This article is reproduced by Niu Danqin (id:bullpiano) with authorization. Author: Niu Danqin
There is no doubt that the conflict between Russia and Ukraine is the biggest black swan in 2022. In addition to fighting and killing, it also brings about dramatic changes in the international pattern. Finland and Sweden are going to join NATO, Ukraine and Moldova are moving closer to the European Union, and the west is going all out to strangle Russia
Russia is also struggling to fight back. In addition to the strategic adjustment and Tactical Attack on the battlefield, a recent new trend, after Putin’s ruthless hand, the two neighbors who jumped high were silent.
The first neighboring country is Lithuania.
Needless to say, Lithuania is the most anti Russian neighbor. The gratitude and resentment in history and the hatred against Russia in reality made Lithuania rush to the forefront of anti Russia as soon as the Ukrainian crisis broke out.
The latest big move is Lithuania’s order to block the transportation channel between Russia and the enclave Kaliningrad from June 18.
Lithuania’s reason is to implement the EU ban on Russia, and all Russian prohibited materials are not allowed to transit.
What is illegal material?
According to the EU ban, Russia’s coal, steel, construction materials, and so on, are not allowed to enter the country. In other words, about 50% of the goods from Russia to Kaliningrad cannot pass through Lithuania now.
Russia was naturally furious and accused Lithuania of violating international treaties. Russia immediately summoned Lithuanian diplomats to scold and issued an ultimatum: Lithuania must release, or take retaliatory measures.
As I said before, there are two kinds of possible retaliation. The first is to retaliate by blocking Lithuanian ports; Second, border friction, really take Lithuania for an operation.
This may lead to armed conflict. Of course, it’s really a conflict. The reason must be Luo Shengmen. Lithuania will denounce Russia as an invasion, and Russia will accuse Lithuania of provocation, but the result is that both sides are fighting with real swords.
Who is afraid of who in this world?
Lithuania has shifted the responsibility to the EU. What should the EU do?
The EU is very anxious, especially Germany, the leader of the EU, is very angry.
According to the latest report of Der Spiegel, Lithuania’s sudden action against Kaliningrad made the German government angry. Because it is very simple, such provocation is likely to lead to conflict. Germany has troops stationed in Lithuania. Once the conflict breaks out, it means that many EU countries will be involved, which is not in line with the overall interests of the EU.
Of course, save face for Lithuania. It is revealed that the EU may soon announce a new judicial interpretation that Russia will not be sanctioned for the transportation of goods in Kaliningrad, but the total amount of relevant materials cannot exceed that before the Ukrainian crisis.
Der Spiegel pointed out that the European Commission’s adoption of this decision “provided Lithuania with an opportunity to retreat and save face”, but Lithuania regarded this as a “failure”. “Russia seems to have scared the European Commission… Russia has put our reputation in doubt,” said Lithuanian political scientist Jacques nunet
But let me say that Germany is actually saving Lithuania and protecting the whole EU.
After all, once a conflict breaks out, the war will expand to the entire EU, but the biggest victim is undoubtedly Lithuania.
A man’s anger, blood splashing five steps, the world is plain; The anger of the son of heaven, millions of corpses, thousands of miles of blood.
Impulse is the devil. Only when you are mature can you seek a country. Individuals can be vigorous, but the country must consider long-term interests.
The second neighbor is Japan.
After the Ukrainian crisis, Japan, as a member of the Western camp, also imposed round after round of sanctions on Russia.
Russia is very angry. Zaharova, a spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, had previously scolded that Japan was really confused, blindly following the West and undermining its national interests. “Unfortunately, Japan has been very active in this western mainstream and implemented all instructions without complaint. They obviously did not realize the damage to their national interests.”
Russia is particularly angry that Russia Japan relations are generally good; But Japan’s sudden stab is a betrayal.
Zaharova cursed, “Japan has been trying to maintain a certain balance for a long time, but it is obvious that the stakes have increased and they no longer restrain.”
Russia is also tit for tat. In addition to suspending the negotiation of the Russia Japan peace treaty and adding Japan to the list of “unfriendly countries and regions”, Putin signed a decree to take over the energy cooperative development project “Sakhalin 2” between Russia and Japan.
Sakhalin 2 is a major oil and gas development project in the Far East of Russia. Its shareholders include Gazprom, European shell, Mitsui products of Japan and Mitsubishi group.
Among them, Gazprom holds 50% shares, shell holds 27.5% shares, and Mitsui and Mitsubishi jointly hold 22.5%.
For Japan, “Sakhalin 2” is not only of great economic interest, but also related to national energy security. Therefore, despite the continuous waving of the stick to Russia, Japan has always made it clear that it will not withdraw from the Sakhalin 2.
Quite simply, Japan is short of oil and natural gas resources. According to the data of the Japanese government, in 2021, 4% of Japan’s imported oil and 8.8% of its imported liquefied natural gas came from Russia. Among them, almost all liquefied natural gas comes from “Sakhalin 2”.
In particular, Hiroshima, the hometown of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, imports half of its natural gas from Russia.
Japan hopes to ride the wall, but Russia will counter it. According to Putin’s decree, Gazprom shares will be retained, but foreign investors need to submit an application for retaining shares within one month, and the Russian government will decide whether to approve it.
Japan is worried that, according to the current situation, if the two Japanese enterprises are forcibly withdrawn, Japan’s natural gas is in a hurry, and gas prices and electricity prices will rise. You know, because of the lack of gas, some places in Japan have begun to limit electricity.
Therefore, with Putin’s ruthless hand, Japan is highly nervous.
On July 1, Kishida responded in person: “we must pay close attention to what kind of contracts (foreign companies) will be required to sign by the decree. We need to communicate with relevant enterprises and think about how to respond.”
How does Japan respond?
Kishida’s answer was: “I can’t comment without confirming (the Russian side) how to respond to the formal request.”.
Nine times out of ten, Japan is discussing with Russia and does not rule out begging Russia to retain the shares of Japanese enterprises; In response, Japan will certainly make concessions and may have to lower its attitude towards Russia.
Two things, the fierce struggle, from which we can see?
Some personal opinions.
First, to attack the enemy, we must attack the weak side.
Therefore, we can see that Russia doesn’t care about Lithuania’s military assistance to Ukraine, but once Kalinin transportation is blocked, Russia is furious.
We also see that Russia’s opposition to Japan and the suspension of peace negotiations did not intimidate Japan, but Japan was immediately nervous about threatening to deprive Japan of oil and gas.
Daring to fight and being good at fighting means that we must be good at finding the weakness of the other party and defeating the enemy with one move, otherwise we will hesitate, procrastinate, and can only be passive step by step.
Second, better strategy than courage.
It really needs a little strategy. Therefore, it is clear that Lithuania has attacked Russia, but it puts the blame on the EU. The EU can’t say how bitter it is.
In the case of high oil prices, Putin clearly understood that the operation on Sakhalin 2 would leave Japan in a dilemma and could only be beaten passively.
Of course, courage is needed behind strategy. If the EU believes that Russia’s ultimatum is only a threat, it is estimated that it will not make a compromise; Japan believes that Putin’s decree is just a gesture and will not be so nervous.
One of Putin’s characteristics is that he doesn’t play cards according to common sense. Moreover, when he is ruthless, he really gets it. This is also a deterrent.
Or that sentence: horizontal afraid of Leng, Leng afraid of death
Third, the more fierce struggle is behind.
Lithuania fell flat on the nose, and Japan finally kicked the iron plate, but one thing is certain, and a more fierce struggle is behind.
After these two games and the previous contest, Russia should be very clear that there are at least two trumps in its hand.
The first card is that Russia has nuclear weapons. No matter how Ukraine pleads or how Lithuania provokes, the western position is very clear: it cannot directly conflict with the Russian army. After all, once there is a conflict, it could really be a nuclear war, triggering the Third World War.
The second card is Russia’s oil and gas resources and food. Soaring oil prices have plunged the West into the highest inflation in 40 years. People are complaining, and Biden and others are also struggling. Japan used to jump very high, but now it has to keep silent and look at Russia’s face.
So, you see, in the coming period of time, Russia will use these two trumps more frequently. The more tense the war is, the less soft Russia will be. In the second half of 2022, we will see more struggles and more black swans.
Alas, in this world, the wicked have their own way.