Democracy is preparing a response to autocracy. This unambiguous message of the US President was heard on the axis of evil – in Russia and China, in Iran and the DPRK
The escalation in the Middle East caused by Hamas’ terrorist attack on Israel on October 7 has been going on for two weeks. During this time, the Israeli Army (IDF) has managed to clear its territory from the attackers, to launch powerful rocket and bomb attacks on the Gaza Strip (controlled by Hamas), and to exchange fire with Lebanese Hezbollah. Israel also has to fend off murderous “peacekeeping proposals” such as those periodically made by Russia, as well as accusations of war crimes (the attack on the hospital in Gaza), which have already been proven to be the work of terrorists themselves. Meanwhile, Western leaders are actively engaging in diplomacy, trying to prevent the conflict from becoming a regional or even global one, but emphasizing that they are ready to help both Israel and Ukraine.
…On October 19 (it was already the night of the 20th in Kyiv), US President Joe Biden addressed the American people with a special address in which he spoke of the need for further support for Ukraine in the fight against Russian aggression and solidarity with Israel in its response to the Hamas attack. The genre itself – an address to the nation – leaves no doubt. It is something like Winston Churchill’s 1948 Fulton speech. That was the beginning of the Cold War, which lasted for 40 years, but ended with the unconditional victory of the democratic West. Today, the West is lagging behind, so Biden’s speech is a call to consolidate and seize the initiative. And that alone is good.
The main thesis: “We’re facing an inflection point in history — one of those moments where the decisions we make today are going to determine the future for decades to come… history has taught us that when terrorists don’t pay a price for their terror, when dictators don’t pay a price for their aggression, they cause more chaos and death and more destruction. Hamas and Putin represent different threats, but they share this in common: They both want to completely annihilate a neighboring democracy.”
So, we have crucial questions: first, how and where has the world changed over the past two weeks; second, can Biden’s statement be considered the official beginning of the democratic West’s war against the “axis of evil” that has obviously already been finally formed (Russia-China-Iran-DPRK and others); third, what to expect next, what are the prospects and risks, in particular, for Ukraine?
Biden actually said “Coming for you!”
This is how diplomat Vadym Triukhan commented on Joe Biden’s address. And this, he said, is very encouraging.
“Especially given that this was said in an address to the nation, which is not often practiced by US presidents. And in fact, his address could be a turning point in World War III, which is still hybrid in nature, but is already half a step away from the hot stage,” Mr. Triukhan warns.
Moreover, Biden’s address was very timely: “This was preceded by two serious events: the deployment of two US aircraft carrier groups to the shores of Israel, as well as his personal visit to Tel Aviv. I think that after that, there is no one left in Russia, Iran, or China who could read Biden’s message any other way. This message is unambiguous: The United States is ready to resist the attempts of autocracies to harm democracy, the United States is ready to go all the way.”
Nevertheless… According to the expert, Russia, together with Iran, is now conducting the most successful special operation since the collapse of the USSR.
“Its essence is to provoke a major war in the Middle East. The goal is to distract the West’s attention from Ukraine by reducing the level of support for our country with weapons. The ultimate goal that the Kremlin has set for itself is to resume large-scale offensive operations in Ukraine on the side of Israel against Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran and possibly a number of Arab states that may also join the war, after Washington and its key NATO partners are drawn into the war on the side of Israel, with an eye to capturing the entire left bank of Ukraine,” Vadym Triukhan believes. – At first glance, this assumption may seem fantastic. However, the first “test of the pen” in the Avdiivka area, where an attempted offensive coincided with the start of Hamas terrorist attacks, is proof of this. Thus, over the past two weeks, the world has really changed, and dramatically so.”
The expert once again emphasized: “Two US aircraft carriers with a whole armada of escort ships are no longer about empty ‘concerns’, as has been practiced for years in the case of Ukraine, but about concrete actions and intentions to go all the way. At the same time, the statement “we will provide Israel with everything it needs to defend itself” is not about helmets, javelins, and small arms, as it was in the first weeks after the invasion of Ukraine. In fact, the world is half a step away from a hot phase of World War III, most likely with the use of nuclear weapons. It may not necessarily be Israel that does this. It could be Pakistan, for example, where there are already calls from radicalized politicians. Finally, it could also be Russia, through the hands of someone who is a proxy for it with Iran.”
Mr. Triukhan says that there are currently two scenarios for the development of the situation in the Middle East.
The first is that Israel launches a ground operation, and as a result, Hezbollah and, most likely, Iran, which will first delegate the Islamic Revolutionary Guards and then its regular army, will join the war on the side of Hamas. It is also possible that some other Arab states will get involved. No matter how hard American and European diplomats try to restrain Egypt, Lebanon and Syria, there will be a situation of “diamond cut diamond”, namely: The Arab world, at least in the vast majority, will support its own.
