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What Do Putin and Trump Have to Look Forward to?

What do alpha male Putin and alpha male wannabee Trump have to look forward to? The two losers are forever linked by the dual frontpage headlines above the fold on the print edition of the New York Times, November 10, 2022. Across the top, headline read “those who passed the litmus test to become approved Trumpican candidates lost in key states.” Just below, the headline read “In another major retreat in the special military operation, Putin withdrew his forces from the city he had just proclaimed annexed by Russia forever.”

At this point, the two men have an aura of loser surrounding them. What do they have look forward to in Ukraine or in the American political arena?

PUTIN

How many strategic retreats in a special military operation can one have before admitting defeat?

Putin failed in the effort to capture the capital.

Putin was pushed backed in the northeast.

Putin was pushed back across the river at Kherson.

Putin has had one partial mobilization.

Putin has scraped the bottom of the barrel to find bodies to throw into the battle.

Putin searched the globe for additional bodies so desperate is he for cannon fodder.

It is getting to the point where he could not defend Russia from an invasion by the Baltic States!

We are used to Russia absorbing the invasions from the west by Napoleon and Hitler before turning the tables. Now it is the Russian military forces which have reached their limit and have begun pulling back. Do you think there is going to be a second land offensive into Ukraine by Russia? Do you think the withdrawal of forces from Kherson is the last Russian withdrawal? Quite the opposite. It will be Ukrainians who will be pressing their momentum this winter.

More and more Russian families want to know what has happened to their loved ones. The task of hiding the truth will become more and more challenging.

The hope that European unity will collapse over the winter seems like wishful thinking. The American arms pipeline to Ukraine will continue. At some point the combination of sanctions and the spending on the war will take a toll on the lives on the Russian people.

Could what is happening in Iran also happen in Russia?

How many shoulders does Putin have to look over?

The course of events in Russia does not loom well for Putin because the course of events in Ukraine do not either. Since the Kremlin is far from transparent, it is hard to say what will happen. Putin could keep renewing his term in office until 2036 when he will be 86, but somehow it is hard to imagine him lasting that long. Putin’s “savvy” move to fulfill a Peter the Great destiny may turn out to be the dumbest thing he ever did. The moment of truth will occur when Putin no longer can maintain the illusion that he is Peter the Great, that he is restoring, that he is winning in Ukraine. When that moment comes, he my go ballistic.

What will happen then? He cannot just push a lever, turn a key, or press a button. Other people will have to carry out his orders. Will they?

Once before, an American President had to show the skill, foresight, and patience to let the Iron Curtain fall and the Soviet Union collapse in what Putin regards as the “biggest geopolitical catastrophe of the century.” Now another American President may have to do the same for the collapse of Putin.

TRUMP

Even as everyone in America is caught up in the election on 2022, life still goes go in the legal arena for the Loser. In one case, a judge ruled that Trump lawyers had to pay fines and receive sanctions for a frivolous lawsuit about a vast conspiracy of perceived enemies arrayed against him. Although I am not a lawyer and have not read the ruling, I get the impression that the judge had had it with the complete and total nonsense of Trump lawyers abusing the legal system for the political agenda of an immature child with the emotional maturity of a three-year old.

The case delivered a doubled message:

1. MAGA means “Make Attorneys Get Attorneys” meaning lawyers accept Donald Trump as a client at their own financial and legal peril.

2. Pay attention to the little case that don’t get much attention.  For example in case against the Trump Organization involving former Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg, we already have seen the Trump lawyers show their willingness to throw him under the bus – it was all Weisselberg. Now Controller Jeffrey McConney has testified about the mechanics behind the financial skullduggery behind the payments to avoid taxes. One wonders exactly who is going to defend the actions of the Trump Organization. One wonders if other people are catching on that no matter how loyal they have been to him, he will not be loyal to them as Michael Cohen has been saying for years.

The Georgia Senate runoff scheduled for December 6 means any indictments either by the DOJ or in Georgia or both will be pushed back until after that time so as not to interfere with vote. Assuming the Democrats lose control of the House by no matter how small a margin, the House Select committee will be issuing its report shortly thereafter as well. In other words, it will not be “Happy Holidays” for the Loser.

It’s hard to see what Trump can do to escape the taint of being a loser. We know that stigma was something he has strove to avoid at all costs practically since childhood. We know that he made he made his loss the 2020 the litmus test for receiving his blessing in 2022. We now know that even though he is name was not on ballot in 2020, he is the President who is being blamed for being the loser while Joe Biden is taking victory laps.

On November 15, he will try to assert his power in the Republican Party. He will be meaner. He will be more insulting. He will be nastier. He will dare any wannabee from running against him. He will demand fealty. He will make the lives of McCarthy and O’Connell a living hell. The new litmus test will be supporting his candidacy in 2024 right now or feel his wrath.

While the Freedom Caucus has been garnering all the attention, what about the Real Republican Caucus. There were ten who voted for impeachment in the current Congress. How many will there be in the new Congress? Republicans who have had enough and are ready to move on? We may know soon from some votes.

Did anyone think he would appear before the House Select Committee on November 14? As expected, he is trying to run out the clock so his red wave can rescue him and on his income taxes. But there is no red wave. What happens if despite his ranting and raving, the House Select Committee recommends the House holds him in contempt for not compliance?

They are not afraid of the Loser anymore

At times, it is starting to look like “Murder on the Orient Express.” Everyone is coming out of the woodwork to castigate Trumpty Dumpty’s failure.

He is not used to being the ridiculed figure of failure from his own supporters. He lacks the maturity to deal with a situation where Republicans are eager to make fun of him and to talk about moving on.

Like Putin, Trump will have a moment when goes ballistic. However when that moment comes it means he will implode and become even more deranged. Even as we prepare for his announcement of his candidacy for 2024, he just may be a loser spouting hot air.

 

Russians Reject Putin’s Big Lie

Russian "Field of Dreams"

 

 

What will Putin do? I ask that question as someone with access to no secret sources, no classified government materials, and no friends in the know. I ask it as someone who reads articles and watches news and talk shows. We are witnessing a battle between the real world and the mind of someone with a Peter the Great complex who knows the price for attempting to impose such greatness and failing. At some point eventually, the real world wins. The Soviet Union was not the wave of the future.

WHERE ARE WE TODAY?

Back in February when this special military operation began, I am not sure how many people thought we would be where we are today. The invasion was hardly a secret although it still seemed to have taken some people by surprise. There seem to be people who believed that it was a bluff of some kind.

In the initial Russian run up and invasion of Ukraine, the consensus was that the war would be a short one. The Russian forces were massive, a word one heard frequently. The Russian forces also were state-of-the-art, a true 21st-century military machine what would steamroller over the smaller and less well-armed Ukraine. Russia had military experiences as well. Perhaps Putin’s asset, the former President of the United States said it best.

