2022 – War in Ukraine

This article was first published in New View magazine No.103 April-June 2022

This year, which happens to be the Year of the Tiger in the traditional Chinese calendar, the month of March (in the western calendar) was dominated by the movements of the planet after which the month is named – Mars. When Vladimir Putin sent his troops into Ukraine on 24 February, Mars (lower aspect: aggression; higher aspect: courage and daring) was conjoined with Venus, and the two fast-moving planets were approaching conjunction with the very slow-moving Pluto (lower aspect: annihilation; higher aspects: spiritual intuition and resurrection) in the (Tropical) sign of Capricorn (the sign of government and authority, amongst other things).  By 27 February, Mars and Venus had conjoined with Pluto, and the Ukrainian airforce had already largely been destroyed. On that same day, Mercury was conjunct Saturn, and the Sun was conjunct Jupiter and Neptune:  a significant group of positions for 8 planets! By the 6 March, Mars and Venus, still together, had moved out of Capricorn into Aquarius and away from Pluto; by 9 March, the Mars-Pluto conjunction effect was definitely over. In the following days, Russian military momentum began to slow. But by mid-March, Venus had pulled away from Mars (both still in Aquarius), while Mars began to approach a stressful square relationship (90°) to Uranus (lower aspect: dramatic, even revolutionary shock; higher aspect: spiritual illumination) in Taurus. This stressful square became exact on 22 March; around this time President Biden began claiming – without offering evidence – that Russia might soon start using chemical weapons, which would mean a major escalation. On 26 March at the end of a speech in Poland, President Biden blurted out “For God’s sake, this man [Putin] must not remain in power”, which many took to mean an intention to force regime change in Russia; the US authorities quickly moved to assure the world that Biden had not meant that. At the time of writing, Mars and Venus have reached conjunction with Saturn (in Aquarius), the limiting, disciplining energies of which might be expected to restrain Mars’ aggression, and negotiations in Istanbul between representatives of the combatants appeared to yield some hope for an agreement. Western media have been much given to (over-optimistic?) reporting that the Russian campaign has stalled due to the Russians’ own errors and unexpectedly stiff and brave Ukrainian resistance, and certainly, the Russian armed forces lack recent experience; they have not fought a war on this scale since 1945.(1) In the first week of April, the Mars-Saturn conjunction will be exact, and then by the middle of April, Mars will have moved away from Saturn and into the sign of Pisces, a ‘watery’ sign in which Mars is not normally ‘comfortable’. The end of the Mars-Uranus square by late March, the Mars-Saturn conjunction in early April, and the Mars entry into Pisces (mid-April) may be indications that the fighting will stop and peace may be achieved. However, those who do not want peace may well be aware of those heavenly energies and may strive to oppose them, perhaps by sensationalist fake news stories, in order to keep the war going as long as possible in their own interests. [This happened: the fake Russian massacre in Bucha stories were concocted in the first week of April - TB] The longer the war goes on, the worse the economic consequences will be, not just for Russia and Ukraine but for all of us – given the scale of the West’s sanctions against Russia, Russian countermeasures, and the importance of Russian and Ukrainian raw materials, including food and fertiliser, in the world economy (Russia will very likely insist on payment for Russian energy in roubles or gold), and there may be a spread of military actions beyond Ukraine and even the danger of a nuclear strike by Russia or NATO.

To judge by the coverage of the Ukraine war in the western mainstream media (MSM) and by the statements of western politicians, who have responded to this conflict with the same kneejerk uniform collective reaction that they showed during the Covid crisis, one might think Vladimir Putin woke up one morning sometime between December and February and thought to himself, out of the blue: “I’ll launch an invasion of Ukraine, because the Ukrainian state doesn’t and shouldn’t really exist and is actually part of Russia and I want to reconstruct the USSR. Oh, and also, Ukraine is full of Nazis who have been mistreating the Russians in the Donbass region.” All of this, say the MSM, is sheer fantasy, and a sign that ‘Putin has lost his mind, an unstable autocrat who is a serious danger to the “rules-based world order” like Milosevic, Saddam Hussein, Gadaffi, Assad and of course….Hitler. He, like them, must therefore be ousted, preferably by his own people, whose lives we shall now make miserable by our sanctions against Russia, so that they will overthrow him, which we cannot do because we are afraid that might cause a nuclear war. In the meantime, we shall go on increasing NATO forces on Russia’s other borders to which we have steadily advanced since 1991 and we shall continue to send lethal weapons to Ukraine so that they can fight for their country (and for us) until the last Ukrainian, or Putin, is dead.’ If this sounds cynical, let us recall how many millions of young men the aging politicians of Europe were prepared to send to their deaths in the horrors of the First World War, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, or let us recall the words of America’s first female Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, who as US Ambassador to the UN (!), declared on the prestigious US TV show 60 Minutes in 1996 that the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children due to US sanctions on Iraq was “a price worth paying”.

