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Tuesday, March 1, 2022

WTF do you think you're doing, Putie?

Ukraine citizens defending their homes.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union and Putin came into power, only a few observers noted that he was leading Russia back into the old Soviet Union way of life.  He managed to push aside hopes for a near-democratic rule and revived old animosities among his European neighbors.  

Russia is not now a communist nation.  It is not under the control of a Marxist-based apparat in the Kremlin.  It is under the control of a regime backed by oligarchs who are ruthless capitalists allied with the Kremlin.  

When Putin launched his war against Ukraine, he demonstrated something to the world.  Karl Marx delineated problems that oppress human society.  The problem with Marx was not what he saw as evil, but the ideas he had for solving humanity's ills.  What  Putin has shown us is that Russia did not need communism to make it an "evil empire," as Ronald Reagan called it.  It is the desire for power within the Russian leadership that makes the nation a menace to democracies. Power lust is what drives that leadership, whether is communistic or capitalist.  To them, democracy is what needs to be suppressed.   The obsession with communism among Americans is a distraction from facing the real problems that beset us.

Western democracies have expressed outrage at Putin's war against Ukraine, but he has admirers and supporters in the U.S.  Donald Trump has  praised him as a "genius" and "very savvy".  Trump has worshippers who take what he says as a papal decree.  The GOP, except for Mitt Romney,  has been silent about Trump's devotion to Putin.  When one GOP candidate for office was asked about the admiration and support for Putin in America, his reply was that he had no interest in Ukraine.

Meanwhile, my 9-year-old grandson came home from school Friday and asked if we were headed for World War III.  Despite our assurances that he was safe here in the middle of a nation that was not involved in Putin's invasion, he said he was scared.  Putin would be glad to hear that.  He would regard it as a success of his bullying.  Trump admires Putin because Putin is a dictator and an asshole, the two characteristics so revered by Trump.  What we are scared of most is that our nation could elect the Putin admirer president again and Putin could invade America in spirit, if not body.

Putin's invasion is not going that well.   It met with such resistance that Putin has threatened to bring out nuclear weapons by putting his nuclear forces on high alert. We just don't want to explain to a nine-year-old--or anybody else--that he has good reason to be a bit scared.  Fiona Hill, the former member of the National Security Council who testified at  Trump's first impeachment, is the author of a biography of Putin.  She says that Putin has threatened nuclear action in the past in his effort to restore  a Russian empire and told Trump as much, but Trump didn't understand the message.

There is much chatter among analysts on television that Putin seems to be losing it mentally.  No one is pointing out that he, a former KGB officer, has consistently pushed his country back into that old Soviet mindset.  The relevant question is if the Russian people, who once over threw that mindset, want it back.  News of Russian protesters against the invasion of Ukraine indicates that many do not.  News reports say that more than 4,000 Russians have been detained for protesting.  If Russia is jailing opponents to the war on Ukraine, is there any restraint that could reign Putin in?

Former Governor of New Jersey and ally of Trump, Chris Christie, says Putin has two options: he can call off his invasion of Ukraine or he can go forward with an occupation of the country.  Any occupation, according to world diplomats who know Ukraine, would be under constant attack from within supported by other nations who will funnel money and weapons to those forces who oppose Putin.

In that regard, the experts indicate that my grandson has a legitimate fear.  Putin could well ignite World War III.  


Eve Fisher said...

The number of people in conservative circles who are blaming US & NATO policies for Putin's invasion of Ukraine is frightening. It's hard not to call that treason; and, since it's also the classic bully / domestic abuser excuse ("You made me do this to you!"), it makes me question their domestic arrangements as well. God help us all.

Jerry K. Sweeney said...

I swan, Republicans asked to comment about Donald J. Trump's slavish comments about Vladimir Putin, needs must be reminded of the old saw: Sometimes silence is not golden --- just yellow.

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Aberdeen, South Dakota, United States