© ITAR-TASS / Alexei Nikolsky
More evidence, about which I hope to write at length, is piling up that Europe has acquiesced to Washington's drive to war with Russia, a war that is likely to be the final war for humanity. By Russia's low key and unthreatening response to Washington's aggression, thereby giving the West the mistaken signal that Russia is weak and fearful, the Russian government has encouraged Washington's drive to war.

It appears that the Russians' greatest weakness is that capitalism has raised enough Russians to a comfortable living standard that the war that Washington is bringing to them is scary, and they want to avoid it in order to continue living like decadent Western Europeans.

The same thing happened to the once fierce Vandals in North Africa in the 6th century when the Vandals were exterminated by a small force from the Eastern Roman Empire. The Vandals had lost the valor that had given them a rich chunk of the Roman Empire.

Comment: Yes, low key and unthreatening, but not ineffective as a counter. Let's put it into perspective:

Party A says: We won't sell you X, but we will sell you Y, and Z.
Party B says: No problem, we won't buy Y and Z either.

Party A has created a situation where the money in the pocket of Party B cannot end up in the pocket of Party A. This is called: Cutting off your nose to spite your face. The way people make money is by selling things. Now the US and EU cannot sell to Russia because Russia will not buy.

This implements a basic strategy where party B

1) Economically weakens their current enemies.
2) Economically strengthens other regional powers who have the goods to sell, but not enough people to buy.

Russia needs to save the world from war, but the avoidance of war requires Russia to make the costs clear to Europeans.

Faced with economic sanctions, essentially illegal and warlike actions, applied to various Russian individuals and businesses by Washington and Washington's EU puppets and by Switzerland, a country taught to be more fearful of Washington than of Moscow, Russian President Putin has asked the Russian government to come up with countermeasures to be implemented in response to the gratuitous sanctions imposed against Russia.

But, Putin says, Russia must hold back: "Obviously we need to do it cautiously in order to support domestic manufacturers, but not hurt consumers."

In other words, Putin wants to impose sanctions that are not really sanctions, but something that looks like tit for tat.

The amazing thing about Russia finding herself on the defensive about sanctions is that Russia, not Washington or the impotent EU, holds all the cards. Putin can bring down the economies of Europe and throw all of Europe into political and economic chaos simply by turning off the energy supply.

Comment: No, actually he can't. There is a simple reason why the threat of the stick is more useful than the actual stick. The last thing Russia wants is Europe and America united in desperation. Germany learned why that was a really bad idea. Never back a person into a corner with no way out. Conversely, towards the end of WWII, this is what the Allies did to Germany, which pretty much caused the bulk of the deaths. If the Germans had felt even remotely that there was a way out besides unconditional surrender, they would have taken it.

Putin would not have to turn off the energy supply for very long before Europe tells Washington good-bye and comes to terms with Russia. The longer Putin waits, the longer Europe has to prepare against Russia's best weapon that can be used to peacefully resolve the conflict that Washington has orchestrated.

Comment: No, again, this is a bad idea. Turning off the energy supply could cause serious problems, including fatalities; deaths that Russia would never be forgiven for. Russia wants to be sane and responsible in this situation, to draw a stark contrast to the emotional and low class antics of the United States.

Washington's aggressive moves against Russia will not stop until Putin realizes that he, not Washington, holds the cards, and plays them.

Comment: It is a good analogy, cards. However, Russia is slow-playing a whale here.

The world has had enough of Washington, its constant lies, its constant wars, and its bullying. Putin would do well to spend a few hours with Belisarius, Justinian the Great's great general.

"When I treat with my enemies," Belisarius said, "I am more accustomed to give than to receive counsel; but I hold in one hand inevitable ruin, in the other peace and freedom."

Comment: We are not entirely sure that Belisarius' situation applies here. In the first sense Belisarius was an habitual user of indirect attacks and feints, so the comparison falls down, unless he means that Putin is like Belisarius? In the second sense, Belisarius represented Rome against hungry and desperate empires, so his successes were more like those of Pompeius Magnus against the Asians. And we all know what Caesar thought of 'Pompey The Great' after Caesar had direct experience with the incompetent Asian forces of the time.

The problem is, people evaluate warfare in old terms. Soldiers against soldiers. The method of invasion in the modern world is first with money, then with guns. The methods of defense are the same.

That is precisely the position that Vladimir Putin is in with regard to Europe. In one hand he holds the ruin of Europe. In the other peace and freedom in the relations between Russia and Europe.

He needs to call up the [expletive deleted] European "leaders" and tell them.

Comment: Walk softly, but carry a big stick. You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

If Putin does not put his foot down hard and make clear to the Europeans what the stakes are, Washington will succeed in its determination to drive the world to war, and "exceptional and indispensable" Americans will die along with all the rest.
About the author

Paul Craig Roberts served as an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration. He was associate editor and columnist for The Wall Street Journal and columnist for Business Week and the Scripps Howard News Service. In 1992 he received the Warren Brookes Award for Excellence in Journalism. In 1993 the Forbes Media Guide ranked him as one of the top seven journalists in the United States. He is also chairman of The Institute for Political Economy.