I’m not the biggest fan of the British blonde headed Prime Minister with the Moe Howard haircut, Boris Johnson. But he showed me a little something today, and he also got me thinking.

All of a sudden today, literally out of nowhere, since it was a state secret, Prime Minister Boris Johnson popped out in Kyiv like Punxsutawney Phil on Groundhogs Day. And like a Greek, he came bearing gifts. He came with more military aid, including 132 armored transport vehicles, as well as a battery of anti ship missiles, in case Putin tries to get cute around Odessa. But the one that got my febrile mind churning was he also brought London backed loan guarantees of a half a billion dollars to help Ukraine to start to rebuild once this is over.

Now that ain’t chump change, but in reality it’s a drop in the bucket. The Mayor of Mariupol has said that his city has suffered approximately $4 billion in damage. Other places aren’t much better off. But I gotta figure that the US, the EU, NATO, and the world will queue up to chip in. Shit, if the world came together to oversubscribe the fund to rebuild the Notre Dame cathedral, they’ll pony up. After all, Ukraine is a real life geopolitical Rocky.

But that started me thinking. It’s going to take tens of billions, if not hundreds of billions to rebuild Ukraine after Vlad the Imp is back in his cage and neutered. It’s going to take a united global effort, which I have no doubt Ukraine will get, and it will take years, if not more than a decade to get them back up and running again. Which begs a simple question.

What the fuck is/was Vladimir Putin thinking?! Clearly Putin didn’t invade the Ukraine just to retake the Donbas region, he could have done that in less than a week. He came in on multiple fronts, some hundreds of miles from the Donbas region. His goal was to conquer Ukraine quickly, subjugate the population, and install a puppet government friendly to him. Then he’d withdraw.

Putin fucked up. He came in spread too far out, at the start of the spring thaw so that his armor bogged down, with substandard supply lines, and most of all totally underestimated the Ukrainian will to fight for their country and freedom.

Look, there are only two real reasons I know of to invade another, non threatening country. Either a) you want to take over a fully functional country with a stable economy and business base, and fold it into your own. Or b) you want to drive everybody in the country out, turning them into refugees, and move your own people in instead. This is the excuse Hitler used in 1939, Lebensraum, living room for his growing population. But either way, the object is to end up with basically a functional country to plunder.

But Putin’s invasion stalled, almost as soon as it started. And then his temper and his little swinging took over. He started a campaign of wanton destruction. But it was far from indiscriminate. He targeted power stations, natural gas stations and lines, water and sewer stations, and phone lines. Then he went after schools, hospitals, government buildings, factories, food warehouses, fuel depots, and residential apartment buildings. From where I’m sitting, by week three of the campaign, Putin made a conscious decision that if he couldn’t have the Ukraine, he’d leave nothing for the Ukrainians to have. The two year old is taking his ball and going home.

Which is economically insane, and totally self destructive. Remember what I said above, whether you want to overrun a country and pacify it to enjoy the benefits, or you want to empty out the country and repopulate it with your own people, Either one requires a functional government, infrastructure, and economic base.

And right now Putin has neither! Let’s say he wins, he clears the vast majority of Ukrainians out, turning them into refugees. What self respecting Russian wants to move into a landscape that looks like it came from a Mad Max movie, with no running water, electricity, phones, sewers, water, cable, and nowhere to go to work, other than sweeping up rocks and glass from the streets? And if he wins, and installs a puppet government, what good does it do him? He inherits a bleeding broken land which can hardly feed itself, much less return a profit to Putin.

If Ukraine wins, and especially if Putin is fettered, or even better, removed by his own people, the world will jump in with both money as well as physical resources to help Ukraine to rebuild. And if Putin wins? What does he inherit? A post apocalyptic landscape that will take years and tens of billions to rehab, while he remains under crushing global sanctions. How does he even start with something like that?

But here’s the McGuffin. If Putin wins, he accidentally creates his own worst security nightmare internally. If he wins, he pushes Russia’s border with NATO back to the edge of Ukraine. But how does he defend it? There’s no electricity in major chunks of Ukraine, nor water and sewer service. How does he set up outposts and bases, especially when he’s stony broke. What Putin ends up with is a barren, largely uninhabitable landscape which, should Putin ever get feisty, the US and NATO could roll through in less than 24 hours, and be on the southwestern border of Russia itself. Stand up and take a bow, fool.

Putin’s invasion of Ukraine was nothing more or less than his overriding desire to recreate the glories of the former Soviet Union before he checks out. But instead, he made a total cock up out of it, and now he has no winning exit strategy, no matter what happens.


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  1. Supposedly Putin has something like 200 BILLION dollars in looted money. $200 BILLION will go a long way toward restoring Ukraine… so how do they seize it? This dick broke it, he BOUGHT it.

  2. Good point, Murf. But that’s only part of their problem. The other part is that they will not be able to control Ukraine under any conditions. They simply do not have the forces to occupy the country. There will be a bunch of Ukrainians shooting at the Russians from behind every hunk of rubble until they get out.

    • Exactly…But my main argument was that in his childish rage, Putin had made Ukraine worthless to anyone but Ukrainians. A self defeating prophecy…

  3. My mother’s latest theory is that Vladimir Vladimirovitch made his decision on the single biggest mistake anyone can make: believing Donald Trump. Specifically, he believed his little puppet on the state of Ukraine and none of his intel people dared to contradict that rosy scenario.

    Maybe some truth to that…all roads don’t lead to Putin. They lead to Ukraine. I used to think the Magnitsky Act’s removal was the grand prize expected from Trump. Now I think Ukraine was.

  4. Don’t admire Boris. He has loyalty to no one but himself. This s**t about caring for Ukraine? It makes him look good and distracts from the unaffordable cost of living in the UK, his disregard for the law that was Partygate and the crisis in unpicked crops because Brexit sent home the workers prepared to pick them. Ask the thousands of refugees who can’t get in to the country, despite his assurances that he wants to do all he can. He opens his mouth he’s either lying or spinning. I’m left of centre (just) in my politics and used to find Boris fun. Now I think he’s a disgrace and there are plenty like me who agree.

  5. I see a third reason for invading a neighbouring,peaceful country: (c) you are so blinded by narcissistic visions of imperial glory that all rational considerations are irrelevant.

  6. Or maybe Vlad the Slayer wanted to get rid of all his old military junk and used this war as a pretense to make it someone else’s problem, turn Ukraine into their junk yard. It’s what I think of when I see pictures of all these immobilized/trashed tanks and other pieces of metallic junk lying around. How are they ever going to get rid of all this crap? I also wonder about where they even begin to start rebuilding, what do they do with the piles of rubble that were once people’s homes, the buildings that are partially standing, but are clearly uninhabitable and need to be demolished? It all feels so overwhelming. It’s just a damnable shame and a waste, to have leveled this country for no good reason, to have murdered all those people for no good reason. Reparations, definitely, but my definition would go way beyond clean up and rebuilding. It would include making sure Vlad/Russia was never in a position to do this again. We’ve been putting up with Russian terrorism for how many years now? In Syria, Chechnya, Georgia, Crimea etc, and that’s not including the hacking and mind games of Brexit, our elections, messing with our power grid and who knows what else. Time to acknowledge it for what it is. Russia has been at war with us for years. We need to stop kidding ourselves about that. The KGB never ended, it just changed names and kept going.

  7. Putin is the lowest scum of the Earth, needless to say obviously, but now that he can actually see his fortune and all his useless checkbooks being locked away … not to mention, his and other’s incredible boy toy boats docked behind keep out signs, meaning ALL his Oligarchs will NOT be able to function as well … his heart rate must go off the charts when he begins to realize how tenuous and dangerous his surrounding office/home territory has become …

    Russian’s get-even methods usually end up being VERY painful, costly and drawn out … I wonder if the military will respond to a Putin nuclear order … his callous death of the majority of military troops and Generals for NO reason and a one sided war of NO value to Mother Russia seems that his top-down running of things is due for a major modification …

    Putin cannot even raise an expanded army, just now trying to bring back troops from retirement and completed duty … what the hell is he planning to offer these people in return for their new service ? Their army probably cannot even keep in fresh uniforms – no supplies to build new ones … oh, one other thing, the families of his own troops that he is burning with portable crematories, along with many Ukraine bodies … What the hell story is he going to tell about their dead and missing young people ?

    All the new troops he needs will NOT be trained or smart about field battles … Sounds like he is adding cannon fodder with NO intention to actually win this mess …

    Do you suppose he will know what that little click means as he walks up to his front door ?

  8. “either way, the object is to end up with basically a functional country to plunder.”

    If I were whole lot smarter than I think I am, I could have predicted this development, possibly as early as 2018. That was when I bought and played a hidden-object-puzzle-adventure computer game in which a couple of bad actors had decided to take over an empire. Of course magic was involved, so it wasn’t on the face of it an impossibility – as the player it was my job to stop them. First I had to identify them, then I needed to get there before them for several steps, the last of which was when they decided to poison the water supply of the entire empire. Of course, if they were successful, not only would there be no functioning empire, but they themselves would likely die from dehydration, if not from the poison. I actually laughed out loud at just how stupid that was, and have been snickering at the game developer who came up with that plot twist. But, after it became clear that Ukraine was no pushover, I went back and looked up the game, and then looked up where in the world the developer was headquartered. You guessed it. Russia. They were simply basing their game villains on their leader. I owe them an apology.


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