The Useless UN

The United Nations was founded at the end of World War II. One of its chief goals to prevent, or at least shorten wars. Now we have an ongoing war of Russian aggression toward to Ukraine that some analysts say could last for years.

As it looks now, it appears that the Russians will win because they are willing to fight this thing to the bitter end. Re-enforcing their position is the fact that the Russians can be attacked on their own soil. They can build weapons and use Russia as a staging area with impunity. In the mean time they can use nuclear weapons to blackmail the west into taking no serious actions against them. Furthermore, Russian energy sales are making their currency one of stronger currencies in the world. Putin is holding almost all of the cards.

The UN was supposed to do something about this, but it can’t. Why? The UN Charter was built with a veto power in the Security Council for China and Russia. Since Russia is attacking the Ukraine and China supports them, the UN can do nothing.

So what good is the UN? Would any of you “progressives” like to tackle that question? You folks would like to see a world government rule everything someday, don’t you? So how would you fix the UN so that that could be a viable reality.

Sorry, what?

How do you define strong in this context?

image

You can’t just make things up.

Think he’s talking about this:

Between this and their internet being more or less the same… not sure the Russians are really feeling the hurt here.

Btw your (2nd) chart is the inverse of what I posted, USD to Rubles. It’s showing, overtime, 1 dollar has been buying steadily less Rubles.

The events in Ukraine have been predictable for thirty years, and were predicted by many smart people.

Push NATO up to the Russian border … and especially bring Ukraine in to NATO … and the Russians will flip out. Anyone who knew anything about Russia knew that.

Karl Marx said that you mustn’t play at insurrection. And you cannot play at war.

So, if we were going to provoke the Bear, we should have prepared for all-out war.

First conventional war: which would have meant putting a couple of million soliders into Europe, with all the other logistic work that would require. That might have required reinstating the draft in the US, and raising taxes to pay for a big expansion of the military.

Then we should have tried to develop assets in the Muslim republics of the Russian Federation – we were happy to fund and arm Islamic fanatics in Afghanistan against the Russians, and supported them in Syria against the Russians, so we’ve had practice in doing this. Stingers for the warriors of Allah!

And then, since the Russians might go nuclear – we would have had to prepare for nuclear war. Put our forces on full high alert, and be prepared to do a massive First Strike if there was any indication that they were going to launch. Since we would probably take some nuclear hits, maybe quite a few, we should have had a massive Civil Defense program, so that some fraction of our population would have a chance of surviving.

We didn’t do that. Maybe Hilary would have done it.

Instead, our irresponsible, light-minded fools in Washington – bi-partisan – are going to let the Ukrainians be eaten up. They’ll be lucky to escape with a piece of their country left.

The Europeans are going to draw lessons from our insane policy. We may see the end of NATO. If the Russians are smart, they’ll be offering the Europeans half-price oil and gas.

What a bunch of brainless clowns we have running our foreign policy!

Make sure you have some potassium iodide in the medicine cabinet.

And as for the UN, and the unwieldly Security Council Veto.

All the UN can do is to coordinate, and provide a cover for, actions that the big powers agree on.
It’s not and cannot be a world government.

If there was one overwhelmingly-supreme world power – and if the lesser powers did not have nuclear weapons, and were also not hostile to the biggest power but were in fact dependent on it for things they valued – then something like the UN could function as a de facto world government. The big power would decide, the others would go along, but the ‘UN’ would provide cover for everyone … so the little powers wouldn’t feel they were just taking orders.

That’s more or less how NATO has functioned. The Europeans were not too unhappy with it, because Uncle Sam paid most of the bills.

Now that the US has pushed Ukraine into sticking an arm and a leg into the mouth of the Bear, the other NATO members are probably going to be re-thinking their membership of NATO.

If the Russians are smart, they’ll do everything they can to encourage this … stop looking so scary, pour money into their new former-Ukraine territories the way they did to Chechnya. Hopefully they won’t be smart.

Putin is either dumb or paranoid if he thinks the wusses in Europe are going to initiate an unprovoked invasion of Russia in this day and age. Hitler and Napoleon are long dead, and there are no aggressive leaders like them who appear to be able to seize power in France, England or any other of Putin’s perceived enemies.

Putin’s game is imperialism, plain and simple. He believes that the breakup of the Soviet Empire was one of saddest moments in history. He wants to be the new Joe Stalin who rebuilds it.

Xi in China has similar aims. These guys are throwbacks to the evil dictators who started World War II. We thought that we had turned the page on that type of leadership and behavior, but we were wrong. It’s back, but the sad difference is that there are no Churchills or FDRs on the horizon to oppose them. In addition, the far left, which controls the Democrat Party, has decided to weaken “the evil United States of America” which will make to triumph of totalitarianism that much easier.

Personally, I think this was about energy in the Donbas and Crimea regions that were recently discovered (2012). It’s interesting that Ukraine was working with Chevron, Shell and Exxon to exploit those resources in those areas and Russia Annexed Crimea and recognized the Donbas as an independent area.

Coincidence? I think not.

Russia is a gas company with an army and I think this has a lot less to do with NATO and a lot more to do with taking out the competition.

The evidence to lend credence to this opinion will come when Finland is a NATO nation and Russia does not invade it.

Yes, the economic explanation for historical events is a seductive one, and often not irrelevant.

I think you’re mistaken here, but of course neither of our theories is testable. The Russians may not invade Finland, even though by joining NATO it will have done a ‘super-Ukraine’ – and this may be because it has no natural resources to grab, or because the Russians fear a nuclear, or leading-to-nuclear response. Or because they find another way to neutralize it. (I think that we may see the effective disintegration of NATO when the Europeans realize what the crazy Yankees have got them into, but who knows?
[ https://chroniclesmagazine.org/web/cracks-in-the-narrative-on-ukraine/ ] )
[ https://chroniclesmagazine.org/web/is-there-a-western-plan-b-in-ukraine/ ] )

Interestingly, during the Vietnam War, there was a popular anti-war song with lines like,
“We’re fighting for rubber, we’re fighting for oil,
We’re fighting for [etc etc ] … and freedom too!”

But that analysis was wrong. In the long term, yes, states care about their material interests. But the US went to war in Vietnam because the nationalists were led by Communists. Had Vietnam had no raw materials at all, we would still have gone to war there.

And the same for Russia in Ukraine. They’re doing the same thing WE would do, should the government of Mexico join a Chinese military/economic alliance, and invite the Chinese to train and arm their soldiers, and to station missiles in Mexico.

Here are some people who agree with me:

A quote from that article: 'The United States, for its part, expanded its NATO alliance but initially sidestepped Ukraine. It recognized that Russia, sharing deep ties and a 1,426-mile land border with Ukraine, might oppose such a move by force. “Ukrainian entry into NATO is the brightest of all redlines for the Russian elite (not just Putin),” William J. Burns, then U.S. ambassador to Russia and current CIA director, cabled from Moscow in 2008. “I have yet to find anyone who views Ukraine in NATO as anything other than a direct challenge to Russian interests.” ’

Our leaders knew that when they promised the naive Gorbachev that the US would not expand NATO “one inch” eastwards.

But the Russians were weak, we were strong, the indispensable nation, the neo-cons were ascendant … we were going to make the world safe for democracy.

Now many liberals have jumped on the opportunity to take on the unaccustomed role of super-patriots, and are able to chide (some) Republicans for not being eager to go to war. (Most of the Republican leadership are reliable puppets of the military-industrial complex and will of course endorse any war it wants.)

Another sign of our decline. The world has changed and is changing.

A year from now, even earlier, in Berlin and Paris, maybe London, when the Russians have digested the part of Ukraine they want, and the Americans have lost interest in the whole thing, they’re going to be wondering if they should be our junior partners any more.

I understand that Mr Biden is going to have some transgendered and openly homosexual Marines become the guards at our embassies in Europe – that’ll probably help them make their decision.

Too much of Russia’s wealth comes from a single resource. No oil, no Russia, or at the very least, must reinvent itself. That’s not the vision that Putin has for Russia.

Russia’s leaders use the west as a lever against it’s own people. If we’ve pushed Putin into a corner, it’s because he’s lied to his own people about the dangers they face from the west invading.

Okay, let me ask you. If NATO is such a benign organization, and should obviously be seen that way by the Russian people, why did we promise Mr Gorbachev that it would not expand “one inch” to the East?

According to you, fear of NATO expansion is something Putin has whipped up, something he doesn’t believe, something no Russian would worry about except for his propaganda.

So … why didn’t we say to Mr Gorbachev, “Of course, we’ll quickly bring all the Eastern European countries including Ukraine, into NATO.” Why did we promise we would not?

Also: you say “Too much of Russia’s wealth comes from a single resource. No oil, no Russia, or at the very least, must reinvent itself”

So Putin goes to war, risks the strangulation of his economy, in order to get a piece of Ukraine? Because he needs the resources there? Not the coal presumably, which, from what I have read, is their main natural resource. So what is he after?

And, I’m not so sure Russia is just a giant Saudi Arabia. Here’s what Wiki says:

=====================================================================
The mineral-packed Ural Mountains and the vast fossil fuel (oil, gas, coal), and timber reserves of Siberia and the Russian Far East make Russia rich in natural resources, which dominate Russian exports. Oil and gas exports, specifically, continue to be the main source of hard currency.

Russia has been widely described as an energy superpower; as it has the world’s largest natural gas reserves,[31] the second-largest coal reserves, the eighth-largest oil reserves, and the largest oil shale reserves in Europe. It is the world’s leading natural gas exporter, the second-largest natural gas producer, and the second-largest oil exporter, and producer. Fossil fuels cause most of the greenhouse gas emissions by Russia.

The country is the world’s fourth-largest electricity producer, and the ninth-largest renewable energy producer in 2019. Russia was also the world’s first country to develop civilian nuclear power, and to construct the world’s first nuclear power plant. In 2019, It was the world’s fourth-largest nuclear energy producer.

Russia is also a leading producer and exporter of minerals and gold. Russia is the largest diamond-producing nation in the world, estimated to produce over 33 million carats in 2013, or 25% of global output valued at over $3.4 billion, with state-owned ALROSA accounting for approximately 95% of all Russian production.

In 2019, the country was the 3rd world producer of gold; 2nd worldwide producer of platinum; 4th worldwide producer of silver; 9th largest world producer of copper; 3rd largest world producer of nickel; 6th largest world producer of lead; 9th largest world producer of bauxite; 10th largest world producer of zinc; 2nd worldwide producer of vanadium; 2nd largest world producer of cobalt; 5th largest world producer of iron ore; 7th largest world producer of boron; 9th largest world producer of molybdenum; 13th largest world producer of tin; 3rd largest world producer of sulfur; 4th largest world producer of phosphate; 8th largest world producer of gypsum; in addition to being the world’s 10th largest producer of salt. It was the world’s 6th largest producer of uranium in 2018.

Russia’s agriculture sector contributes about 5% of the country’s total GDP, although the sector employs about one-eighth of the total labour force. It has the world’s third-largest cultivated area, at 1,265,267 square kilometres (488,522 sq mi). However, due to the harshness of its environment, about 13.1% of its land is agricultural, and only 7.4% of its land is arable. The main product of Russian farming has always been grain, which occupies considerably more than half of the cropland. Russia is the world’s largest exporter of wheat, and is the largest producer of barley, buckwheat, oats, and rye, and the second-largest producer of sunflower seed.

Various analysts of climate change adaptation foresee large opportunities for Russian agriculture during the rest of the 21st century as arability increases in Siberia, which would lead to both internal and external migration to the region.

