Back in February, Russia’s dictator aka ‘President’ Vladimir Putin apparently thought he could launch an attack on neighboring Ukraine and that the Ukrainians were so weak or so stupid that they would simply lie down and turn over their country to him. Well, he had another think coming! Ukrainian President Zelenskyy stood firm and the Ukrainian people basically gave Putin the middle finger. Despite their losses, they continue to stand firm today and with only help in military hardware resources, not human resources, from other nations, Ukraine has made Putin’s life significantly harder, has turned the tides just a bit. Where Putin expected an easy victory 7 months ago, he is now facing the very real possibility of defeat.
However, if you thought Putin would back off, leave well enough alone and go home to lick his wounds, you’ll need to rethink that. For starters, he has mobilized some 300,000 ‘military reservists’. If you are a male between the ages of 18 and 65 years of age, you are now forbidden to leave the country. Most other people are trying their best to get the hell out, and all flights out of Russia are filled to capacity through at least Friday.
Given that most Russians are not in favour of the war against Ukraine … most have family members living in Ukraine … there have been anti-war protests in a number of cities across Russia. Just in the last few days, over 1,200 such protestors were arrested for no crime more serious than simply disagreeing with Putin’s goal of destroying another nation.
Last night, Putin gave a rare address to his nation … although it seemed to be intended for others, such as leaders of western nations. In his speech, he warned that …
“NATO is conducting reconnaissance across the south of Russia. Washington, London and Brussels are directly pushing Kyiv to move military action to our country. They are openly saying that Russia should be defeated on the battlefield by any means.
Nuclear blackmail has also been used. We are talking not only about the shelling of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant – encouraged by the West – which threatens to cause a nuclear catastrophe but also about statements from senior representatives of NATO countries about the possibility and permissibility of using weapons of mass destruction against Russia: nuclear weapons.
I would like to remind those who make such statements about Russia that our country also possesses various means of destruction, and in some cases, they are more modern than those of NATO countries. When the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we, of course, will use all the means at our disposal to protect Russia and our people.
This is not a bluff. And those who try to blackmail us with nuclear weapons should know that the weathervane can turn and point towards them.”
Foolish talk? Sure. But a cornered rat is a dangerous creature. Vladimir Putin is a calculating madman who would see the world destroyed rather than admit he lost (does that remind you of anyone closer to home?) U.S. President Biden responded while giving a speech to the United Nations General Assembly last night …
“This war is about extinguishing Ukraine’s right to exist as a state, plain and simple, and [Ukrainians’] right to exist as a people. Wherever you are, wherever you live, whatever you believe, that should make your blood run cold.
The United States wants this war to end on just terms, on terms we’re all signed up for – that you cannot seize a nation’s territory by force. The only country standing in the way of that is Russia. But no one threatened Russia and no one other than Russia sought conflict.”
Most of you are old enough to remember the Cold War between the USSR and the U.S. that began in 1947 and did not end until 1991 when the Soviet Union was dissolved. I well remember air raid drills in school when we were made to crouch under our desks and put our hands over our heads … as if that was actually going to protect us in the event of a nuclear bomb! Frankly, I never want to return to those days, but … it damn sure sounds to me as if that is where we are heading. In the words of Roger Cohen, a New York Timesbureau chief who has observed international affairs for more than 30 years …
“Perhaps not since the Cuban missile crisis six decades ago have American and Russian leaders confronted each other so explicitly and sharply on the danger of nuclear war.”
What is the solution? IS there a solution? Wiser heads than mine will have to answer that question. Let us hope there are some who can.