“I went in yesterday and there was a television screen, and I said, ‘This is genius.’ Putin declares a big portion of the Ukraine — of Ukraine — Putin declares it as independent. Oh, that’s wonderful,” Trump said in a radio interview with “The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show.” “He used the word ‘independent’ and ‘we’re gonna go out and we’re gonna go in and we’re gonna help keep peace.’ You gotta say that’s pretty savvy.”

As we all know, Russia’s initial onslaught was both brutal and unsuccessful. The Russian proclamations of quick victory had to be filed back in the drawer. Instead, the Ukrainians were more like the Russians valiantly fighting the Nazis from capturing the country. Those early weeks of the war have become Ukraine’s finest hour so far.

Zelensky then became a media darling. Ukraine was front page news and he was front page news. He spoke via giant screens to the people of Europe. They gathered together to hear him just as they had when Matt Damon was successfully rescued from Mars to the cheers of millions. He was David defeating Goliath. The Russians had failed in their efforts to seize the capital. Perhaps soon Ukrainians would even push the Russians out of their country. Those were heady days indeed.

The moment did not last long. Ukraine stopped being the lead story. It was not even mentioned in daily news shows, talked about, or printed about in the daily newspapers. The battle had switched to the “east.” It has become a slugfest. There were no stirring defeats. There were no stirring victories. It just continued day after day, more of the same, with no light at the end of the tunnel, a forever genocidal war.

Then the tide change. Suddenly Ukraine was on the offensive. Ukraine was regaining territory. The Russian army seemed on the verge of collapse. What would Putin do?

Now we now know the answer: partial mobilization. Will it work?

SCORECARD

Let’s examine some of the changes which have occurred and the hoped-for changes which have not.

1. NATO is more unified than it has been in decades. How long that will last remains unknown but so far one result of Putin’s war is a revitalized NATO that takes very seriously the Russian threat. This can’t be what Putin wanted.

2. NATO has expanded. Finland and Sweden are in the process of joining NATO. Even beforehand, their militaries are working with NATO as if they were members. This can’t be what Putin wanted.

3. World food and energy prices are in turmoil leading to disruptions in many places. For Putin this unexpected collateral damage has been weaponized into an attack on the West. It will not help him win in Ukraine but it will inflict pain on others. Putin does not care.

4. The oligarchs have had no effect on Putin’s behavior. The seizure of yachts has made for many dramatic photo-ops but they are immaterial.

5. Economic sanctions have not worked … yet. Remember how being cut off from SWIFT was going to be a devastating blow! So far the economy has shrunk but less than it did with Covid. The high energy prices and willing customers in China and India have helped keep the coffers full … so far. Ever more Russian people have been placed under sanctions. This is a little like watching paint dry or grass grow. If you are patient and can hold firm, they can have a major effect on the Russian people. Putin may not care how much the Russian people suffer for the greater cause of his being Peter the Great, but combined with other events, they could prove troublesome to him. At some point sanctions may become the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

6. The army has underperformed and the situation is getting worse not better. Even Russian pro-war hawks have become speaking out on social media calling for heads to roll. The facts on the ground ultimately may be the biggest game changer of all.

At this point Putin seemingly has nothing good to which to look to forward, so he threw a Hail Mary.

PUTIN’S HAIL MARY

Like “special military operation,” “partial mobilization” is a code term. The former is for an invasion and the latter is a Hail Mary.

Putin already had succeeded in generating one rush to emigrate with the start of the special military operation. Now with the partial mobilization he has sparked another. The first one was mainly Western-oriented people of all genders and ages who said “enough is enough.” These are the people who were in the forefront of the efforts to westernize Russia and promote democracy. The departure of the best-educated people enabled Putin to say “good riddance” to these enemies of the state regardless of the loss to the future economy of Russia.

With the second group fleeing the country, the situation is different. They are young men, Russian and non-ethnic, perhaps not as well educated as the first group, perhaps more loyal to Putin before, who are now leaving.

Here we see the failure of Russian Foxhub. Officially the special military operation is succeeding perfectly according to plan. One might think the young men would be eager to participate in this glorious undertaking for the greater good of Mother Russia. Yet for some reason, they think going to the battlefront in Ukraine means going to die. They see the draft not as a call to arms but as a death sentence.

How could they think that? The fleeing following the partial mobilization decree tells us that Russian Foxhub was telling them the Big Lie that no longer works. The Russian Big Lie of victory was tolerated as long as it did not affect the average individual. In other words, the Russian people knew Russian Foxhub was spinning the Big Lie. Once Putin called for a partial mobilization, they knew the Big Lie was a Big Lie and they knew who was responsible for it. They were being asked to sacrifice themselves for Putin’s Big Lie. They are not being asked to fight for Russia, they are being asked to fight for Putin. How many troops does Putin need at home round up the people needed for the partial mobilization in support of the Big Lie?

And now he will be arming those recruits or at least trying to. He will be arming 300,000 men who know that Putin is the problem. There already are tens of thousands of men in the Ukraine who know the war is the Big Lie and Putin is the problem. So while everyone in the West is concerned about whether Putin will use nuclear weapons, we should also be looking to the facts on the ground. Winter is coming for the exposed troops in the Ukraine. Winter is coming for new recruits however many are rounded up. The West will do a better job arming and supplying Ukrainians this winter than Russians will do their own armed forces. The winter that defeated Napoleon and Hitler is more likely to defeat Putin too.

What will Putin do when the Big Lie no longer works and the facts on the ground can no longer be denied even by him? That is when he has to start looking over his shoulder and watching his back if he is not already doing that.

THE WAR WILL END WHEN THE RUSSIAN PEOPLE ARE NO LONGER WILLING TO ACCEPT PUTIN’S BIG LIE.

THE WAR WILL END WHEN THE RUSSIAN PEOPLE ARE WILLING TO HOLD PUTIN ACCOUNTABLE FOR SPREADING THE BIG LIE.

Zelensky versus Putin: The May 9 Showdown

David Slaying Goliath by Peter Paul Rubens (The Norton Simon Foundation )

Storytellers love stories of the stark clear-cut one-on-one showdown between the forces of light and the forces of darkness. The story we hear most now is the one between David and Goliath. While Putin and Zelensky will not meet physically in such a confrontation, they did meet cosmically on May 9, 2022 in the celebration of the victory of evil decades ago. The words and images also were weapons in the current war which convulses the land and wreaks havoc throughout the world. The current confrontation provides insight into the story that was told millennia ago and which is still relevant today.

1 Samuel 17:1 Now the Russians gathered their armies for battle; 3 And the Russians stood on the mountain on one side of the border, and the Ukrainians stood on the mountain on the other side of the border, with a border between them.  

