America’s Pandora’s Box – The Ukraine War

In 2001 when the United States was preparing to invade Afghanistan Vladimir Putin reached out to George W. Bush and agreed to provide logistical aid and political clout to convince the Uzbeks to let their country be a staging ground for the invasion of Afghanistan.  Bush made some statement about looking into Putin’s soul.  Whatever that meant there has never been any indication that we ever considered a way to have a positive relationship with Russia.  And after the numerous CIA color revolutions in the former Soviet lands and now with the existential threat that we have handed the Russians in Ukraine I think we must consider we’ve made them permanent implacable enemies.  And that’s not a good thing.  The Russians are not the Iraqis or even the Iranians.  In addition to a nuclear arsenal, they are intelligent, resourceful and highly vindictive.  That’s not a good combination in an enemy.

I’m not thinking ahead to nuclear Armageddon.  Let’s leave that scenario for another day.  But what Russia might do is make us pay a price at home.  What occurs to me is our porous southern border.  And come to think of it, all of Europe’s borders.  The United States and Western Europe have spent the last two decades saying that the world is welcome to traipse into their countries at will.  Well, what if the Russians start sending some of our middle eastern “friends” with some munitions they provide and direct them to those borders.  That would be a very frightening thing.  Or how about men who claim to be Ukrainian refugees?  Could we really know that they weren’t Russians?  I kind of doubt it.

There hasn’t been much in the news lately about Al Qaeda or any of the other crazies that used to be in the news 24/7.  But I believe they’re all mostly still there and now we’ve left them several billions of dollars’ worth of war materiel in Afghanistan and all that’s lacking is a little seed money and plans.  And let’s not forget the Mexican Drug Cartels.  They aren’t our friends.  They have already set up shop in the border states and elsewhere and certainly wouldn’t object to some arms smuggling if the price was right.  Things like infrastructure sabotage and downing airliners seem like no-brainers.  How exactly would we find a needle of determined saboteurs when they’ll be hiding inside of a haystack of millions of illegal aliens that we’ve allowed to flood our country.  I think the answer is we can’t.

We’re providing the Ukrainians with top-of-the-line American arms and we are assuming that the Russians won’t pay us back.  Somehow that seems absurd.  We’ve attempted to starve the Russians out with sanctions and we give the Ukrainians real time location of the Russian senior staff for missile targeting and we think they’ll just sit back and take it.  That seems incredibly naïve.

In fact, I really wouldn’t want to be Joe Biden, Lloyd Austin or General Mark Milley.  They’ve made this very personal for Vladimir Putin and his government.  I don’t think they’re the kind who think of it as impersonal and just “business.”  I remember reading about the prosecution of the Chechen war.  It was a dirty, nasty slog where vendettas and revenge were an integral part of winning.  I would not be surprised to hear that kidnapping and torture became a part of this war.  The Ukrainians have already declared a blacklist of American civilians that they consider targets for assassination.  It would surprise me not at all that the Russians have something similar.

So, the neocons have their war.  They hate the Russians viscerally and now the Russians hate us too.  Brilliant.

Eastern Promises (2007) – A Movie Review

This is a movie about some Russian mobsters in London.

(Spoiler Alert – Skip down to last paragraph to avoid spoilers and read recommendation)

Anna Khitrova is a nurse in the maternity ward of a London hospital.  One day a pregnant underage girl Tatiana shows up hemorrhaging and in cardiac distress.  We’re shown the needle marks on her arms.  She’s rushed into surgery and the baby is saved but the mother dies.  Anna finds a diary written in Russian in Tatiana’s possessions.  She asks her uncle Stepan to translate the diary but after looking through it he tells Anna not to get involved.

But Anna wants the baby to go back to Tatiana’s family instead of into foster care.  She finds a card for a Russian restaurant in the diary and goes there to find out about Tatiana and to get the diary translated to find her family.  She meets the restaurant’s owner Semyon a courtly old man and his son Kirill and their “driver” Nikolai (played by Viggo Mortensen).  In reality Semyon is the head of the local Russian mafia family.  Semyon tells Anna he has never heard of Tatiana but agrees to translate the diary for her.

Meanwhile we see what Kirill and Nikolai are up to.  Kirill has ordered a hit on another Russian mobster and Nikolai helps to “process” the body by removing the teeth and cutting off the fingers in a scene that tells you how cold blooded he can act.  They dump the body in the Thames but all this was done behind Semyon’s back.  Kirill is a loose cannon who acts out of emotion.  The murdered gangster has an organization that will be looking for revenge.

