Stalinist President of Russia Vladimir Putin has made two major mistakes from which he may not recover without a great deal of help from diplomats and business associates in what used to be called the free world.
Putin has turned Russia east rather than west. Russia is historically a western rather than an eastern nation and has been so roughly since the reign of Peter the Great.
In addition, Putin may go down in history as the worst Russian commander-in-chief of the nation’s military since the murder of Czar Nicholas II and his family in 1918.
The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) is reporting that Putin has broken, perhaps irreparably, his own military chain of command in an attempt to win his terrorist war on Ukraine cheaply and with a minimum of Russian soldier body bags sent to Moscow. Since the rubblization of Ukraine began, Putin has attempted to win his war on the cheap by relying upon bought terrorist groups, the most odious of which is the Wagner Group, whose leader and inspiration may now be dead.
Russia – by which this writer means the Russian people, not its warlord oligarchs – is unquestionably western rather than eastern or oriental. Feodor Dostoyevsky and Anton Chekov are western not eastern writers. And for much of its history Russia regarded China, and Islamic nations as well, with a dubious and watchful eye.
Dostoyevsky wrote Notes from the Underground after having spent four years in a czarist Siberian prison camp, followed by six years of compulsory military service in exile. Finally set free, he returned to Petersburg rather than Peking, where he produced thirteen novels eagerly read by Parisians, Londoners and even semi-literate politicians in Washington DC. Chekov wrote some of his plays in Crimea, none in Shanghai.
Chekov’s play The Seagull was shown not too long ago by the Yale School of Drama, and students in the audience should be forgiven if they thought the leading characters had more in common with their neighbors than any of the seven members of China’s Politburo Standing Committee.
China is, in fact, a fascist state. For purposes of foreign policy, it should be regarded by progressives and leftists as a giant US monopolistic conglomerate, the sort of fascist beastie they unceasingly revile on this side of the Atlantic Ocean as insufferable nationalist capitalists at the beck and call of powerful, Republican Washington DC politicians. It was the much reviled President Richard Nixon who opened China to the west, reasoning that western businessmen might temper a communist disposition to hang capitalists with the rope provided by capitalists.
“The Kremlin’s chronic disregard for the Russian chain of command,” ISW reports, “is likely hindering Shoigu and Gerasimov [two prominent Russian generals] in their attempts to suppress insubordination and establish full control over the Russian military in Ukraine. Putin consistently bypassed or ignored the established chain of command in hopes of securing rapid successes on the battlefield throughout the war, degrading Shoigu’s and Gerasimov’s authority – especially when military failures on the frontlines also eroded their reputations.”
In the midst of all this Kremlin disarray, some in the United States are arguing that now is the time to apply diplomatic balm to Putin in the hope he will agree to a peace settlement with Ukraine. Diplomacy, diplomats argue, is war by other means. No one is contemplating the possibility that a diplomatic break in hostilities will provide Putin with the breathing space he now needs to avoid a humiliating defeat in the war theatre he has so clumsily constructed. A diplomatic peace will provide Putin with a future opportunity to move the borders of Russia to Poland and the Baltic States, which used to be a part of the once dominant Soviet Union, after he has diplomatically partitioned Ukraine.
Former President Barack Obama once said concerning Biden’s gaffe-prone nature, “Don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to f**k things up.” The same is true concerning Biden’s itch to settle matters diplomatically. But a failed peace arrangement between Russia and Ukraine certainly will not be President Joe Biden’s problem, even if he is fortunate enough to win the White House for another four years. And it will not be President Donald Trump’s problem if he is fortunate enough win the White House for four more years, concluding a peace arrangement between Ukraine and Russia hours after he is elected.
No, no… This is a problem that, like inflation and the national debt, will be passed along to the children and grandchildren who will inherit from a generation of cowards a failed military and diplomatic defense of Ukraine.