MOSCOW, RUSSIA – MAY 09: Russian President Vladimir Putin is seen on the screen as he delivers a speech during 77th anniversary of the Victory Day in Red Square in Moscow, Russia on May 09, 2022. (Photo by Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

4 And there came out from the camp of the Russians a champion named Putin, of Moscow, whose height was six cubits and a span and who rode horses bare-chested. 5 He had a helmet of bronze on his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail, and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of bronze. 6 And he had greaves of bronze upon his legs, and a javelin of bronze slung between his shoulders. 7 And the shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and his spear’s head weighed six hundred shekels of iron; and his shield-bearer went before him. 8 He stood and shouted to the ranks of the Ukrainians, “Why have you come out to draw up for battle? Am I not a Russian, and are you not servants of me? Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me. 9 If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants; but if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us.” 10 And the Russian, “I defy the ranks of the Ukrainians this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.”

 

21 And the Ukrainians and the Russians drew up for battle, army against army. 23 As David talked with his brothers, behold, the champion, the Russian of Moscow, Putin by name, came up out of the ranks of the Philistines, and spoke the same words as before. And David heard him. 32 And Zelensky said, “Let no man’s heart fail because of Putin; I will go and fight with this Russian.”

 

33 And Trump said to Zelesnsky, “You are not able to go against this Russian to fight with him; for you are but a loser, and Putin has been a man of war from his youth and he is a savvy genius.” 37 And Zelensky said, “Yahweh who delivered the Ukrainians me from the paw of the Nazis and from the paw of the Communists, will deliver me from the hand of this Russian.” 38 Then Biden clothed Zelesnky with his armor; he put a helmet of bronze on his head, and clothed him with a coat of mail.

 

Ukrainian service member holds a Javelin missile system at a position on the front line in the north Kyiv region. Credit: Reuters Photo

40 Then David took his staff in his hand, and chose five Javelin smooth stones from the brook, and put them in his shepherd’s bag or wallet; his sling was in his hand, and he drew near to the Russian. 41 And the Russian came on and drew near to Zelensky with his shield-bearer in front of him. 42 And when Putin looked, and saw Zelensky, he disdained him; for he was weak and small.

43 And Putin said to Zelensky, “Am I a dog that you come to me with sticks?” And Putin cursed Zelensky his gods. 44 Putin said to Zelensky, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the field.” 45 Then Zelensky said to Putin, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a convoy of tanks; but I come to you in the name of freedom, Yahweh, the God whom you have defied. 46 This day Yahweh will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down, and cut off your head and your generals; and I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Russians this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in the Ukraine, 47 and that all this assembly may know that Yahweh saves not with sword and spear; for the battle is Yahweh’s and he will give you into our hand.” 48 When Putin arose and came and drew near to meet Zelensky, Zelensky ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Russian. 49 And Zelesnky put his hand in his bag and took out his drones, his Javelins, his Stingers, and slung them, and struck Putin on his forehead; the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground.

 

50 So Zelensky prevailed over Putin with a sling and with a stone, and struck the Russian, and killed him. 51 Then Zelensky ran and stood over the Russian army, and took his sword and drew it out of its sheath, and destroyed it, and cut off generals. When the Russian people finally saw that their army was defeated was dead, they rioted.

It is surprising how little the wording needed to be changed to tell this 21st-century version of the story.

Right now Putin does not know what to do.

The Ukrainian people did not welcome him.
He failed to take the capital.
His is failing to take the east.
His pride-and-joy ship sank.
He is depleting the Russian military so much that soon Poland and the Baltic States will be able to invade Russia instead of fearing an invasion by Russia.
He has strengthened NATO.
He has awakened the “arsenal of democracy” just as Japan did at Pearl Harbor.
His future is one of more and more pounding as the American arsenal becomes the Ukrainian arsenal.
At some point, even his generals will be able to read the handwriting on the wall.
He has no idea how to get out of the hole he has dug for himself so he just keeps digging.

It’s time for Joe Biden to send a special emissary to Moscow to find out what it will take to end this madness. It is time to send the Russian asset, the only American Putin trusts because he can dominate him. It is time to send Donald Trump to the Kremlin.

 

May 9: V-U Day or V-R Day?

V-E Day, Times Square (AP Photo/Tom Fitzsimmons)

More and more the current war in the Ukraine resembles World War II. It has bombed out cities, tanks galore, genocide and even a budding world alliance against the perpetrator of the war. It also will soon have its equivalent of V-E Day and V-J Day. The United States celebrated Victory in Europe Day on May 8, 1945. The USSR celebrated on May 9, 1945, and that day continues with the Russian nation that replaced it.

AMERICAN WORLD WAR II HOLIDAY

The United States does not really have a World War II holiday. The anniversaries of famous war events like the Day of Infamy, D-Day, V-E Day, and V-J occur annually without much recognition. Memorial Day often contains a World War II component. But in general terms the memory of the so-called “Last Good War” by the greatest generation is fading from the national consciousness even faster than the generation that fought it dies.

The same cannot be said for said for the Civil War aka the War of Northern Aggression. That war lives on. We all saw the Confederate flag waving in the Capitol during the attempted coup on January 6, 2021. It is much more alive than World War II. One major difference between the two wars is that one was fought here and the other was fought over there. It is with the Russian invasion of Ukraine that we can glimpse some of the damage which General Sherman wreaked on Georgia. When we think about the Ukrainians have reacted to Russians we can start to understand the lasting hatred for the Yankee invaders and their modern elitist woke descendants evoke in the Confederates.

RUSSIAN WORLD WAR HOLIDAY   

By contrast, in Russia, the celebration of the victory over Nazi Germany is a big deal. The war was fought on Russian land and not just over there. Russian cities paid a steep price. And the millions dead due to Stalin blur with the millions dead due to Hitler. So when Putin declares a war against Nazis in Ukraine, it resonates far more with the Russian people than it does when the term is used on Foxhub, in school board meetings, and over masks and vaccinations. We have trivialized and diluted the meaning of the term “Nazi” in a way that would be unacceptable in Russia. Putin is wrong about Nazis in Ukraine but he is right about the power of the term to the Russian people.

When the war began, Putin was ready to proclaim victory even beforehand. An article by the propaganda publication RIA Novosti was to be published after the pending occupation of Ukraine. By mistake, it was published prematurely before being removed from the website. It reveals the big plans the Peter-the-Great admirer had for his special military operation. The article describes Putin’s imperial plans for the total Russification of Ukraine and Belarus and change of the world order.

A new world is being born before our eyes. Russia’s military operation in Ukraine has ushered in a new era – in three dimensions at once. And of course, in the fourth, internal Russian. Here begins a new period both in ideology and in the very model of our socio-economic system – but this is worth talking about separately a little later.

Russia is restoring its unity; the tragedy of 1991, this terrible catastrophe in our history, its unnatural dislocation, has been overcome.

The victory press release continues in this vein. Putin has risen to the occasion to right the wrongs of history and to launch a new world order. Say what you want about the validity of the claims. It reveals a person who is thinking big. To convince him that his dreams will never be fulfilled and that instead he is a loser will not be easy. Look how hard it has been to convince the American Presidential loser that he is a loser!

WHO IS WINNING THE WAR?

Is Putin winning his war to fulfill an historic destiny? Based on American press coverage, the answer is “No!” The Russian army routinely is described as inept, incompetent, and damaged. A guessing game has ensued as to how many tens of thousands Russian soldiers are dead, wounded, or captured thereby undermining the efficiency of its “massive” forces. The Ukrainian fighters are always valiant. Shades of World War II, the American arsenal has been ramped up and is providing ever more powerful weaponry to confront the forces of evil. The pride of the Russian fleet sank. The Ukrainian capital was not captured. The battle has shifted eastward to a smaller setting.

Nonetheless, there are continued reports that Putin thinks he is winning. Not the Russian people who are restricted in the information they have access to and, of course, think Russia is winning but the leader himself. Is he being fed false information by his subordinates who are afraid to tell him the truth? Is he living in an alternate reality? What then?

Let’s keep in mind some other considerations.

The Russian economy has not tanked yet despite the most massive sanctions ever.

Much of the world supports Russia – China, India, huge portions of Africa and elsewhere. We cannot afford to take our eye off the Pacific while China uses the opportunity of the focus on Europe to insert itself into the Solomon Islands and the South Pacific.

Europe is not united against Russia. While Sweden and Finland consider joining NATO contrary to Putin’s wishes, Hungary supports him. France did not abandon its position in the war, but the election just concluded shows what could happen especially if the war drags on.

The United States is not united either. So far there is Congressional approval for the war effort. Still a significant part of the Trumpican party in the House of Representatives refused to condemn Putin. The presumptive nominee of the Trumpican party for the presidency in 2024 thinks Putin is a savvy genius AND WILL NEVER UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES OPPOSE HIM. If the wars drags on and Americans tire of more pictures of massacred Ukrainians, destroyed cities, and refugees and if Western arms are not sufficient to stem the Russian tide and Western bodies and aircraft are needed, what will happen then? Will Americans still support the Ukraine then? I don’t know the answer but it is understandable for Putin to think that if he can hold on, he can eventually prevail in some form.

MAY 9

That brings us to May 9. Putin will have to declare victory in some manner over Nazis in the present at the time when Russia celebrates it victory over Nazis in the past. In some ways we are approaching the most critical time of the war. May 9 could become Putin’s January 6 – the day when he failed to seize even the eastern Ukraine just as his American asset failed in his attempt to seize the Capitol. We need to deliver our own message on May 9 (or better May 8 when we celebrate V-E Day) that Russia will never succeed in conquering Ukraine and is failing everywhere. It is time for American stop being reactive and to take the initiative.

Will Only Taiwan Be Allowed to Attack Chinese Supply Depots if Invaded?

To Boldly Go Where No American Official Has Gone Before (https://www.bbc.com/news)

There are many lessons to be learned from the current invasion of the Ukraine by Russia. Like the investigation of January 6, the story is still unfolding and the outcome cannot yet be known. Still there are some observations worth considering for where we are in the world at present and what may happen.

Lesson 1: Only Russia and China Can/Will Invade countries

When it comes to traditional wars between counties and nation-states, in the world as it exists today, only two countries are likely to invade another country – Russia and China. Yes they are two big nuclear-armed countries but the prospects for actual invasions is limited to a few specific targets. (India/Pakistan?)

For Russia, it already is in the midst of an invasion of Ukraine. The war is not going well and could even get worse. It has stalked a huge portion of its military resources on the now comparatively small goal of seizing a portion of neighbor. Given the prospects that even more of its once vaunted military force could be destroyed, the chances of any additional invasions such as to the Baltics or Poland seem slim. In the end, this may be the last gasp of a Russian military threat. In fact, its own continued existence as a Putin-dictatorship may be jeopardized.

For China, its one and only target for invasion in Taiwan. Certainly it will throw its weight around in the South China Sea, but that does not mean it has any intentions of invading any country in the Pacific yet alone Japan or Australia. Instead its preferred path to power is through economic domination and bullying the way it does over the NBA, Hollywood, and the Olympics. Like Russia with Ukraine, China considers Taiwan to be part of its country so it remains a target for invasion.

Lesson 2: Are only invaded Nations allowed to strike the invader?

The present war in the Ukraine is being fought under the rules that only it can directly strike the invading the nation on its own grounds. This is due to Russia having nuclear weapons. Otherwise the 40-mile and 8-mile convoys would be decimated and the supply depots in Russia would have exploded by now.

On the other hand, Russia is free to interfere with American elections as it did especially in 2016.

The United States and its allies are free to accept the invitation from the Ukraine to send troops to that country and to begin planning for the rebuilding of the country. As previously stated, there are vast areas in the country where there are no Russian present (Cranes for Ukraine: Build It Back Better). What are we waiting for? There is a huge amount of rebuilding which needs to be in the capital and elsewhere. What are we waiting for? The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom visits that capital city and we do not even have an embassy there? What are we waiting for?

Russia is putting practically everything it has into this war and we are not. Why not?

If China decides to invade Taiwan, will only Taiwan be allowed to strike China? What precedents are we establishing now?

Lesson 3: The Wars within Nations Are Really International Wars

The wars that we are having and will continue to have technically are considered domestic wars because of the way Europeans have drawn the maps. Yugoslavia never was a country or nation-state except that others pretended it was. That kind of division or breakup into its constituent parts is the more typical type of war that is and will be likely to occur.

How come non-Arab Kurds were part of Iraq while Arab Kuwait was not?

How come Arab Sudanese who for centuries raided multiple black African tribes to the south and independent Darfur were combined into one country instead of being three right from the start?

Pakistan already divided once politically reflecting its geographic separation. Will it separate into its constituent part as well?

At present, there are multiple nations on paper in Africa and Asia that exist solely because European colonizers drew the borders that way. The lack of stability of these entities will be a sore point for years to come as they often are already. There is no mechanism at present to undo the artificiality of these false nations except by war among the different peoples forced to live in one political entity with other people with whom they little in common besides geographic proximity. Even without climate change, the situation is ripe for emigration and refugees as is happening anyway. At some point, the so-called United Nations will have to face the fact that many of its members are nations in name only and we are not united.

 

The world is changing rapidly while we still use the same old playbook.

COVID was and continues to be a global threat. Who knows what the next pandemic will be?

Climate change increases whether we choose to recognize it or not? Why do we think coping with refugees is the best way to deal with climate change?

More and more countries will be destabilized. We have and are seeing it in Central America and in parts of Africa and Asia. How much longer can we pretend the United Nations is an effective way to deal with this collapse?

Finally, what happens if the United States is both unwilling and unable to be the leader the world needs us to be?  Right now we are trapped between the Woke and the Trumpicans with a weak president.

