A Looming Anniversary Passes
A Looming Anniversary Passes
Yesterday was the 30th anniversary of the end of the Soviet Union. I previously posted here about this looming anniversary, arguing that the large troop buildup of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border along with the many strong demands being made by V.V. Putin of various parties reflected his high awareness of this looking anniversary, which has been only barely mentioned or noticed in the western media.
As it is, the anniversary passed without an invasion. Not only that there are reports from such sources as NPR, France 24, The Hill, and some other sources, although not yet such places as the NY Times or the Washington Post, that Putin has ordered a withdrawal of something like 10,000 of those troops out of about 104,000 reportedly there. This certainly still leaves a large enough contingent to carry out a serious invasion, if he wished, and certainly to continue threatening one. However, these same reports say that after an especially tense time this past Wednesday, Dec. 22, which included phone calls with German Chancellor Scholze and President Biden, Putin gave an end of year speech the following day that while still issuing various threats and demands, also indicated that there may be diplomatic discussions about all this in early January. It looks like a very dangerous moment has passed without a major war breaking out.
I get the earliest edition of WaPo, and today’s said nothing about any of this, including even Putin’s speech three days ago, and certainly nothing about the anniversary that just passed. It had two stories on Ukraine and Russia. One was about how a war could easily happen navally in the Sea of Azov, where borders are ill-defined with both nations having ports on it, but Russia dominating it, and Ukraine basically having no navy. The story recounted numerous incidents initiated by Russian naval vessels against various Ukrainian ships, most of the commercial vessels.
The other was about internal Ukrainian politics, particularly about how Ukrainian President Zelensky is apparently going after some oligarchs, something the article admitted is popular there. But the tone of the article was basically that he is nuts to be doing this in the face of a possible Russian invasion. No mention of any pullbacks or warming by Putin. The story is recounted as something quite astounding that apparently in Kyiv nobody is all that worried about a Russian invasion, something I noted in my earlier post. It may be these people are foolish, but so far it is looking like their lack of fear of an impending invasion seems justified. I hope that continues to be the case, whatever else happens there.
I found that listening to this youtube talk repaid the effort:
Russian TV is unusually full of anti-Ukraine discussion lately, a lot of it associated with alleged terrorist activity. They’re always anti-Ukraine, but the quantity of mentions is so much higher it’s impossible to ignore.
At this point I don’t think a full invasion of the Western parts of Ukraine is on the table, but I wouldn’t be at all shocked to see full occupation and annexation of the Eastern areas in the next year.
I doubt Putin wants to govern Ukraine, he likely just wants to keep it out of NATO. It would be much easier for him to just wreck the place and leave it for the west to clean up than to occupy and annex.
Well, without knowing anything..
I heard that what Putin was asking for was keeping Ukraine out of Nato…and, I suppose, not arming Ukraine. That seemed reasonable to me. US and Russia could agree to “repeating” Ukraine neutrality and avoiding trouble. Guaranteed by presense of significant military capability on both sides. But I don’t think anyone wants an actual war, and it would be nice if we could each find a way to not interfere with Ukraine internal politics. [of course there is always the boild the frog strategy. without invading and provoking a way, we (and they) can interfere with Ukraine internal politics until an invasion is not necessary.]
The absense of WSJ reporting of diminished “tensions” suggests to me same-o cold war fomenting of “bad old Russia” and “need for getting tough” policies and perceptions, for whatever ends those serve. I am keenly aware that the Russians (and everybody else) have their own bad guys who would cause trouble for the same reasons our bad guys cause trouble, but I keep hoping we can find a way to limit the stupidity.
respecting, not repeating.