Friday, August 29, 2014

Why Russia has already Won

Paul Chen

In the last 48 hours satellite images has shown that Russian military vehicles are slowly making their way over the Ukrainian border violating Ukrainian sovereign space.  There has been no official statement from the West or any international government as of yet.  

The fact is Russia has already won.  There is little that the West can do, short of bombing Russia to Kingdom come, to stop Putin from doing what he wants.   All the the West or the EU specifically, can do is to blame itself for not addressing the problem during the window.
The Ukraine can be see as the pain that the EU didn't really pay much attention to until it got too late.  There was a window that Ukraine could have provided a wonderful vast buffer zone between itself and Russia had the rest of Europe went in and done something.   Ukraine was suffering from an identity crisis and was crying out for help.  Is it Russia or is it Europe? It also suffered from the highest cases of HIV this side of the Urals.  When push came to shoves, the respect that the EU showed Ukraine was so low that the offer that the EU put on the table was so low that Putin had no problems to top that offer immediately.    

From a historical point of view, think 1956 Hungary, 1968 Czechloslovakia, and 1981 Poland.  1956 and 1968, the Soviet Union made an physical military intervention to pull Hungary and Czechloslovakia from being too liberal.  In 1981, the Soviets did it mentally to the Poles.   Jaruzelski high on the afrodisiac that is power used the Poles' fear of a Soviet invasion to proclaim martial law.  Most of the the Soviet officials later denied that an invasion was even in the works for fears of Western sanctions.  

In recent history, Russia and Poland still have a very uneasy relationship.  It came to a peak in the months after the 2010 crash that killed President Lech Kaczinski which led to the showing of Katyn on a Russian network.  The relationship soured again after some deals with gas and the handling of the crash investigation.  And the relationship has never again reached that level since.

Today most of the Polish public still have negative opinions of its government and country.   People ask me, 'what are you doing in Poland?'  Nobody cares about public infrastructure.  Whenever a building is freshly painted, it is tagged by hooligan grafiti within 24 hours.  Kids and adults with their shoes on seats of public transportation, even new trams and buses.  They is why we can't have anything nice.  The Stalin brainwash is still going strong. 

 What can we do?  We can't do much.  One has to remember that Russia, like the US, holds one of the sacred five seats of the UN Security Council.  So does China.  That means as much as people might gripe about human rights and other shennigans, there is nothing short of rewriting the original UN charters, that anyone can do to forcibly remove them from it  or force them to do anything.  And guess what, any changes to the charter requires their agreement.   None of the other four countries (USA, GB, China, and France)  wishes to start another war.   

Can we hit them with energy? No, they have gas, nuclear, and coal.  Can we hit them with food.  No, they can get food albeit more expensively from other suppliers.  And the recent embargo of European produce hurts European farmers more than Russian stomachs.  Can we hit them with economic sanctions?  Yes, but they make deals with big utility companies privately anyway.  Germany can do something but they probably won't do too much.  Given it's dubious past, the last thing Germany wants to do is to get into another conflict with Russia.  Anyway, Russia is a major supplier of gas to Germany.  

What about internally?  We can't really do much internally in Russia because the Russian state runs the media.  Remember Anna Politkovskaya?  The Russian people are happy to feel secure under a strong leadership even if they have to give up some personal rights and have to live in semi squalor.  As can be seen by some internet videos and pictures, in Russia anything goes.    

Basically, who you are dealing with is a mafia boss with the police and the mayor in his pockets.  He has an empire whose inhabitants are so used to absurdities that they can accept anything.   His syndicate has a hand in many of the functions of the city?  What do to?  The key remaining bargaining chips that we can use is to setup a situation to give Putin a graceful exit, or find another dealer.  Otherwise, Russia has already won.   

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