North Korea Shoots a Missile over Japan

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Kim Jong Un gets a call from Xi Jinping early in the morning.

Xi – Good morning.
Kim – You’re calling about the missile I shot over Japan.
Xi – Yes.
Kim – It went very well.
Xi – I’m not calling to congratulate you.
Kim – I see.
Xi – You’re a fool.

Pause

Xi – Suppose the missile had been loaded…
Kim – It was not.
Xi – Suppose it had been… and it malfunctioned, which we all know can happen… then it would’ve fallen on Japan. Then what?
Kim – It wouldn’t have happened.
Xi – Missiles malfunction… yours are no different. Please answer my question.

Pause

Xi – Were you there to inspect the missile before it was launched?
Kim – No.
Xi – Then any nuthead could’ve loaded it with an explosive… without you knowing.
Kim – We have strict security protocols…
Xi – Yes, and people willing to circumvent them.
Kim – No. They are fail proof.
Xi – When it comes to humans, there’s nothing fail proof.
Kim – Look, I had to do it.
Xi – Why?
Kim – The world forgets me unless I fire some missiles. Otherwise it’s you, and Putin and Modi and Biden, the English and the European Union getting all the attention.
And now Iran, with all the women protesting. You think they’ll be able to push out the ayatollahs?
Xi – I’m watching carefully. But let’s not get off track. Aside from your bombs and missiles, why are you not getting any attention?
Kim – Because we don’t produce much?
Xi – That’s right. I’m your main trading partner but if you ceased to exist, if you went up in a cloud of smoke, I could get everything I’m getting from you elsewhere.

Pause.

Xi – And it doesn’t have to be that way, does it?
Kim – I’m following a policy of Self Reliance, just like you are.
Xi – Yes, but we first opened up to the West so we could learn from them and then build on that.
They came, showed us what they have, we paid attention, learned, copied and became creative enough that we’re seen as the ‘factory of the world’.
Kim – But you had the huge market to entice the West, so their eyes widened with the expectation of riches… we don’t have that size market.
Xi – Look at Vietnam, they’re attracting more and more investors who are worried I’m getting government more involved in how Chinese businesses are run.
Kim – Vietnam is four times as large as we are…
Xi – That’s not it. You’re about the size of Taiwan and look at where they are.
Kim – I know what you’re saying… become more productive… open up to world markets… learn from them. Copy, steal, just like you did… and then create.
Xi – Yes.
Kim – But I’m afraid I’ll lose power.
Xi – The Communist party still rules Vietnam, and yet they’ve opened up and now they are richer and better educated. If your people are important to you, take some chances. Look, on October 16th, just 11 days from now, the 20th National congress of the communist party will convene. I am expected to be unanimously reelected for a 3rd term. And I forbid freedom of speech and have everyone on surveillance. Still, somehow, the people… most of them, are happy. So it can be done.
Kim – Congratulations.
Xi – Thank you. My point is you need to take chances.
Kim – The United Nations and America have put all these sanctions on me… because they don’t want me to have nuclear weapons…
Xi – They don’t trust you… but if you stopped the bomb building and let them in so they could make a ton of money, then, when the time came, you could say, ‘I’d like to get back to building bombs’.
Kim – That’s what you did.
Xi – We did our first nuclear test in 1964, well before the West came along. But they didn’t complain when we kept building them, after they came in. They were making a ton of money. Of course, we added that we needed to defend against Russia. Just in case. But times have changed.
Kim – Clever.
Xi – It’s politics. The key is to let the West make money. I think Putin failed on that. With the making of money comes the transfer of knowledge and other skills. Putin has the art of suppressing freedom, he’s got that down, but if he had let more western companies go into Russia and make lots of money, instead of favoring his inside group, then he wouldn’t have felt threatened. He would’ve stayed in power for ever.
Kim – You don’t think he will?
Xi – He’s on his way out. I hope it’s not violent.
I think you need to take the initiative and say to the world, ‘I’m putting all nuclear weapons development on hold. I will not do any more tests and will let UN inspectors come by and check. Please lift the sanctions.’ See what they say.
Kim – I would still forbid freedom of speech and keep high surveillance of the people.
Xi – Yes. You could say, ‘I’m trying the Chinese model’.