The Woke assault on the country will only accelerate as we approach the 250th anniversary of its birth. They will continually undermine the very idea of America playing a leadership role in the world. For them it is an example of American Exceptionalism that is best abandoned. Tell that to the Ukrainians.

The Trumpicans have paid no price for their blatant attempt to seize power after an election they knew they had lost. They have conned tens of millions of Americans into believing their attempted coup was legitimate political discourse. They are poised to seize power in one house of the government in the next election. If Putin can hold out, he may no longer need to be concerned about American support for the Ukraine and instead become the savvy genius the American former president says he is.

This is a critical moment in world history and we are not ready for it. Even in his prime, Joe Biden was not a dynamic visionary leader even in his prime. Now that shortcoming matters. Big time.

Legitimate Military Discourse: The Power of Russian Foxhub

Tuckyo Rose Carlson at work

You can fool all the people some of the time
and some of the people all the time
and that’s enough

Russian Foxhub is more powerful than American Foxhub, but it may not be powerful enough to save Putin.

The American Foxhub shows there are limits to its power. The United States remains a free country. There are multiple sources of news. Indeed, people have the option of choosing from among a full range of possibilities reflecting a wide assortment of political views. At this point in time, it is unlikely that any news outlet and format is dominating enough to have a single message become the uniform message of the land.

Take the January 6 insurrection to overthrow the government and the rule of law. At the time, no one envisioned that tens of millions of people would come to regard it as legitimate political discourse. Now January 6 is an expression of patriotic Americans exercising their Constitutional right to prevent an election from being stolen by taking the law into their own hands. The point for the Russian-Ukrainian war is that even with multiple media outlets tens of millions Americans believe and will continue to believe to their dying day that the con of the stolen election is true.

This reality bodes ill for the hope that the Russian people will force Putin to face the truth.

THE RUSSIAN PEOPLE AND THE WAR

By now people in the West are much more aware of the power of the Russian Foxhub than at the onset of the war. The incident of a single person with a handwritten sign denouncing the Putin lie garners a great deal of attention. There must be others who share that perspective. They must not have had the opportunity to express themselves or they are afraid to do so given that it is illegal.

It would seem that the people who are most aware of the Putin lie are the ones who have left the country. By contrast, the polls would suggest that Putin’s popularity has increased as the war continues. The anti-Russian actions perpetrated by the West have only verified the claim that America is behind the Nazis in the Ukraine and intends to establish an anti-Russian base there. In other words, for the Russians this is World War II all over again. The anti-American narrative provides an opportunity for Russians to relive the Russian greatness from the Great Patriotic War against the Nazis. It is questionable whether Russian relatives in the Ukraine, the Russian soldiers who do not return, and the wounded Russian soldiers who do return are likely to change sufficient number of minds to end the war. So far, the Russian people are prepared to rise to the occasion and stand firm against America and the Nazis.

ENDING THE WAR

Unfortunately, this does not bode well for ending the war. The world may be outraged by the horrific sight of the slain Ukrainians by the Russians, but the Russian know better. They know that Russians did not commit these atrocities. They are familiar with Fake News. They are familiar with Jewish George Soros. They know that there are no limits to what the Nazi Ukrainians would do. They know that good Russian boys would not do such things. And they know this because Russian Foxhub has a news monopoly and is delivering this message continually. China knows it too and the two countries reinforced their collective anti-American message.

There is the hope that with drones and satellites, the truth can pierce the new Iron Curtain.

There is the hope that the returning conscripts alive or in body bags will communicate the truth to the Russian people.

There is the hope that call for new conscripts will expose the lie that Putin’s special military operation is going according to plan.

However, in the meantime, Putin continues to set the rules of the engagement and we continue to let him do so. Therefore his war will end only when he has decided it should end.

AMERICAN ACTION AND INACTION

As a result we need to wake up and smell the coffee.

The oligarchs are not going to end the war.

The Russian people are not going to end the war.

The generals are not going to end the war.

The only way the fighting ends is the way it has ended in some parts of the country now – by the Ukrainian defeat of the Russian army. Such a victory seems less likely in the portions of the country that have been at war since 2014. Those areas may even include people who really do prefer Russian to Ukrainian rule. We won’t know until a plebiscite is held, not that we even have proposed one.

Consider the American example for illustrative purposes.

What would it take to get Trumpicans to stop believing in the big lie?

What would it take in a free society to convince true believers that they have been conned?

Donald Trump could tell the truth. That’s not possible.

His conspirators might tell the truth. That hardly seems likely. They don’t even have any reason to since there are no consequences for having helped organized the attempted takeover.

Now apply these lessons to Russia.

Putin could tell the truth. That’s not possible. He seems to be a permanent resident of his alternate reality.

His conspirators, the Russian generals, could tell the truth. That hardly seems likely. What reason do they have to do so? They are no more afraid of being tried as war criminals as Steve Bannon, Jim Jordan, John Eastman, et. al., are afraid of being tried for sedition.

The question to be asked is how long the Ukraine can hold out? Zelensky like the House Select Committee faces a deadline. If the Trumpicans seize control of the House of Representatives, its primary action will be to impeach Joe Biden using Hunter Biden to do so. The leader of the party already has signified what is important to him. The Trumpican votes in the House already are shifting to Putin’s favor. His fiercest supporters do not even want the United States to collect data on the Russian war crimes. By the time of the election, who knows how many will have fully embraced Putin’s legitimate military discourse.

Putin Isn’t the Only Loser: Trump and the Woke Are Too

If everything had gone according to the plan in Putin’s mind, he would be a big winner by now. His powerful and fearsome Russian military would have strolled into the fake country of Ukraine to reunite these Slavic brothers and sisters into the great and glorious Russian empire worthy of Peter the Great. The only loser would have been the United States (Joe Biden). It would have been exposed as weak, unreliable, and unworthy of a leadership position in the world compared to Russia and China.

Alas for Putin, the real world exposed his alternate world as a farce. The shock of the transition from his fantasy to reality is starting to sink in with the worse yet to come.

PUTIN THE LOSER

Putin is losing on all fronts.

In the Kremlin, his rats and vermin are beginning to leave the sinking ship. They are leaving the country and being imprisoned at least in their homes. Putin is starting to resemble the proverbial porters on the Titanic rearranging the chairs after the ship has hit the iceberg. His recourse is to blame others for causing the captain, himself, to steer the Russian ship of state into a collision which could have been avoided. Soon his very long table will be table of one. When he gives the order to use weapons of mass destruction, will there be anyone to listen to him? Will anyone other than himself want to compound the current war crimes with even more dastardly actions? While the neighboring countries are right to be on guard for what Putin might do if he decided to lash out, it is becoming Putin himself who has to constantly look over his shoulder and wonder who will be his Brutus.