More than one-third of the sown area is devoted to fodder crops, and the remaining farmland is devoted to industrial crops, vegetables, and fruits. Owing to its large coastline along three oceans, Russia maintains one of the world’s largest fishing fleets, ranking sixth in the world in tonnage of fish caught; capturing 4,773,413 tons of fish in 2018. It is also home to the world’s finest caviar (the beluga), and produces about one-third of all canned fish, and some one-fourth of the world’s total fresh and frozen fish.
[ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_Russia#Energy ]

How is allowing members to join an alliance where an attack against one is defended by all seen as aggression?

Not an alliance where if one nation attacks all others follow?

And let’s be fair here, do you believe that Russia has been a good actor over that time?

I don’t think we promised that. We promised to defend the territory of Ukraine and we have that one on paper. Putin keeps saying we promised that we just never put it in paper.

You ask, “How is allowing members to join an alliance where an attack against one is defended by all seen as aggression?”

Because that’s not what NATO is, or not all that it is. When the Americans tell it to, NATO goes outside its borders to attack governments that the US doesn’t like, by supporting separatists, or engaging in regime change – by military action, mainly bombing from the air (plus more-or-less covert support in the form of money and weapons and intelligence).

When Yugoslavia was coming apart – why that happened I don’t know, didn’t they know that Diversity is Strength!!! ??? — the Yugoslavian province of Kosovo, historically Serbian but now majority Albanian – tried to break away. The Serbs sent their army in and attacked the Albanians. The whole Yugoslav civil war was nasty, there were no saints, all sides were squalid – as is always the case in such wars. The Americans supported the Albanians in Kosovo, even though their main resistance organization, the Kosovo Liberation Army, engaged in the usual massacres of their ethnic enemies. And they succeeded. After a few years of fig-leaf UN supervision, the Donetsk Republic declared its independence. Whoops, I mean Kosovo declared its independence. You don’t want to be a Serb living in Kosovo now – although about half of the Serbs (and other non-Albanian minorities) were driven out, hope springs eternal in the human breast and some remain – just as about half of the Jews of Germany remained in Germany, until they were forced out, and up the chimneys of the gas chambers. Humans are optimists.

Anyone who would like to depress themselves can read about it here:




https://www.hrw.org/reports/1999/kosov2/
A snippet from the above:
“This report focuses on the wave of arson and looting of Serb and Roma homes throughout Kosovo that has ensued and on the harassment and intimidation, including severe beatings, to which remaining Serbs and Roma have been subjected. Most seriously, there has been a spate of abductions and murders of Serbs since mid-June, including the massacre of fourteen Serb farmers on July 23.”

Yay, NATO!!! Defensive Alliance!!!

That was NATO in support of separatists.

Now here is NATO in support of regime change. In this case the regime that’s being changed is a nasty Arab dictatorship, with lots of oil, where women are third-class citizens, and which murders dissident journalists by cutting them up with chain saws … whoops, sorry, got that mixed up. That’s Saudi Arabia, our gallant ally.

No, the target was Libya. Another nasty Arab dictatorship with lots of oil, but one with a different policy towards women:
“Gaddafi also wanted to combat the strict social restrictions that had been imposed on women by the previous regime, establishing the Revolutionary Women’s Formation to encourage reform. In 1970, a law was introduced affirming equality of the sexes and insisting on wage parity. In 1971, Gaddafi sponsored the creation of a Libyan General Women’s Federation. In 1972, a law was passed criminalizing the marriage of any females under the age of sixteen and ensuring that a woman’s consent was a necessary prerequisite for a marriage.”

Terrible! Imagine how the devout Muslims of Libya felt!

And there was worse:

“From 1977 onward, per capita income in the country rose to more than US$11,000, the fifth-highest in Africa, while the [Human Development Index became the highest in Africa and greater than that of Saudi Arabia] This was achieved without borrowing any foreign loans, keeping Libya debt-free. The Great Manmade River] was also built to allow free access to fresh water across large parts of the country. In addition, financial support was provided for university scholarships and employment programs.”
[ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libya ]

Horrible! Women’s rights and socialism too!

