Ukraine was once the breadbasket of Europe, and a sign of hope for the corrupt and impoverished nations of the former USSR. And Russia was once the reliable and profitable supplier of oil and gas to much of the world, with a long reputation of keeping its finger off the trigger of a massive nuclear weapons stockpile. Those were both things upon which a future might be built. But now it is all slipping away in an irrational outburst of fire and blood which threatens to open Pandora’s box of nuclear war in Europe.
Russia’s aggression – which threatens the wider international order, as well as Western security – enjoys almost no support elsewhere. Major Asian states have signed up to new export controls on semi-conductors. Neither Russia’s military performance nor its erratic diplomacy before the war have burnished it as a partner. China’s abstention in the 25 February UN Security Council vote condemning the invasion of Ukraine makes a mockery of the Putin–Xi declaration of friendship with ‘no limits’ three weeks earlier. Except for Belarus, a co-belligerent, Russia enjoys no visible support even among post-Soviet autocrats. Putin is isolating Russia from the world.
… Putin underestimated domestic opposition. His war against fellow Slavs is the most unpopular decision he has ever made. __ Moscow Times
Russia in 2022 is different from Russia in 2014. Recent Levada opinion polls show how more than half of Russians fear another world war. It is pretty clear that invading Ukraine was not a decision relying on what ordinary Russians wanted. We also do not observe the patriotic euphoria that was there in 2014.Putin Wags the Dog … A Distraction and a Spur to Oil & Gas Prices
The Bayraktar can fly as high as 25,000 feet with a loiter time of 27 hours. This video shows about a dozen dismounted Russian soldiers grouped around a tank. The tank is then destroyed mightily by a missile from a Bayraktar drone. These unmanned attacks are encouraging but Ukraine only has 20 Bayraktars in service.
The fact is, Vladimir has already lost simply because he didn’t win. He is committed, and is committing Russia and all its people, to a long, grinding, bloody slog that is going to have severe economic impacts. Just replacing ammunition, gear, people, is going to have a severe impact. Add to it the growing official and unofficial sanctions? The Russian people are going to feel this one, in ways they never have before. Current Vladimir does not care. He’s lost to that. He has no way to go in and control the country, or even the parts he’s tried so desperately to annex. Even those are likely to slip from him given the current state of “uppitiness” on the part of the Ukrainians. __ Everyone is Laughing at Putin
The fact that Russians view Putin’s war as being unjust and egregious makes it especially likely to prompt widespread backlash. It is moments of acute injustice that have the greatest ability to mobilize people—as when Tunisian fruit vendor Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire after local officials humiliated him and confiscated his wares, launching the Arab Spring in 2011.
The war also has famous and influential domestic opponents—and they are not just known dissidents. Several Russian celebrities have signed letters opposing the war. Russian tennis star Andrei Rublev wrote “no war please” on a TV camera. The Russian head of a delegation at a major UN climate conference apologized for his country’s invasion of Ukraine, and the daughter of Putin’s press secretary reportedly posted “no war” on her Instagram account. (She deleted it hours later.) There are even signs that Putin’s cozy oligarchs are getting uncomfortable. Former energy magnate Anatoly Chubais posted a picture of Boris Nemtsov, a Russian opposition leader murdered in front of the Kremlin, on his Facebook page. Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska called for peace and negotiations.
Even if Putin’s actions don’t immediately push him from power, the war in Ukraine creates long-term vulnerabilities. Punishing economic sanctions are already shredding the value of the ruble, and the economic damage is expected to intensify. Over time, this could weaken Putin domestically. Personalist dictatorships generally cut government spending when faced with sanctions, making life even harder for average citizens and increasing the odds of growing unrest. Sanctions also tend to be more effective when targeted at personalist authoritarian regimes than when aimed at other types of autocracies because personalist dictators are the most dependent on patronage to keep power. So far, Russia’s elite have never had to choose between the life they wanted and Putin. But Chubais’s and Deripaska’s comments hint that could change as the effect of the sanctions sets in,Beginning of the End for Putin
Putin Has Always Wanted to Use Nuclear Weapons
Putin loves himself and the idea of ruling a great Russian empire, but he hates the Russian people. His use of domestic terrorism against Russians to start a war against the Chechens way back when, reveals his utter contempt for the people he rules. His ongoing bloody “Charlie Foxtrot” in Ukraine is taking Russia down a rabbit hole that most of its people will not like. His logic was faulty all the way down the chain. Now he is stuck. And he may start to see nuclear weapons as his way out. Not the threat of nuclear weapons, but their actual use. The psychopath’s ultimate dream.