Semyon reads the diary and realizes that it implicates Kirill and himself in statutory rape and much more.  He orders Nikolai to murder Anna’s uncle because of his knowledge of the diary’s contents.  When Semyon’s contacts tell him that a Chechen hit squad is hunting for Kirill but does not know what he looks like he hatches a plan.  He decides to elevate Nikolai to a “made man,” so to speak, in the organization.  He is given the “star” tattoos on his shoulders and knees.  And he is invited by one of the organization to a meeting at a bathhouse.  It’s a set up for a hit.  The two Chechens are told that Nikolai is Kirill and they attack him as he sits in a towel in the sauna.  After a harrowing battle in which he sustains numerous knife wounds he kills both hitmen.

At the hospital where he is recovering from his wounds Nikolai is visited secretly by a high-ranking Scotland Yard officer named Yuri.  We learn that Nikolai is an undercover FSB agent infiltrating the Russian mafia with the approval of the British government.  Nikolai insists that what must be done is arrest Semyon for the statutory rape of Tatiana based on DNA evidence of his paternity of her child.  This will allow Kirill to assume titular control of the family but leave Nikolai in actual control to do his work from the inside.  Anna finds out that Nikolai did not murder her missing uncle but sent him out of town (Scotland) to hide from Semyon.  She now believes that Nikolai is not part of the plot to hide Tatiana’s abuse.

But when the police demand a blood sample from Semyon, he figures out what’s going on and sends Kirill to the hospital where Tatiana’s baby is being held to kidnap her.  He intends to drown her in the river.  But Kirill is guilt ridden over the idea of murdering the child.  By the time he steels himself to commit the murder Nikolai and Anna arrive to talk him out of it and save the child.  Nikolai convinces Kirill that his father must be allowed to go to prison in order for the two of them to gain control of the business.  Kirill begs Nicholai to believe that he had nothing to do with the Chechen hit squad going after Nikolai and they are reconciled to this new partnership they are forming.

In the last scene Semyon is in prison and Tatiana’s baby has been adopted by Anna.  The last image is of Nikolai now dressed as a prosperous business man in the restaurant apparently wondering what has become of his life.

This is a brutal movie.  Scenes involving the degrading treatment of the prostitutes in Semyon’s bordello and the graphic violence is disturbing.  The depraved nature of Kirill and the various other “soldiers” is depressing to watch.  It’s hard to imagine that a government agent would go through all that Nicholai does even if it is the means by which a large criminal organization is destroyed.  The depravity and the suffering he goes through is mind altering.  Who can I recommend this movie to?  Well, not the easily offended.  Sexual content and violence are pretty extreme.  In addition, I’d say this movie is for people who go in for gangster movies.  If you fit into both those categories then this is actually a legitimate film.  The acting is mostly very good.  Viggo Mortensen does a superb job as the fake hitman.  And if action scenes are what you crave then the hit in the sauna is one for the record books.  It’s extremely harrowing and effective.  Hopefully I’ve spelled out what this movie is.

Both Nord Stream Pipelines Have Been Sabotaged

Apparently underwater sabotage has rendered both Russian Nord Stream gas pipelines inoperable for the foreseeable future.  This is going to make the current energy situation in Germany and Central Europe untenable.

Theories on who is responsible range from the Russians to the Ukrainians to the German Greens to the CIA.  You know, I can begin to see how this crisis is beginning to spin out of control.

I am reminded of the Obama era operative who said “Never let a crisis go to waste.”  It looks like someone has decided to push this thing into the crisis range.  Maybe it will force Germany to reactivate their nuclear power plants.  Or maybe it will cause a humanitarian crisis of mammoth proportions that will plunge the people of the European Union into revolt against their elites.  But either way they’re about to find out how windmills and solar panels work in a European winter.

We shall see.

ZMan Has a Very Interesting Essay on the Past and Future of Russia

Over at Taki’s Magazine the ZMan opines on the past, present and future of Russia as a society on the fringes of Europe.  He looks at the historical pattern whereby Russia attempted to adopt western culture and ways to advance into the modern world.  But he shows that this has always been at odds with Russians’ own nature.

Now he brings us to Russia’s recent conference in St. Petersburg where Vladimir Putin announced that Russia is going its own way and no longer needs the West as its tutor or leader.

If you’re interested in the changing world around us this might be a good read.

