This is an opinion piece!
Heard it live from the Russian ambassador’s mouth on CBS’s “Face the Nation”, Sunday, 20 February! The Ukraine crisis is not about the Ukraine, it is about NATO! They want NATO greatly-reduced in strength, presumably to leave them freer to try rebuilding the old Soviet empire by re-annexing the breakaway territories.
That is exactly why they demanded limits on NATO that we could not abide, in order to “stop” the invasion. To them, it was worth a try to see if they could intimidate the West, and get what they wanted without the cost of an invasion.
This is almost no different from the way Hitler intimidated and extorted his way to start annexing parts of Europe, which of course led to World War 2 in Europe. The only real difference is that there were no nuclear weapons available at the start of World War 2. (There were by its end, and the role they played in its end is another quite-complicated story.)
Putin and the Russian oligarchs who support each other do not care about Western economic sanctions, because no ambitious dictators ever really cared about the welfare of the people they oppress. (I double-dog dare you to name one who did!) But, the real risk of revolution if things get bad enough, is exactly why there is disinformation and false-flag activity to whip up support at home in Russia for this invasion. Temporary though such support may be, it will last long enough for the invasion.
With state-controlled media spewing propaganda, this is easier to do in Russia than here. But, spewing that same propaganda to people in the countries of the opposition, is a way to divide their populations and reduce their opposition, to one extent or another. We in the US are not immune to this nefarious activity.
My fellow citizens, you should be aware that there are recognized Russian state propaganda agencies broadcasting right here in the US, masquerading as “foreign news services”, and trying to interfere in our elections, for several years now. Are you familiar with Sputnik and RT (Russia Today)? You should be!
And you should also know this: I have lost count of how many times the infamous opinion-mongers at Fox News have quoted various outrageous claims, that I was able to trace directly back to RT and Sputnik as the sources. “Providing aid and comfort to the enemy” is in the official definition of treason, or did you not know that? That was the basis for the actual treason conviction of the US citizen who was on Japanese radio as “Tokyo Rose” during World War 2.
As a result of this Russian focus on getting a reduction in the strength of NATO, and the West refusing, the invasion of the Ukraine is inevitable, and there will be war there. It will be lopsided, and the Ukraine will quickly lose and be annexed into Russia, or at least a Russian puppet placed in control. The Western powers have decided to let this happen, and punish Russia with economic sanctions, not military force. Russia’s post-Soviet economy is fragile and vulnerable, but this strategy will take much time to have any effect that we in the West can see.
In the longer term, Putin may well fall to revolution, as the Russian economy goes into complete collapse. But he is quite likely to lash out at the West before he goes, and that may well involve nuclear weapons. Even without that, the collapse of the Russian economy will cause problems in economies worldwide, because they are all linked far closer than any economies were at the start of World War 2. You need to be aware of that, too. Opposition in any form to ambitious dictators always has its price. Often, it is a very high price. This one will be.
We learned during the lead-up to World War 2 that you cannot appease ambitious dictators, you must oppose them, no matter the price. There is no other way. I hope this slow-motion attempt to collapse the Russian economy is enough opposition to ward-off the start of a World War 3, which otherwise might well start from Putin’s lashing-out at us with nuclear weapons, when he does fall from power. But it is only a hope! That is how high this price might well turn out to be!
The stakes are very high. The risks are very high. But Putin and the oligarchs who support him, must go! There is no other choice. Russia’s brief flirtation with democracy after the fall of the Soviet empire, must resume.
Why? We in the West are going to need the Russians on our side to help oppose another ambitious dictator in China, one with a whole lot more economic power behind him.
Late breaking Monday 21 February: Putin today begins the Russian invasion of the Ukraine, using recognition of the Russian-backed separatists in Donbas and Luhansk as the excuse. There is now no choice for the Western powers except to immediately maximize the economic sanctions! The only possible goal now is to collapse the Russian economy as fast as is possible, causing his fall by revolution at home. It will take time. Meanwhile, the Ukraine will slowly cease to exist.
Update 4-13-2022: I looked up whether napalm was still a legal weapon of war. It is, but its use against civilians is now considered to be a war crime! So, you may only use it against enemy military forces. So be it!
The Russian military convoys strung out for miles along Ukrainian highways are a perfect target for air-dropped napalm bombs. You just fly down the road, pickling-off bomb after bomb after bomb.
I suggest that the western allies make both the attack aircraft and a whole lot of napalm bombs available to the Ukrainians. Some fighter aircraft to maintain a combat air patrol above the attack aircraft may also be necessary.
Losses to Russian air defense will be inevitable. So you send more of this stuff, rather than less.
The same applies to the bombardment positions being established by Russian forces in eastern Ukraine. Some of these are artillery, and some are tactical bombardment missiles. Doesn’t matter: all would be destroyed by massive napalm attacks. Without much civilian destruction, if any.
This has to be done in a timely fashion, something that seems to escape most politicians, here and in other countries. Time is of the essence. Just get on with it!
The sooner Putin loses this war with massive casualties, the sooner his people will rise up and topple him. Is that not the ultimate objective here, whether anyone wants to admit it or not?
Economic sanctions are taking too long. Send the Ukrainians the napalm bombs, and the aircraft needed to use them.Update 4-16-22: What the Russians are threatening the west about, is exactly what scares them the most! Therefore, increase the heavy weapons sent to Ukraine, including what I suggested in the 4-13-22 update just above, about napalm bombs and the aircraft to carry them.