Zelensky, Trump and Biden

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It wasn’t that long ago that Trump, while president, was suspected of putting pressure on Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s leader, to provide information on Biden’s son Hunter, who had held a senior position in a Ukrainian energy company. Trump was suspected of dangling before Zelensky, the promise of arms shipments, so Ukraine could hold off the better armed Russian separatists in the Donbas area – a fight being waged since Putin’s first invasion of Ukraine in 2014, when he annexed Crimea.
The matter led to the first impeachment of Trump.
Trump had feared, correctly, that Biden would end up being his adversary in the 2020 elections and he wanted something he could hold against him.
It wasn’t long ago either, that in a television show, Biden was asked by the host, ‘Do you think Putin is a killer?’ And Biden answered, ‘He’s a killer.’
Contrast that response with the one Trump gave to a reporter on July 16th 2018, in Helsinki, Finland, when asked about Russian interference in the US elections in 2016.
Reporter Jonathan Lemire asked, ‘Every US intelligence has concluded that Russia did (interfere). Who do you believe? Would you now, with the whole world watching, tell president Putin… would you denounce what happened in 2016, and would you warn him to never do it again.’
To which Trump answered, as Putin stood a few feet away behind another lectern,
‘My people came to me, Dan Coats came to me and others, they said they think it’s Russia… I have president Putin… he just said it’s not Russia. I will say this… I don’t see any reason why it would be… I have confidence in both parties… I have great confidence in my intelligence people… but I will tell you that president Putin was extremely strong in his denial today.’
(Questions and answers as reported by the New York Times and The Washington Post)
Ah, yes, the beauty of previously recorded statements. You can’t hide from them.
So much has happened since then, and so much has made clear that Trump didn’t have a clue as to who Putin is.
Putin played him.
The majority of the American people saw the dysfunction, and in November 2020, chose Biden as president by a comfortable majority. It took Democrats and enlightened Republicans to put Biden in the White House.
But Trump still couldn’t believe it, so he egged on his faithful into the abhorrent assault on the Capitol on Jan 6th 2021, and on democracy itself, claiming the election had been stolen from him.
It led to a second impeachment, which also failed, given the slavish followers he still keeps in Congress.
In a short period of time, Volodymyr Zelensky has become an admired world figure while Trump’s image has tarnished and is fast eroding. And yet he still has Senators and Representatives begging for his endorsement.
But where would we be if Trump had been reelected?
Putin would have invaded Ukraine and taken it over completely. Putin might have had the audacity to invite Trump to his coronation in Kyiv.
There would have been no strong American leadership to unite the West in opposing Putin and
no arms shipments would have flowed to the Ukrainian resistance.
Fox News would have carried on about how far away those people are, and that Russia needs their sphere of influence, and what business is it of ours, anyway.
Brave Ukraine would still have resisted but they would have been slaughtered.
China would have nodded in approval and accelerated their plans to invade Taiwan, since it had become clear that America had lost its nerve.
And the world would not be what it is today.
Knowledge of character matters. Clear eyed leadership matters. Building alliances make a difference.
Because Biden and his team, saw through Putin, he was not fooled by the Russian.
His leadership of the West is now ushering in a new era.
Ukraine’s heroic resistance, with the support of the West, have exposed Russia’s military flaws.
The prospect of Russia’s defeat in this war is now more likely than ever.
Ukraine will be rebuilt, become a sterling example of democracy and a member of the EU and NATO.
Russians will have to reexamine why they supported a despot for as long as they did.
And yet, here at home, despite Biden’s extraordinary triumph in the world arena, the democratic party is expected to lose the mid term elections this November. Go figure.
Inflation and immigration are touted as the main reasons.
Republicans are rushing to blame inflation on Biden, saying that the covid assistance he provided was too large and arguing that inflation will not be tamed anytime soon.
I disagree. Inflation was inevitable, considering the dimensions of the pandemic. And I don’t think it will dampen growth significantly or for as long as others predict.
Meanwhile, our status in the world has jumped and with that comes an economic boost.
As to immigration, it has been a recurring issue in our nation. Its benefits are clear to most of us. Keeping ourselves open to the world is essential. The task ahead is to empower Americans who feel they’re being left behind. And the only way to do that is to motivate and assist them in becoming more productive and to earn more.
The war in Europe will likely be over by the end of the year if not before and I’m betting the West will win.
It will be a great triumph.
Biden and the democrats need to sell it to the voters because it is a remarkable accomplishment.
The fact that the majority in the Republican party continues to praise Donald Trump, is a sign of how destructive blind following is.
Holding on to the House and Senate in November is still possible.
And Biden and the democrats deserve a victory.

