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The Art of Self Infliction

The Art of Self Infliction

As losses of Advanced Equipment Mounts, the images will be used to shift morale on the battlefield in Ukraine – A Leopard 2A4 image shows a damaged tank, it is unsure if this image shows losses due to Russian Army actions.

Inflation related to food prices are hitting almost every economy in the world, stressing local citizens in countries where the support for defending Ukraine is the highest. The end of the Grain Deal between Ukraine and Russia ended, and without a pause, Russia sent missiles into the Odessa Region targeting grain reserves meant for export out of Ukraine. While Turkey and other countries seeking to extend the Grain Deal push for another agreement, the change in atmosphere and strategy from Russia may not encourage Russia into another agreement. While the lack of grain exports will directly affect countries like Egypt, the indirect effect on food inflation for NATO allies may be the intended effect Russia wishes to have on citizens of those countries.

It is a well known tactic that when combating Western countries, the long game often wears out their population. The pressures the Governments of the day have to endure when convincing a relatively safe and well off population into a war footing almost never extends past a few short years. Losses and change to the daily lives of Americans and other NATO countries not in proximity to the conflict is heavily influenced by the cost to their daily deeds and added frustrations in accomplishing the same tasks as they did outside of a war footing. Fuel prices in many of these colder countries affect the price of everything, and even when fuel prices drop, policies that increase the cost of food do nothing more but stress the incomes of local populations. Policies to diminish more money leaving the economy and reducing local taxes are as important as military aid in supporting your ally.

Some countries have sought to publicize greatly the amount of money and support given to Ukraine, while using the war as a catalyst for explaining difficulties with food and fuel prices to their population. Some of the same Governments will intentionally promote support for the war while increasing local taxes and costs of fuel and food several times over, even ignoring displacing Covid debts incurred by municipalities a few short years ago. Officials in some cases refuse supporting for their own major cities in reducing severe crime and poverty crises while sending their tax dollars outside of the country. Such actions will destroy any support for help abroad as their cities quickly deteriorate due to lack of funding and Government fuelled inflationary taxes.

While energy sales can bring money back into an economy to help with Covid funding losses, the greater strategic nature of using energy to bolster allies like Germany and Japan against Russia and its allies have a major effect on defunding Russia’s arms industry. If Ukraine’s allies intend for it to win as much territory back as possible, they have to make sure that Russia is unable to fund the creation of more weapons to put onto the field. Displacing Russian Oil and Gas is the only strategy that can reduce the income from Russia’s oil reserves. Most countries not aligned in the conflict will support their country by purchasing the most affordable and easy to obtain energy reserves. Countries like Japan, that are strategic allies, and Germany, who are bearing the brunt of much of the costs and supply of weapons, require low cost energy to keep their populations content and warm so they can endure a longer fight with a healthy population. Displacing Russia’s energy income might be the most important tactic the West could use to win in the long run, while keeping support constant among citizens in NATO ally countries. To this day, there has been little movement by NATO’s allies with large energy reserves in displacing Russian oil and gas. The claim is that Russia is now producing several T-90M tanks per month, and have organised and stabilized weapons to the front line, a line that has become very difficult to break.

While little is being done past funding more ammo hungry air defence systems in countering low cost drones, more and more funds are being promoted as being sent to fight in Ukraine. Losing the image of strength in the united fight for Ukraine has a massive effect on the morale and outcome of the war. Support for the war came at the sight of Russian armour being decimated like fireworks outside of Ukraine’s cities, and gave hope to Ukraine’s allies that the war can be won. Russia was always looking for an opportunity to turn the media images against Western support for the war, and they might have had this opportunity presented by Ukraine’s allies themselves.

Russia was able to use low cost drones to diminish the number of advanced anti-air missiles defending Ukraine, to the point that some in NATO have even stated they are running out of ammo. At no point was there a massive cost saving action taken by NATO in destroying the manufacturing facilities of the drones. Such an action would have saved many innocent lives, billions in spending, and kept advanced missiles at the ready for more deadly future threats.

While promoting billions upon billions of military support to Ukraine, some NATO soldiers were sent to Europe with no food being provided to them, putting them in personal debt just to obtain proper meals. Others were not provided even basic safety equipment, meaning they had to buy their own, preventing them from participating in exercises. A NATO member even refused, in the middle of the largest NATO conflict in their history, to contribute even the minimum amount of spending while claiming they gave the most directly to Ukraine without it being the case. Using funding announcements to Ukraine while underfunding the actual soldiers is not how you support an ally, nor assist them in winning their conflict. All it does is sour support for the war even further.

As Russia made an error in 2022 by assuming that Ukraine’s generational defensive posture would have been easy to dismantle in short time, the losses of NATO’s almost invincible equipment during Ukraine’s Counter-Offensive has been used by Russia to help them reclaim back of some their reputation as a powerful military force. It should have always been assumed that the loss of Leopard 2 or other highly regarded NATO equipment should have been expected, and would have been used to make Western powers look weak during their attack. Trying to assault a defended line is very difficult, and will certainly lead to many losses, along with images of burning tanks being used as part of the media war against Ukraine. Russia was likely very content in obtaining images of the best equipment in the world falling to their Soviet era artillery barrages, and have used those images as much as possible over the last few weeks. Less information about the Counter-Offensive is now being shared because of the losses, and populations in NATO countries are feeling the daily pressures without the images of victories on their screens weekly. Inflation, taxes and morale will hurt Ukraine more and more as the war goes on, and Russia will take any opportunity to displace support for Ukraine when it is made available by opposing Governments.



Richard Basas

Richard Basas, a Canadian Masters Level Law student educated in Spain, England, and Canada (U of London MA 2003 LL.M., 2007), has worked researching for CSIS and as a Reporter for the Latin America Advisor. He went on to study his MA in Latin American Political Economy in London with the University of London and LSE. Subsequently, Rich followed his career into Law focusing mostly on International Commerce and EU-Americas issues. He has worked for many commercial and legal organisations as well as within the Refugee Protection Community in Toronto, Canada, representing detained non-status indivduals residing in Canada. Rich will go on to study his PhD in International Law.

Areas of Focus:
Law; Economics and Commerce; Americas; Europe; Refugees; Immigration