05.06.2024 Author: Phil Butler

As Ukraine Disintegrates – Hedging Bets Begins in Italy

As Ukraine Disintegrates - Hedging Bets Begins in Italy

The remarkable news that Italy’s Defence Minister is calling for the West to make a concerted effort to end the conflict in Ukraine may give some people hope. Guido Crosetto recently told the daily Il Messaggero that negotiation with Vladimir Putin is the only way to end the bloodshed. However, doublespeak statements from Italian politicians and business people mirror the EU’s and NATO’s rudderless single mindedness. Indecision is spelling the end of Ukraine as a nation.

Crosetto, a staunch supporter of Ukraine, has also criticized Western sanctions against Russia as ineffective. As one of the founders of the national-conservative Brothers of Italy (FdI), he has also pointed out the overestimation of the Western order’s economic influence by American and European leadership. He believes that arming Ukraine could expedite the conditions for a truce and ultimately peace. In other words, the solution lies in a strategic approach that leads to peace, not in a perpetual state of conflict.

Conflicts of Interest and Financial Motivations

It is worth mentioning here that Italy’s Defense Minister is also involved in the arms industry, building corvettes, frigates and aircraft carriers via Orizzonte Sistemi Navali, a joint venture between Fincantieri and Leonardo S.p.A. In true deadly sidewinder fashion, Crosetto now says he advised Ukraine’s Zelensky against the counter-offensive aimed at the Russian lines, but that Zelensky did not take his advice seriously. So, an Italian politician and tycoon who changes parties as often as he does his underwear seek to ride the fence on Ukraine now.

If the Russian military continues its slow offensive moves westward, no degree of arms or monetary support will prevent the inevitable. The Ukraine side will soon have too few soldiers to use new tranches of weapons, and money laundering schemes will dry up as fast as Zelensky’s cabal exits the country. However, the recent Crosetto fence riding has more to do with making billions off of arms sales to NATO and non-Nato countries. A multi-billion euro deal between Abu Dhabi-based defense contractors EDGE Group and Shipbuilding Giant Fincantieri. At the time of the agreement, Crosetto was quoted thus:

“The agreement between Fincantieri and Edge group lays the foundations for developing cooperation and strategic breadth in the military units and connected systems sector. This agreement is the framework within which these two important industrial giants can develop innovative solutions in the naval sector jointly, to benefit domestic and international markets, leveraging on the ability to transfer know-how and technologies, with clear employment gains.”

Let’s face it: it’s tricky to produce and sell weapons systems to all sides in a new, multipolar world. It seems that Ukraine losing this conflict will be as profitable for EU defense ministers and their colleagues as winning it ever could have been. At least, it’s easy to see how the corporate elites must play the game. The whole mess is reminiscent of Ford Motor Company, General Motors, and others supporting Hitler’s Blitzkrieg and making airplanes, tanks and trucks for the armies that helped defeat the Nazis. Today, as in the past, the Western elites take in vast profits, no matter who wins or loses. The game is about production and sales.

What we should look for from Western “democracies” is a peace offering that resembles the deal at the end of the Korean conflict in the 1950s. A perfect solution for NATO and its profiteers would be an Ukraine/Russia demilitarized zone (DMZ) where a continual militarized pressure point would be manned and armed.

I doubt Mr. Putin will agree to any such treaty. It’s more likely that Russian forces will proceed as far as necessary to force the total demilitarization of whatever the world calls what’s left of Ukraine. No analyst can predict the outcome of all this. However, what is 100% certain is that Western business people morphed into government ministers will aim to hedge the best of their benefactors. As for Ukraine as a nation, you can rest assured NATO will be backed up some hundreds of kilometers. And no Italian defense magnate will give a hoot.


Phil Butler, is a policy investigator and analyst, a political scientist and expert on Eastern Europe, he’s an author of the recent bestseller “Putin’s Praetorians” and other books. He writes exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”

Related articles: