Putin on the Edge of Starting a War

First off, here are a couple of articles I found extremely helpful to sort out the historical and political relationship of Ukraine and Russia. See How the West Gets Ukraine Wrong — and Helps Putin As a Result by Rory Finnin at Politico and The increasingly complicated Russia-Ukraine crisis, explained by Jen Kirby and Jonathan Guyer at Vox. And see also Six ways Russia views Ukraine — and why each should worry the West by Robyn Dixon at WaPo. I hope especially that those of you with more knowledge of that part of the world will take a look and share your opinions.

Now we’re in the “was this the invasion?” phase of the crisis. What’s happened so far is either the beginning of the invasion or a feint meant to achieve concessions. But if the latter, it’s not working.

I was a bit surprised to learn that Germany has, apparently, killed the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project. “The $11 billion pipeline is designed to double the amount of gas flowing from Russia to Germany and it was completed late last year. But German regulators had yet to give the green light to the pipeline to officially allow it to operate.” Putin probably was not expecting that. President Biden appears to have done a good job pulling the NATO powers together.

My sense of things is that this is all about Putin’s inner demons and his need for power.

Someone on teevee last night said that Russia is essentially a big gas station. Its GDP is much smaller than California’s. It’s not investing in innovation. Its economy is seriously not diverse. What it has is oil and natural gas, and energy profits are enjoyed mostly by the oligarchic class. Two-thirds of its exports are either petroleum or its distillates, it says here. The compulsion to annex a former Soviet member is both a means to distract citizens from their economic deprivations and to put the world on notice that Russia is still a world power. This could backfire on Putin eventually, but not before he has caused a lot of suffering.

Your thoughts?

8 thoughts on “Putin on the Edge of Starting a War

    • I suspect that the wingnut coaching team got together and needed a dog with a tail to wag. The GOP does not want to be in the political wilderness for another generation (after tricky Dick) if Donnie two-scoops gets frog marched up the river.

  1. I had heard that too about Russia being a "gas station."  Thing is though, its a gas station with nuclear weapons, which means this won't be the usual "war" the US will be able to glory its way through.

  2. As an American-born citizen, who's half-Ukrainian (from my Father) and half-Russian (from my Mother), I can assure all of you that I'm not feeling even a little bit conflicted!  

    Putin and Russia are wrong.  And Ukraine is in the right!  See?  Easy!

    Putin turns 70 later this year.

    His mortality is staring him in his face.  He's arguably the richest person in the world.  (If you don't think so, YOU try to tell him that Russia's money is not his money!  Just make sure you've made out your will before you open your mouth).

    But being that rich?  That's not enough.  Not for a man with the destiny Putin thinks he has.

    He wants to bring back that ol' gang of Soviet-block countries!

    If he does, indeed, throw more troops unto Ukraine, then Putin is about to create a nightmare for himself, and for the people of Ukraine and Russia.  In the time between 1991 and 2014, the people in Ukraine have had an epiphany:  They want to be known as  being Ukrainian's, and not from the Russian province of Ukraine.  And they want to "go West" and join with the rest of Europe.  Putin wants Ukraine kneeling to the North East, and Moscow.  

    He will create Ukrainian guerilla forces who will make Ukraine's occupation one of the costliest in blood and treasure in history.  Ukraine has wanted to get away from Russia for centuries.  CENTURIES!

    For the life of me, I can't figure out why Putin is doing this now, instead of when he had his tangerine-colored bitch, tRUMP, as POTUS!  Maybe he felt that that was too easy.  I sincerely believe that Putin had (still has?) some serious shit on rRUMP.

    tRUMP weakened NATO. 

    Biden's genius is that he rebuilt the damage "Dipshit Donnie" did to NATO.

    And now, we're not unilaterally trying to hold Putin back.  We have pretty much all of Europe with us.

    Again, I'm as confounded as every body else is as to why, and why now?

    Tell us, Vlad!

    • Gulag –

      Interesting. I wrote my comment before I read yours. We overlapped on a few points. Putin is 70 – his ambition and the ticking of the clock may have driven him to rash action and possibly a huge mistake.

      Trump, and his failed reelection may have played a part in the timing, especially if Putin expected Trump would be there, but Putin decided to play the weaker hand anyway. 

