HEY PUTIN, HOW’S THAT WORKING OUT?
I’m not as worried about Ukraine as I was. I’m not making any predictions, tho.
For some reason, probably related to his megalomania problem, Putin thought Ukraine would be a pushover. He’d blitzkrieg right in there and snap it up. Zelinski is a comedian, a joke himself. He’d roll over in 24 hours.
At least that’s how it all worked in Putin’s mind. He wants to rebuild the Russian empire and Ukraine is key to that. Ukraine would love, love to be in NATO and frankly we want them in there. If they join NATO they will be lost to the Russian Empire forever.
Putin needs the West to be afraid to allow Ukraine into NATO. And so far that’s worked pretty well.
But the invasion is not working so well and people are cheering on the heroic Ukrainians fighting and the heroic Russian people protesting and … and … like Putin we expected Ukraine to just be crushed.
And here we are a couple weeks later and the “kreig” isn’t looking too “blitz-y.” WTF? I thought we were doing Poland 1939. (In case you were wondering why Poland seems to be taking all this pretty hard, they think so too.)
1939 appears not to be happening and I have an idea why (probably not original, but here goes).
What happens when you run a government as a cash cow? You don’t take so much that it doesn’t survive — you make sure there’s a comfortable middle class. But you are stashing cash in your bank accounts all over the world.
What if your military contractors are all friends of yours, robber barons taking their 80% cut off the top? Sure, you’ve got a military. Your best buddy is the head of the military. His best buddy is in charge of procurement. Those are the Russian oligarchs everyone talks about. A tight-knit aristocracy with Czar Putin at the top.
Putin — who has grand plans for empire — unleashes the mighty Russian military on a smaller, weaker country. A Russian military financed with 20% of its budget.
When fantasy meets reality, reality always wins.
So the mighty Russian army appears to be bogged down. Something about their supply lines or something. Also, most of their soldiers seem to be untrained conscripts who often throw down their weapons and run away when challenged. Zelinski jokingly thanked Putin for the infusion of new weaponry. Sometimes it’s handy to be a comedian.
Frustrated, Putin is “bombing soft targets” which is WarSpeak for “killing as many civilians as he can.” It’s still a war. He hasn’t stopped. There’s a 50–50 chance any peace talks Putin agrees to is just political theater. Any promise he makes is worth nothing. There’s a chance he can get the army straightened out and keep going just by brute force.
As Yogi Berra once said, “predictions are hard, especially about the future.” If this were a story it would unfold “properly.” This is history, not a story but it still might turn out “right.”