Sunday, February 11, 2024

Russia versus Ukraine: Where are we and what are we up to?

I've been following the Russia vs. Ukraine war on and off.  I lost a sawbuck when I bet that Russia would win a decisive victory in less than a year.  So, easy come, easy go.  Then I tripped over an empty bottle of gin and stumbled onto a piece by the irascible bleeding hearts at Human Rights Watch, and it got me to thinking - always a dangerous condition for me and anyone in the blast radius.

Why is Russia attacking Ukraine anyway?

Keep reading, including the bleeding heart snowflakes who would usually rather shove a handful of number two where the sun don't shine rather than read a paragraph of my insensitive ramblings.

Nosing around the Internet a little, I found a missive on Reddit that does a fairly good job of explaining just why Russia invaded.  My thanks to Rigel_B8la; missive used without permission.

The Real Reason Russia Invaded Ukraine

Ask a journalist, and they'll tell you about the 2014 Maidan Revolution and subsequent nationalist revolts in Donbas.

Ask a political scientist, and they'll tell you about the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union and Moscow's loss of the Russian Empire.

Ask a historian, and they'll tell you, "Well, you have to go back 1000 years to the Kievan Rus..."

I tend to side with the historians here. Maybe not back to the Kievan Rus, but to several long term Russian objectives.

Objective 1: Protect the Motherland. Russia has virtually no natural borders. With the exception of some water and mountains to the south, there are no geographical barriers to invasion. They've been invaded by Genghis Khan's armies from the east (ruled by Genghis' successor states for centuries), invaded from the west by Swedes (~1700), French (~1800), a "Concert of Europe" (1853), and Germans (1940). Most of those invasions have been devastating to the Russian people and existential crises for the Russian state. When Ukraine, part of the Russian cultural sphere for centuries, talks of joining NATO, Moscow gets nervous.

Objective 2: Secure warm water ports for defense and trade. Russia is virtually landlocked for half the year. It's primary ports of Petersburg and Vladivostok¹ freeze with sea ice during the winter. Land infrastructure, like the Trans Siberian Railway and Nord Stream pipeline are long and can be difficult to maintain, but they become some of the only trade routes². It's one reason the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in 1979 and have made on-again off-again deals with Iran. Black Sea ports, critical to Soviet trade, were handed to Ukraine in 1991. Moscow wants them back.

Objective 3: Unify "Russian" lands. Nationalism is a hell of a drug. Russians, especially elites from Moscow and Petersburg, keenly felt the loss of empire and the national pride it engendered. Putin was among those Petersburg elites that took the fall of the Soviet Union as a humiliation engineered by "the West." Putin was relatively content while there were subservient governments in areas once ruled the the Kievan Rus, the Russian cultural heartland. But losing a lapdog in Kyiv in 2014, and Kyiv's shift toward the EU and NATO, was too much to take, especially considering Objectives 1&2.

¹ Not necessarily true since 1984 ² I know there are other shorter rail and highway links to Europe, but they're still long and difficult to maintain in the winter. Russia desperately needs a warm water port.

And there we have it.  While it's probably true that Putin is still smarting from the economic disaster that used to be the USSR, the very real threat of Ukraine joining NATO would have him taking Xanax and chasing it with Soviet Vodka every afternoon.  Pounding the snot out of the Ukraine is one thing.  Starting a fight with NATO (which actually means the United States, the UK, Canada, and Germany), even if the USA and Canada have armies that are commanded by a demented senior citizen and a doorknob sucking faggot, is something else.  And there's also Germany.  Russia has already had one bad experience with Germany; they don't want another.

One mitigating fact about the Russian economy is that it's being run by idiots.  Egotistical, short sighted idiots.  If Putin implemented capitalism the country would think he'd gone bat-shit crazy and he'd suffer a fatal slip and fall accident during his morning shower.  But if he survived, the Russian economy would eventually stabilize (five to ten years, I'm thinking) and Russia could make a deal with Ukraine for use of a few seaports.

Not that any of that would actually happen, but if it did countries in that region could trade one migraine (military) for an Excedrin headache - economic problems.

Meantime, I suggest the US of A make a deal with Russia.  We'll pay them to house our lawbreakers in a Russian hoosegow.  We should probably keep anyone we've got in Guantanamo for national security reasons, and the over the top criminally insane doing life at a super-max could stay... or not.  The rest are headed overseas.  I'm betting the rate for violent crime drops.

Although it's obvious, I'd like to point out that Russia isn't having any problems with wetbacks making a dash across their borders.  There's a reason for that.

I think it's time for lunch.  Thanks for reading.


Glen Filthie said...

Well Jack we all would have lost money on that one. It served us right, too…Putler speaks, and no one listens. When I saw that the pundits and experts had lost money too…I decided to shut my mouth, open my ears, and find real experts, analysts, and listen to the Russian people themselves. The guys I found worth listening to were quickly branded as traitors, defeatists and kooks. But they predicted the course events with remarkable precision.

What stuck out to me is the complete state of deafness of the American people. (And it’s not just you guys, the entire west is ignoring the facts and realities in Eastern Europe). I had the time so I listened to Putler’s speeches. Then our helpful media slobs would “summarize” what he said in English afterward…and lie through their teeth about what was said. Then I’d hear morons like General Aesop repeat them and add a few whoppers of their own. Nobody listened to Putin for TWO YEARS. Now, with over a million dead, half the population gone, the country in ruins…Tucker Carlson finally sat down with Putin and listened to him. But still, hardly anyone else did. For his part, Putin said again what he’s been saying for at least 5 years. And still… no one listens.

The world is changing, Jack. We are no longer the good guys. We’ve been absolute villains for decades now. We are so greedy and corrupt that countries that ordinarily would have flocked to do business with us and ally with us…Welp, they’re setting up alternative trade agreements now and dealing us out. Russia is leading the way and I will disagree with you: the Ruble is the third strongest currency in the world, they’ve tied it to gold, and they’ve kicked the international jewry out of their financials. The BRICS are beating a path to their door. The Russian standard of living is on par with ours and may even surpass us soon. Americans are in no position to talk about idiots running economies. In Canada ours are even worse.

The ‘Kraine has been about laundering money, and either turning Russia into a vassal state to Globohomo or destroying it. They failed, and rightfully so. None of us had any place in that fight, had our leaders been any good we’d have cut a deal with the Russians 5 years ago. That’s what we used to do, negotiate, cut deals, move forward. But now…?

There is a reckoning coming. I can feel it.

CWMartin said...

Point one: Nothing different about that story in those 1,000 years, so yep. Point two: I've wondered about our "Cuba does not equal Turkey" positions for a long time. Point three: Don't exactly agree with GF's "absolute villains for decades" part, but there are a LOT of places our "perspective" has been one sided at best. Point four: I'm still not going to support Russia, the instigator of the first war of the end of days, as Revelation and Ezekiel tell it.

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

I feel the world has too many I do what benefits me and screw everyone else people this is the thought that popped into my head and so I share it

Mad Jack said...

Jo-Anne: I think you succinctly nailed it. Greed to the point of avarice eventually ruins everything.

CW: Cuba and Turkey. I've wondered the same thing. Actually, I learned about it right after the Cuban missile crises back in JFK days.

Glen: While I don't think that we are absolute villains, the U.S. has been involved in areas that we should have stayed out of. Korea was mishandled, and we should have never gotten involved in Vietnam. Now it's Russia, and I'm wondering if CW and Revelations aren't on to something.