Nuclear signalling is woven through the invasion of Ukraine in a way we haven’t seen since the days of the Cuban missile crisis. Naturally, it has fed a wave of speculation on social media about the potential crossing of the nuclear threshold, either deliberately or inadvertently.… Putin’s behaviour has been more than a little odd lately—including his apparent fascination with long-distance seating arrangements. Driven by a long list of perceived grievances, a burning ambition to recreate Greater Russia, and wounded pride, Putin might well see his own role in more sweeping historical terms.
That means, of course, that escalation is still more likely than de-escalation. Might that escalation involve nuclear weapons? Yes. ___ Putin Wants to Nuke the World
Students of the Dark Enlightenment have often been played as “Useful Idiots” by Putin of Russia and by Xi of China. Not all of them, but certainly those who are compulsively anti-semitic seem to possess an unhealthy affinity to the propaganda of the world’s largest despotic regimes.
Fortunately, there are more rational voices of the Dark Enlightenment that are urging free thinkers to not be useful idiots of the puppet masters of any side. In this case, the enemy of your enemy is not your friend.
You are not going to find simple answers in your quest to reverse that process of decay, least of all skipping to The Other Side when you have a tantrum at one political party or entity. You have to look within.
When you do that, you see that everything that is odious in the West exists more fluidly in Russia and even to a greater degree in China. This means that on the shelf of political products, you have nothing but bad options, some worse than others.
To fix this, you will have to get off that easy chair and actually change how we are thinking and acting. Our solution lies within ourselves and our culture, not by choosing one set of aspiring tyrant-bureaucrats over another. __ Amerika blog Brett Stevens
Independent thinkers that have the skill and the self-confidence to step outside of pre-existing orbits of thought, are very rare. But that is the capacity that Brett Stevens is urging his readers to develop in the excerpt above. Modern education has failed most recent generations of students in that regard, unwittingly schooling them in indoctrination and propaganda, instead of teaching them to step out of prevailing and fashionable currents in order to plumb the depths.
Modern education programs students to think in terms of false dichotomies. We see that fallacy in comments, when a reader interprets the criticism of one party or point of view as being equivalent to the promotion of another point of view the reader perceives as “opposite.” Nothing could be further from the truth, of course, but in order to understand the vast universe of possible ideas, propositions, and realities, readers actually have to READ, in the larger sense of the word.
Individuals who have been ravaged by a criminal educational system and a criminal society of censorship and propaganda will need access to a body of knowledge equivalent to the US Library of Congress along with access to the larger universe out there, of which the internet is only a small part.
It is easy to feel contempt for those who fall for political propaganda which is transparently false. But if you did that, there would be very few people for whom you could feel whole hearted respect. It is best for a child to have a deeply informed and discerning mind, along with a full toolbox of practical skills.
In other words, it is best for a child to be Dangerous to the ruling order. Very Dangerous. But not violent or overly belligerent as a general rule. When the time comes to act against a particularly despicable overlord, the skill and effectiveness of the response should come as a total surprise.
A historically knowledgeable person understands that when an invading army “conquers” a city, it can always be “unconquered” by the rightful owners. Russia’s forces are spread very thin over Ukraine, and are being spread even thinner as the invasion proceeds. Soldiers die or are captured, other soldiers must be assigned the task of occupying the territory that has been taken. Other soldiers must be assigned to an increasingly difficult logistical task of keeping the invading armies fed, fueled, resupplied, and defended from flanking attacks and ambush.
Russia is already several days behind schedule, and has lost thousands of troops and thousands of military vehicles and weapons. Unless Ukraine’s western allies lose their nerve, the Russian losses are just beginning.