Mr Biden. The Upcoming Confrontation. The Putin Paradox

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With the weapons reinforcements Ukrainians will now be receiving, they will be able to hold off Russia’s attacks and even push them back. As things stand, the Russians will be no match for properly armed Ukrainians.
Soon, therefore, Putin will increase his threats to fire nuclear weapons on the West and at some point, as his losses mount, he will either accept defeat or draw the line and say to us, ‘if you do that, I’ll fire my nuclear missiles’.
Ignoring the threat is an option. It may work and he won’t follow through. But it may not.
Putin’s reliance on mercenary troops from the Wagner Group suggests there are serious rifts within his military, with career officers objecting to the political rise of Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the group and his using prisoners as soldiers.
Even if Putin were to give the order to fire the nuclear weapons, the military may not follow through. Why be Putin’s sacrificial lambs?
However, there’s a strong ultranationalist faction in Russia pushing the war which may be present within the military which adds to the uncertainty.
But what if Putin makes it very clear he will use his nuclear weapons, say gives us a deadline to retreat or something alike?
Then the threat will have to be met. Head on.
He would be leaving us no options.

Mr Biden, you once called Putin a killer, a statement of the facts. The outrage he’d stirred in you made you say those words. Nothing less would’ve conveyed the fulness of your feelings.
Since then he’s become many times that killer.
Putin is a failed statesman. He’s done nothing but thwart the potential of Russia.
With all their human capabilities and natural resources they have not risen to be a leading nation. That is on Putin and he knows it. And it weighs on him.
He compares himself with other leaders and realizes he’s not produced, which is the price of autocracy and corruption, of surrounding yourself with ‘Yes men and women’ who’re not able to provide effective feedback for fear of offending the great man or because they’re too busy enriching themselves.
Putin is filled with anger at the world. Anger that comes from his envy which is enormous.
His ideas about a Russian empire are born out of that resentment. He tried to fool us with his lies and threats, ‘Listen up, you heathen, come look at my magnificent robes and my crown filled with diamonds and pearls, I am the true master of this earth. We, Russians, are the true chosen people who will enlighten and inspire the rest of you.’
And to show us how resolute he was, he lifted his heavy boot and planted it on the soul of Ukraine wanting to squash it and tear it apart. Never mind how many died as a result.
But Ukraine surprised everyone when they raged and said, ‘get your foot off me, you dunce!’ And they have given him a good shove back in a feat of heroism without precedent.
Ukraine’s resolve is so daring and unique that it has generated envy even in the West.
Nations complaining that Ukraine should be preparing to negotiate instead of fighting, nations who are reluctant to offer support, are also envious nations, envious of her courage and defiance.
So, yes, envious Putin has company among nations in the West.
Lamentably, there is the strong possibility that very soon a retreating Putin, so in love with himself that he sees no other options, will be saying to us, ‘You leave me no choice, I will have to fire my nuclear weapons.’
And we will have to step up to meet him eye to eye.

Mr Biden, from that same place deep inside of you from where the words that Putin is a killer flowed, your answer to the Russian will come.
‘You want to set the world on fire?’ you may say to him.
And Putin may answer, ‘if you don’t stop aiding Ukraine, I will do it.’
‘If you fire your weapons, we will fire back… do you really want to see your Moscow and St Petersburg in flames?’
‘Ha! Watch your cities do the same…’
‘What’s the point, Putin? There will be no winners… we would all lose… you and me… your children… my children… all of us would be losers… we would set back the progress of civilization by who knows how many years… just because you’re angry that you couldn’t lead your nation… angry that the world has not fallen in love with you… angry that you’ve failed in Ukraine… angry at your limitations as a leader. Why have so many people die … why?’
Putin will not have a coherent reply because there is none and he knows it. His dream of empire is just a fantasy, a distraction from his crumbling grandiosity. And yet, with raging fury, his shallowness as a human being exposed, he may insist, ‘I’ll do what I need to do,’ and hang up the phone.
Mr Biden, as soon as the conversation is over, you would do well to call up Xi Jinping to inform him of the situation.
‘Xi… just got off the phone with Putin, your friend “without limits”. He’s told me he’s ready to use nuclear weapons.’

A pause may follow.