“This will result in a large-scale war, in which the United States will also be involved,” the diplomat predicts.
The second scenario is that Israel will not launch a ground operation. This option still exists, as there are calls from all sides for negotiations to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe that is already taking shape in Gaza.
“In this case, the situation will gradually be “put on the brakes” and there will be a long diplomatic process, which will most likely result in the long-standing decision that the Palestinians have the right to their own state, it will become a member of the UN, and so on,” he added.
As for Ukraine, we are currently highly dependent on the scenario that will be realized in the Middle East: “Ukraine will have to go through very difficult times over the next 3-6 months. The russists will not only try to resume their offensives, but will also indiscriminately attack our energy system. The Armed Forces of Ukraine may begin to feel the hunger for ammunition for air defense systems in a few weeks. There is still a chance that our partners will still be able to cover two theaters of operations in terms of weapons support, but there are reasons to predict that it will be difficult to maintain the previously achieved volumes of supplies.”
So, Ukraine needs to survive for several months, during which the economies of our Western partners will be finally reorganized to a military footing. The West cannot afford either Israel’s or Ukraine’s defeat. Such a scenario would lead to the complete bankruptcy of democracy as such.
“The West will see this through. Washington, Berlin and other civilized capitals clearly understand that if it were not for Russia, there would have been no Hamas attack on Israel. And they also understand that Russia, along with its allies on the “axis of evil,” is not going to stop trying to undermine the key foundations of the democratic world. So for the West, this is a matter of principle. But the West must become more decisive,” Vadym Triukhan emphasized.
The Yalta-Potsdam system of international relations has been finally dismantled
“Just as in 1947 Harry Truman (incidentally, also a representative of the Democratic Party) delivered his historic doctrine, in which he called for the Western world to unite against the expansion of Soviet totalitarianism into Eastern Europe and to provide assistance to Greece and Turkey, so Democrat Joe Biden, 76 years later, is actually repeating the leitmotif of these theses, but against Putin’s tyranny and terrorists in the Middle East,” political analyst Oleh Posternak points out.
“The problem is that the West is adjusting to the Cold War 2.0, acting cautiously, dosing influence and military aid. The weak point is that the population of Western countries is not ready for the new realities of international relations and the growth of subversive, hybrid and direct armed activity of the axis of autocracies. Therefore, appeals to international law and the use of instruments of international organizations can hardly be considered the best response of the West to the growing arrogance of Beijing-Moscow-Tehran,” the expert emphasized.
Israel’s anti-terrorist war can affect Ukraine in different ways.
“On the plus side, the combination of assistance to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan allows us to scale up the political support of the American society for the countries and hope for a less conflictual bipartisan vote in Congress.”
Americans are beginning to perceive Russia’s war against Ukraine not as a local dispute in Eastern Europe, but as part of a new global confrontation.
“The downside is that the titanic diplomatic efforts that Ukraine has made to engage the countries of the Global South in the ‘Ukrainian peace formula’ may weaken due to the fear of many of them becoming hostage to a new confrontation between the Euro-Atlantic community and the axis of autocracies.”
There is a risk that the countries of the Global South will begin to perceive Ukraine as a country that is ultra-loyal to the United States, and this will block the promotion of a pro-Ukrainian view of ending the war.
“In general, the Yalta-Potsdam system of international relations has been finally dismantled, so the world will be in a permanent imbalance for a long time,” emphasized Oleh Posternak.
In fact, the “Coalition of Evil” was formed long ago
But this formation did not take place in the way it was supposed to – publicly and openly, with the signing of relevant agreements and memorandums. No! This does not happen in the circle of such states.
“They can talk in a narrow circle, behind closed doors, without leaving any traces. They act on the basis of kinship of souls and thoughts. And they have one intention – strategic, global, and decisive – to destroy the West,” warns Mykhailo Honchar, president of the Center for Global Studies “Strategy XXI”.
The truth may be revealed in decades. Evil very rarely reveals its true face, it is usually disguised as “good”. And it takes off this mask only when it needs to create fear, horror and terror. This is what happened on February 24, 22 in Ukraine, and on October 07, 23 in Israel.
“In fact, the formation of the “Coalition of Evil” began in the last decade, with the re-election of Putin’s third presidential term in May 2012. In fact, at the same time, in November 2012, Xi Jinping became general secretary of the Communist Party of China, and later, in March 2013, president of China. Putin and Xi are the two main leaders of this “Coalition of Evil,” and the rest are “horses to the cart,” says Mr. Honchar.
In his opinion, it is no coincidence that Iran has become closer to its like-minded neighbors, first with Russia and then with China.
“Moreover, it was China that managed to reconcile the two irreconcilable rivals and enemies in the Middle East – Iran and Saudi Arabia. So this whole period, starting from the last decade, was marked by the formation of what we call today the “Coalition of Evil,” he added.