Kim laughs.

Kim – What do you think of Ukraine?
Xi – I’m worried about them. They’re making people think of liberty in a whole new way. Which is why I’m against them.
Kim – You think they’ve had an effect on the women in Iran?
Xi – Definitely. It doesn’t help that the ayatollahs are selling drones to Russia to kill more Ukrainians.
Kim – You think the Iran Nuclear deal will be revived?
Xi – The West would be fools if they did.

Oscarvaldes.medium.com

This piece was edited on 10/6/22, to include the time when China first tested a nuclear weapon.

Hate Russia?

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Two old friends, Pete and Sandy, get together for breakfast at a diner in Greenville, South Carolina.

Pete – Heard about the two doctors who got charged with conspiracy?
Sandy – No, I didn’t.
Pete – Read about it yesterday. They were working at a military base, I think in Virginia, and they contacted the Russian embassy offering to help.
Sandy – Oops.
Pete – Well, our intelligence services found out and had an undercover agent interview them. One of them was willing to provide medical records of soldiers to Russia to see if they could use them.
Sandy – That would’ve been the start…
Pete – It came out that they were disturbed by the hatred for Russia here in the US.
Sandy – How old are they?
Pete – Late thirties.
Sandy – Amazing. Do you hate Russia?
Pete – I don’t. I’m angry at them. Angry that they let themselves be bamboozled by Putin.
Sandy – It goes back to the implosion of the Soviet Union during Gorbachev… and their feeling diminished in the world stage as a result. Putin slowly worked up that sentiment… stoking hopes that one day they’d get it all back.
Pete – But they’d have to surrender their freedom.
Sandy – Something similar is happening in China today. Surrender your freedom today and one day – sometime in the future – we’ll be on top of the world.
Pete – But you won’t get your freedom back.

They laugh.

Sandy – Once given, it’s gone. You have to fight for it to get it back.
Like you, I am angry at Russians… how the majority has gone along with the massacring of Ukrainians. But they are waking up. The massive exodus of people wanting to avoid the draft has stung Putin. Yet he still has his supporters.
Pete – When will they get angry enough to remove Putin is the question, because they’re sure taking their sweet time.
Sandy – It’s going to take a while because they’ve identified with him… letting him sink his claws into them, as they yearned to be great again… even though other nations were passing them by in terms of economic growth. The US, China, Japan, Germany, India, the UK, France, Brazil, Italy and Canada, all have greater GDPs than they do. And it has to hurt because they know they have the human capital to shine, in addition to an abundance of natural resources. But they couldn’t break away from the spell Putin had cast over them. ‘We will be great again,’ kept chanting the sorcerer in the Kremlin, just stick with me. And most Russians went along.
Pete – ‘We will be great gain.’ Maybe that’s where our own sorcerer got that from.
Sandy – Probably. He loves Putin.
Pete – I hope our people get that.
Sandy – I’m an optimist, I think they have.
Pete – I’m not so sure. With what we saw on January 6th (2021), a clear attempt of Trump’s to install himself for a second term, we should have all stood up as one person, livid with rage at the blatant abuse of power. But that didn’t happen. Instead, there was significant opposition to the creating of the congressional committee investigating the incident, and there are many, many Republicans still in awe of the man. So something is very wrong in America.
Sandy – Putin saw that and chose to invade.
Pete – It wasn’t Biden pulling out of Afghanistan which gave him the impetus, it was Trump’s behavior and the free pass he got from a large number of Americans.
Sandy – You’re angry, Pete.
Pete – I am. And in spite of the sad spectacle of Republicans in both houses waiting for instructions from the sorcerer in Mar-a-Lago, there’s the possibility Republicans may hold both houses after the midterm elections. I can’t believe it. While we pour money to support Ukrainians fighting for their freedom, many here at home have tried to look the other way when one of our own has tried to negate the results of fair elections.
Sandy – The dissonance is alarming.
Pete – Yet you still think the majority is getting it?
Sandy – I do.
Pete – Immigration is an issue that needs to be fixed. Both sides have to sit down and come to an agreement. But compared to Trump’s attempt to usurp power on January 6th, immigration is child’s play.
Sandy – Maybe our differences will have to become even sharper before we sit at the table to try and build bridges.
Pete – They’re sharp enough.
Sandy – Inflation was expected in the wake of all the financial support Americans got for covid, but now it’s being held against Biden. The big picture is not seen.
Pete – If Biden wants to help democrats win in the mid terms he needs to campaign against Trump, how the man is a Putin admirer, and then give himself due credit for his tremendous role in forging an alliance with European nations to push back Putin. He has to do that. That issue is his. Trump could never have done what Biden has.
Sandy – We have to educate the electorate…
Pete – Good luck on that.
Sandy – So, do we hate Russia?
Pete – Of course not… but courage has been in short supply in their land… so they have to get it back. Meanwhile, we have to be mindful that we don’t lose ours.

Oscarvaldes.medium.com

Republicans Won’t Support Ukraine?

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I read yesterday that US representative Scalise from Louisiana had raised the question of continued support for Ukraine in its fight against Russia.
He would not commit to continuing with such support should Republicans win majorities in the House and Senate on November 8th.
It doesn’t take much imagination to realize that the gentleman is running for reelection.
He argues that the moneys spent on Ukraine’s fight for its survival should instead be spent on preparations to confront China’s rise and, generally, on other projects here at home.
Up until now it has been US support that has been the largest in defense of Ukraine. Europe, has contributed too, and the energy shortages and inflationary pressures have hit them the hardest. Yet, the western alliance against the brutal bullying of Putin stands.
Mr Scalise should wipe off his moral compass. It has got foggy. He can’t see clearly anymore. I’m assuming he once did.
But to threaten to withdraw funds from Ukraine is tantamount to saying, ‘Russia, go ahead and kill Ukrainians at will, do what you want with that nation.’
So, no, Mr Scalise, to withhold support from Ukraine now is the equivalent of appeasing Putin.
And Trump also, who’s known to be sympathetic to Putin.
Putin’s strategic mistake in Ukraine was not to have invaded while Trump was in the White House. If he had, he would have, likely, taken over all of Ukraine because they would not have had the means to defend themselves. And the world would be a poorer place as a result.
With the approaching mid term elections, president Biden has to make clear our support of Ukraine’s struggle remains a central issue.
Mr Biden’s exemplary leadership of the western alliance has Putin on his back foot and today, there is a good possibility Ukraine may drive Russia back to its borders.
I am gratified to hear that Ukraine will not respect Russia’s efforts to legitimize the territories it has grabbed from Ukraine by force. Putin has taken to insisting that any attack on those territories would be an attack on Russia itself. But we won’t fall for that lie.
President Biden and his administration are determined to keep supplying Ukraine with what it needs to fight the good fight.
He is fully aware of the enormous benefit the world and America have already derived from Ukraine’s heroic fight.
Ukraine’s valor has reminded us all of the effort needed to protect our freedom. The vigilance, the focus, the never lowering our guard.
These are critical times for our nation and the world. On January 6th 2021, a sitting American president chose to incite a riot to overturn the official result of an election that had defeated him by a wide margin.
Sadly, there are still those who believe his nonsense rhetoric. And even worse, that Trump holds influence over the minds of many confused Americans.
Apparently, he holds influence also over the mind of representative Scalise.
Dear sir, time to wipe off your moral compass. Mind you, those smudges may be hard to clean. But you should try.

Oscarvaldes.medium.com

Biden and Putin Talk

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Biden is in the White House, Putin is in his bunker.
They talk via a special channel using advanced Zoom technology and they both fill their respective screens.
While not visible, in the room with Biden are Kamala Harris, Antony Blinken and Jake Sullivan.
Two unnamed assistants sit near Putin.

