Dear Mr Macron

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I hear that you’ve proposed negotiations with Putin to end the war. And that a guiding principle in your approach is that what solution is proposed be devoid of any sense of ‘humiliation’ for Russia.
Very considerate of you. Worrying about Putin’s feelings.
Given that he conceived and ordered the atrocities now going on in Ukraine. The massive destruction of property and infrastructure, the killing of men, women and children.
All because he felt threatened by a neighbor nation’s desire for freedom, something he will not offer to his own people. It’s just too threatening for him to see fellow Russians aspiring to such lofty state.
But just how are we to deal with a brute like Putin impersonating the president of a nation?
If he signed an agreement to cease hostilities, should we trust his word?
No.
And why should we?
He invented that Ukraine is run by Nazis to justify the invasion, not that he needed an excuse. Just wanting to have his foot on Ukrainians’ throats was a good enough reason for him.
Oh, the virtues of having silenced his opponents. Dissident Alexei Navalny’s sentence just got extended and it is a safe bet that he will never go free so long as Putin is around.
But Putin has talents. Chiefly among them the talent to deceive.
He deceived the EU collectively, having said, ‘you can trust me on the energy supplies, I will always be there for you, so long – which he didn’t say out loud – so long as I’m allowed to do as I please’.
And the EU’s leadership bowed deeply, with much relief.
Understanding what happened to the EU’s leadership in dealing with Russia should be a top subject for discussion at centers that analyze international power relations. How was it that all those talented people failed to see the evidence?
Even a capable politician like you, at one point brought up the notion of ‘Finlandization’ for Ukraine. Echoes of WWII and after. Peace with the Russian bear in exchange for letting them have influence over Ukraine’s internal affairs. You caught flak for such proposal and quickly gave it up but the fact is you thought enough of the option to raise it.
I’m sure you’re wiser now.
Eventually the war will end yet Putin will not ask for forgiveness, will not apologize, will not acknowledge that he was ever in the wrong and forever believe, that those who sought to soften him up are weaklings. That is who he is. He simply does not get that freedom facilitates the development of our minds and spirits. He has not yet killed as many people as Stalin did but he is cut from the same cloth. Why should a man like that be exonerated in any way for the cruelties he’s inflicted?
Eventually, Russians will wake up. We all are hoping they do so sooner than later, but however long it takes, the wait will be well worth it if they come to realize how they lost their way, and how it took Ukraine to light up the path.

Oscar Valdes oscarvaldes.net, medium.com, anchor.fm, buzzsprout, apple and google podcasts

Putin Wants War

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Something about his inflated ego, courtesy of the docility of the majority of Russians who have tolerated his repressive rule.

The man has mobilized large numbers of soldiers and war materiel.

If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it’s a duck.

Putin has been further emboldened by the divisiveness he sees in the West, notably Germany and now Macron in France talking about the EU needing to formulate their own strategy, separate from the one of the alliance with the US.

An invasion of Ukraine would be a serious blow to the Free World. A country which has been urgently asking to join us in the West, being trampled on by a thug.

So far, about 14000 Ukrainians have died over the last few years in the Eastern section, as separatists supported by Putin challenge the democratically elected government in Kyiv.

But Russia wants more, regardless of the cost. They want the whole of the Ukraine. The annexation of Crimea in 2014 was not enough.

Putin believes he needs a war to ensure Russia’s security, but no one is threatening Russia. We, in the West, have plenty of problems to solve. Anyway, all they have is oil and gas but that can be had from elsewhere. The security crisis Putin speaks of is entirely his invention.

The US-EU alliance should not give in an inch to Russia.

And NATO should keep open the option for Ukraine and any other former Soviet nation to join them.

Any concession to Putin under threat of invasion is bad news. It would be read by the rest of the world, and China, as a sign of weakness.

We can’t afford it. Not now, not ever.

There are a lot of highly capable men and women presently strategizing how the West should proceed, but from a citizen’s point of view, it makes sense to put troops and materiel on the border with Russia. If you threaten us, we will respond.

And keep the troops there until he backs off, otherwise he’ll bring troops back and then we have to send them in again, making the West feel like a yo-yo.

The fact that Europe grew so dependent on Russia for their energy needs, i.e natural gas, speaks of a horrendous lack of foresight. Somehow, the EU did not factor in that a regime where a dictator has the boot on the throat of his people, with dissidents in jail or murdered, is likely to think they can push others around.  

Putin’s repeated abuses in Ukraine were not given the importance they required. And because of it the current crisis has occurred.

Putin wants war. The West needs to act like it’s ready.

Blunt talk from our leaders is essential. We need to know where we stand.

I read that in Ukraine, president Zelensky is choosing to say to his people that things will be okay. To be patient. I disagree. Ukrainians need to hear the truth. Just like we do.

Oscar Valdes.  Oscarvaldes.net.  apple and google podcasts, anchor.fm and buzzsprout