So now it appears that Vlad the Imp may finally be getting ready to take the plunge and invade the Ukraine. Or maybe not. Nobody has a clue as to what Putin is actually thinking, although they’re all sure it’s next generation strategic chess. Personally? I believe he doesn’t know whether to shit, go blind, or wind his watch.

Putin has been on the scene for a good while now, and he’s always been an unpredictable pain in the ass. Again personally, I believe that Putin suffers from Napoleon Syndrome, the little man that wants to be the ultimate badass. But not only is he puny, he ain’t that smart, so he sinks to cruelty and depravity in order to engender fear. A leaked performance evaluation from back when Putin was in the KGB showed that his superiors found him unsuitable for upper level management, his emotional and mental states were too unpredictable for senior leadership. Those were his own USSR bossed talking!

Putin has often said that the greatest tragedy of the 20th century was the dissolution of the USSR. Yeah, right. His own bosses wouldn’t have let him anywhere near the keys to the car. Hey Vlad! I’m old enough to remember the Cold War, and you couldn’t shine these guys shoes. Nikita Khrushchev, wholed the world to the brink of a nuclear war with his manufactured Cuban Missile Crisis, and went to the UN to pound his shoe on the table as he tried to make an incoherent point. Or Leonid Brezhnev, who imposed insane domestic policies that permanent destruction of the economy, increased domestic violence to quell dissent, and a disastrous 1978 invasion of Afghanistan, where they fared no better than the Americans.

These were true hardasses.
They wanted to act, thinking they could get away with it, they acted, and dared you to stop them. They wanted to get rid of a dissident, they grabbed him in the middle of the night, and he was never seen again. Or they took him out on the street to make a point, and when human rights groups screamed bloody murder, their response was Internal Russian domestic issue. You shut up and keep out. 

Putin? He turns agents loose in England to use a spray chemical nerve agent trying to finish off a Russian defector and his daughter, and then says, Nope, wasn’t me. I had a dental appointment that day. Or when he tried to take out his main political rival with a chemical nerve agent in his tea, and the guy survived for treatment in Germany, and the nerve agent was exposed as a Russian exclusive concoction, Putin claimed that China or somebody had stolen the formula.

But Putin? What. . Total. Wimp! When Little Nikki wanted to send nukes to Cuba, he did it, and he owned it. He didn’t go running to Pravda and claiming that Castro had begged him to sent the missiles to Cuba for their own self defense! And when Leonid invaded Afghanistan, he did it to prop up a corrupt communist government that was throttling the people. And his little farago showed the world the flaws in the USSR military, and may have greased the skids for the dreaded dissolution of the USSR Putin so hates.

But Putin? Jesus, Mary and Joseph, he has the balls of a 6 year old singing in a choir! A real badass would invade, and who cares what people think. In the last few weeks, the Biden administration has declassified and exposed no fewer than four separate Russian scams to provide a false justification for invading the Ukraine. He totally acks the balls to just take the plunge, and pull the trigger. Maybe because he’s lost the edge of surprise, and the US and NATO allies have now given Ukraine more than $650 million in defensive weapons.

But here’s what makes Putin the Ultimate Wimp. Biden and NATO have promised punishing sanctions if Putin invades The Ukraine. In the middle of an international crisis, Putin took the time to fly all the way to China, and met personally with Chinese President Xi Jinping before the opening ceremonies. They made a joint appearance to express their mutual admiration. And lo and behold, China comes out with a statement that if Russia must invade Ukraine with legitimate provocation, so be it. And if NATO sanctions Russia, then China will step in and mitigate the effects of NATO sanctions. Really?

Reality Check for Vlad the Imp. Xi doesn’t do photo ops. And he doesn’t do anything from the bottom of his heart, because he doesn’t have a heart. Every step he takes is a step on the way to a greater end, Chinese domination. You think you’re joining some great partnership with China? You take one penny from China once you invade Ukraine, and you will be once and for all, Xi’s little bitch. He will own you.

This went on a wee longer than I had intended, and I apologize. But every time I compared Putin with the real hardasses of the old USSR, the further he kept falling short. The odds are still that Putin will say The hell with it and invade The Ukraine, but if he does, it is going to more bloody and expensive for Russia than he thinks. Ukraine is armed and ready, and so is NATO. Putin has already been experiencing civil unrest at home. If this goes south, he may end up with a bigger problem on his hands that The Ukraine. Don’t touch that dial.


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  1. I think your comment about China and Xi trying to con Putin into accepting their help (money) is a point too few people have thought about. Like many a Russian ole Vlad might assume he’s a chess master above anyone from any other country but he’s way the hell out of his league. The question is whether he’s still rational enough to realize it.

    Consider the history of wars. It’s one thing to start one as a pre-emptive measure to beat an enemy about to attack to the punch. It’s quite another to start one you don’t have to, or for stupid reasons like national pride and believing that another country with its own identity and where a strong majority of the people hate the country that covets them.

    Historically things usually don’t work out well for the aggressors. Most of the time, initiating such a war is NOT a rational act. Alas, people have a tendency to get tunnel vision when they have a goal and don’t even see, much less other things outside that narrow vision. Like (and most importantly) that someone might try to stop them. Someone powerful, with great capability. Early gains may feel good but over the long-haul it becomes apparent the costs far outweighed the benefits.