Biden – It’s time to end this.
Putin – Are you speaking for Zelensky?
Biden – No… he speaks for himself.
Putin – What do you propose?
Biden – You pull back to behind your borders… and agree to pay reparations.
Putin – You’re mad.
Biden – You’ve just mobilized 300 thousand Russians to fight in Ukraine… 300 thousand men not well trained, and vulnerable to getting killed or maimed because they’re no match for Ukrainians… and for what?
Putin – I have a dream of a greater Russia… a Russia that will be respected everywhere… consulted in all important decisions…
Biden – You’ve had more than 20 years to do that… and you didn’t do it.

Putin lowers his eyes.

Biden – In those 20 years, China rose to become the second most important economy in the world… even though they were still denying their people the freedom of speech… but they let them create, invent, copy from the West which they were clever to invite in. But all the while in Russia, the power stayed concentrated on you and your oligarch friends. Now China is running into other problems which will limit their growth, but we won’t talk about that this moment.
Putin – I admit they have done better than us… but they’re not better than us… like you’re not better than us.
Biden – I agree… but we work hard to assure the freedom of all our people… citizens and residents… immigrants from all over the world who come in search of liberty and opportunity.
Putin – You’re a racist country.
Biden – We have been… and maybe still are… but we keep working on it.

The two men look at each other directly.

Biden – You started this war… not because you were being threatened… but because of envy… envy of all the nations which have surpassed you during the time you’ve been in power. So you invented this dream of a greater Russia to make up for all your blunders… and chose to sacrifice your fellow Russians. That is unforgivable.
Putin – Unforgivable?
Biden – There’s no way back.
Putin – I know that.

They pause.

Biden – You can’t bring back the dead, the maimed… the tears for whom will never dry.
And yet you go on TV the other day to say that representatives of NATO nations are threatening Russia with nuclear weapons. No one has said that. You invented it to justify calling for another 300 thousand people to join in your madness.
Putin – I am not mad.
Biden – I know… which gives me hope.
Putin – Hope?
Biden – Yes, hope that you announce to the world that this is over.

Putin laughs.

Biden – Admit that you made a colossal mistake out of envy… and that you deeply regret you have not made Russia a leading nation in the world… as your nation would have become… if they had been free.
Putin (to himself)- My dear Russia…
Biden – There is still time… time to act to redeem yourself.
Putin (pulling his head back as he closes his eyes) – That time has passed… I’ve killed too many people… destroyed too many things…
Biden – You could ask all the oligarchs you’ve made rich… to contribute four fifths of their wealth toward a fund to rebuild Ukraine.
Putin (shaking his head slowly) – They’ll kill me.
Biden – … and you could start by surrendering four fifths of your own wealth to set the example.
Putin (smiling) – You’re mad, Biden.
Biden – I’m sure there are better ideas to act on… but what is clear to me is that this is over. You can still insist on causing more damage, but it will get you nothing… and because it will be at the expense of your people, they will become less forgiving. Russia needs to breathe… you need to take your boot off their throats.
Putin – I still have my nuclear weapons…
Biden – What good will they do?

Putin lowers his head.

Biden – The West will never submit to you, or to China… or anyone. We will die for our freedom, like Ukraine is doing.
Putin – Ukraine is now part of the West?
Biden – Yes. You wouldn’t let them in, so they fought their way into it.
Putin – I won’t surrender.

Biden is silent.

Putin – There’s still a chance we could beat Ukrainians. Why won’t they let me keep Crimea, the Donbas?
Biden – Because it’s their land.
Putin – You didn’t say anything when I first took it…
Biden – It was another president… another time.
Putin – I’m not envious of America. You’re a mess… violent… racist…
Biden – … and free. The nation chose Trump as president in 2016… but didn’t like what they saw and didn’t reelect him. That’s choice. If Americans had reelected Trump in 2020, then you would’ve had no problem taking over Ukraine. Trump would’ve gone to your inauguration in Kyiv. But we didn’t reelect him and we won’t again.

Putin nods slowly.

Putin – I liked him… I should’ve invaded while he was president.
Biden – Missed your chance.
Putin – I won’t surrender.
Biden – Then the dead and the destruction will keep climbing… for what?
As destructive as you’ve been, you are still a human being… better die as a human being who acknowledged his humanity, than as one who never did.

