N. Peter Kramer’s Weekly Column
There is a persistent form of denial of the seriousness of the energy crisis, especially among Western leaders. At the G7, they boldly decided that there should be a mechanism whereby we will stop sky-high rising prices and pay less to Russia for its oil and gas. It looks like these leaders have the illusion that they have control over energy prices . They assume that Putin is a rational person who would rather sell us oil and gas at a lower price than not sell it to us.
It is a conjuncture steeped in wishful thinking. Everything indicates that the Russian president is less a homo economicus than an experienced poker player. He is prepared to turn off the taps towards Europe more and more. Also because he found some big energy enthusiasts elsewhere in the world: China, India and Indonesia for instance.
Even though the summer has yet to really start, we seriously have to prepare for a hard winter. Western leaders, equally stalwart, have promised Ukraine as much support and weapons as it takes to counteract Russian aggression. The CIA, experienced in ‘secret’ (but not always successful) interventions, is already active in Zelensky’s country. That almost means we can talk about a protracted war. But the conflict can only come to an end if the Russians have been driven behind the borders before February 24. And who believes that this target can be achieved before the winter?