Countless people in the West have swallowed this MSM version of Putin and the war in Ukraine just as they swallowed the government and MSM line on Covid for the past two years. Or else, if they are anti-Establishment and deride the MSM, they are influenced by social media and alternative websites to believe that ‘Putin, Zelensky, Biden, Xi Jinping and Klaus Schwab are all in it together, as they were with Covid’ and that this Ukraine war is, like Covid, just another step on the path to Schwab’s nightmarish “Great Reset” – the remaking of society worldwide into a totalitarian technocracy ruled over by billionaire globalist elites.

But neither of these two views does justice to the current situation. This war did not just begin this year, nor is it even really a war between Russia and Ukraine, however much it may seem so. It is but the latest phase in a struggle that began 200 years ago when, in the years after the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815, the British elite first really began to identify Russia as their main enemy that could take India  – and thus their world power and much of their wealth – away from them.(2) The deeper roots go back much further even than that – back beyond British involvement in the assassination of Czar Paul I in 1801….beyond British advisors at the court of Peter the Great a century earlier….beyond James I’s planned expedition to land troops in the frozen wastes of northern Russia in 1613 at a time when both England was beginning to expand across the world’s oceans and Russia was expanding across the solid ‘ocean’ of Siberia, eventually to confront each other in Central Asia and North America over 200 years later….back beyond Ivan the Terrible’s rude letter requesting the hand of Queen Elizabeth I in marriage in 1570….back beyond the Anglo-saxon exiles who settled in the Crimea after the defeat at Hastings in 1066….back to the distant 9th century, when Danish pagan Vikings from Scandinavia began the effort (which ended in 1066) to conquer and settle in England and other pagan Vikings from Sweden also accepted the invitation to become the rulers of the pagan Slavs who lived in northern Russia. It was from pagan Scandinavia that the rulers of the English (Vikings and Normans) and of the Russians (Ruotsi  – old Finnish for ‘rowers’) both came, rowing in their longships. Once established, they both ruled over peoples of a different, though not vastly different, stock from themselves: Anglo-Saxons and Celts, and Slavic tribes.

Ukraine 2022 and 1914-18: bullies and underdogs

Today, all eyes are currently on “brave Ukraine”, as in 1914 they were on what the western MSM called “plucky little Serbia” and “gallant little Belgium”, who were cast as fighting for their lives like David against the imperial Goliaths of Austria-Hungary and Germany respectively, or in September 1939 when “brave Poland” was invaded by the military machines first of Hitlerian Germany and then the Soviet Union 17 days later. The British like to side with the ‘underdog’ and against the ‘bully’. But the fighting in Ukraine, which actually began in 2014, is but a symptom of a much larger, world-spanning conflict that has already lasted, and may well yet last, for centuries. Who is actually the underdog, and who the bully? Do they even exist?

As with so much else in the past century, we can relate the pain of Russia and Ukraine today to the events of that crucible of cruelty, the First World War – when Ukraine as an independent state almost emerged but was soon suppressed by the Bolshevik International Socialists, who also suppressed the Russians themselves  – for 70 years. When the fighting in the First World War began, on 28 July 1914, the real antagonists  – Britain, France and Russia – did not enter the fray for several days, and when they did, it was apparently on the same side!