    Hitler made a mistake getting greedy about territory. Japan made the same mistake in the Pacific and no less than Yamamoto who was closer to the Emperor (personally) than probably anyone else in their military and probably their civilian govt. too was clear that while Japan would have great success for six months to a year he had no confidence beyond that. He knew his America (he’d served here) and that American production would eventually overwhelm his country – he also didn’t share the common contempt most of his contemporaries had of American’s fighting will. Sure enough he was right. I’m not sure any of Hitler’s people dared have a frank, pull no punches talk with him about Germany biting off more than it could chew in Europe and for damned sure no one dared speak up when he made the truly boneheaded decision to attack Russia and try to fight on two fronts.

    And then there’s the USSR/Russia’s invasion of Afghanistan which you correctly note was a major contributor to the downfall and breakup of the old USSR. If not THE main reason. It bled them dry. They simply couldn’t afford to replace the equipment they lost or train up enough new troops (especially in their system which would take a long time to explain) to fill out their ranks at a time when battle tested troops could have trained them. They couldn’t afford to even pay them regularly which further degraded their capability.

    Russia is no stronger now than it was then economically. In fact, given all the wealth Putin has stolen from their country and how vulnerable he and his oligarch pals are to economic sanctions Russia is probably worse off.

    He’s put himself in a bad spot because after all his saber rattling he’s going to look awfully weak awfully fast with the Russian people and maybe even worse for him the right handful of oligarchs that his position a ruler of Russia might be in danger if he pulls back. However, he also now realizes that not only will the economic consequences be severe and probably more than modern Russia can withstand, but militarily as well. Sure, he’s got the assets in place to initially steamroll through much of Ukraine but I’ve seen reporting that citizens there are being trained and equipped and with NATO on three sides of Ukraine those arms/supplies will keep getting through to a Ukrainian populace that HATE Russia. In the end the most Putin can hope for is part of eastern Ukraine where enough Russian have been transplanted over a long time frame that they will side with Putin. Even that is a maybe and it could be truly ugly civil war between Ukraine loyalists and Russian loyalists in that part of the country for a generation or more.

    What worries me is that tunnel vision thing I mentioned. Putin might well no longer be entirely rational and as you suggest talked himself into believing that accepting China’s help will come without strings. That’s a scary thought because if it happens once Putin realizes he’s on the hook to China and tries to renege, those two countries which have always been at odds could wind up at war and it’s hard to see how that wouldn’t go nuclear. Russia would have no choice, and China would respond in-kind. That is a truly terrifying thought. I’ve always thought the war that might go nuclear would be one between China and India over Kashmir. But if Putin invades Ukraine a lot of eastern Russia and western China (and worse perhaps other countries) will cease to be habitable.

    I HATE the idea of giving Putin a face-saving way out which would mean his being in clear control of Russia but if war should be the best of a shitty set of options, then finding a way out for Putin would be right there with it and save everyone from the far worse consequences and potential consequences of a war in Ukraine.

    • Russia and China have NEVER seen eye to eye on anything much. They’ve got territory disputes that go back to the time of the Czars and ideological differences that you can trace back to the Sino-Soviet Split in the 1960s. The only thing they have consistently shared is a border and not much else.

      Also, Xi’s recent “anti-corruption” measures against his country’s most dynamic companies tells me he’s about to commit the classic Chinese great power mistake: stopping just short of the goal. You see this with the increasingly insular response to the Zheng voyages of the 1400s and Mao’s foolish moves that predicated the aforementioned Sino-Soviet split. While the Chinese ruling classes wish to be great, they want to preserve what they see as their natural order more. That tendency has always made them miss opportunities and bite them on the ass like a bear trap. This time looks to be no different.

      • Indeed. China and Russia have never been friends. Just as the U.S. and Russia have not. They might, for a time, be convenient allies but only until whatever circumstance that threw them together in the first place ends. I suspect the suspicion the two countries view each other with will kick in and they will revert back to being uneasy neighbors. At best.

        The one thing I have never worried about has been China and Russia emerging as one Asian super power.

  2. It’s most definitely not the USSR any more. Russia has an economy slightly smaller than Italy, Canada, or South Korea, and slightly bigger than Australia. And more importantly about 5% of the size of the USA, or a third the size of Germany or the UK. Or to really bring it home, an economy smaller than California, or New York ,and about the same size as Texas.
    They can’t afford a war.

  3. I’m placing what litle faith I have left in severe sanctions against Putin personally and his gang of dubiously-loyal oligarchs, such sanctions as are being touted by the UK and hinted at by the USA. Both countries are awash in dirty Russky money and cutting access to those fortunes would definitely annoy Vlad & Friends. And yessir, the Ukrainians are no pushovers: they’re well armed, well trained and above all highly motivated. They’ll exact their own high price for any invasion.

    • I wouldn’t give Vlad THAT much credit. Given that Mango Mussolini is the reason why his country is riddled with COVID casualties that outstrip our own, the last thing he wants is that asshole back in charge. And that’s before you get into the obvious senility setting in.

  4. Putin has fallen into a trap of his own making, thanks to the flare-up of his “Short Man’s Syndrome” (to use my mom’s term, who also thinks he’s a repressed gay man). He invades now, he winds up with sanctions and a quagmire that will make Iraq look like a weekend vacation. He pulls back, he looks weak and the oligarchy may conclude he needs to go. The time to have done this was while Trump was around. He missed his moment.


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