A Segment of the Left is Growing Afraid of the Ukraine War

It looks like the narrative of “fight to the last Ukrainian” is losing ground to the reality of what war with Russia will actually entail.  The NY Times, the establishment paper of record is beginning to question the wisdom of confronting Russia without limit.

NY Times shifts pro-war narrative

Even among leftists there is a limit to self-delusion.  Thinking about the consequences of baiting a nuclear power unnecessarily gives pause for even such true believers as the denizens of the Gray Lady.  Maybe there is hope that the stupidity of the Biden State Department will be reined in by whoever is actually running the country.  But I wouldn’t depend on our luck holding out until then.  Best to lay in a supply of iodine pills.

 

 

Russians End Gas Supply to Europe

Russia announced a week ago that after the economic sanctions that had been levelled against it would demand to be paid in rubles for all gas deliveries into Europe.  After the Europeans refused it was assumed the Russians would back down.  It appears that was mistaken.

After European nations imported the most gas from Russian sources yesterday in months, scrambling to stock up on supplies as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s deadline to either pay for gas in rubles (or be cut off) came and went, Russian gas giant Gazprom has officially halted all deliveries to Europe via the Yamal-Europe pipeline, a critical artery for European energy supplies.

This is a very interesting situation.  Will Germany back down and pay Russia in rubles?  Will this signal the beginning of negotiations between NATO and Russia?  Will Biden advise Zelensky to negotiate a quick settlement?  We shall see.

A Clear Headed Analysis of Zelensky’s Mistake

Ukrain’e President Zelensky is adored by the West.  Reporters and politicians practically sing his praises and vow to do whatever is needed to win his war for him.  But the realities of how he got into the truly awful predicament he’s in is not a story of statesmanship but one of terrible naivete.  Being a tv comedian may not be the background needed to navigate the space between nuclear superpowers.

I recommend this article to get a better understanding how Mr. Zelensky blundered his way into a disastrous war.

It comes down to a puppet for the American color revolution forces doing what he was told.  He may live to regret it if he is lucky.

Reality is Starting to Seep into the Ukraine Coverage

For the last three weeks we’ve been hearing that the Ukrainians were winning their fight with Russia.  We heard about thousands of dead Russians and how the Ukraine wouldn’t give into the Russian demands on NATO and neutrality.  Well, that’s over.  Zelensky admits that Ukraine will not be joining NATO.  And according to this  Fox reporter returning from Ukraine, the Russian victory isn’t an if but a when.

And it’s a good thing for the Ukrainian people.  The sooner they come to terms with the Russians the sooner the death and destruction ends.  This is reminiscent of the United States and Mexico in the 19th century.   Smaller countries should keep on the good side of larger neighbors if they can.  I’m not saying it’s just.  It’s just reality.

 

 

Moral Superiority

From my youngest political memories, I was always made acutely aware of the differences between the way of life in the United States versus the rest of the world.  And not just comparing it to the Soviet Union or China or the banana republics in Latin America or the tribal societies of Africa and the Middle East or even the democracies in Europe.  Even Western Europe, even England lacked our freedom of speech, our right to bear arms.  We were the freest people on Earth.  We could say whatever the hell we wanted and the if the President himself didn’t like what we said, well he could go pound sand.

And the system we had held our leaders accountable.  Truman’s phrase, “The buck stops here,” signified that the President was held responsible for the actions of his administration and he was answerable to the American people.  Our leaders knew that the American people were proud of being the freest people on the face of the Earth and any leader who trampled on that freedom would be handed his walking papers at the next election.

And it went without saying that the Russian leaders; Brezhnev, Khrushchev and of course Stalin were lying, murderous thugs that Americans wouldn’t tolerate living under for a minute.  The idea that there could be a moral equivalence between these criminals and even your least favorite American president was absurd.  Our leaders were public servants and honorable men, even the ones from the opposing party.  They obeyed the law and respected the Constitution.

But what about today?  What if I compared Joe Biden with Vladimir Putin?  Would it still be night and day?  Let’s see.

Vladimir Putin is a former KGB colonel and a ruthless despot who would destroy anyone who tried to cross him.  I also think he is a Russian patriot who loves his country and people.  He also seems to be culturally, a traditionalist.  I would be afraid to live in his modern-day Russia.  The country lacks a fair justice system and governmental corruption is systemic.  But one thing that Russia lacks is a woke revolution.  No rainbow flags festoon the fronts of government buildings or schools.  No one talks about their pronouns.  You won’t find any men wearing dresses.  No doctors are sexually mutilating children.  So, in that one dimension, Putin’s Russia is morally superior to Biden’s America.