Initially, the leading role in this “coalition” was played by the Russian Federation, which was inspired by the fact that in 2008 its invasion of Georgia went unpunished, without any sanctions from the West: “On the contrary, Russia was then rewarded by the Americans with the so-called ‘reset policy’ and by the Europeans with the ‘policy of modernization for the sake of progress’. Against the backdrop of this success, as well as rising oil prices, Putin went further. And then came the aggression against Ukraine in 2014.”
Meanwhile, China has been slowly reclaiming its maritime spaces in the East and South China Seas: “Of course, all this – the hybrid aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, as well as China in the surrounding seas – was perceived negatively by the West, but with no more than a reaction of “deep concern”. This stimulated the “Coalition of Evil” to continue what it had started”.
Against this background, Iran and the DPRK were also gaining weight.
“Despite the sanctions imposed on them, these countries managed to develop fairly effective weapons systems,” emphasizes Mykhailo Honchar. “Yes, Iran did receive less money because of the sanctions, but it had enough money for its nuclear program, missile program, creation of kamikaze drones, which its ally Russia is using to attack Ukrainian cities, for its mosquito fleet, and so on. Iran has managed to masterfully hone the technology of “hybrid warfare” through the creation and support of various proxies. For example, Hezbollah, which operates in Lebanon and Syria and which, so far, has not been massively involved against Israel, but it is a matter of time. After all, Iran has used Hamas quite effectively against Israel. And earlier in Yemen, it used the Houthis against the Saudis,” noted Mykhailo Honchar. – “The same can be said about North Korea, which, although considered the world’s No. 1 pariah, has developed both missile and nuclear weapons while keeping its own people in poverty.
And if in this vein we also recall the “subversive” activities of the countries leading the “Coalition of Evil” in the United States and Europe…
“Just one example is the Russian-Chinese “Trojan horse” in the European Union and NATO in the form of the Orban regime, which constantly blocks important initiatives, disagrees with the general opinion of the allies, thereby contributing to the achievement of the “Coalition of Evil”‘s goals. Now, after the elections in Slovakia, Russia and China will try to “play the Fico card,” i.e., to make him Orban #2, the expert believes. – “In general, today we are witnessing a new stage in the transformation of the Coalition of Evil, involving the widest possible range of supporters. And returning to the Middle East, events there are gaining momentum, the spiral of escalation is unwinding. After the rocket attack on a hospital in the Gaza Strip, further, no less horrific events may follow, particularly in East Asia – Taiwan and South Korea. The “Coalition of Evil” is seeking to regain its position in the international arena.”
Mr. Honchar argues that the West, i.e. the Coalition of the Good, has been reacting to the behavior of autocracies in a backward manner all these years.
“As long as the Coalition of Good is guided by the wrong attitude to solve all problems – the so-called “diplomacy on the table”, reacts verbally, with half-measures, imposes sanctions with a great delay, which are often reactive rather than proactive – success is on the side of the Coalition of Evil, which plays a completely different game,” our interlocutor emphasizes.
If the West had not tried to appease Putin in 2008, but had kicked him in the teeth, Russia’s aggression against Ukraine in 2014 could have been avoided. If the West had imposed the same sanctions against Russia in 2014 as it has now, the Russian dictator would not have dared to launch a large-scale invasion on February 24, 2022. If in 2022 the West had imposed a blockade on the entrance to the Danish straits in the Baltic Sea for empty tankers loading oil to Russian ports or had refused Russian oil and gas in principle, Hamas terrorists might not have attacked Israel on October 7, 2023.
All these events are closely interconnected.
“It’s all the West that needs to change. It needs to abandon and reconsider its “anti-escalation” policy, which actually leads to the opposite results, it needs to stop being afraid and act proactively and tough,” says the president of the Center for Global Studies “Strategy XXI”. “For example, as an option, we can finally move to a regime of total economic isolation of criminal countries. Or to do what the United States has already done in Syria, for example, in February 2018, when US aircraft launched a massive strike on the army of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad near Hisham, killing more than a hundred people, including Russian thugs from the Wagner PMC. What is interesting is that there was no reaction from the Russian Federation at the time. These are the things that show how to effectively counteract the “coalition of evil”.
The expert also mentioned Ukraine.
“The West needs to finally move from the vague formula of ‘supporting Ukraine as long as necessary’ to the formula of ‘Ukraine’s victory’. Because Ukraine’s victory is a victory for democracy, for the Coalition of Good over the Coalition of Evil. Only Ukraine’s victory will be a serious deterrent to China and Iran. In the meantime, such a blurred approach will continue… This will stimulate the “Coalition of Evil” to increase the potential of its interaction, creating new zones of chaos in order to distract the attention of Washington and Brussels,” Mykhailo Honchar summarized.
Myroslav Liskovych, Kyiv