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

For the Love of Russia

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The invasion will continue. I see no signs that Putin is about to relent.
The mounting number of dead and maimed, the growing destruction in Ukraine, will not stop him.
In his obstinacy – his unremitting cruelty – he is telling us that the West no longer matters to him.
He is counting on China for support. And on all those other countries that have chosen to side with them.
Putin’s actions are making clear the division in our world. On the one side China-Russia and their followers, on the other the West.
Meanwhile, shortages will worsen, inflation will increase while economic growth will likely decrease. For now.
But there’s always room for the unexpected.

Here’s Putin in his bunker on Sunday afternoon.
Just the day before he addressed a stadium filled with his supporters. He spoke to them for five minutes and reminded them of the absolute necessity of invading Ukraine. That nation was threatening all Russians. He was forced to act.
He is sitting at his desk. On the wall in front is an array of video monitors tracking the progress of the war. A bank of multi colored phones lies within easy reach.
On one of the screens the image of President Zelensky appears. It is a clip of Zelensky’s address to the British parliament a few days earlier. The audio is muted. Putin has replayed it several times already.

‘To be or not to be, he told them. What a joke. This man, this… nothing… that’s what he is, nothing at all, believes he can defy me. But I will squash him. No, not that… that’s too easy.
Instead, once I capture him, I will put him on trial for genocide against the Russian speaking people of Ukraine, and for being a Nazi. He says he’s Jewish, but I know he’s a Nazi.
How dare that man become a symbol of bravery while I, me, yes, Vladimir Putin, after all I’ve done, become a symbol of cruelty to the world. But it’s all disinformation. All of it. I am right, everyone else is wrong.
And I will kill, kill, kill until all of Ukraine is mine. Every corner of it.
Biden calls me a war criminal. What does he know.
I will join with China and together we’ll crush America.
But first… yes, first… I must have all of Ukraine, dead or alive. I don’t care.
My troops are now advancing again. And I’m firing more and more missiles, to destroy their towns and schools and hospitals. Everything that stands.
He wants to talk, says Zelensky. But there’s nothing to talk. I’ve already made it clear that I need total surrender. Everything.
And if he doesn’t surrender… if my army is not enough… then I’ll drop a bomb on Kyiv. A big, fat, nuclear bomb… and I’ll flatten that city. And I’ll demand an immediate unconditional surrender or I’ll drop a second nuclear bomb, on Lviv.
And Russians will love me… and the Chinese too… yes… they all will. And we’ll start all over again in Ukraine. Like the Japanese did. In fact, I’ll help write their new constitution’.

Meanwhile, in a suburb of St Petersburg, in the basement of an apartment building, a group of Russian officers have gathered in a secret meeting that is now drawing to a close.
There are seven officers gathered in a circle, facing each other. Three of them are women. The meeting was convened by officer Y7X – his code name – who now addresses the participants.
Officer Y7X – ‘His actions do not represent the essence of our country. We invaded on February 24th and we have not even seized Kyiv. Instead, we’re killing civilians, women and children. How are we going to explain this to our heirs? How will our nation explain it to history?
We are a strong and smart country. We were the first in space, we have made important contributions in the arts, in science, in industry, but under this man’s leadership we have come to worship weapons above all else and to lend support to dictators everywhere. We have lost our purpose’.
Officer Y9G – ‘It is the moment to act. We’re all conscious of what’s at stake. And the personal risks we run’.
Officer Y4M – ‘This may be the last time we see each other. But we have made our choices’.
Officer Y5Z – ‘We may yet prevent the use of chemical weapons or worse, of nuclear ones’.
Officer Y2Q – ‘The odds are against us succeeding, I believe we are all aware of that, and yet we know we must proceed. If we fail, we commit to not betraying each other’.
Officer Y8H – ‘Conscious as we are that, should we fail, the actions we are about to take may never be made public’.
Officer 76D – ‘And that neither our spouses nor our children will ever learn of them’.
Now officer Y7X stands and holding up his clenched fist says, ‘For Russia!’
They all stand and repeat in unison. ‘For Russia!’
Each officer embraces every other member of the group and one by one, with intervals of a few minutes, leave their location.