How did the fighting in the First World War actually begin? With Austro-Hungarian shelling of Belgrade on 28 July 1914, following Austria-Hungary’s declaration of war against Serbia on 23 July. There had been a month of tension between the rather ramshackle Central European empire and the small, pugnacious and prickly Balkan state after the assassination of the Austrian heir to the throne and his wife on 28 June by a Bosnian Serb nationalist student who was part of a group that had plotted and trained for the deed in Belgrade. The Austro-Hungarians regarded Serbia as a terrorist state that had committed a number of murders and attacks on Austro-Hungarian officials over the years which had increased in the period before 1914, as well the brutal murders of the King of Serbia and his wife in 1903. And indeed, until days before the assassination itself, the murder gang had been aided with weapons and training by the proto-masonic secret society Unification or Death (aka the Black Hand) which was headed by Col. Dragutin Dmitrijevic, the commander of Serbian military intelligence; he had been involved in the killing of the Serbian royal couple in 1903. The Austro-Hungarians also suspected that behind Serbian nationalist aggression against the empire was Russian, British, and French encouragement and support, including weapons supplies. The guns used for the assassination of the Austrian Crown Prince were later sourced to Belgium, a country very much under the British wing, and the Serbian officer who had taken them to Serbia had Freemasonic connections with Belgian lodges. The Austro-Hungarians attacked Serbia pre-emptively, expecting that Serbia would soon be the battering ram for the destruction of their empire. The Russians had planned to attack Germany pre-emptively, because Germany’s ally Turkey was about to receive brand new battleships from Britain that could defeat the Russian Black Sea fleet, and the Russians’ main war aim was to take back Istanbul (Constantinople) for the Orthodox faith.(3) Germany too declared war on Russia pre-emptively, thinking that if they did not, then by 1917, Russia would be strong enough to overwhelm them. Germany also declared war on Russia’s ally France pre-emptively, assuming that France would join the war in support of its Russian ally, which France certainly intended to do. The British declared war on Germany pre-emptively, thinking that Germany’s economy would outstrip Britain’s within a few years, even though the Germans had effectively given up the naval race of battleship-building two years earlier. Fear of the future was therefore what drove many of the combatants, just as it has driven Vladimir Putin, who sees Ukraine much as Austria-Hungary regarded Serbia – as a spear that had been aimed at Russia (and Austria-Hungary) for at least two decades by forces in the West.

In lectures in late 1916 Rudolf Steiner pointed out that a “Slav Welfare Committee” organisation “under the protection of the Russian government” had in fact been found to have been sending weapons under cover as far back as the mid-1880s to stir up trouble for the pro-Austro-Hungarian Obrenovich dynasty in Serbia.(4) It was King Alexander Obrenovich and his wife who were murdered in 1903 by Col. Dmitrijevic and his fellow conspirators and replaced by King Peter Karageorgevic, who was more inclined to favour Russia, France and Britain. In 1914, the Triple Entente alliance (Russia, France and Britain) used Serbian nationalism as an instrument to bring about “regime change” in Austria-Hungary and Germany, through the means of a general European war. The British and Americans furthermore, used this same war to force regime change in their ‘ally’, Russia, first by replacing the Czarist regime with a provisional republican government, and then by facilitating the journey of Communist agitator Leon Trotsky to Russia in 1917(5) (via New York and Canada), and by supporting the Bolshevik revolutionaries after their coup in Nov. 1917 and in subsequent years with considerable financial investments in Bolshevik Russia.(6) The so-called “German threat” was but the excuse to get Russia involved in a major war that would lead to the overthrow of the Czarist state.

                                                   Historical Map of Ukraine showing how territories were added to produce today’s state: 1654 -2013

And here we gain an important clue to what the current Ukraine war is all about. To understand why this war is about something far larger than just a war between Russia and Ukraine, we have to make something of a detour back to the circumstances of the First World War, the war from which Ukraine almost emerged for the first time as an independent state in 1918-21. “Brave Serbia”, the ally of Britain, France and Russia in 1914 which was much lauded in the western Press during the 1914-1918 war, had lost a quarter (850,000) of its pre-war population by the end of the war, but that was of little consequence to the Allied elites, who by 1918 had achieved their aims as a result of having stirred up and manipulated Serbian nationalism to become the spark that lit the powder keg: by the winter of 1918, the Austro-Hungarian Empire was no more and its Emperor an exile (the German, Russian and Ottoman empires had also gone under). The western Allies’ ‘reward’ for Serbia was the creation of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia (under Serbian leadership) out of the ruins of Serbia and of the Habsburg empire of Austria-Hungary. The break-up of the Habsburg empire was embraced as a war aim during the war by the Allies, notably Britain. Today, Ukraine is being used, just as Serbia was from the 1880s until 1918, and the target this time, taking the place of Austria-Hungary, is another large multi-ethnic state – Russia, which elite forces in the West have long wanted to break up in order to exploit its natural resources.(7) Rudolf Steiner indicated(8) that the war of 1914-18 was not only fought between Britain, France and Russia against Germany; that was the appearance on the physical plane. In the spiritual world it was fought by British and French souls against Russians, due to fundamental differences in attitudes to life and death between western and eastern peoples. Furthermore, he insisted that the key to the future lay in good relations between the peoples of Central and Eastern Europe, between German-speaking culture and Slavic cultures, especially the Russians, while the elites of the West sought to prevent this from happening so that the English-speaking peoples could manipulate the destiny of the Slavic peoples into the future.(9)

