I have been thinking about how to capture current craziness that is unbearable, way up from the usual level of having been insufferable for the last five years. The problem with intelligent people, a saying goes, is that they think people think. This is demonstrably false for at least one half of the global population, venting their grievances, tribalism and anger in real blood baths or on virtual monsters called Facebook and many other names. Other media platforms, such as Fox Lies & Entertainment and the Russian TV 1 News are dedicated to the repetitive stoking of anger and hatred by all means possible. The incurious and lazy, make it 50 milion Americans and Russians - each - find comfort in this onslaught of familiar propaganda that reminds them of church sermons, drug highs and drunken stupor.
In this atmosphere of sweeping hatred and ignorance, the crazed, slighted vor (the Russian slang for a mafia thief), murderer and war criminal, President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, decided to attack Ukraine. No doubt he was prodded to undertake this fateful, irreversible action by the September 1, 2021, joint document between the Ukrainian and American governments. In this document, sponsored by the US White House, Ukraine was encouraged to join NATO, a real no-no to the imperial Russia, just like the Salvador Allende's democratic government in Chile was a no-no to the imperial America. A war criminal and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Dr. Henry Kissinger, was the author of the Chilean coup d'état in 1973, one of many in the US neighborhood. Kissinger's argument was that the US didn't want the "contagion" of democracy and resistance to US supremacy to spread in the Western Hemisphere. And spread it did not.
Please remember that the Ukrainian-American letter of understanding was signed on the highly significant date of September 1. In Poland, this date was burned into the collective memory of four generations of Poles. On September 1, 1939, Nazi Germany brutally attacked Poland from the west, south and north. Hitler dared to move his entire army to the east, emboldened by the German-Soviet pact signed 8 days earlier.
The German-Soviet pact consisted of two parts, one public and one secret. The public part was a non-aggression pact in which each signatory promised not to attack the other for ten years. The secret part of the pact was a protocol that established Soviet and German spheres of influence in eastern Europe. It recognized Estonia, Latvia, and Bessarabia as falling within the Soviet sphere. (About two thirds of Bessarabia lies within modern-day Moldova, with the Ukrainian Budjak region covering the southern coastal region and part of the Ukrainian Chernivtsi Oblast covering a small area in the north. The Ukrainian part is just south of Odessa and Mariupol. So what the czarist Russia gained and lost, the Soviets were to take over again. Now it is Putin's term to steal some more land for Mother Russia and most Russians are elated.) The Nazis and Soviets agreed to divide Poland along the line of the Narev, Vistula and San Rivers.
So Hitler knew that his faithful Soviet ally would commence an attack on Poland from the east roughly two weeks later. The 21-year old Second Republic of Poland was to be annihilated. My grandfather helped to resurrect that Poland after 150 years of partitions. He was an officer in the Polish army formed by general Piłsudski in the czarist Russia. (This was the first of three wars my grandfather fought with the Russians. He had advanced degrees in chemistry and physics and didn't want to be a soldier for life.) The purpose of the new Polish army was to help the badly failing Russian army to fight Germans. The Russians lost, the Bolsheviks took over, and immediately signed a non-aggression pact with Germany (rings a bell?). But the battle-hardened, intact and incredibly motivated Polish army rolled west and freed Poland from the Soviets, Germans and Austrians.
Thus, in 1939, the Soviet Union collaborated in starting the biggest slaughter of civilians in human history - 60 million people altogether. The Red Army contributed mightily to that slaughter. So the territories Stalin stole working with his best Nazi friends, Putin is setting out to "recover" from the Ukrainian "Nazis."
Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria, Лавре́нтий Па́влович Бе́рия, the all-powerful NKVD director until 1953, wanted to establish a lasting union of Nazi Germany and Soviet Union. His ambition was to partition the world, with Japan being a junior partner. Stalin, who was scared and mistrustful of the hyper murderous Beria, overrode him. Beria was kidnapped and executed by his fearful comrades just after Stalin's death. Beria's NKVD prepared for Stalin the list of 14,700 Polish soldiers, mostly officers, and 11,000 police officers and border guards captured by the Red Army after September 17, 1939, recommending their execution. His list was approved by the Politburo (Stalin) on March 3, 1940. The Polish POW were executed one-by-one with a pistol shot to the back of their heads between April 3 and May 19, 1940. The Russian executioners had to use German pistols from the German arms shipments to the Soviet Union. The Russian pistols were too flimsy and would fail. Stalin was cleaning up his stable before the anticipated conflict with Germany. My wife's uncle, lieutenant Stanisław Paulisz, was likely one of these murdered Polish officers. He disappeared without a trace fighting Russians in eastern Poland. A partial list of the Polish victims is here.
Do you see the irony of current Russian propaganda, enthusiastically embraced by the Russian serfs and well received in some whataboutist circles in the West?
In summary, before you condemn Ukraine and the United States, please keep in mind that Russia is never to be trusted, ever. And the Ukrainians want nothing as badly as to stay away from the murderous Russian oppressors. So let's talk about Ukraine that is being looted, raped and murdered right now.
As every ruthless, murderous dictator, Putin is spectacularly misinformed. His underlings tell him lies, simply because they are too scared for their skins and privileges to act otherwise. Putin is proceeding like any infallible, deified Czar of All Russia (the Big Brother in the "1984" terminology) would. The implementation of his decisions is left to the princes (generals and oligarchs; the Inner Party members in the "1984" terminology) and boyars (members of the military, oppression and propaganda apparatus; the Party members). The narodnost' (the little people; "prols" in the 1984 terminology) and especially muzhiki (the peasants, villagers in small remote locations) have nothing to say and must follow orders from the boyars or else (yes, they can be killed on the spot or imprisoned). This is how the Russian society has worked for eight centuries. What made me aghast is how little Russians have changed in the last 100 years, including a brief, sad interlude during which the prols could actually act somewhat independently. That fleeting feeling of freedom scared the prols silly and they ran away from not being ordered around as fast as they could, straight into the strong arms of Father Putin.But what makes an ordinary Russian conscript today so cruel and greedy? To answer this question we need to go back 130 years, to the works of Maxim Gorky.
- Europe, including Norway, Sweden and Finland, has been united and pushed back into the American orbit. No one but the foolish, crazed Putin would be able to achieve such unity and increases of military expenditures.
- Australia, South Korea, New Zealand and Taiwan have redoubled their ties with the US.
- Ukraine has become a mortal enemy of Russia that will not be able to hold on to its territorial gains. There will be a bloody, Afghanistan-style insurgency, we (the US) will maintain alive with superior weapons that will kill thousands of Russians and Ukrainians.
- The global economy is over; the costs are raising everywhere and there is no going back. This is also very bad news for China, right on the heels of locking up 26 million people in Shanghai, because of COVID.
- For a brief period, China and Russia will emerge as allies, like the Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. This alliance will fall apart, because China wants to subjugate Russia economically, but Russia views itself as a primitive force of nature, an empire destined to rule over 12 time zones.
- Green technologies and efforts to fight the ever-accelerating global warming will be largely ignored, while we mine more coal, crude oil and natural gas to keep warm and keep lights on.
- The world is closer to the brink of extinguishing the human race and all else by an accidental or otherwise nuclear war. The fools here, make it 100 million Americans, are cheering the prospects of a nuclear war "there." The Russian fools (2/3 of the population or another 100 million people) are shouting symmetrically, let's "nuke the Americans." This attitude is as dangerous as it gets.
|This expression of my distraught is dedicated to the distinguished Member Persons (They/Them) of the New York Times Editorial Board. BTW, have you noticed how other countries with real existential threats elect young intelligent leaders, while we in the US elect geriatric mummies with dementia?|