An unexpected hero. An out of touch strongman. War isn't what it used to be. And if the present conflict is any indication, it never will be again.
I'm very torn on this conflict. I desperately want Ukraine to win and so that their peoples sovereign wish for rapprochement with West is realized.
But Ukraine is complicated. It's ethnically and politically divided. The West has been poking the aging Russian bear for at least the last 20 years. The realist in me acknowledges that Russia opposes a NATO bound Ukraine for the same reason I oppose a Sino-Canadian alliance. Its just common sense and strategic thinking.
We're making a man with thousands of nuclear warhards feel trapped, threatened and out of options. It's a dangerous game.
So my biggest issue here is this, and it's really not a good-guy versus bad-guy thing, since there aren't any good guys left at this point. Zelensky was an actor, installed by the CIA in a Western approved coup against the former Ukrainian government. In all likelihood, the bolstering and powerful speeches and appearances in body armor are nothing more than planned propaganda to engender the very feelings of awe that many in the West are experiencing towards him.
But, he was installed by the same satanic narcissists running the world right now. The sodomy loving, childhood destroying narcissists we would all mostly love to see brought to God's justice sooner rather than later. I'm not saying Putin's the good-guy, but don't fall too hard for the bravado from Ukraine either, in all likelihood, it's all theater.
All that said, there's a good chance this ends in nukes flying. Russia might have miscalculated in a big way, but they still have 1500 active nuclear weapons in the field. If the west decides to push for regime change in Moscow, as some have said, and Russia is as weak as they appear and can't defend themselves conventionally, those nukes are still an obstacle.
If you haven't before, you should look into the Dead Hand. It's still one of those somewhat unconfirmed things, but Putin did say back, 10-15 years ago, that they had put Dead Hand back in service. It might not be what it was in the 60s, but a legitimate doomsday weapon designed to destroy the world if the Soviet government was obliterated?
Like you said, a Narcissist that feels he's been wrong might just do some crazy things. But, 'The day of judgement is reserved to fire'. Maybe it's sooner than we think. Guess we'll see? Good article though Steve, I really enjoyed it.
Leaving international politics aside (and in spite of my obvious attachments to one side, I have to say I truly do not know who, if anyone, is telling us the true story here.) I want to share some personal thoughts and my fears for and connectedness with the average people of Ukraine. I apologize for this being so long:
I have not slept well the past couple of nights. It seems as soon as I fall into a deep sleep something starts tugging at me, eventually jostling me awake. Not really sure of the cause but as the days/nights roll on it seems to be tied to Ukraine and the current events there.
My mother’s parents were Roman Catholic, Polish. The names in my genealogy belie a fair amount of Ukrainian blood as well. My grandparents came from the area of Poland that borders Ukraine. The area that is presently the backdrop for the hundreds of videos of refugees fleeing the Russian army. A few evenings ago, France 24 English news showed a refugee. An old man, who looked very much like my long departed, uncle Stan. He was being handed something from a food rack, something wrapped in clear plastic. I instantly realized what it was. It was a paczki (punch-key). A round Polish donut. Made of heavy sweet dough. Fried until dark brown and rolled in powdered sugar. The man smiled, held his treasure up for the camera and as he turned to walk away, said Dziękuję (Jekuye) Thank you.
My childhood is full of packi. My Babcia (grandmother) made a couple of dozen almost every week. Especially if she knew we were coming to visit. They would be sitting in a large bowl on the high dresser in her bedroom, covered by a dish cloth, waiting for my siblings and cousins to descend and devour.
I was taken aback by the immediate connectedness with the old gentleman. He was probably fleeing his home wondering if he would live long enough to ever return. In the mist of national and personal tragedy, he still managed a smile and a civil response to his benefactors.
For me, the ongoing disaster in Ukraine has awakened long dark fears. From my earliest childhood I was aware that there were people, countries that want me, us, dead. They wanted us not to be. Polish/Ukrainian. Our very existence was a problem. We were different, unnecessary and in the way. Born shortly after World War II, I grew up knowing about that war. I knew that my grandparents had fled the horrors of World War I and the fall of Russia to the Bolsheviks. The killing, the total destruction of armies moving back and forth across the land, the death camps, the genocide, the starvation and disease. The adults never directly spoke to us of these things, but we could not help overhearing their whispered conversations. We could not escape their fears.
As I became an adult, I studied, I read. The Germans deemed us subhuman, to be eradicated to make room for their Reich. The Russians thought we were a nuisance but were somewhat useful as a speed bump to stop enemies from the west. The British and French used us in their international power games. They promised to aid and defend, but in the end, we were always left alone to suffer our fate. I often thought: What if I lived in those times? What if I had been a lawyer, a college professor when the Germans rolled into Warsaw or Krakow? What if I had survived the War to have the Russian army camped out in my town, or city? What if the slightest misspoken word meant a death sentence to the gulag?