Putin shakes his head.

Putin – I will not surrender. Russians love me. I am not envious. Russia will be great again.
Biden – Putin… Russians are scared of you… and that feeling is just sinking in in all those Russians you’ve just called to enlist. They’re now learning that because they didn’t stand up to you before… you own them.
Putin – I have more nuclear weapons than you do, more than anyone on this earth.
Biden – You can’t win a nuclear war.
Putin – That’s what they say but I will… and we’ll pick up the pieces… and we’ll be the greatest nation on earth.
Biden – Russians will stop you.
Putin – No, they won’t. Russians love me.

Putin pauses, looks tired.

Putin – I’ve had enough for today.
Biden – Should we meet again?
Putin – Maybe… I’m not sure… I’ll let you know… but maybe this will be our last meeting.
Biden – Please do what is right. If not, we will stop you. No matter how much pain we must endure.

Putin looks directly at Biden for a moment, then his screen goes dark.

Oscarvaldes.medium.com

Dear Russian

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Just learned that Putin has authorized that 300 thousand Russians be conscripted into the army. In other words, he’s giving you no choice. Just do as Putin says.
He’s ordering the mass enlistment because he’s losing the war in Ukraine. A war he started because he didn’t give a damn about Ukrainians and thought they would kneel before him and kiss his feet when he asked them to join a new and greater Russia.
Something like the Soviet Union but even bigger. Maybe to include all of Europe.
And as you know, or maybe don’t know, if you only watch television and avoid the internet, Russians are losing in Ukraine.
One estimate has it that there have been 80 thousand plus Russian casualties so far, from a total of 200 thousand he sent in starting on February 24th, hoping to quickly take Kyiv, the capital, and then march all the way to the West and South and celebrate a grand victory.
But Ukrainians didn’t cooperate. Instead, they put up a heroic fight in defense of their land, a feat we haven’t seen since World War II.
You see, contrary to what the television is telling you, Ukrainians don’t want to be Russian. They want to be Ukrainians and rule their own land.
Would you want China to invade you and tell you how to live your life?
Of course not. (although it could happen one day if you don’t keep your guard up)
The war has been a colossal tragedy.
Putin is getting beat by the Ukrainians but he’s saying, ‘Wait, I have more Russians willing to die for my dream of a great Russian empire. And after I use these next 300 thousand, I’ll enlist another 300 thousand if I need to.’
You get what I’m saying? That’s right. Your life means nothing to Putin. He’ll put a helmet on you, give you a gun and tell you, straight ahead, and kill as many Ukrainians as you can.’
You might want to ask, ‘what am I fighting for?’ And he’ll likely answer, ‘for a greater Russia.’
Eighty plus years ago Russia fought bravely against the Germans in World War II and helped turn around that war. Twenty million Russians died in that disaster. And you showed enormous courage, but you were fighting for your land. You weren’t taking another people’s territory (at least not at first, then Stalin decided to conquer parts of Europe).
There is a similarity between that war and this one in Ukraine. They were started by one man. One man who convinced millions of other people that they needed to offer their lives for his dream. Yes, Hitler and Putin have much in common.
But dear Russian, you do have a choice.
You can rebel. You can say ‘No! I won’t go into Ukraine to kill people who are fighting for the freedom to be who they want.’ You could say that. And say it loud so others can hear you. And Putin will put you in prison for not giving him your life to play with. But you will be alive. And if all Russians say ‘No! I won’t go fight Ukrainians,’ then Putin will have to back off.
That’s why it’s so important that you listen to your conscience. Do not believe what the government’s television is telling you.
You do have an enemy to deal with but it’s not Ukrainian.
Your enemy is Putin. The man you didn’t think you had surrendered to until he came asking for your life.

