The Little Tyrant Has Put the World On Alert.
After my previous posts touched on serious topics, I thought I would lighten things up this week. Then, my prediction regarding the Russians invading Ukraine unfortunately came to fruition. For various and personal reasons, and without diving into politics or religion, here is my take on the invasion of Ukraine. Do I have a level of bias? Yes, I do, as my family lineage includes Ukraine.
- We will start with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Made up of the republics of Ukraine, Georgia, Belarus, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and Uzbekistan, the Soviet Union’s demise was fueled by a substantial number of radical reforms. At that time, the Soviet Union’s president, Mikhail Gorbachev, had followed the paths set by Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin, with totalitarian controls including administering over all industrial activity as well as controlling most aspects of political and social life.
Late in 1991, after a never-ending bad economy, the repressed and frustrated republics of the Soviet Union, one by one, declared their independence from Moscow and the Soviet Union. Gorbachev, under immense pressure, resigned on Christmas Day of that same year. Many governing protocols with the former republics were initiated, but one ended up sacrificing tremendous leverage.
Though Ukraine inherited a large number of nuclear weapons after the Soviet Union’s collapse, three years after declaring themselves an independent country, they decided to fully denuclearize under the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, which offered Ukraine security assurances from the United States, the United Kingdom, and Russia. It is now obviously clear, that twenty-eight years ago, the Ukrainians could not foresee the impact of their decision to forego their nuclear weapons. The Budapest Memorandum was authorized at the highest level by the heads of state with the implication that Ukraine would not be left to stand alone to face the threat and onslaught that started last week.
There are a few reasons that Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, decided to invade neighboring Ukraine. None of the reasons coming out of Moscow are valid, including Putin stating that this his war on Ukraine is a peacekeeping mission, a “denazification” of the country. This is simply a ‘power grab’ by a narcissistic henchman who shaped his persona as a long time KGB operative and FSB leader. There is no doubt that his insecurity stems from Ukraine’s alliances in the West, and the idea that another neighboring country being a NATO member unnerves him, but what type of leader invades another sovereign country? I’m sure the ‘napoleon complex’ plays into his thought process, a so-called leader of Russia with the following on his resume:
- The murders of Putin’s critics, including Boris Nemtsov and Anna Politkovskaya. Nemtsov attempted to expose corruption involving Putin and the state-controlled natural gas conglomerate Gazprom.
- Imprisoning hundreds of dissenters due to their political beliefs.
- Supporting the murderous regime of Syria and their president, Bashar al-Assad.
- Instigating the Russia-Ukrainian War early on in 2014, centering on the status of Crimea and parts of Donbas, republics that were internationally recognized as part of Ukraine.
- Kickback schemes and unqualified elections.
- The poisoning of anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny.
Last week’s invasion of a sovereign country, as I stated last week, has shocked financial markets and energy derivatives. The harm already done to Ukraine and its citizens is incomprehensible. NATO is frozen, with Article 5* in place, afraid of the ramifications of escalation. Putin is a tyrant, unstable, and has put the world on alert. * The most serious section of the treaty is Article 5, which is known as the “commitment clause.” Within this clause, every member of NATO agrees that it will consider an armed attack against any member state, whether in Europe or North America, as an attack against all 30 members of the organization.
Putin must be dealt with by whatever means necessary to end this invasion – yes, by whatever means necessary. This situation reminds me of two favorite quotes from former United States General Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr., who also served as the commander of the United States Central Command: “You can’t help but… with 20/20 hindsight, go back and say, look, had we done something different, we probably wouldn’t be facing what we are facing today.” “I believe that forgiving them is God’s function. Our job is to arrange the meeting.”
- On a brighter note, we are two weeks from the start of daylight savings time, March Madness gets going soon, the NBA and NHL seasons are in their late stages, and Major League Soccer’s 27th season kicked off yesterday. Godspeed to all Ukrainians and others whose lives have been turned upside down.