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

Momentum Has Changed in Ukraine

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The West has shown surprising resolve in sanctioning Russia.
Ukrainians are fighting bravely for their land.
Protests against Putin are mounting worldwide.
The sight of a superior army attempting to trample over a smaller nation has raised the ire of humanity. It is the big bully murdering people with impunity. Soldiers and civilians alike.
And still he marches on, unrepentant, completely sure of himself, thirsty for even more blood.

He will not stop until Russia controls all of Ukraine, no matter what the cost in lives.
A man like him cannot live with defeat.
He has consented to talks with Ukraine in neighboring Belarus for the sake of appearances, but he will not cede ground and instead demand complete acceptance of his terms.
He lies constantly and apparently believes his lies too.
The West should not relent in the pressure it is applying on him.
Ukraine should make no concessions whatsoever.
Putin invented the reasons for this war and will have to pay for the blood he’s spilled.

The West should up the sanctions all the way, applying them in the energy sector by stopping the purchase of Russian oil and gas.
There is a good chance that, with the heroic resolve of the Ukrainian people and the assistance from the West, Putin will be pushed back and defeated.
Anything short of the complete victory he had in mind would be a political defeat for him, with repercussions of consequence at home.
Russia under Putin needs to be isolated.

There is the strong possibility that the Russian people will awaken from their stupor to realize the folly of being led by a man who is obsessed with amassing personal power. A man who, for the sake of his aggrandizement, does not hesitate to kill innocent people, whether Ukrainian or Russian.

He has been able to manipulate the Russian media to suit his ends but gradually the truth will surface and the Russian people will react.
But the West needs to keep up the pressure and increase it.
Cutting off purchases of Russian oil and gas would do so.

It will cost us too but the West has today a great opportunity to change the balance of power in the world.
With relentless pressure in the battlefield and in the markets, it could well be that Ukraine will become the graveyard of Putin’s dreams of grandeur.
Russia deserves far better than what Putin has delivered.
Fight on!

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

Wake Up Russia!

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Your leader is massacring Ukrainians.
By choosing to invade their country he has given license to kill innocent people.
Men, women and children.

Your country was not being threatened but your leader, who does as he pleases because few object, came up with the idea that he was being threatened and so he thought he must give the order to kill Ukrainians.
He could do so because most Russians have been silenced.
Silenced by fear.
All of us pay a price when we allow others to intimidate us.
That is why it is so important to respect free speech. To hold free elections.

But year after year of your leader being in power – since 1999 – the Russian majority has chosen to be quiet.
And now all of us pay the price. Not just you but Ukrainians and the rest of the world.
You are not alone in your passivity.
In China, a section of the country has cheered on the invaders, celebrating the killing of Ukrainians by your leader.
They too, like you, have yielded to fear for they have neither free speech nor free elections, but they cheer on invading Russian troops in the belief that by doing so they get to turn fear into courage.

Ukrainians know better. They know their freedom has a price. And in refusing to be governed by Moscow – refusing to have to answer to your boss – have put up an heroic resistance against a superior army and vowed not to yield.
Their president, Volodymyr Zelensky has been leading the effort. If he were ever to doubt that he had the strength to do so, he need only look to his grandfather who was a soldier in the Russian Army in World War II.
Ukrainians’ valor has marked this moment in history and the nation has become the pride of our world.

Because the murderous invasion of Ukraine has not gone according to plan and their people are fighting back, now your leader speaks of setting your nuclear forces in high alert.
But the West will not be intimidated. We will not stop sending arms to the Ukrainian resistance and one day they will be proud NATO members.
The pain inflicted by your leader will not be forgotten.

I know there is a core of dissenters in your country. That men and women with enormous courage have chosen to defy your leader and have suffered or have been killed or exiled because of it.
But the number of dissenters must grow. The protests have to increase.
The abuses of a man who does not listen to his people must be challenged.

For a nation to thrive there must be an open dialogue with its leaders.
You need to fight to have that dialogue.
Look at Germany. Until a day ago it was unwilling to send arms to Ukraine. But protests mounted and they have now changed course. They have committed to aid brave Ukraine.
That dialogue has died in Russia and so your leader is free to do as he wishes.

Dear Russians, you could have that dialogue, too, but you must demand it.
So why don’t you stand up and joins us?
We welcome your contributions to humanity’s grand project – men and women’s eternal struggle to have a voice of their own and live with dignity.

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

The West is Under Attack

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The brutality that Putin has unleashed against Ukraine is an attack on the West.

Falsely claiming that he is being threatened, Putin has chosen to ravage a country which, having been enslaved by the Soviet Union, now choses to commit to a world of freedom.

He has resorted to all manner of lies. Called the Ukrainian government ‘Nazis’, said that Ukraine’s effort to fend off attacks by Russian separatists in the Donbas region are an act of genocide against the Russian people.

But Ukrainians need only look to their neighbor to see what they will become if they continue to live under the boot of Putin and his supporters.

As I write, more Russian forces advance on Kyiv which is being bombed and where street fighting is raging.

The images of their suffering touches all of us deeply.

Both Ukrainian men and women have volunteered to fight for their land, to resist, to put obstacles in the path to the invaders.

They are willing to face the trained soldiers of a clearly more powerful army no matter what the consequences. In the photos that reach us there they are, holding guns in their hands, their souls looking at us directly and asking, why?

Those brave volunteers that we see standing in the photos may be dead in the next hours.

Protests rallies have sparked all over the world. The blue and yellow of the Ukrainian flag is worn proudly by protesters and displayed on buildings or in night lighting.

Ukrainian men and women living in Poland are choosing to return to Ukraine to defend their land.

Volodymyr Zelensky has bravely called on all willing to join the struggle. ‘Wherever you are, come help us.’

His cry ‘What use will the sanctions be after they bomb us?’ resonates in the hearts and minds of those who are in a position to change things.

His pressure has had effects. Now Putin has been included in the list of those being sanctioned after a more cautious approach proved futile. Restrictions on Russia’s banking have been stiffened. But nothing has stopped him so far. And perhaps nothing will.

But the West needs to go where it hurts.

The West needs to go all out and completely stop the buying of oil and gas from Russia.

Putin has gambled, that the West will support Ukraine but stop short if its sanctions hurt our economy.

But it is not only Ukraine but the West that is under attack.

This is the time to act and accept the inflationary pressures that will come from energy shortages and their impact on economic production.

Now is the time to act.

China, in its stance to stand by Russia, tells us clearly who and what they value. That is what their government is. They will do whatever they can to weaken the West, even though they are now where they are now partly because of what the West has contributed to their development.

But they are thinking ahead and planning to do in Taiwan what Russia is now doing in Ukraine.

Like Russia, the Chinese are governed by leaders who are enemies of free speech. Leaders who think nothing of squashing the democracy movement in Hong Kong or ruthlessly suppressing the Uyghur people in Xinjiang province.

This is a time for the West to act decisively.

There will be economic pain if we stop purchasing oil and gas from Russia but a world order will be staunchly defended by such action.

This is the time to start isolating Putin.

This is the time for him to pay the consequences of his brutality. A brutality that has been in full display in his backing of Assad in Syria and other countries.

He reasons that his ambitions are worth whatever the cost in human lives. He doesn’t care.

But he is not Russia.

And Russia is not Putin. There are great people in Russia, a land with a vast pool of talent as seen in their creativity, scientific and cultural.

As we speak, Russians are also struggling under the boot of a ruthless tyrant.

We believe in the power of men and women. And men and women everywhere long for freedom. In Russia, in China, in Syria, in Venezuela, all over the world. The task is to aid them in breaking the chains that have been placed upon them by cruel leaders thinking only of their own benefits.

Cutting off Russia from the oil markets in the West will have an enormous negative impact on their economy. And Russians will choose between remaining under Putin’s boot, or joining with the rest of the world, a world that is eager and open to embrace them.

This is the time to place the severest sanctions on Russia for we are under attack.

President Zelensky’s statement, ‘What use will the sanctions be after they bomb us?’ should be our collective battle cry.

This is the time to act.

Before more and more people are killed and subjugated.

Putin will not change. He is who he is. He has placed his bet.

We have to place ours.

‘What use will the sanctions be after they bomb us?’

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

Ukraine -Russia. Possible Outcomes

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 One. Russia launches a massive cyberattack followed by a full assault from the air, land and sea.They overwhelm the Ukrainian army and the population surrenders without a fight. President Zelensky and his cabinet are flown to Germany. Pockets of resistance are snuffed out with missile attacks.