Oscarvaldes.medium.com

Dear Mr Biden. Ukraine

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Read an article earlier today on the heroic resistance that Ukraine put up at the beginning of the war which prevented Russia from taking control of Kyiv.
Titled ‘The Ragtag Army that Won the Battle of Kyiv and Saved Ukraine,’ by James Marson, it is a detailed account of the brave actions that some of the participants engaged in so they could stop an impending Russian occupation. Here’s the link https://www.wsj.com/articles/russian-invasion-ukraine-battle-of-kyiv-ragtag-army-11663683336?st=zx1dqhhndyr5z6z&reflink=desktopwebshare_permalink
The article captures the commitment of a people determined to not be vassals of another nation.
People from very different occupations came together to say to the Russians, ‘No, you shall not pass.’ And Kyiv was not captured.
As I read it, I felt that those men and women’s actions were speaking to all of us here in America, saying, ‘freedom is in the fight to defend what you value, freedom is in the fight to have your voice heard, in the fight to be respected and in the fight to learn to respect others.’
I couldn’t help but think that, no matter what else they do with their lives, those men and women will always be able to say that they stood up and offered all they had when their nation demanded it.
Their struggle for their independence is now in the 7th month. Thousands of lives have been lost with more to come. But today, because of Ukrainians’ will to fight and the enormous support they have got from the West, we can see that the end is near.
We should not think in terms of a protracted war.
We should think in terms of ending this war as soon as possible.
The recent advances by Ukrainian forces offer a great opportunity to accomplish this.
There is evidence of low morale in the Russian army, of incompetence and lack of commitment.
This is the time to strike hard against the enemy.
I do not see this war as a war against Russia but as a war primarily against Putin. And there is evidence that more and more people in Russia are gaining the courage to disagree with him.
Putin knows he’s headed for a defeat. He may or may not be able to stay in power after that.
But our task is to help Ukraine push Russia out of all their territory as soon as possible and to achieve that we should give them everything they need.
Will Putin use nuclear weapons?
I don’t think so. You have made it very clear that any such action will not be tolerated.
Putin does not want to be extinguished. He still sees some role for himself as an ally of China.
But when and if that happens, will be up to the Russian people.
A Free Ukraine has become a shining light for all the world to see and, I trust, an inspiration to Russia itself.
You, Mr Biden, have played a leading role in making it happen. Do not deprive yourself of the chance of seeing it in its full splendor.
This is the time to give to that great nation all the support they need.
We must not hesitate.

Oscarvaldes.medium.com

Push Russia Out of Ukraine

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This is the time to push Russia back and out of Ukraine.
Out of the Eastern section and out of Crimea as well.
This is the time to push Russia back to behind its borders.
Putin is losing the war.
Desperate, he’s now bent on targeting all of Ukraine’s infrastructure, bombing dams and power plants. If his missiles were to hit a nuclear power plant, that alone would create a radioactive disaster with regional and global consequences.
So this is the time to get those longer range missiles into action so Ukrainians can hit Russia’s supply lines and cripple their ground offensive.
The momentum is with Ukraine as winter approaches.
More people within Russia are speaking out against the war.
The EU has wisely shut down the issuing of visas to Russian citizens.
Russia’s shutdown of gas supplies to the EU in the hope of splintering the alliance is not having the expected effect. The EU has organized so they are creating efficiencies and helping each other if necessary.
China knows well that Putin is on the defensive and will voice support for him but they will not support a losing effort.
We in the West, meanwhile, must stay focused.
Zelensky is right. Russia can be beat and should be beat.
And what a difference that is from just before the invasion 7 months ago in February, when the world was filled with uncertainty about the outcome. Back then Putin looked like the grand strategist, the great master of geopolitics.
Today he’s reduced to the size of a retreating petty tyrant who’s responsible for massacring tens of thousands of Ukrainians and willing to kill even more if he gets the chance.
Putin has called prison inmates to fight in the war with the promise that, if they fight for 6 months, their sentences will be forgiven. He’s called in mercenaries, i.e. the Wagner Group (Russians), already on the ground. He’s flying drones sent from Iran, a theocratic dictatorship rife with corruption, which is more than eager to attack anything western.
What is remarkable in the face of all this chaos, is the power of the West to unite and focus on the task at hand.
A new balance of power is thus being created by the war. Not only is Russia being exposed as a deeply flawed nation, filled with shortcomings, but China, too, has lost standing in the world with their support of Russia’s losing cause.
Joe Biden, our president, and most of the leaders of the EU and England (former prime minister Boris Johnson) deserve great credit for their commitment to building an alliance. Hungary has remained pro Russian and Turkey has not joined in the sanctions against Putin. The Turks prefer to play both sides.
Now the West is close to a substantial victory. Putin will make threats to use his nuclear weapons but we should not be intimidated and stand firm. Russia must leave all of Ukraine.
Ukraine remains the unquestionable hero, the catalyst of this important realignment of forces, during which, Volodymyr Zelensky, their president, has kept his focus and determination.
Let’s give them the weapons they need and finish the job.