Western Goals

It is known that, at least as far back as the early 1890s, esoteric circles in Britain were envisaging a great European war that would come about through Slavic nationalism and impulses of Slavic ‘brotherhood’ and would result in a socialist (Marxist) revolution in Russia and “enable experiments in Socialism, political and economical” to be carried out which would destroy the Russian Empire and realise “the dreams of the Pan-Slavists” whose Slavic race was now “beginning to live its own intellectual life” and was “no longer in its period of infancy”. This was spoken of in a lecture by the ‘High Church’ esotericist, Charles George Harrison (1855-1929), in London in 1893(10) as an example of the first two of the ‘three great axioms’ which Harrison claimed were “the foundation of occult science”:

“1. Seven is the Perfect Number

 2. The Microcosm is a Copy of the Macrocosm

 3. All Phenomena have their Origin in Vortices.”

The goal here for the leaders of the Anglo-saxon cultures, who saw themselves as the rulers of the dominant culture in the world in this modern era (since the 16th century), was, according to Harrison, to ensure that English-speaking culture would be the ‘tutor’ and ‘protector’ of the ‘young’ Slavic cultures, so that in the future, the values of Anglo-saxon culture would also be those of the Slavic cultures, and notably the largest of them – the Russian culture.

Harrison spoke approvingly of, and was allied to, the Lux Mundi movement within the Church of England, a movement that emerged in 1889 and sought to unite the High Church wing of the Church of England with the latest developments in natural science and biblical criticism. An elite family that had regarded itself as faithful members of the High Church since the days of Queen Elizabeth I (1558-1603) was that of the Gascoyne-Cecils, who had provided Queen Elizabeth and her successor King James I (1603-1625) with their Secretaries of State, the most powerful bureaucrats in the land, and performed the same function for both Queen Victoria (1837-1901), whose Prime Minister three times was the 3rd Marquis of Salisbury Robert Gascoyne-Cecil (aka Lord Salisbury), and for her son, King Edward VII (1901-1910), one of whose Prime Minister was for three years (1902-1905) Lord Salisbury’s nephew, Arthur Balfour.

These latter-day Cecils, uncle Robert and nephew Arthur, very different in character but amateur experimental scientists both, carried through a remarkable diplomatic revolution in British foreign policy over a period of 20 years (1887-1907) in deliberately turning Britain’s two former arch-enemies, France and Russia, into her allies, and her two former most friendly countries, Germany and its ally Austria-Hungary, into her enemies.

What was the purpose of this? It was threefold: to ‘bring to heel’ through a great war both Germany and Russia. Germany was Britain’s rising rival in the modern era; the war would reduce Germany’s economic power and its growing navy, and Russia was the potential rival to the British Empire in the more distant future; the Russian Slavs were to be tamed through the carrying out of those “experiments in Socialism [Marxism], political and economic”, of which Harrison had spoken in 1893. Amongst other things, these would reduce the growing economic potential of Russia and expose it to exploitation by Anglo-American capitalism. The third aim was that  a great war against Germany would serve to bind together the English-speaking Dominions of the Empire more tightly, and the constant threat of a “Red menace” in the decades after the war would frighten the elites in the Dominions and in the United States of America into remaining closely allied to Britain.(11)

Arthur Balfour (1848-1930), arguably more farsighted than his uncle, realised that in the 20th century, British global power could only be maintained in alliance with that other rising power, the USA. This view he shared with the mining magnate and arch-imperialist, Cecil Rhodes (1853-1902), for whom the loss of the American colonies in the American War of Independence had been an unmitigated disaster. In 1891, Rhodes founded a secret society (The Society of the Elect, nominally modelled on the Jesuit Order), dedicated to maintain and expand British world domination and reunite Britain and the USA.(12) To this end, he founded the Rhodes Scholarships, which were centred on what he regarded as the ‘spiritual home’ of the British Empire – Oxford University, notably its Balliol and All Souls Colleges. His successor, Lord Alfred Milner (1854-1925), took Rhodes’ project a major stage further in establishing the Round Table group (aka the Milner Group) in 1909. This group performed effective work in binding together the elites of the Dominions before and during the Great War, in bringing about the (Royal) Institute of International Relations (aka Chatham House) and the Council on Foreign Relations in the USA (1921), the two premier foreign policy thinktanks of the English-speaking world and thus in laying the foundations of what is today referred to as the alliance of “The Five Eyes”, the five English-speaking countries (USA, Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand). Thus, although not yet fully realised, the dreams and goals of Rhodes, Milner, Balfour and the men of the Milner Group have been maintained for over 130 years.(13)