Most of the time I can push these thoughts away. Bury them. Cover them up with happy things. America is good to us, and I love her people fiercely for that. There is a sense of safety here. In many ways my life has moved away from fear of the dark and terrible past. I married a Quebecoise. Our children grew up American with some minor currents of their ancestral cultures but without the fear and sense of loss. My grandchildren are even more a part of this country, this culture, than I could ever be.
All my life I have reviewed the black and white, pictures and newsreels of the Nazi blitzkrieg over Poland. Most of what I know is from writings, from words, which only provide a shady, distant view of that long ago. Last night, I realized that I am watching in real time, a live streaming replay of September 1939. A sequel, in all the stunning digital reality provided by our technological advances. Watching the news this week has unleashed my demons. The darkness approaches. All the fears and terrors are rising to the surface of my thoughts. Long buried darkness, triggered by an old man, holding a packi.
There are people, nations, forces that want me dead. Want us dead. They are awake and they are moving.
Mary, Mother of Poland and Ukraine, pray for your children. Pray for their safety. Pray for peace.
Excellent write-up, Steve. Thank you. I think there's something about a small nation standing up for its sovereignty against a premier world power that tugs at American hearts, even in our post-post modern age.
So, the US government and the Europeans push NATO eastward five times since the fall of the Soviet Union, surround the Russian Federation with military bases, and I'm supposed to ignore all of our imperialism and cheer on brave, little Ukraine? I don't think so.
Saying the above doesn't make me a Putin apologist either.
“All this talk by Secretary Blinken and TV commentators (on MSNBC of all places) that we should enable Poland to give their warplanes to the Ukrainian army is very disturbing. What will that do? It might delay the war but not its outcome. And it might tempt Putin to attack or bomb Poland. And we are obligated and motivated, at that point, to defend Poland. And down the slippery slope to an all-out war between US/Europe and Russia. Eventually the loser of that war will be tempted to use tactical nuclear weapons and then ….. “que sera sera”.
I think the better option is soft warfare. We should ask Zelensky and Ukraine to surrender. What will that do? It will save many, many lives and reduce much suffering. Otherwise, Ukraine either loses (yes more slowly) or a massive war ensues. Let the Ukrainians resist during the occupation, and let the sanctions wear Putin down. Offer them release from this squeeze if they leave Ukraine. And we all avoid a nuclear end to life.”
The above was posted on Facebook by a friend (former friend?) My first reaction was disbelief, then anger. I have now moved on to grudging resentment and slow burning, white hot rage.
The request for Ukraine to capitulate has a certain logic. Let them sacrifice for the “good” of the rest of the planet. Let’s make sure that no nuclear war threatens mankind, or mother nature. To use an old trope. Let Ukraine “take one for the team.”
Only problem. We are not a team. The request was from a member of a more powerful, wealthier, more free society, to the members of a smaller, weaker, poorer, long oppressed and suppressed people. The lesser people are to sit down, shut up. Do not disturb the order of the universe. Ukrainians are supposed to submit to their fate while Europe and North America continue on with their privileged and opulent lifestyles.
Both sides have done awful things in the dozen or so years that this feud has been fermenting. However, it is the Russians, and not the Ukrainians, who decided to turn this situation from a localized civil war to a full-scale world threatening conflict. From that perspective, it is more difficult to see the logic in requesting that Ukraine be the side which capitulates. Let the aggressor back down and retreat from their world endangering behavior.
But, as I said in my earlier post. We are considered to be lesser beings. Not quite human. Not that important. Let the Russians and Ukrainians fight it out among themselves. They are only Slavs anyway. So long as the “better” people of the west are not threatened, let whatever happens, happen. Look away from those pictures of refugees running from shell fire. Ignore the destroyed villages, towns and cities. Remove from the internet those pictures of dead children and parents lying bloody on the street. It doesn’t really involve the west after all. Getting involved might threaten our world.
Evil is loose in the world. Compromise with and accommodation to evil never stops it. Such a response only allows evil time and space to grow stronger while preparing for its next move. Putin is watching. China is watching. The rest of the world is watching. They are observing carefully how we are reacting.
Ukraine may not win, but if Ukraine submits, it will not be the end of the threat. For fear of greater war, or annihilation, the west can urge and push Ukraine to submit. Then evil will know it has scored a great victory. It may be quiet for a while, but evil will be awaiting its next move. Next time may it require Taiwan, Warsaw, or Berlin, Paris, London, maybe Boston or New York to “submit” for the greater good.
Political philosophy aside, I stopped today to visit my aunt, whose ninety-third birthday was yesterday. She and the other ladies of her Polish, Roman Catholic, parish are already raising money and collecting supplies to send to Poland for the refugees. Life prevails, even in the face of death.