Two. Russia launches a full attack but Ukrainians fight back and thousands are killed. The world watches in horror as Russian tanks roll over everything and planes bomb the population. Zelensky and the cabinet leave for Poland to form a government in exile. The West refrains from combat as planned and opens the borders of Poland, Hungary and Romania to war refugees.

Three. Russia attacks but Ukrainians resist with such force that they stop the attack. Huge quantities of weaponry are flown in from the West to support the effort. President Zelensky calls for volunteers from the rest of the world to aid in the resistance. A Brigade for Freedom in Ukraine is formed. The world denounces the enormous loss of life and property and a United Nations security council meeting is convened to sanction Russia but China vetoes the motion arguing that Russia is only defending itself from western threats. The fight roars on for weeks until a truce is agreed upon and Ukraine is officially divided between East and West. Kyiv will be in the West.

(China, meanwhile, speeds up preparations to invade Taiwan)

Four. Russia does nothing. They start to deescalate and blame the West for goading them into a fight. But they reinforce the dissident forces in the Donbas area and have them renew their push against the Ukrainian forces.

Five. Russia sends in special commandos in a nighttime raid that kidnaps president Zelensky and flies him to Minsk, setting up the stage for a Russia friendly president to take over.

Six. Errant missiles fired by Russia land in Poland and Hungary inflicting human and material destruction and causing western nations to ready for war in keeping with article 5 of the NATO charter. A nuclear confrontation looms. The stock market drops 2000 points in a single day as the world goes into a recession.

Seven. Putin is put under house arrest and a new leader emerges in Russia. To the public, he just caught Covid.

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

Getting Closer

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Putin keeps circling Ukraine, amassing troops around it and tightening his grip. Ukrainians are running out of air. They have started to have trouble breathing.

Putin is loving the world’s attention. This is what he’s always dreamed of. Americans rushing frantically, here and there, trying to convince allies that the time is now and some allies saying, ‘Well… I’m not sure.’

Putin laughs. And he thinks, you have to be doing like the ostrich does, to not see what’s in front of you.

But of course he will invade.

The West is divided. Beautiful. Just Beautiful.

Trucker protests in Canada are now spreading to America and France and affecting commerce, rattling nerves. ‘We need freedom!’ they chant as they blare their horns for hours on end stressing everybody else. ‘Pay attention to me!’ ‘I count too!’ ‘No vaccine mandates!’ they say.

And in their minds, they must be convinced that if they keep it up, they will be able to bend the arm of government and boost the chances of a nationalist party rising to the top and finally putting an end to that nasty immigration problem they have and can’t solve, plus the worrying about other countries far, far away. Too far.

Long live Trump!

And when Putin runs over Ukraine and crushes them, shamelessly making the country a province of the greater Russia, the protesters in the West will simply say, ‘Putin needs his space. So long as he respects ours, we’ll be okay. He’s one of us, a devoted nationalist.’

Meanwhile, to aid their case, business interests in Germany are saying that the talk of economic sanctions on Russia when they invade, would affect them as much as the Russians and that prices would go up for all. So no sanctions, please. We cannot afford it. How about a slap on the wrist, instead? If Putin wants a little bit more of Ukraine to feel less anxious about his hold on power, why not give it to him? It’s just Ukraine, so relax. Anyway, the man won’t live forever. And we need to keep an eye on our bottom line, that’s number one.’

And Putin will be smiling. He could kiss the truckers and their rants and the businessmen fretting over the bottom line being above everything else.

‘You are lovely, thank you’ Putin will say. ‘I agree with you, some people need to be sacrificed sometimes. We all know that. The Germans knew it. They just went about it the wrong way. You won’t see me making that same mistake again. I promise. So long as I live.’

If divisions in America are not enough, then there’s inflation.

Supply chains have not got back to normal, demand is driving up prices and traders and investors are panicking. Stocks are dropping like lead in water – straight down – investors  worrying that the new interest rates the Federal Reserve will set in March will be either too high or too low. The Federal Reserve won’t be able to do enough to calm the nerves. If the new rate increase is 0.5 bps investors will sell because the central bank is too aggressive. If the new rate increase is 0.25 bps then the Feds don’t know what they’re doing and are avoiding reality. Either way, value will drain out of the markets.

Putin will be salivating.