In order to secure their goals, it was essential, thought the Cecils and Milner, that any alliance or cooperation between Germany and Russia had to be prevented at all costs, for such an alliance could endanger Britain’s world dominance. This idea was most comprehensively first put forward during the premiership of Arthur Balfour in 1904 by Halford Mackinder, imperial geographer, co-founder (in 1895) and Director (1903-1908) of the London School of Economics. Mackinder’s main idea was that the key to world power was the region he called ‘the Heartland’, the vast region bounded by the Ural mountains in the West, the Himalayas to the South and the mountains of eastern Siberia in the East. This region, then and now so rich in material resources and human populations, could, said Mackinder, if spanned by a comprehensive rail network – (such as China is building across Eurasia today!) – pose an effective challenge to Anglo-American global naval power, as troops and resources could easily be transported to wherever Russia’s enemies sought to put pressure on the country. Furthermore, an alliance between Russia, which controlled almost all of the Heartland, and a more energetic culture such as Germany or Japan, might also be able to bring about the construction of a naval fleet that could defeat the Royal Navy, thus ending the Age of the British Empire.

That this must not be allowed to happen was the fixed intention of those steering the ship of British foreign policy. During Balfour’s premiership, they therefore brought about Britain’s first formal alliance, with Japan in 1902, and just two years later, a war between Russia and Japan, in which Japan was supplied and part financed by Britain (and especially by US banks). The Russo-Japanese War (1904-05, in which the Japanese acted, in effect, as Britain’s mercenaries) blocked Russia’s advance in East Asia, weakened the Czarist regime considerably and laid the basis for the revolutionary upheavals of 1917.  A month after that war began, Mackinder gave the lecture that marked the founding of Anglo-American geopolitics. It was the lecture and article titled “The Geographical Pivot of History” for the Royal Geographical Society and it put forward Mackinder’s Heartland Theory. In 1919, in his book Democratic Ideals and Reality (p. 150), Mackinder summarised his key geopolitical insight in a pithy three-line epithet:

Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland;

who rules the Heartland commands the World Island; [i.e. Eurasia]

who rules the World Island commands the world.

This epithet is a major key to understanding events in the Ukraine today, in the age of China’s Belt and Road transport infrastructure that has been gradually extended since 2013 across Eurasia and into Europe. Mackinder saw that rail networks could both facilitate Russian advances within and beyond Siberia and Central Asia and also facilitate attacks on Russia from its periphery.

Ukraine on The Grand Chessboard

Anglo-American geopoliticians since Mackinder, most notably the Polish-American Zbigniew Brzezinski (1928-2017, National Security Adviser 1977-1981 under President Jimmy Carter) in his 1997 book The Grand Chessboard – American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives, followed Mackinder’s indications and identified the great importance of Ukraine as the eastern European springboard from which to project power against Russia, and beyond into central Asia. As Brzezinski put it in the book that is one of the most significant texts for understanding the present crisis, “America’s central geostrategic goal in Europe can be summed up quite simply: it is to consolidate through a more genuine transatlantic partnership the US bridgehead on the Eurasian continent so that an enlarging Europe can become a more viable springboard for projecting into Eurasia the international democratic and cooperative order.”(14) We have seen in the wars fought by the US and its allies and proxies in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen and now Ukraine the consequences of this ‘projection’ “into Eurasia [of] the international democratic and cooperative order”!  Because America, through its actions in the 20 year (!) Afghan war, ultimately failed, despite much effort, to establish any permanent military presence in the post-Soviet states in Central Asia, and because India has long maintained good relations with Russia and continues to do so, Ukraine became all the more important to the US as the potential ‘springboard’ into Eurasia: “Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland….” Ukraine certainly occupied much of Brzezinski’s attention in his Grand Chessboard book.(15) It was a crucial ‘chess piece’ for him, and events since 2004 (the Orange revolution) and 2014 (the Maidan coup) have shown that it remains so for the US foreign policy elite today, so much so that the US has shown itself prepared to restart the Cold War in a major way, after Russia’s pre-emptive attack on Ukraine in February this year, although Russia took no similar action with regard to US aggression in the Balkans in the 1990s, in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya or Syria. Only in 2007, at the Munich Security Conference, did Vladimir Putin’s tone towards the USA begin to become more confrontational.