      I'm glad you pointed out what I only hear incidentally – Ukrainians have no love for Moscow. It might have something to do with the history. Stalin starved about 4 million Ukrainians to death to impose collectivism. The strong Russian influence in Dunbas is because Russians moved into the territory they conquered.  At one point in 2013 (?) after bouncing Putin's stooge back to Russia, the new government considered making Ukrainian the national language and  banning Russian in school. This was a middle finger to Moscow and a demand to Russians in Dunbas to assimilate or move back to Russia. 

      So it's not unlikely that if Putin takes Ukraine, he may have problems keeping it. If Putin uses techniques of terrorism to punish the resistance, technology guarantees video of repression will get out.  I'm reminded of Cheney and Rumsfeld – so confident that after taking Iraq, they could control it with a light footprint of US soldiers.  Four thousand killed and thirty-two thousand injured shows how stupid that assessment was.  That's what Putin might be signing up for.

      I look forward to your insight and inside observations as the situation develops.

  3. When was this scheme cooked up by Putin?  IMO, the takeover of Crimea was a rush job when Trump's stooge got run out of the Ukraine by a revolution. Putin was afraid he'd lose the military seaport on the Black Sea. So that was a reaction to unplanned events (2014.) 

    From Putin's deranged speech, taking all of Ukraine is part of the "manifest destiny" for lack of a better description of Putin's rant. So it's been in Putin's head, I'd guess since shortly after the wheels came off the USSR It would surely help if NATO fell apart shortly before the invasion. Not just for Ukraine but the annexation of the other countries Putin mentioned in his speech.

    Russia, if you agree with the facts I've seen, helped Trump get elected. Trump, by some strange coincidence, attacked NATO at every turn for four years. If Trump was covering Putin's flank from the Oval Office, he'd be driving a wedge between every European member of NATO. (Yeah, that's opinion, but not Science Fiction.)

    So were the plans drawn up with the expectation that Putin's US puppet could create the political chaos that's an important (essential) element of the plan. But Putin went ahead anyhow? And I have to echo Barbara – Biden has done a good job of sheepdogging the appearance of a united NATO. Germany shutting down Nord Stream II is huge. IMO, Trump would have been threatening to withdraw from NATO if they offered any opposition to Putin's annexation. 

    So why doesn't Putin pull back? (Maybe he will, but I'm not betting on it.) If you realize you're in a busted play, it's bad strategy to throw a Hail Mary which can be intercepted. Pull the ball in and try to get back to the line of scrimmage. But I wonder. Ever notice how short Putin is?  (5 '6") Psychologists have labeled the Napoleonic Complex – overcompensation for being short. Russia usually plays the long game better than the US, but in this case, is Putin set on creating the former Russia (from 1800, NOT communist Russia/USSR.) There's a lot in Putin's speech to support this view. Getting back to the "long game", Putin can't play the long game because he's almost 70. A twenty-year plan won't give Putin the individual credit for building Russia to the stature it got under Peter the Great. (Russia's George Washington.) So if it's for Russia, they can wait. If it's for Vlad, he can't.

    IF Putin thought Trump would return in 2024, I think Putin would wait. I find that encouraging. My wife read a Russian article written around an unnamed source – credibility uncertain. But reportedly, Putin ran the idea about the invasion by China, not for permission but as a heads-up courtesy. And China didn't like the plan.  If true, it may be an indication that Putin is dealing with resistance we don't hear about.

    The break point may be a country no one has mentioned – Saudi Arabia. If  they can be persuaded to hike up production, Putin loses all leverage – his threat is to cut off oil to Europe or jack up the price. Both he can't do if SA decides to shut the threat down. 


  4. Annex a little here, grab another chunk there.  It's that black hand of Communism at it again.  It is time to shake the dust off that damn domino theory and find some Valium for Miss Lindsey who has the vapors really bad.  

    It all made more sense when I read that the Ukraine has the fifth largest amount of lithium on the earth.  Who cares about lithium?  Well, if it gets into the water supply you have a much lower rate of manic-depressive or bipolar type mental disorders in the population, but that is probably not it.  The answer is probably staring you in the face right now.  That device you are reading this on has (in all probability) a lithium-ion battery and if you have a car like mine, it has a lot of them put together to make a big one.  Now you see what the fight is all about.  Control of the lithium supply.  It's no wonder Lindsey has the vapors.  Finally, those long sharp fingernails honed by Southern damsels like Lindsey have a purpose. You need a cause.  You need something to fight over.  Might be enough there to make an oligarch or two.  You can never have enough oligarchs you know.  

    You know Putin's line about Russia's manifest destiny and historical claim to Ukraine is a fabrication.  As Trump has shown us, the first step to any attempted theft is a good con.  

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