You can see why all decent people would want to overthrow that disgusting regime. (And, yes, he sponsored terrorism as well – he was probably responsible for blowing up a civilian airplane full of athletes returning from a competition. …

No, wait … that was our airline-bomber who lived in the US until his peaceful natural death, although not without a spot of bother from the authorities. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luis_Posada_Carriles]
[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cubana_de_Aviación_Flight_455]

The Libyan guy gets credit for this one, the ‘Lockerbie’ bombing [https://www.fbi.gov/history/famous-cases/pan-am-103-bombing] The LIbyan bad guy actually accepted responsibility for it and paid the families of the victims $3 billion. Our airline bomber didn’t do that, but perhaps he didn’t have the money.

Ya know, it’s so hard keeping the good ethnic-cleansing separatists and the good airline bombers, the ones we support, separated from the bad ones, the ones we (sometimes with our NATO puppets, sorry, partners) want to kill. I’ll try harder!

Anyway, when an uprising started there, in the bad Arab dictatorship, NATO intervened, again bombing from the air, and was decisive in helping the rebels overthrow that women’s-rights-supporting infidel socialist, bringing Libya to the happy condition it enjoys today. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libya]

The bad pro-woman socialistic Arab dictator was actually killed by being sodomized with a bayonet!

Boy, our NATO-supported glorious allies know how to do these things right! As Hillary cackled, “We came, we saw, … he died!” [ https://www.cbsnews.com/news/clinton-on-qaddafi-we-came-we-saw-he-died/ ] Ha ha ha. It was all on video, as everything is nowadays, and reportedly Mr Putin watched it over and over.

(I didn’t know he was into violence porn. When he has his enemies kiled, it’s usually in more civilized way, with a bullet in the back of the head, or some nice special tea.) He definitely took it to heart.
[ https://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/africa/FLASHBACK-Who-gave-NATO-right-to-kill-Gaddafi-Putin-1478876]
[https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-10562685/EDWARD-LUCAS-Heres-Vladimir-Putin-toppled-leader-worse.html]

So … please don’t tell me that NATO, the glove around the American fist, is just a sweet kind little old defensive pact.

If you’re a Russian – not just Mr Putin but almost any Russian – to you, NATO is made up of, among others, countries that invaded you twice in the 19th Century (Britain and France) and twice in the 20th Century (the US and Germany). (The US? Yep. See here: [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allied_intervention_in_the_Russian_Civil_War#Foreign_forces_throughout_Russia ] )

The Russian view is hard for Americans to understand. We have a friendly neighbor to the North, and weak, if not friendly, neighbors to the South. No one is going to invade us. (There’s a famous – at least among conservatives – quote from Lincoln to this effect:

“From whence shall we expect the approach of danger? Shall some trans-Atlantic military giant step the earth and crush us at a blow? Never. All the armies of Europe and Asia…could not by force take a drink from the Ohio River or make a track on the Blue Ridge in the trial of a thousand years. No, if destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of free men we will live forever or die by suicide.”
[ https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/135212-from-whence-shall-we-expect-the-approach-of-danger-shall ]

Boy, was that man prescient!

The Russians peacefully gave up their East European security barrier against the Germans. They didn’t have to. They weren’t forced out by uprisings or even non-violent mass actions. They got out voluntarily, peacefully.

Many smart people in our leadership understood what would happen if NATO moved towards them: Our Secretary of State, knowing something about Russian history and their fear of the West, promised them NATO would not expand “one inch eastwards”.

I don’t like the people who write for the following publication, since they’re Lefties, but they’re right on this one issue:
[ https://scheerpost.com/2022/02/24/not-one-inch-eastward-how-the-war-in-ukraine-could-have-been-prevented-decades-ago/ ]

And here’s a conservative take on the same question: [ https://imprimis.hillsdale.edu/how-to-think-about-vladimir-putin/ ]

Vladimir Putin is a Russian nationalist. He’s not going to let his country be ‘globalized’. There will definitely be no drag queens reading to little Russian children.

