kremlin’s, Putin’s, miscalculation lies. What is going to happen with all this? Well, please don’t ask me. I think this is the first time in my life that I am more pessimistic than objective, and I am pessimistic because it seems to me that there are a great many factors that could turn this into a long conflict, a conflict that is going to cost us a great many lives on both sides and a conflict that, God forbid, should not end in nuclear war. And I say God save us, because I don’t know who could save us but God. There are many diabolical elements that appear in that scenario. Unfortunately, we were not expecting this in Europe, I think we were expecting something much more civilised, if a war can be civilised. Much kinder if war can be kinder. A much more sensible idea, if there can be sensible conflicts. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
No, there is no sanity, of course, ever in war. However, every time there seemed to be material conditions, every time it seemed that the Russian advances had already managed to liberate Lugansk, to liberate Donetsk, that it seemed that we could speak of a kind of victory or at least of creating the conditions for the Ukrainians to say “Well, let’s put an end to this, you be independent and we’ll take the rest”, there was like a new onslaught from NATO, from the United States, from Europe with new condemnations, new disputes. It seems that beyond the logical Ukrainian resistance, there are outside interests that want this to last, right? I think it would be good if you could tell us a little bit about that.
It is precisely these outside interests that have been talked about a lot in recent weeks here in Europe, which were not talked about at the beginning, when we were not aware that things were going to evolve in this way. In that sense, there comes a time when we are told that the Russian army is advancing, the Russian army is conquering a certain percentage of the territory, the Russian army is taking the initiative, and suddenly someone says, “No, wait a minute, that can’t end”. The fact is that the powers that be, and please understand this however you want. The powers that be want to do away with all Soviet-made weapons in the countries of the East and replace them with NATO weapons. In other words, armaments made in the United States. This costs time and money and the issue of time has to be managed with the propaganda war. The propaganda wars have been fierce in Europe up to now. In other words, we have only been supplied with information from Washington and London. That is to say, from the two centres that manipulate the western propaganda, we have been deprived of the possibility to listen to the other side. Those who want to hear the other side know where to turn, but the possibility of having access to the Russian media has disappeared. So, in Europe, where there are a great many countries that are not happy with this war, we have to recognise that, and there are a great many governments that realise that this war is hurting them more than it is hurting Russia. We find that we have one source of information today and for the last ten days that source of information has been called the British intelligence services. That is the source they do offer us. The information from the British intelligence services is, as people said, the TAS agency reports. It’s the same thing, we are limited to an official version, a version that is not always fair. And of course, when we listen to the news and they say “Ukraine finished its mission in Mariupol… No, sorry, they surrendered. But this is what you know if you have the information from the other side. If you listen to the Western media or read the Western newspapers, you get such furious anti-Russian propaganda that you wonder if we are all at war, or is it just, and this is what it seems to me, that we are being manipulated and manipulated a lot.
Adrian, we have very little time left, but there is a subject that I think you know very well and that is worth giving a couple of minutes to try to understand. In this pincer effect that you were describing against Russia. There is a player who is somewhat in the middle, who has to play one of the most difficult roles, one of the most violent, if you like, but who is not accepted by the West and still has many interests in the East: Turkey. It is Turkey that is complaining the most, saying “Well, now they are going to bring these two countries into NATO through the window and we have been waiting for twenty years for them to let us join the European Union”. How can we summarise Turkey’s grievances and the role it has to play?
Well, I had my doubts when I saw the general idea of this interview and this morning I received the key information from Mr. Erdogan. He doesn’t send it to me, he sends it to the Turkish press. But as I’m a regular reader of the Turkish press, I’ll sum it up for you in two minutes.
That Sweden should cease to be a safe haven for the Kurdish PKK militants who are in Sweden and have a very strong base there; that the United States should allow us to receive the F-35s for which we have already paid; and that NATO and the United States should lift the embargo on the sale of Turkish military equipment. Those are the basis of the negotiation. And I hope that if we reach fifty, sixty percent agreement on those three issues, there will be no veto from Turkey. Everything is negotiable.
But Erdogan’s pure pragmatism, totally de-ideologised, as we are accustomed to.
We are in the East, what do you want?
Yes, yes, yes, yes. The Turks know who they have to negotiate with every time they have to do business. Adrian. Thank you very much for taking the time to help us through …, you have a blog called Window to the world. Well, that’s a little bit, I think, what you’ve allowed us to do now, to look through that window a little bit at what’s happening in Europe, which, to be honest, you gave it that dimension, it’s not just what could happen in Europe, the risks are really that this could spill over and become a really global problem. It already is, but with the threat of a nuclear war, the truth is that it is something that we all have to rely on what we can rely on to avoid it. It seems to me that to talk about it is to help raise consciousness so that we can all be alert and respond in whatever way we can.
This is going to affect everyone sooner or later. It’s going to be a problem, I wouldn’t say just manipulated, but largely manipulated to have food crises, energy crises and more. I’m sorry we don’t have time to talk about that. It’s another script that’s sad enough and cynical enough to leave out.
Another time, soon, we’ll call you back so we can address this whole new scenario that perhaps a few years ago we imagined as post-apocalyptic. There is no need for an apocalypse, we are already beginning to experience the aftermath of all this.
That’s the idea: a technological apocalypse.