Putin pitch-slapping the West from now on?!
In personal conversations, and once even in a public debate, voiced my views on Russia and Mr. Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin (who are the same thing since 2001) and told them that at some point the conclusion in the last paragraph of this article was going to be inevitable, after which the West would be nothing but the runts of the pack, at the mercy of the Alpha male Vladimir!
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I have not voiced my thoughts on the Ukraine issue, or war as of today, before online because before today the reactions that I'd get would be "You're extreme", "you're insane", "Ukrainophobe" and "Russophobe" among others. Now that my predictions have turned out to be spot on I think that the reactions might be somewhat…more nuanced than they would've been yesterday.
So I thought, I'll put it all down into one article, get it off my chest, and be done with it!!
No, seriously, has the world gone braindead or something? Not only was this predicted and announced for years by Mr. Putin himself, but it is also Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin that has warned the west time and time again.
Now, I hear some of you rearing up on their hind legs like a frikking horse, going "BWABABWABABWABABAAAA", meaning something like that's not true. That Putin never said he was going to invade Ukraine and bla bla bla.
Pay attention now you... people I dislike somewhat.......
Well, all i can say to you people is this:
Mr. Putin himself!
It's a speech by Mr. Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin at an annual international security conference.…
FIFTEEN YEARS AGO!
And he's never made a secret of how he thought things should be and then has shown through his actions that he means it.
Only, back in 2007 with the world's attention securely focussed on Afghanistan and Iraq, the world's opinion on Russia and its power wasn't all that high.
Putin had been in charge for less than 7 years, having become president of a Russia that was systematically drained of all its assets, including military, after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Russia had nothing when Putin came into power. Almost everything that was not already obsolete was sold and everything that hadn't been sold was neglected in the years 1991-1999 (the Yeltsin years).
So when he came to power, the priority was to rebuild the Russian economy. The difficulty with which the Chechen war had been won and later the performance of the Russian armed forces in the Georgian war showed Putin that the Military forces that Russia was left with after the Soviet collapse were barely adequate for those relatively small and local conflicts and needed to be completely overhauled.
That the major military reforms of the Russian military were announced in 2008 was no coincidence. The Russian economy was back on its feet and thriving, and the funds for reorganizing, updating, and upgrading the armed forces were made available. (for more on those reforms: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_Russian_military_reform)
Since then, we've seen Russia actively taking actions to keep NATO from creeping closer to its borders. The war on Georgia was partly motivated by the desire to have Russian troops in Georgia as a deterrent and buffer opposing NATO that was already bordering Georgia having Turkey as a member nation.
Everything west of Yellow Russia is basically NATO now!
Who thinks that Russian involvement in Syria was solely motivated by anti-terrorism or the threat of Isis should take another look at Syria's location and pay attention to its northern borders in particular. You'll see that preventing the US from gaining the influence over Syria like it then had over Iraq, maybe even installing a western faced government, was as much a motivator as anything else.
When Ukraine seemed to turn, its face towards Europe by overthrowing the sitting, pro-Russian, president and government treaties were signed with the EU and there was talk of Ukraine applying for NATO membership, the first response I remember coming from a Russian was
"Ukraine will never become a member of NATO"
That was in 2014, and we all remember what happened then right? Crimea was annexed by Russia. Since then, the Russian Armed Forces have gone on to an even bigger modernization of its equipment than ever before.
Where military budgets have shrunk over the past 10 years, Russia has gradually increased its military spending. Putin also learned that at worst the West, ie. NATO and EU, will impose sanctions on Russia, and send a few token shipments of weapons to Ukraine. They will not send troops or send in their airforces to help Ukraine fight a war.
As a result, since 2014 the Russian economy has worked hard to cut its ties with the west in order to make itself as Sanction proof as possible. In December Putin decided they were as ready as they'll ever be and it basically gave an ultimatum to the west:
"Remove all NATO forces from eastern europe, and guarantee that Ukraine will never become a NATO member."
"And maybe you not believe pictures of my holiday wrestling Bear without shirt on, so look at border"
He gave that ultimatum power to the sum of 150.000 to 190.000 Russian troops massing at Ukraine's borders.
NATO kind of went:
"fuck you, Ukraine has the right to decide for itself if it wants to be NATO member, and the NATO forces in the former soviet states are there at the request of the NATO member nation's governments"
I can imagine Putin's expression when he heard that...
I can't for the life of me fathom the arrogance in the West for thinking that threatening with "Grave sanctions" would be enough to make Putin back down.
However foggy and complicated Putin has talked about it towards the Russian people to justify what he was doing. Towards the west, he's been very very clear. It all came down to 2 demands.
NATO troops removed from former Soviet states and
guarantee that Ukraine will never ever become a NATO member.
(and i'm sure that he'd be willing to talk about the first one)
Did anyone in charge in the EU and NATO really think that Putin had any other choice than what he's doing now after rattling his 150.000 troops strong saber for almost three months? How can anyone be surprised?
Even the Americans knew at least two weeks ago that Putin would go through with it if he didn't get his way, and have been predicting it was inevitable for the past 5 days.
Because the Russian military operations are going for the kill, and will not stop until Putin can go live on television from Kiev to basically say one sentence:
"I told you Ukraine would never ever be a member of NATO"
Unless the west actually does something, and I don't mean sanctions, that's what is going to happen. And I can guarantee that Georgia will suffer the same fate, and be returned into the warm embrace of mother Russia.
Sanctions will have no effect and amount to nothing less than appeasement. (and we know how wonderful appeasement works right?)
It will reaffirm for Putin that the west doesn't have the stomach to risk an armed conflict over anything less than its own survival, and will let Putin do whatever he wants as long as he doesn't threaten or attack one of them directly.
And however sad it is to have to conclude, the conclusion is inevitable.
Either Putin gets away with this, showing once and for all who's the real badass in Europe…
Or we go to war and send troops to Ukraine to fight the Russian invasion and prevent Putin from annexing Ukraine.
Thank you for reading this.
Stay safe and stay happy!