Our light-minded foreign policy people in Washington, guided by not-so-light-minded neocons, pushed the poor Ukrainians into poking the Russian Bear.

Now they – the Ukrainians – are bearing the consequences.

If you believe the propaganda in the Western media, the Ukrainian David has been slaying the Russian Goliath. Sorry. Within a few months, Mr Putin will have what he wants. He’s willing to pay the price. It’s just a question of the relationship of forces.

Whatever Putin leaves to the Ukrainians will have to be rebuilt. The fools in Washington will move on to their next intervention …hopefully, against a power we can actually take on and beat, like Grenada or Panama. The Europeans may reconsider whether they want to follow the Washington Pied-Piper in the future.

And the Americans will have to think about whether the bi-partisan ‘We must dominate the world’ folks in Washington are who they want leading them.

Sure but… Democracy & referendum is different from coercion, and that’s all Russia represents.

For the Russians to feel secure, they wanted a sphere of influence where they could occupy the borders of, and restrict the trade to, countries whose combined population is 2x of that of Russia.

That was never going to be acceptable. Latvia, Lithuanian, Estonia, Georgia, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, etc.

How many nations do we sacrifice to the alter of Russian security?

It’s just not a bargain anyone interested in self-determination would let the Russians have any longer.

NATO is not perfect, but NATO is an institution guided by democracies who can be criticized for their actions. Russia does not allow the same. Russia will put you in jail for criticizing the state.

Overall, considering security was not a given, this looks more like an excuse to punish a (flawed) democracy, who was showing autocracy is not something Eastern European or Russified populations have to accept. That they could endeavor to build something else, something that could integrate with the West and deliver a similar standard of living seen in Poland and elsewhere. That possibility had the oligarchs shaking.

Substantive difference? Kosovo is a functioning state. Donetsk is a shell. Russia’s failure to provide a quality of life superior to what people had their before the “uprising”, is why most people on the Eastern side of Ukraine turned against them.

There was no large scale partisan uprising when this invasion began, because the Russians poisoned that well.

Yes. It would be a wonderful world, if all states were like the US and Canada. We have had our differences, our disputes, but neither country fears that the other will invade it, or that become part of an alliance with a hostile power. (Although I did read some paranoid stuff on some rightwing website a year or two ago about Chinese troops in Canada.)

Most of the world is not like that.

Since WWII, we have seen the Russians as the home of Dr Evil, plotting to take over the world.

In a number of countries nationalists and military-modernizers, thought that the Soviets showed a rapid path to modernization, or an ally in their struggle for independence, and either became Communists, or imitated them.

I think we blew an opportunity to usurp from the Soviets the role of champion and supporter of national independence movements … starting with when Woodrow Wilson told the non-whites that the principle of national self-determination was for white people only.

Nguyen Tat Thanh could have become our guy, instead of Moscow’s. (For anyone reading this who does not know who Nguyen Tat Thanh was, read about him, and the whole episode where the Democrat Wilson delivered the nationalist anti-colonialist movement to the Communists, here:
[ https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/09/opinion/egypt-revolution-wilson.html ] )

And the same after WWII, possibly. We might have been able to turn Mao into an Asian Tito.
Most people, certainly most patriots, know almost nothing about China, and instead have a Hollywood Good-Guy-vs-Bad-Guy view of the place. At least read this to see how complex the world really is: [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zhou_Enlai#Diplomatic_efforts_with_the_United_States ]

The Russians after WWII could have conquered and occupied Finland. They didn’t. So long as Finland remained neutral, it could do as it liked.
[ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finlandization ]

The Austrians got the same deal from the Russians. Stay neutral, and do what you like. Could have been worse!
[ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Austria#Interwar_period_and_World_War_II ]

(Incidentally, the Wiki article on Austria is well worth reading. To most of us, it’s just a boring country with nice pastries and beautiful buildings. But after WWI, it was an international center for cutting-edge thinkers in philosophy and science and music [See 'the Vienna Circle]. Then they murdered all their Jews, and that vanished. But between the end of WWI, and their absorption into Nazi Germany, they had a very turbulent history – lots of lethal violence between Right and Left. Well worth studying for anyone interested in the American future.)