In the country, his rats and vermin are leaving. Putin is losing the battle for minds of the people. True the Russian Foxhub continues to operate at full force but with cracks. One person runs on camera with a handmade sign denouncing not just the war but the very reign of Putin. Another leaks probably real casualty numbers before they can be removed. The people who are the future of the country are leaving the country where they have no future. Putin watched the Ukraine growing preference for the West; now he is accelerating the same process in Russia. Perhaps there will be two Russias: one part of the West and the other floating free belonging nowhere for now.

In the Ukraine, the battle is stalemated and in places it is the Ukraine that is advancing. The number killed would be unacceptable in America. They are unacceptable in Russia, too, which is why the numbers are not revealed and the bodies are not returned home for a proper burial. Instead they are left on the ground in the Ukraine or cremated so no one in Russia will know the truth.

If you want to know what it is like for the Russian ground troops in the Ukraine, try an experiment. Go out to your car and remain inside through the winter night. How long would you last in your own car parked in front of your own home with no supply of food or water and cramped sanitary conditions? And suppose, instead of being at home (a training exercise), you were actually God knows where in some kind of battle (invasion). One of the dangers facing Putin is not the casualties but the collapse of the army itself. Imagine the scenes of the Russian soldiers on camera speaking the truth to their families back in Russia. What a shock that will be!

TRUMP THE LOSER   

A second loser is this war is Putin’s Pence. As President of the United States he was submissive to Putin and praised him as a hero and role model. Putin was a much beloved and admired figure among Trumpicans. Now it turns out, Putin no more cares about the little people than does THE DONALD himself. Everybody is expendable as collateral damage.

The assertions of the savvy genius who gained a country in exchange for $2 in sanctions is more than wrong. They expose the would-be Commander in Chief as inadequate for his job. It turns out that Sleepy Joe Biden who is on death’s door if not already dead was able to organize an international coalition worthy of George Bush in the Persian Gulf War. Biden is providing a leadership that his predecessor never could have.

Remember how stopping one cruise ship from docking was going to save America from Covid?

Remember how stopping the testing would was going to save America from Covid?

Remember how full campaign-rally arenas were proof that he really had won the election?

The person who lacks the mental necessities to read a briefing book, understand the Constitution, and grasp the facts on the ground has exposed himself once again as being unfit for the job of President. You can get away with a simple-minded immature child with the emotional maturity of a three-year old as President during good times, but when there is a crisis like Covid or the Russian invasion of Ukraine, you need an adult in the White House. When his number one issue remains rescinding and relitigating the 2020 election and wreaking vengeance on those who did not help him violate the Constitution, you are dealing with someone trapped in the past. It is hard to imagine how 2020 will still be the primary issue in 2024. Putin is not the only one who has to be concerned about Brutus … or the Republicans taking back their party from the Trumpicans.

THE WOKE LOSER        

The Woke are not faring well in this war either. The mantra of the Woke is that the United States is an illegitimate country born in sin or two sins. It has not lived up to its supposed ideals. Quite the contrary, it is a country defined by systemic racism. It is imperialist. It should not be the leader of the free world.

For years the Woke have been bad-mouthing the United States. They are an equal opportunity hate monger who have not only alienated white Republicans but who are alienating Democrats as well. For some reason best known to them, they think the number one issue for Hispanics is 1619 and the number two issue is settler colonialism.

Then along comes Putin to expose what the real world is like outside the ivory tower.

Suddenly we can see part of what happened during World War II. The Europeans remember what happened on their own land and can point to where it happened. Now we can see what London went through with Hitler as the Ukrainians are experiencing with Putin. With the communication revolution we can see not only what happened during World War II, we can see it happening today.

Suddenly we can see part of what happened during the Cold War. We can experience some of what it was like not knowing if the world will blow up at any moment. A student in my local high school expressed interest into doing an exhibit for a proposed local history museum on the shelters which still can be seen in the high school if one looks hard enough for them.

Soon we will able to see what Herbert Hoover did after World War I with the European Relief and Rehabilitation Administration and what American did with the Marshall Plan after World War. Expect China and Saudi Arabia to be billed billions for standing on the sidelines and helping the destruction in the Ukraine to occur.

Suddenly once again, the United States is the city on a hill that eyes of the world are upon. Perhaps the greatest acknowledgement of American leadership has come from Volodymyr Zelensky. He looks to America as a savior in his country’s war against evil. When the war is over and Putin is defeated, Americans will be proud of its role in history. A Democratic campaign based on their inadequate understanding of 1619 will no more resonate with the voting public than the Trumpican fixation on 2020. The country will be ready to move forward. The candidate and party which best realizes that will be the winner.

Should the United States Join the War against the Nazis?

We did it before, we can do it again (U.S. National Archives)

Should the United States join the current war against the Nazis being waged by Russia? During World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union were allies in the successful war against Nazi Germany. These allies were not friends and lived very different ways of life. Following the shared victory, a rather decisive line separated Europe into competing sides, a line that would last almost fifty years.

One striking difference in the war was location, location, location. For the United States, the war was fought over there. Some of our deepest memories are of the D-Day landing and Patton’s race across Europe over there.

For Russia the memories are quite different. The war was fought at home, here. Major battles were fought at home, here. Millions died at home, here. One should not be surprised that the war left an indelible mark on the Russian psyche. It is easy to understand why the Russians would be sensitive to even the possibility that the Nazi danger would return…and right on their own doorstep. The Russian reaction naturally would be different to such a threat than ours.

In the United States, the Nazi threat is at home, here. We are fighting that battle at home, here.

THE UNITED STATES HAS NO PLAN TO WIN IN THE UKRAINE

As of the time of this writing, the United States has no plans to win the war in the Ukraine. One might claim it is not our war to win or lose, it is a war between Russia and the Ukraine. Such a claim is politically oblivious to the real world. If Russia conquers the Ukraine, the world will see it as an American defeat. Certainly here at home Trumpicans led by Foxhub will continually berate Joe Biden and the Democrats for having lost the war. This means it is in the interest of Joe Biden and the Democrats to win the war even though they have no plans to do so.

The current American plan, such as it is, is for the Ukrainians to win the war. In some ways that plan may be working but at a terrible price. Yes, NATO including the United States will provide arms to assist against the Russian effort. This means the current policy is to prevent Russia from winning no matter how much of the Ukraine is destroyed in the process. Putin has carte blanche go-signal to keep bombing the country until he runs of bombs even including any received from China. He has a license to create refugees on a scale that makes the Syria refugees seem like people on vacation.

The current American plan relies on the Ukrainian people themselves never to surrender, never to give up, to keep fighting city by city, neighborhood by neighborhood, street by street, and apartment by apartment if necessary. No matter how much of the country is destroyed, no matter how many people flee, no matter if it takes weeks, months, or even years for the war to be resolved, we will be there with them supplying the arms so they can fight another day.

