The righteously indignant and the Do Gooders are all singing from the same hymn book asking for more interventions from the US and NATO in the Ukrainian war. The most persistent demand is for NO-FLY ZONE, an artifact that was created by Bush number one in Iraq during the First Gulf War. It did not protect the Kurds from Saddam's mayhem and slaughter as was its purported purpose. Saddam just sent in his ground forces under Chemical Ali into the historic Kurdish city of Halabja. We know the rest.
The Righteously Indignant are the people who are suffering the brunt of the war. The innocent civilians, the overwhelmed Ukrainian army trying to defend their country and the children and mothers who may never see their world in good order ever again. They cry out for help, they cry out for the war to end and they want their lives go back to normal. They are seeking help, any help from the world and especially the US and the NATO. No matter the cause of the war, the suffering is real and it is destroying a country and a culture. But, No-Fly Zone for one country, um, No way. Before you lose your marbles read on a bit.
Before I bang on about the "what and what nots" of this terrible war and what we can and should do let us deal with the Do Gooders These people are masters of NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard). They sip their skinny lattes, get offended by tweet insults, and vocally want affordable housing for the poor and so on. Unlike the Righteous they are simply giving into an arousal from hearing their own dribbly-drabbly voices. They want No-Fly Zone but they are unwilling to assess what happens after the NFZ goes into action. DGs talk a great game but they are mostly "Talking Guys" without any action to back up the talk. They will loudly argue for affordable housing for the poor but will vigorously resist affordable housing initiatives in their neighborhoods. All of California and New York give us NIMBY in action. So, the war has brought together the RIs and the DGs. Is there any way we can find a way out of this world class debacle?
Let me address why no to NO-FLY ZONE. I will just quote a better authority than anyone else on earth. It is none other General Mark A. Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States. He answered to a question from a reporter, ah, these guys are always ready with one or hundred dumb ass questions. Anyway this is his answer, "If a No-Fly Zone was declared, someone would have to enforce it, and that would mean someone would have to go fight the Russian Air Force". He goes on to make some more politically correct Pablum, but implications are clear. The risks of starting the Third World War (a nuclear one) is real and palpable. So, NO-FLY ZONE is a non-starter precisely because Russia is different. Yes, Peeps listen carefully, Russia is different. It is by far the world's largest nuclear power with thousands of strategic and tactical nukes and Vlad the Impaler is its undisputed ruler. Imposing a NFZ in Iraq or all of the Middle East, creating dangerous escalation are in a day's work. Who cares if some mullah straps on a suicide vest and kills off a few thousand people? Thoughts and prayers for all, bring on the biriyani and the NFZ on some tin pot dictator. But, cannot do the same thing against Russia because that could create a possible ELE (Extinction Level Event). The planet earth will be the bet if we go there. Are the DGs ready to go there? I think not.
Why do we have this terrible war in 2022? It all started with the dissolution of The Soviet Union in 1991. The Soviets mismanaged their economy and witnessed the subsequent destruction of the very core of the statehood. The whole country was taken over by criminal gangs, overnight kidnapping entrepreneurs and of course the Russian Mob in cahoots with the Sivoloki (the officialdom). I was in Moscow around 1993 trying to drum up some business for my then Telephony business. But, the randomness of violence and events just made it impossible to get to a destination let alone do some business! I have never before or since felt so unsafe in a place. This is coming from a guy who saw the 1971 Bangladesh shooting war up close and personal. Anyway, the West (read America) was drunk on power. In the minds of Republican administrations a great victory has been won and bear was near death. As opposed to finesse, the western world decided to follow the mantra, "kick 'em while they are down".
Thus began a weird stratagem of NATO expansion eastwards. As opposed to working with the rump states including Russia the West decided to grease the poking pole and poke the bear. As the readers here probably know, China's foreign policy and its stance is dominated by the desire to rectify the hundred year humiliation that British and other colonial powers imposed on China. Remember, the opium wars! By simply trying to cage the Russians because they were economic dolts the West created a neo-humiliation for a proud people. Putin wears the humiliation and the desire to get even on his sleeve.
If the events after the dismemberment of the Soviet Union was not enough, the task of seeding the war in 2022 was completed by none other than George W. Bush in 2008. Nush (Dubya) has caused more deaths and pain since the days of Chengis Khan. Dubya Khan (as I call him) ignored all academic and sensible advice and started courting the erstwhile satellite Soviet states and the neighboring ones too. Dubya dangled the membership of NATO with its Article 5 protection. This was done in the backdrop of a resurgent Russia in 2007 and 2008. Putin was well on his way to address the little humiliation. You just have to look at Grozny, Chechnya to see what that looked like. But, the Western hubris and arrogance won the day.
This is a little blurb from NATO official bulletin in 2008: "At the Bucharest Summit, NATO Allies welcomed Ukraine's and Georgia's Euro-Atlantic aspirations for membership and agreed that these countries will become members of NATO.
They also agreed that both nations have made valuable contributions to Alliance operations and welcomed democratic reforms in Ukraine and Georgia.
The Membership Action Plan (MAP) is the next step for the two countries on their direct way to membership.
Allies made clear that they support Georgia's and Ukraine's applications for MAP. Allies also said NATO will now begin a period of intensive engagement with both countries at high political level to address the questions still outstanding regarding their MAP applications. NATO Foreign Ministers were asked to make a first assessment of progress at their December 2008 meeting."
Well, Dubya and his lying cohorts had no intention on following through with the MAP for Ukraine and Georgia. So, there was no MAP and Georgia and Ukraine got worst of both worlds. No NATO and eternal enmity of the Russian state. Regardless of the action, Russia saw this paper overture as a mortal threat. Something like how the USA would feel if Russia built an ICBM facility in say Mexico or Toronto. The Monroe Doctrine will ensure that there is a war to the end of time. The 1823 principle articulated by President James Monroe says, any intervention by a foreign power in the Americas is a hostile act against the United States. Hence, we had the Cuba crisis and many regime change operations in Central and South America. Putin also has an undeclared Putin Doctrine. No hostile act in Russia's backyard. So, Putin went to war with Georgia and now he is destroying Ukraine.
I am not sure how this war will end. I was certain that Russia will not invade but here we are. The most likely outcome is a prolonged Russian occupation of parts of Ukraine with a determined insurgency for years. There was a possibility of negotiated settlement but the invasion, the elevation of Zelensky to a war hero and continuous flow of war material from the West make it more likely that we are facing a long and grinding conflict. The economic impact on the rest of world will be significant. Russia and Ukraine together supply 25% of the world wheat supply. Countries in the Middle East and Africa depend on the grain supply from these two countries. Egypt gets almost all of its wheat from Ukraine and Russia. As usual the poor will suffer the most.
Here are some short and longer terms things we can do:
1. Work like the Devil to reduce dependence on Oil and Gas. This may include nuclear power, solar and wind. Maybe even short term and clearly defined sunset date for Oil and Gas production bump.
2. Exempt wheat and other food supplies from sanctions and ensure safe passage for food supply.
3. Address root causes for Russian aggression and move NATO back from the Russian borders. We need not worry about Russian dominance. It is 4th rate economic power with GDP smaller than the state of New York and not an innovative bone in the body politic.
4. Create non-military economic cooperation trading block with Ukraine, Georgia and Baltic countries.
5. Make China a peacemaker as opposed to an enemy at this time.
I am sure none of these will be implemented. We will do what we have always done. Go blindly into yet another war, bring humanity to near extinction and snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Oy Vay!
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