This is the same status, for all practical purposes, that Latin America and the Caribbean countries enjoyed during the Cold War – well, not quite … they couldn’t have any sort of genuine socialism or appear to be threatening American investors’ property in their countries.

But since when the Soviet Union existed, a move towards socialism or even actions that threatened our investments in those countries were equated with aligning with the Russian communists, perhaps we can understand why it was necessary for us to overthrow governments that looked like they were moving that way, even democratically-elected ones, and install cruel murderous dictatorships. It’s okay when we do it.

(See Guatemala 1954 [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1954_Guatemalan_coup_d’etat ].
and Chile 1973 [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1973_Chilean_coup_d’etat ],)

Basically, both the US and the Soviets/Russians play by Big Boys’ Rules, not the nice pap each side teaches its gullible citizenry about how noble their own country’s leaders are, and how evil its rivals are.

Namely, Stay Out of My Backyard. The Russians were too weak to enforce this for a while, and paid the price. Now they’re trying to even the balance a bit.

After they’ve digested what they want of Ukraine, the remaining Ukrainians will have to ponder on how wise it was to do what their American counsellors advised. And the rest of Europe will no doubt also do some re-thinking.

Too bad, it could have been different. But there is no supra-human Force which guarantees happy endings in history.
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One positive outcome, possibly, amidst all the tragedy: we should learn not to trust our media! Now, I know that patriots think they have already learned this. But most of them haven’t, really.

We’ve been fed a steady diet of how well the Ukrainians are doing; how Mr Putin will die soon of cancer, or motor neurone disease, or something; how he will soon be overthrown by a coup; of how the Russian people will rebel when all their sons come home in body bags.

Let’s see where we are in, say, six months.

Oh yes, Donetsk.

Whereas the fact that the population of Crimea – never historically Ukrainian – does not want to return to Ukraine is obvious to anyone who cares to look, Donetsk and the rest of Eastern Ukraine are more complicated.

I lived in Kharkov for a few months in 1985, and have Ukrainian acquaintances from that time, but I have no special knowledge of how pro-Russian the people of eastern Ukraine were, or are, especially after the Russian invasion.

I have tried to read about it. But almost every source I find is highly partisan – most of them pro-Ukrainian government … and when I try to read the Russian propaganda source – RT.com – I find that our Censors have cut me off from it. (So wonderful, to live in a free society where we can read what we like, unlike those poor Russians, whose access to the internet is restricted by their government!) [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RT_(TV_network) ]

However, I did come across one interesting source the other day — which carried a report by a journalist who ‘embedded’ with some Right Sector fighters. (The “Right Sector” are … er… well, let’s just say that, along with the even more ‘right’ Azov Batallion, they’re a bit of an embarrassment for the Ukrainians. All those Nazi-like symbols, etc. But hey, enemy-of-my-enemy, right? And they did sterling work in helping to overthrow the democratically-elected pro-Russian corrupt president of Ukraine in 2014 [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euromaidan ], and replacing him with a democratically-elected pro-American corrupt president. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petro_Poroshenko ]

(And in general: {https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corruption_in_Ukraine ] I think Joe Biden’s son could supplement that Wiki article with additional information. )

So … how pro-Russian are the Ukrainians in Eastern Ukraine? It’s hard to say. Here’s a comparison of the size of pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian demonstrations there, some years ago:

I would expect that pro-Russian sentiment there has diminished somewhat since the invasion.
But it’s hard to tell … where you can be killed for having the ‘wrong’ opinion, people are naturally hesitant to express their opinion.