THE UNITED STATE POLICY IS IT IS UP TO PUTIN TO END THE WAR

No matter how long it takes, America has no plan to end the war until Putin decides he is ready to end it. Now everyone is trying to read Putin’s mind. How important is Peter the Great to him? How important is restoring the Russian Empire to him? How important is an obscure Russian nationalist philosopher to him? How much does he think the Ukrainians really are Russians and want to be reunited with Russia? How much did COVID and the seeing his mortality before him make him realize that he was running out of time: it’s now or never?

We may never know the answers to these questions. What we do know is that they give Putin the initiative. Regardless of what he is thinking, it is up to him based on that thinking to decide to end the war when he thinks it is time to end the war and not because someone forced him to.

The oligarchs will not cause Putin to end the war.

The Russia people will not cause Putin to end the war. Russia has its people who want to join the West, too. Now many of them are joining the West. The people migrating from Russia do not match the numbers of refugees from the Ukraine. They do show a portion of the country is against the war. As far as Putin is concerned, good riddance to these vermin; Russia is better off without these people who want to live in the 21st century.

Those who remain in the country are like their American counterparts: non-college educated rural and religious people who get their news from the Russian Foxhub network. Not even their own family members in the Ukraine can convince them that the war is not a just one for Russia to save people from Nazis.

THE UNITED STATES SHOULD JOIN THE WAR AGAINST NAZIS

Therefore the United States should join the Russian war against the Nazis. The only way to effectively communicate with someone is in a language the other understands. Russia understands the language of Nazis. We should use that to our advantage.

The United States should inform/negotiate with Putin that we are going to assist in the war against Nazis.

We are going to do so in the areas of the Ukraine not yet occupied by Russian troops.

We are going to do so by stationing troops in those areas to conduct searches for Nazis.

We are going to invite Russian troops to join the American and NATO troops who are conducting the searches for Nazis.

We are going to do so effective immediately.

We will show newsreels of the American capture of Nazis as proof to the world that Putin was correct about the Nazis and that we are proud to have assisted in rounding them up.

We may revise the areas where we are conducting the searches as the situation on the ground changes. Given the current stagnation experienced by many of the Russian troops, it may become necessary for NATO to extend the area of the searches to include at least 75% of the country where there are no Russian troops if all the Nazis are to identified, captured, or killed. Apparently it was part of the plan of the Russian military operation that is proceeding on schedule for there to be no Russian presence in most of the country even after three weeks.

Far from fighting the Russians or even risking fighting the Russians, we are instead joining them in the quest to secure the country from Nazis. Once again we are allies not enemies in the war against Nazis. May we be as successful this time as we were last time.

Will the Ukrainian Rope-a-Dope Work?

Muhammad Ali and George Foreman during fight action in Zaire, Africa, Oct. 29, 1974. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

We are a storytelling species. Since a picture is worth a thousand words and a meme can move political mountains, people have been trying out various words to depict the current invasion by Russia of the Ukraine.

DAVID and GOLIATH – By far the most frequent symbol used to describe the war has been the traditional biblical one of David and Goliath. This one routinely is used in a variety of encounters with one particular trait. It refers to a confrontation between two entities where one is very large and the other is very small. Typical examples have included start-up companies doing battle with Microsoft, Apple, and Google. Its use in legal and/or political battles is standard operating procedure.

In a David and Goliath struggle, which one would you rather be? Naturally, the answer should be David. After all, he wins. He wins rather decisively.

1 Samuel 17:48 When the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. 49 And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone, and slung it, and struck the Philistine on his forehead; the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground. 50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and struck the Philistine, and killed him; there was no sword in the hand of David. 51 Then David ran and stood over the Philistine, and took his sword and drew it out of its sheath, and killed him, and cut off his head with it. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled.

As victories go, there is little room for doubt as to who emerged victorious.

One should note that David’s triumph was not that of one involving two sport’s teams. There is no returning to the battlefield for round two. In the battle against the unnamed Philistine warrior [for those interested in biblical exegesis], David’s victory means never again will the Philistine warrior threaten David or anyone else again. The significance of this result often is overlooked.

In a David and Goliath fight, not only do you want to be David, the final outcome really is a final outcome. In the current situation, this means that not only does the Ukraine successfully defend itself against Russia but that never again can Putin threaten its neighbor or any other neighbor. In human terms, this means Zelensky remains in power and Putin is removed from power. Whether Putin ends up dead like the Philistine warrior or simply imprisoned is secondary. The point is in a true David and Goliath confrontation, it is a fight to death where the larger one, meaning Putin, loses. Putin probably knows this which is why he will never stop on his own and will have to be stopped by others.

LEONIDAS AND XERXES

A similar scenario with a different ending appears in the Leonidas-Xerxes confrontation. On March 1, 2022, I asked, “Suppose Zelensky ends up being Leonidas and not David? (The State of the Putin Union: The Dr. Strangelove Scenario). My reference was to the famous story of Three Hundred Spartans versus Persia at Thermopylae. The story has been made into a couple of movies. Its counterparts in American cultural mythology have been Davy Crockett at the Alamo and George Custer at Little Bighorn. In Jewish tradition, it is Rome at Masada which has became a foundation story for the new Israeli nation in the 20th century. These battles share in common the concept of valiant heroic death by the few in face of a much more numerous enemy. It does make for great storytelling in its own right.

So here we have these two contrasting big versus small war stories. In one, the little guy wins and the big guy is vanquished. In the other, the reverse occurs, but the dead little guy still remains the hero for the courageous fight against insurmountable odds. On March 3, Zelensky provided his own take:

I don’t want Ukraine’s history to be a legend about 300 Spartans. I want peace.

Jewish Zelensky apparently prefers David to these other options.

SPARTACUS

Marina Ovsyannikova out of nowhere has become a worldwide phenomenon. She appeared unannounced and uninvited on the Russian counterpart to the American Foxhub cable network. As everyone including Putin now know, she stood behind an oblivious news announcer with a handmade sign. Her message was a direct repudiation of Putin’s war and Putin himself. Given that such public declarations are illegal and punishable by up to 15 years in prison, her action truly was brave.

Regardless of what ultimately happens to her, one suggestion is that she speaks for many others in Russia, perhaps millions who do not have the opportunity to be as brave as she was. In fact one American commentator compared her to the “I’m Spartacus” moment from Hollywood Spartacus, not historical Spartacus. Perhaps now others will stand with her. It is too early to tell if that analysis proves to be correct. It does highlight how we seek historical symbols to understand events in the present.

ROPE-A-DOPE

The term “rope-a-dope” originated due to a boxing strategy employed by Muhammad Ali in his Rumble in the Jungle fight in Kinshasa, Zaire, on October 29, 1974, against George Foreman, the heavyweight champion. In this boxing match, the more massive Foreman was the “Goliath” against the less powerful-looking challenger Ali better known for his dancing and poetry skills than sheer raw TKO power. In presidential terms, it looked like the earlier showdown between the experienced Nikita Khrushchev and the young inexperienced John Fitzgerald Kennedy or the later Mikhail Gorbachev versus the enfeebled Ronald Reagan.