‘Oh, I never imagined it would look this good. In congress, Republicans and Democrats can barely agree on anything. Republicans have Biden checked. The poor guy, a lifetime waiting to govern and then he gets blocked. And Republicans will squash him in November. No, not squash but stomp on him. And Kamala Harris can forget about it. The two houses will be Republican and my good friend Donald Trump will win in November 2024. It will be great to see him again. He and I can talk. We can divide Europe according to our wishes. He can keep Britain – I’ve never been fond of those rascals. But Poland, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, the Baltic nations, they will come my way. A new era dawns. Thank you, Donald, for planting the seeds. Thank you for inspiring the Capitol assault on 1/6/2020and the way that has influenced the imagination of Americans. Thank you, you are the greatest. I wouldn’t be on the brink of invading Ukraine and making it a province of Mother Russia if it weren’t for the way you set things up. The way you showed Americans that there is indeed a place for totalitarian government, for the rule of the majority. I’ll be forever grateful. And maybe, you can change the constitution so you can get elected a 3rd time. I promise you all the help I can possibly give.  I’ll keep you out of it, of course, so as not to compromise you. What are good friends for.’

And Putin has one final thought.

It has occurred to him to contact some groups and urge them to stage another assault on the Capitol… and even the White House itself. But it might be too obvious. But there are people willing. Still, he will tread carefully. He knows the field. He was once a trusted KGB man. So he knows that world. In and out. And how some spies will work for both sides.

Feeling like he’s on top of the world, he smiles confidently and says, ‘I’ve got them.’

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

Germany: You Got Help to Pull Out from Under the Russian Boot

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Now it’s time you return the favor. Help Ukraine. They need weapons.

The use of weapons in defense of freedom is a responsible act

Why is Germany so reluctant to stand up against Putin?

After overcoming a history of atrocities against Jews and starting World War II – Germany has made a courageous effort to confront its past. And that gives the nation gravitas.

They know what it is to struggle with guilt. They know what it is to struggle with fear, misery and pain.

But their choice to not send weapons to Ukraine is worrisome. Furthermore, they do not wish to join in sanctioning Russia with exclusion from Swift, the infrastructure that allows interbank transactions, should they invade.

Germany is fully aware of the consequences. They are saying, ‘we understand the threat to Europe that a Russian invasion represents but we believe we will be spared.’

And they probably will.

But they are wrong.

Germany, by virtue of its standing and accomplishments, is a leader in Europe. Will they allow their position to be tarnished?

Ukraine wants to keep moving towards Western Europe and Russia is saying no. No and we will invade you, says Putin. No and we will arm your brothers and sisters in the Donbas area and fuel a fight that will keep you killing each other rather than letting you go to the West.

The same thing happened to Germany after WWII when the nation was divided into East and West, the Soviets (Russia) controlling the East. While the greater prosperity in the West kept acting as a powerful factor urging their unification, a bitter and resentful East Germany, went on shooting dead all those attempting to cross to the West.

Other countries intervened to help Germany become one nation.

Now they are being asked by history to play its part in assisting Ukraine.

But Germany is conflicted, reluctant to stand up against their former oppressor.

They have the power to assist, the strength to be a deciding factor.

And yet they will not.

But you can’t give in to a bully and keep your self respect.

Because you once misused weapons and caused immeasurable pain, does not excuse you from using them when the cause is honorable.

Ukraine’s plight is dire. They want freedom.

Germany has freedom. It needs to prove to itself that it can help defend it against the greatest oppressor those neighboring countries face – the reality of a life impoverished by the rigidities and cruelty of a repressive system, as in East Germany after WWII and until October 1990.

Will Germany defy Russia or bow to it?

Defiance in defense of a nation begging for help is a mark of immense courage.

And a chance for Germany to restore its full pride as a people who can and will bear arms responsibly in defense of justice anywhere in the world.

Oscar Valdes.  Oscarvaldes.net. google and apple podcasts and buzzsprout

Biden’s Response to Putin

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Has been energetic and realistic. He has not looked at the 130,000 Russian troops amassed on Ukraine’s eastern flank and said to himself, ‘maybe they’ll go away.’

I understand that Biden’s characterizing such buildup as presaging an ‘imminent attack’ has unsettled Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s president, since the latter has his nation’s economy to manage, but to think that Russia’s military buildup is meant to merely kick off a war of nerves on Europe and America, is pure poppycock.

Putin wants to inflict harm on the West for what he sees as his diminished great power status, particularly in light of China’s rise.