But back to that journalist who was with the ‘Right Sector’ combatants:
Read this [: https://unherd.com/2022/06/on-the-frontline-with-the-right-sector-militia/ ]

I thought this was pretty interesting:
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[begin quote]

" … Will postwar Ukraine be different, I asked. “Yes!” said Kuts, “We must kill the internal enemies, the fucking separatists. We are not the ones that just talk, and sit at home, the ones that have a ‘practical solution.’ We always look our enemy straight in the eyes, even the dead ones.” …

… Like other nationalist battalions, Right Sector’s deployment in the long-running Donbas conflict has long been controversial: they were accused of human rights abuses against suspected separatists by Amnesty International in the war’s 2014 opening months, a period characterised by the kind of intimate brutalities typifying civil wars. It is difficult to gauge how they are viewed by locals in the Donbas. “When I heard Right Sector were going to liberate my village, I was like ‘Uh, we’re all going to die,” one former Donbas resident, Sasha, told me, laughing at the memory: now she fights as a member of the group. …

… they are billeted in the far east of Ukraine in a war now turning in Russia’s favour, among a local Russian-speaking population with whom relations are at times strained, many of whom would prefer to live under Russian rule. While some local farmers smile and wave, and bring gifts of food, others are distinctly unfriendly. “Some are friendly, some not, some are enemy. You won’t know until they kill you,” cautioned “Paul”, a softly-spoken middle-aged tour guide from Kyiv turned paramedic."
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It’s impossible to find a really ‘neutral’ or ‘objective’ source regarding how the people of Eastern Ukraine feel about Russia. You have to read the propaganda of both sides and try to work out what’s possibly true.

If anyone reading this has other sources on this question, please post them here.

But they’re not getting it. They wanted the entire coastline of the country, and to be able to station a force on the Carpathian mountains.

Their attacks in the south have stalled, and Ukrainians have taken back ground there. They’re not getting to Odesa.

But didn’t after two costly wars proving that they would lose severe material & manpower trying it, and it would have pushed Sweden into NATO’s orbit, turning the Baltic Sea into a NATO lake.

It was also useful having Finland support in U.N. voting measures.

Ukraine did what it did because 2014 cast the die. They weren’t hostile to Russia; Russia was hostile to them as a preemptive measure, turning what could happen into an inevitability.

Russia took ham fisted measures, and those had costs. It has made mistakes. Popular support in the Donbas was far short of what it expected, and it failed to create societies worth living in there, or in Crimea.

It didn’t deliver on promises, because it can’t. Russia doesn’t have the capability to produce modern, livable societies, because it has for years sapped all of its education resources to pay for weapons.

The last generation that was properly trained, had apprenticeships, is in their 50s. Today they use tools built in Western nations that Russia doesn’t have the skills or the supply chains to build themselves.

Russia, ergo, got bad at building the boring stuff; and that, together with their demographic collapse, means they’re in for a rough couple of decades. Likely as bad if not more than the 90s.

Why did Russia spend so much on Weapons? It wasn’t because of NATO; NATO did not stage any base or weapon stocks past Germany until 2014.

So why? Basically this:

Russia can’t live with its neighbors in peace, focus on just making sure they have less corruption, that their workers are well trained, that’s there’s a high standard of living… because it has to convince itself that it’s special outwardly.

Which is putting the cart before the horse, and tipping the hand that their leadership is ex-KGB/FSB who’ve always thought in these terms.

And they, the Siloviki, are likely the last generation who can lead Russia this way. Worker skills aren’t the only thing that’s degraded. The Siloviki are not grooming successors, and have made it a point to disperse any political alternative that’s appeared.

After this war, regardless of how it concludes, Russia itself may very well disperse. A microcosm of what happened to the Soviet Union.

Well, we disagree about how to analyze Russia, that’s for sure!

I don’t know how much of Ukraine they want, but whatever it is, they’ll get it. I’m not happy about this, but it’s just the way it is.

Here’s another view of the situation … rather long but worth it:

Mine comes from an Azaeri; from a country that was apart of the Soviet Union:

Pay special attention to his mention of “The heartland theory”. This is at the core of Russian aspirations, and their resentment.