The technique Ali employed has had more legs than David’s slingshot victory. It demands a practitioner to withstand a pounding by the more powerful combatant until at last, the hulking puncher tires himself and is himself beaten. The final result may seem shocking. How could the obviously-more-powerful figure collapses in exhaustion?

The parallel with the current war in the Ukraine is limited. Yes, Russia is the larger one. Yes, it is pounding the Ukraine while the latter is unable to attack Russia itself. The world watches in awe and horror as Russia pounds away at the smaller country. The difference is that Foreman played by the rules while Putin does not. Foreman did not hit below the belt; Putin targets civilians. He targets the very exemplars of a civilized world. He targets electricity, water, food, hospitals, and everything that enables people to function as a 21st-century country. So heroic as the Ukraine is in taking the pounding, there are legitimate concerns about how long Ukraine can withstand such a pounding. Muhammad Ali would not have last long if Foreman cheats the way Putin does now.

I have no comforting words with which to conclude this post. The story is still unfolding. We don’t know what the outcome will be. We really don’t know what is going on in Putin’s mind beyond that is evil and uncaring. We don’t know what the Russian people really want or can do about it. We don’t know how the soldiers on the field of battle feel about the “training maneuvers” actually be invaders against their Slavic brothers and sisters. At some point we will and my preference is that the David and Goliath relationship prevails.

Sometimes David wins (Sports Illustrated)

 

The State of the Putin Union: The Dr. Strangelove Scenario

Suppose Zelensky ends up being Leonidas and not David? (David and Goliath.by Nicolas Régnier)

When you are in a hole, stop digging. This well-known adage applies at the global level as well as in one’s personal life. But there is another point of view. If I had a dollar for every time a commentator these passed two days said that Putin was going to double down, I could retire as a rich Russian oligarch. The consensus appears to be that there is no off ramp, meaning diplomatic solution, therefore the only viable option in the mind of Putin is to double down.

WERE THERE ANY ADULTS IN THE ROOM?

Just because something is farfetched doesn’t mean it is not real in the mind of the believer. Think of the stolen election as the most glaring example in America of a significant number of people believing in something which had not occurred. And then they act on the basis of that belief with voter suppression laws and rigging the upcoming elections.

Putin’s artificial reality as expressed in recent speeches is real to him. There is no constructive purpose in attempting to have a rational discussion with him over his view of the Ukraine and its relationship to Russia. Seriously, what could one say that would have any impact on him except to have you thrown in jail and/or executed?

The situation is different than it was in America. When the incumbent President lost the election either all the adults in room had left or would be leaving. Instead he was getting advice from people like Michael Flynn, Sidney Powell, and Pillowhead. So much for sane advice.

Given how long it took to plan and prepare for the invasion, one might think that someone in the Russian military might have raised some concerns. Maybe some did. Maybe they thought the preparations were part of a bluff to intimidate the Ukraine into surrendering. Whatever the exact circumstances, at the time of the actual invasion, one presumes everyone in the inner military circle was on board.

SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO DESTROY A COUNTRY TO SAVE IT

Now that the invasion has not worked out exactly as expected, what do you do? We just experienced an attempt by the loser President to steal the election he had lost. We have seen that supporting the Big Lie has become a litmus test for endorsement by the Loser in the upcoming election. We have seen people who opposed the Big Lie be intimidated into retirement. We have seen those who did not get the message be censured, primaried, and expelled. The leader himself has been mean, nasty, and vengeful as one would expect.

There is even less chance that Putin would admit error, failure, and defeat then there is of his American asset doing the same. Putin is in a hole and he will keep digging. He will be immune to any criticism should it be offered internally. Certainly he will be immune to any criticism offered externally such as by the President of the United States in a State of the Union for all the world to hear. Instead he will double down.

The likelihood is that Putin will unleash a scorched-earth attack on the Ukrainians. He is familiar with this technique. It is standard operating procedure for him. He has no interest in precision bombs that supposedly target clearly identified enemy assets and people. He has no remorse for civilians who are caught up in the crossfire as collateral damage. Indeed, for Putin, such people are not even collateral damage … they are the targets.

Putin will make the Ukraine pay for its temerity in not welcoming their brother Russian saviors who are there to liberate them. He will have no mercy. He will seek complete unconditional surrender from those who defied him. He will cut off the leadership head of those who defied him and who became global heroes instead. He has no plans on what to do after he finishes with the barrage he is about to unleash because there won’t be much left. He will destroy the country in order to save it.

THE HOWARD BAKER MOMENT

What will the reaction be to Putin’s wreaking hell on the Ukraine?

Will someone(s) in the military say enough is enough? Will they say they did not sign up to destroy the Ukraine? Will they risk saying it is time for Putin to go?

Will an oligarch(s) say enough is enough? Will the people who have the most contact with the Western world including where their assets are located, object to the new Iron Curtain being erected around him? This time the Iron Curtain is not being built by the Soviet Union but by the West to contain and isolate Russia. At some point, will the oligarchs risk saying it is time for Putin to go?

Will the forces on the ground in the Ukraine say enough is enough? Will they continue to pulverize the very people they are supposed to be saving? How many of them are connected by marriage to Ukrainians? At some point will the soldiers themselves decide enough it enough and refuse to fight as some already have?

Will the Russian people themselves say enough is enough? Their Russian money is worthless, the people are trapped in Russia, their prospects are dimmed, and they are a pariah people. For how long will they be willing to accept that status?

The sanctions are a long-term punishment. The economic restraints will not work overnight. Arms shipments help but they will not end the invasion. In the meantime, Putin’s assault will continue. Will America and the NATO countries be able to stand on the sidelines if Putin unleashes his scorched-earth attack on the Ukrainian people? Will arm shipments and sanctions be sufficient if there are daily images of Ukrainian men, women, and children suffering, fleeing, and dying at the hands of Putin?

Right now we are basking in the glorious and heroic resistance of the Ukrainian people who are fighting for their freedom, their country, and democracy. Unfortunately the worst is yet to come. How much longer will be able to ship humanitarian and military aid to Ukraine before the access is bomb into oblivion? How much longer will Putin spare water and electrical facilities now that the Ukrainian people have rejected him? The gloves are off and carnage is the future.

We are on the verge of a Dr. Strangelove scenario. Putin will not cease in his devastation until someone stops him. If the Russian military, Russian oligarchs, and Russia people do not stop him now, he will keep doubling-down. If they do not stop him then the United States and NATO will have the most dangerous decision to make since the Cuban Missile Crisis: do they let Russia brutally destroy Ukraine or do they intervene to stop it? Do they establish a no-fly area or let the bombing continue? Do they partition the Ukraine and establish a safe area and turn the Ukraine into a new East and West Germany? Putin has decided to go all out for savage brutal victory now; how will Joe Biden respond when the going gets worse?