Oscarvaldes.medium.com

Meanwhile, in Syria, the dictator Assad, long reliant on Putin to repress his opposition, must be wondering if he shouldn’t start pivoting to China. Offer them land for a military base, for instance, in exchange for assistance quieting the rebels. ‘And it would be good practice, for when they decide to trample on Taiwan,’ says Assad to himself.

Why Putin Won’t Go Nuclear

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The recent advances by Ukrainian troops and their recapturing of territory has further raised the possibility that they may defeat the Russian army.
If so, how will Putin respond?
Some speculate that without a face saving outcome, without his having something to show Russians to justify the loss of life and resources, his political standing would be in jeopardy and he will be inclined to use nuclear weapons.
I disagree. I believe Putin has intimidated his countrymen so thoroughly that they will accept the losses. And if internal forces unite to remove him from power he will outsmart them and send them to prison with long sentences, like Alexei Navalny, if not underground.
He’s determined to die while in power and, barring some unmanageable illness, he’ll live for another 30 years. Sad for Russians but that’s who they’re choosing.
There’s another reason Putin won’t go nuclear.
China. Xi Jinping.
The chairman, who also wants to die in power, doesn’t want to get caught in the crossfire should Putin wish to go nuclear.
Xi, who’s closely following the recent developments, would be the first to remind Putin that Ukrainian flesh has become Western flesh.
The chairman will tell Putin, ‘because of their heroism in the battlefield, which your troops have not shown, Ukrainians have conquered the hearts and minds of the western world. They are now part of them. So, to put it bluntly, Vladimir, if you choose to use nuclear weapons on Ukrainians because you’re despairing that your soldiers can’t stop running back, and abandoning valuable armament in the process, it will not just be Ukrainian flesh burning with radioactivity, but western flesh. And the west will hit back hard… and they will tell me, Chairman, screw you, you’re an accomplice of Putin, you’ve had a hand in supporting him and his henchmen, so we’re going after you, too. So it won’t be only Russian flesh burning with radioactivity but Chinese flesh also… and how will I be able to explain that to my people?
And they’ll lose confidence in me and I won’t be able to rule until I die, like Mao did. I won’t be able to see China become the foremost power in the world, ten times superior to the Americans.’
Putin will hear this, if he hasn’t already, and decide to either militarize his entire nation, announcing that a new Hitler has appeared in Ukraine and Russia’s existence is in danger, so they must all remember their great WWII hero, Stalin, and fight again with the same tenacity they once did, or say to his people that the setback Russia has suffered is temporary and they now must regroup and plan their next assault.
Putin is a determined man. He will kill whoever gets in his way.
His nation has abundant resources but the West will need to learn to live without them. That is our challenge. Live without them so we can isolate him. And hope that Russians will one day awaken from their long sleep and retire their leader. Give him a pension and, as punishment, force him to watch video replays of all the destruction he’s caused. Roll by him the names of all the people who’ve died because of his actions. Russians and Ukrainians. Watch in the morning and in the afternoon. One hour break for lunch.
In the meantime, the recent Ukrainian advances tell us exactly what must be done.
Give those brave soldiers every weapon they need and let them drive Russia back to behind its borders.
We’re almost there.
We can win.

Oscarvaldes.medium.com

How Do We Lose our Freedom?

