Disjointed thoughts at a tragic time, progressively updated:
Putin is invading Ukraine – not just sending “peacekeepers” into the breakaway pro-Russia regions in the east of the country – in order to “denazify” and “demilitarise” the country. The former is an outrageous slur in a long communist tradition from Stalin to today’s Western left of smearing anyone they don’t like and agree with as a Nazi. Ukraine is as Nazi as Australia or Greece, or Russia for that matter. “Demilitarisation” is the more pertinent excuse. What Putin wants is a cordon sanitaire separating Russia from the West (which now includes Poland and the Baltic states). His vision for Ukraine is a pro-Russia puppet state or at least a neutral and impotent non-entity. According to Putin, Russia’s got a legitimate security interest in not being bordered by hostile (read pro-Western) states. Why this should trump Ukraine’s (or any other country’s) legitimate security interest in its own security, territorial sovereignty and the choice of international friends is unknown, except that might makes right and Russia fancies itself as a special case on the basis of its past great power status.
No country has an obligation to send it troops to fight a conventional war with Russia in Ukraine. But countries have moral obligation to offer any and all assistance to the people of Ukraine, including military equipment, as they defend themselves against unprovoked aggression. Countries also have moral obligation to punish Putin and Russia with utmost severity, including – if only they had the guts – complete economic and trade sanctions. Not a drop of Russian oil or a cubic foot of its gas. Let Putin swim in his unsold carbohydrates. Sadly that won’t happen because the Western European governments have, despite numerous warnings, made themselves energy dependent on imports from Russia. Shutting down coal, closing nuclear power plants and praying to the sun and the wind are now coming home to roost.
There is plenty of blame to go around for getting us to this point in time, but there is only one undisputable and unequivocal bad guy: Vladimir Putin, the man who fancies himself a new tsar and longs to recreate if not the Soviet Union, than the Russian empire of the old. It is one of the tragedies of the late 20th century that while Germany has managed to come to grips with its history, matured as a nation and embraced its new role as a peaceful economic superpower, Russia (and that includes virtually all of its elites and – sadly – majority of its population) continues to live with chips on their shoulders and dreams of recreating past glory and prominence that is somehow supposed to be Russia’s due. I have no doubt that all of Russia’s neighbours would love to live in peace and enjoy fruitful cooperation in trade, culture, tourism and any other sphere of life with a “normal” Russia. As it is, they justifiably see it as a bully and a menace and an existential threat.
To the contrary Tim, it’s called propaganda war and it has been part and parcel of conflict for a very long time.
One of the cities targeted with missile attacks is Ivano-Frankivsk, not far from the Polish border. It was originally built around a fortress created by the Potocki family and called Stanislawow. Coincidentally, it’s also where the Chrenkoff family comes from.
Putin’s fellow scumbag, Lukaszanko, not only has allowed Belarus to be used as a staging ground for the Russian attack on Ukraine but has also volunteered the use of his armed forces. Sadly, there isn’t very much that can be sanctioned in Belarus, but Lukaszenko’s eager participation in aggression should not be forgiven or forgotten.
25 February, 9:55AM
You can have all sorts of arguments about Trump, but these sorts of arguments are just patently bullshit:
Trump had been objectively the most pro-Eastern Europe American President since Reagan.
Also this, as a reminder:
The situation on the ground is very confusing. The fog of war is nothing new. This time both sides, as well as the media and the civilians, have unparalleled access to social media. Claims and counter-claims abound, as well as rumours and misinformation and simple mistakes and misrepresentation. Hence I try not to comment on any specific military developments.
Chief of Germany Army this morning: "The Bundeswehr, and the Army that I have the privilege to lead, is more or less stripped bare. The options that we can offer politicians to support the alliance are extremely limited." https://t.co/hBFFb0QlfZ
— Tobias Schneider (@tobiaschneider) February 24, 2022
Don’t worry Germany, you’ve done enough. It was the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact of passivity. Your political class is a wholly owned subsidiary of Gazprom. Your weakness and environmentalist stupidity has helped to finance Putin’s ambitions for the past few decades. Now even Angela Merkel declines to comment on the invasion. Enough said.