Now let’s look at Joe Biden.  He is a pathological liar.  He doesn’t just lie when he needs to.  He lies in the same way as everyone else breathes, that is, continuously.  He’s a chronic influence peddler whose “take” has grown to the point where it has reached the billion-dollar range.  And as far as honoring the rights of Americans, Biden’s Justice Department currently has scores of Americans illegally rotting in prison cells for the misdemeanor of trespassing in the Capitol Building on January 6th 2021.  Personally, he’s been accused of sexual assault on the streets of Washington D.C. during daylight hours.  He has a creepy habit of sidling up behind women and girls and holding them by the shoulders while sniffing their hair.  His family is made up of broken people with crack cocaine smoking bagman Hunter as the poster child for parental failure.  And as the COVID crisis proved Biden is more than willing to use an excuse to assume dictatorial control over the lives of Americans.

And even ignoring the men in charge, let’s look at the governments in Russia and the United States.  Russia is a corrupt oligarchic kleptocracy where those in charge use their positions to enrich themselves at the expense of the general population.  It’s obviously true.  And at this point how does that differ from the American oligarchs who run the banks and the financial mega-corporations that dictate the policies of the Federal Reserve so that they always make money even while we’re bankrupted by the swings of the economy?  And finally, unlike Russia, our elite has conjured up the woke revolution that brainwashes our children into hating their ancestors, their families and even their own bodies.  These monsters are reinforcing a cult that has as its endgame the end of normal human life on the planet in favor of sexually depraved, sterile zombies that want no progeny and no future beyond playing videogames and tweeting into empty space.

Putin is no saint.  He’s a megalomaniacal despot.  But as it turns out he is an improvement over what has happened to our country.  Anyone who claims that somehow the West has moral superiority over Russia or China or Iran will have a hard time convincing me.  And we have a long road to get back to where we were when we did.

The Outcome of the Ukraine War

Predicting the future in a war is a fool’s errand.  So many things can happen to change the situation on the ground that even a few days of almost random occurrences can undermine the basis for a prediction.  But general principles can be used to guess what is likely to happen if the difference in strength between the two sides is lopsided enough.  So let me be foolish.

My first assumption is that Biden won’t risk military intervention.  He won’t declare a no-fly zone and he won’t shelter an openly operating insurgent force in a NATO country.  I think Biden is truly afraid of Putin.  Even the embargo against Russian oil and gas is probably more risk than he’s comfortable with.  Bottom line, I don’t think he’ll step into the war because he believes that Putin would as a last resort use nuclear weapons if the West interferes on the Ukraine battlefield.

The Russians have fought several wars in the last thirty years.  Some larger, some smaller.  The most difficult one was the Chechen insurgency.   Initially when the Russians attempted to occupy Chechnya the Chechens fought a brutal guerilla war that the Russians basically lost.  But in the second phase of the war the Russians figured out how to deal with guerilla fighters.  They surrounded them and then reduced the cities to rubble without engaging.  This limited the Russian casualties but increased Chechen civilian casualties.  I think that’s what they intend to do with the Ukrainian militias.  They’ll empty the cities of anyone who wants to get out and then starve the fighters out or blast them out.  This will tear the Ukraine to pieces and make it more likely that the Ukraine government will surrender.  But it’s not just the government that counts. Even if the Ukraine government surrenders guerilla fighters could extend the war indefinitely.

I guess the biggest unknown is just how committed the militia fighters are.  The Chechens were fearless and full of hate.  We’re about to find out what these Ukrainian militiamen are all about.  If they’re like the Chechens this thing won’t be over for years.  And that may exhaust the Russians ability to sustain the war while the West maintains sanctions and provides material aid.  If that happens Putin may decide to do something drastic and that could be disastrous for everyone including us.

But if the militias aren’t prepared to fight for every square inch of ground, then this thing will be over in a matter of months.  The Russians will be methodical and brutal.  They’ll reduce the cities to rubble and reclaim the country piece by piece until the militias have to surrender.  Putin has decided what he wants done and he will go about it in a determined fashion.  When the Ukrainian government surrenders, Putin will tie them up in a peace treaty to keep the West at arm’s length.

So that’s my read.  The only variable that matters at all is the fire in the rebels.  If they’re willing to fight to the death, they can hold up the war long enough to exhaust the Russians’ patience and resources.  If not, then the Russians will win.  It’s as simple as that.