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Through intimidation.
How do we get it back?
Through confrontation.
(Is there room for persuasion? Of course. The earlier the better.)
So we should be keenly aware of any evidence of intimidation in our interactions with other human beings.
Make a note of it.
We must be aware also of a tendency in frightened human beings to identify with the aggressor. The frightened person takes their side.
We’re all vulnerable to being intimidated but the more aware we are of it, the more likely we are to recognize it.
Fear is a powerful force. In America, the second amendment gives citizens the right to bear arms. Will it make a difference if our civil liberties were to be endangered?
It will depend on the civic education of the bearer of arms.
A person with a proper civic education will clearly understand the importance of respecting other people’s rights even if he/she disagrees with their views.
Increasingly, though, in daily discourse, we see evidence that people with strong views on any given subject are intolerant of those who disagree.
The opposing parties don’t want to give in, which leads to the shunning of civil dialogue as a means to building bridges between the dissenting parties.
We’re doing too little bridge building in America today.
Too little of holding conversations with those with dissenting views just to get familiar with the arguments.
Even if no agreement is found, bridge building lets us learn about the other side and that is invaluable, for it informs us about their humanity.
The learning of freedom starts at home, with parents encouraging their children to speak their minds, to feel at ease in expressing their opinions.
‘What do you think, Nancy?’ ‘And what do you think, Tommy?’
‘I hear you,’ replies the parent, ‘And I think this and that.’
The foundation of dialogue is laid out at the dinner table, or in the after dinner chat.
The beauty of it is that the child internalizes the exchange and begins to ask questions about other things as well.
The benefit will extend to the classroom, where the child will ask better questions in class. And also in their interactions with friends.
And so the civic spine of a human being is formed. Step by step.
If children like that want to later become soldiers when they grow up, they will have a sense that their acquired powers are to be used in defense of freedom, not to suppress it.
And so the people of that nation will not be fertile ground to grow a totalitarian regime like in Russia or China today.

Oscarvaldes.medium.com, apple podcasts

Russia, Turn West!

Photo by Abdullah Ghatasheh on Pexels.com

This is the time. The time to break the chains that Putin has wrapped around your neck.
You are not the nation you could be.
You have the capabilities to stand as one of the first nations in the world, but you are not because to do so you need freedom, and freedom is not something Putin is willing to give you.
Your leader is determined to enlarge his personal power, not the power of the rest of Russians.
To do so he has chosen to invade Ukraine because they did not kneel before him.
That is what you are doing, Russia, kneeling before Putin because you do not dare to raise your voice.
You have gone so long without hearing your voice that you’ve forgotten what it sounds like.
That happens in dictatorships.
It is happening in your neighbor China, where Xi Jinping and his gang keep constant surveillance and restrictions on their citizens. They say that it’s in the interest of a greater future, when China will dominate the world. But freedoms restricted lead to impaired development in human beings.
Russia, you need to get back your voice.
The world needs you.
You went for centuries under the foot of Czars, then under Stalin and those who followed.
Only for a brief period, under Gorbachev, did you smell freedom, only to have it disappear under Putin.
Think of the enormous role you could play in world history if you chose to turn West.
You could choose whatever system of government you wanted. A system like the British have, or we here in America, or the French or the Germans or the Finns or the Swedes.
But you would be free.
Personally, I would be partial to a federal system of government that would make you the United States of Russia.
And you would enrich the world with all your talent and resources.
You would break out of the cultural isolation that Putin likes to keep you in because it suits his purposes.
And by turning West, then China would have to moderate its plans for world domination because they would become impossible to achieve.
This is the time to turn West.
For your development, for your economic growth and the realization of your potential as a nation.
Think for a moment of the cruelty that Putin has inflicted on Ukrainians and Russians. Sending them to their death because he has a dream of a larger Russia. But you are already large enough territorially. What you need is to unleash your talents, break out of you isolation and join the rest of the world fighting for democracy and the affirmation of human beings.
Russia, the world needs you.
This is the time to rise and retire Putin. Send him to his dacha for a permanent vacation.
Russia deserves to be all it can be and the world will be better off for it. Just do it!

Oscarvaldes.medium.com, anchor.fm, apple and google podcasts.