Russia’s Karmic Debt: Heading Toward Default

As Russian tanks and missiles roll into east Ukraine, Russia’s account in the Cosmic Bank of Karma is way overdrawn.

Russian officials have spent the last couple of weeks trying to calm Russians and telling them not to hoard foreign currency. And Russians are, understandably, freaking out.

… The problem, though, is that the pressure inside the system is rising. Food prices are jumping and, though so far, Russians mostly blame the West for their country’s economic malaise, it’s not clear how long that will last.

… The ruble crashing won’t change anything today or tomorrow, but this is just the system starting to eat itself, this is just the system starting to crack. As I’ve written before, historically, economic crisis triggers political crisis in Russia. No one knows when one of those cracks brings the whole thing down, but there’s a growing sense in Moscow that it will happen sooner than we all think. Putin seems intent on it. __Freaking in the Motherland

It doesn’t help for Putin to tell his loyal serfs not to worry, when everything he is doing is leading to a wider scale war that may spell the end of Russia as we know it.

According to Ukrainian sources, “32 tanks, 16 howitzers and 30 trucks hauling ammunition and fighters crossed into the Luhansk region from Russia.” _New York Times

“Recently we are also seeing Russian troops moving closer to the border with Ukraine, and Russia continues to support the separatists by training them, by providing equipment, and supporting them also by having special forces, Russian special forces, inside the eastern parts of Ukraine,” Stoltenberg said.

Other officials said both intelligence and social media reports in recent days revealed an increase in Russian deployments.

The missile systems being deployed were described as conventionally armed, short-range ballistic missiles, multiple launch rocket systems, and BM-21 Grad multiple rocker launchers.

Additionally, Russian military forces are moving towed artillery pieces closer to the border…

… Russia’s aggression against Ukraine is part of a program by Russian President Vladimir Putin to gain control or hegemony over former Soviet bloc states described as the “near abroad.”

Putin is seeking to restore Russian power with territorial seizures, along with a large-scale nuclear and conventional forces buildup. __Russia Ups the Ante

Putin is trying to reconstruct an all-powerful Russian empire that never existed except in his fantasies. Both the Tsarist Empire and the USSR fell apart like shanties of rotten cardboard. The same is likely to happen to Putin’s tattered “empire” of fairy dust.

The main question is: How much of the rest of the world will Putin take with him when he disappears in a toxic cloud?

Poland has responded to the ceasefire by realigning its entire force structure east, to fight the Russians in case of invasion. Both Sweden and Finland are examining ways to deepen cooperation with NATO, and Moldova is edging towards changing its traditionally neutralist stance.

In one form or another, these states are preparing for war. Eventually, one or many – but most likely the Poles – are going to push back against Russian aggression in Ukraine, either surreptitiously with “volunteers” or overtly with some sort of joint units. And then there will be a crisis, because some NATO states will be in a war and others will back them up. __Europe Fits Itself for War

Would Russia still be Russia without Siberia? Inquiring minds wish to know. On the sidelines,China watches, and smiles. When the Bank of Karma comes to collect on Putin’s debt, a diminished Russia will be all to China’s benefit.

Remembering the lessons of the Berlin Wall, as Putin attempts to build a new iron curtain of slavery across formerly independent lands.

Putin has played a halting, fumbling game in Ukraine, despite holding the upper hand in overwhelming fashion from the start. His many mistakes and misplays are flashing back across the Russian landscape like a slashing flail of flames. After playing himself into a corner, and petulantly threatening nuclear war against the entire world, what course of action will Putin’s inner muse suggest next?

More: As body bags return to Russia, Putin sets the stage for a long-term destabilisation of Ukraine and beyond.

The challenge of re-building Russia’s “Potemkin” military:

“There is a danger that in focusing too much on strengthening military defenses, the Baltic states and NATO will neglect the non-military tools in Russia’s toolkit, including promoting and funding Euroskeptic political movements, encouraging radical groups to commit violent acts to create an environment of disorder, and using information warfare techniques to strengthen anti-government and anti-EU attitudes among minority populations,” he told CFR. _CFR

And of course, that is the key to public perception of Russia’s strengths: Russia’s massive and powerful disinformation systems, spread across a number of bureaucratic structures. The Kremlin’s propaganda machine may be the only Russian machine that still works to specifications.

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3 Responses to Russia’s Karmic Debt: Heading Toward Default

  1. bob sykes says:

    Ukrainian sources also complained that Russia dropped two nuclear bombs on eastern Ukraine a few weeks ago, so the tank story can be doubted. Until now Russia has merely supplied weapons and advisers and maybe some volunteers to the separatists.

    Unfortunately for Poland and the other newbies, NATO is an empty shell. It is generally agreed that NATO equipment is superior to Russian stuff, but there’s so very little of it. Britain has only 154 on its highly regarded tanks, and so on down the line. Except for France and Britain, which take war seriously, the other NATO militaries, including Germany’s (!!), are poorly trained and unreliable. As the Kosovo fiasco revealed, NATO has little or no logistic capacity and could not sustain military operations in the east without massive American support. NATO also has very little in the way of war stocks. Britain, France and Italy exhausted their stores of smart bombs in the first week or so of the Libyan campaign. NATO’s ability to sustain a war in eastern Europe is negligible. Considering the lunatics running the UK, Germany, France and the EU, that is probably a good thing.

    And then Russia has that first use policy regarding nukes.

    An attempt to re-establish the old Tsarist borders in central and eastern Europe might well succeed.

    That attempt is very unlikely, but Ukraine is now permanently partitioned. The only questions are the exact border in the east and whether the new states there are independent or Russian provinces.

    • alfin2101 says:

      A new iron curtain across Europe? You may be right. It sounds like something Putin would do.

      Putin had things all his way in Ukraine, then doubled down on stupid. Why in hell did Putin jump into war so eagerly, just as oil prices were beginning to fall? No wonder the Kremlin is echoing with whispers of change.

      Europe and the Anglosphere were so close to falling asleep permanently.

      Russia’s tanks are easily killed by anti-tank missiles. It is stupid for Putin to expose his antiquated weaponry in this way. But then, Putin is behaving stupidly on a regular basis.

      Yes, Russia was just minding its own business when those mean Ukrainians decided to go their own way! No wonder Putin is killing thousands. What else could he do in response to a sovereign nation beginning to act like a sovereign nation?

      • Abelard Lindsey says:

        Putin is not that smart. He is only smarter than Obama, which is why he appears smart.

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