Just 20 years ago China’s GDP was estimated to be $1.34 trillion while Russia’s was $306 billion. But in those two decades, China’s GDP has grown more than 13 times to become an $18 trillion economy while Russia’s has only gone up 5.5 times.  (2021 figures)

So China has zoomed past Russia and left them wondering, ‘what the hell just went by?’.

To make matters worse, all this has happened while Putin has been in power. So it is a great embarrassment for him and his nation, to be seen by the rest of the world as having been outclassed by their neighbor.

It has got to hurt Putin.

In his moments alone he has to wonder what didn’t he do to better direct the course of Russia.

He wishes he had had the daring to accomplish, steal, connive, do whatever worked, to rise as the Chinese have.

But he didn’t.

Meanwhile, the longing to be in the spotlight doesn’t go away. So what better way than to invent a crisis and claim that the West is a threat to him.

President Biden has seen right through it. He has not dithered. He’s acted promptly and is making every effort to get an incredulous Europe to face the facts. That to be dependent on Russia for energy is a horrible idea, in light of Putin’s predatory history.

Europe has been steeped in denial, which leads to timidity and so favor the notion that the threat to Ukraine is mere bluffing.

Putin is a wounded and vengeful man, who cannot blame anyone but himself for not releasing the considerable powers of Russia to reach as high as they can. Had Russians been allowed to be part of a market economy that embraced political freedoms, Russia would now be a leading economy. But it didn’t happen.

The blame falls squarely on Vladimir Putin.

He cannot live with that truth so he invents threats, hounds, imprisons or poisons dissidents, stokes a resistance movement in eastern Ukraine that has cost 14 thousand lives so far.

Oh, yes, he has modernized his Army and now has supersonic missiles. And gas and oil and wheat to export, but the potential of Russia, under his power, has been wasted.

He can’t face that truth so why not demonize the West instead.

And when Biden stands firm, Putin then talks of the West ‘goading’ him into invading Ukraine. Or he gets Xi Jinping to send a Chinese official to tell the West to ‘calm down.’

No. There’s no time for that.

Putin’s threat is real.

President Biden has had the wisdom to face it and should not relent one bit in his stance to confront Putin.

And Putin should think of stepping down. He has done enough harm.

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

Why Putin Will go to War

Photo by Artem Podrez on Pexels.com

One. He clearly sees the divisiveness in the West. Germany is ‘uncomfortable’ providing weapons to Ukraine, supposedly because they started WWII and they have all that angst weighing on them. But it must not weigh on Germans that much because they sell arms to Egypt which is run by a dictator. Oh, but they did contribute 500 helmets to the alliance’s efforts. Terrific. Never mind that thousands of Ukrainians are about to die to satisfy Putin’s ambitions.

Two. Putin controls the supply of natural gas to Europe, and Europeans are loath to inconvenience themselves with shortages. Businesses will put all manner of pressure on politicians to quickly submit to the great Putin. All the while saying, ‘Why, he just wants Russians to have a little more space to stretch.’

Three. Putin is convinced the sanctions the West will impose when Russia invades will not last because of the above.

Four. Russia’s economy gets support from China who, for now, will buy enough of their energy supplies to bolster their invasion of the Ukraine. In today’s papers, a senior Chinese official came out urging America to ‘calm down.’ As in, don’t get too excited, it’s just the Ukraine. Surely the Chinese statement was prompted by Biden’s decision to send troops to the border with Russia. Of course, China is all in for their ally Putin, and eager to disrupt the US-EU alliance.

Five. Putin doesn’t give a damn. He has little regard for human life. Remember the Malasyia Airliner Flight 17 shot down on July 17th 2014 as it flew near the Ukrainian-Russian border on its way to Kuala Lumpur? It was brought down by a Buk missile fired by Ukrainian dissidents and supplied by Russia. A Dutch-Australian investigation put the blame squarely on Russia but they denied any involvement. 283 passengers and 15 crew members were killed.

The good news today is that Putin was disappointed by the written response to his requests provided 2 days ago by the US-EU alliance. Good. The West is maintaining a firm stance and that is a strong deterrent. Still, for the reasons above, Putin will invade anyway. It’s his gift to the Russian people. ‘We will reestablish dominance over territories formerly in the Soviet Union and push westward.’

So it’s Biden, the leader of the Free World, against Putin, the leader of the Un Free World.

(China doesn’t have as many nuclear warheads as Russia and the US but it’s working on it)

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