‘Just to be clear, Xi… if Putin does that… we will fire back. All of the West will. I do not know who will be left standing. Maybe it will be Putin, maybe it will be us. But Xi, you must know… that if Putin fires a nuclear weapon in our direction… nuclear weapons from us will also be flying back in your direction, too.’
‘What?’ will answer Xi. ‘Why us? It’s not our war.’
‘It’s everybody’s war. No one is spared. The world is at war.’
‘You are trying to rule all of us…’ Xi may reply in outrage.
‘I’m giving you a warning… and I have a suggestion for you, too.’
‘What?’
‘We don’t have to all burn… and see who remains standing at the end… it doesn’t have to happen… so Xi… please listen carefully… you could… which I strongly advice… turn around the nuclear weapons you have now pointed at us and aim them instead at Moscow and St Petersburg… then call up your dear friend Vladimir to inform him.’

Pause.

‘Please… and keep in touch.’

Biden hangs up.

Xi may then call Putin and say, “Vladimir… you can’t threaten the West with nuclear weapons without consulting with me…’
‘How do you know?’
‘Biden just called.’
‘What?’
‘If you do… America will nuke us, too.”’
To which Putin may reply, ‘Xi, this is our moment, let us both fire on America and the West… we will be rid of the monster… and the world will be ours to split.’
‘You’re mad… and drunk with power… and I will not go along anymore.’
‘Not go along?’ says Putin. ‘What does that mean?’
‘Exactly that… I will not go along.’
An irate, exasperated Putin may press Xi, ‘You mean you will do nothing if the West fires back at me? Don’t you think I know they will fire at you, too?’
‘You know that?’ Xi may say.
‘Of course, the West wants everything for themselves…’
‘You say you know that, but you never brought it up with me, Vladimir… all the while you’ve been making threats…’
‘It’s obvious…’ Putin may reply.
And Xi will frown and say ‘That’s all I needed to hear.’

And he hangs up.

It could happen. Just as stated. And then it might not. So, Mr President, you have to be ready, don’t you? The whole world is already at war. Pretending it’s not, is a mistake.

As you tilt back in your chair at the Oval Office, you may reflect… ‘China is sitting prettier than Russia. They have no desire for a nuclear confrontation. Thus, Putin’s threats have limits.
Let us not forget that as we push on with our military aid to Ukraine.
And Xi may well pivot his nuclear weapons in Putin’s direction.
So… fully arming Ukraine to push Russia back to behind its borders is doable… very doable… in fact… necessary.’

So here’s the Putin Paradox. If we stand up to him now, he’s much less likely to carry out his threat. But if we act as if we’re willing to sacrifice Ukraine, he will be further emboldened. And this may lead him to want even more territory which may push us into a corner, making the threat of nuclear war, a greater possibility.

Best

To The War Reporter

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You go to the source of the action,
You take the risk,
The Ukrainian soldier tells you as much as he’s allowed
And you sift through it all to capture the essence,
Their humanity, their fears, their courage.
At those moments, when you’re listening and carefully observing
all that you’ve been allowed to immerse in,
you become one of them.
A Russian missile could be about to land where you are taking notes,
yet you steel yourself to capture all that is noteworthy before your senses.
Sights, smells, sounds, taste and touch,
And then you send it all to us,
To anyone who’s open to taking it in,
You send it condensed into words that leap across nations and oceans
to elicit thoughts and emotions that then carry us back
to your side,
at that soldier’s side,
and a bridge is built.

By your actions you enlarge our minds,
Sharpen our judgments,
make possible the flowering of empathy,
the deepening of solidarity,
the evincing of conviction in the purpose.

For some of the soldiers you interview,
that moment you shared with the rest of us may become the paper clipping
his family will treasure, maybe even the only memento if the soldier is blown up the next day
and doesn’t get to return from the front to embrace his wife and children.
With your writing you reach out and capture life,
You enrich, expand and lengthen it,
You frame the heroism of those men
Fighting against forces of darkness that seek to entomb them and us all.
Your efforts help create a new consciousness that is critical to embolden the world’s fight for freedom.

Gifted men and women,
warriors in defense of ideas and humanity,
Press on!
we are most grateful for your strength,
your vision and commitment.
Dare on!
Without you the world would be darker and cripple our minds,
Our thoughts and feelings wouldn’t take wing
and instead crash on the rocks of ignorance.

From all those whose lives you’ve touched with your reporting,
Thank you.
The pursuit of liberty would not be possible without you.

Chancellor Scholz. The Leopard Tanks

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With the war slowing down because of Winter, the need for tanks has become clearer.
Ukraine has the advantage at this time.
Just writing these words seems unbelievable. Only 11 months ago, when Putin invaded, no one foresaw that Ukrainians would rise to the task and say to Putin and his troops, ‘Go screw yourselves!’
They didn’t have the guns but they had the voice. And their voice rose and flew all over the world asking for help fighting off the invader. They would do the dying, they said proudly, we just need the guns to do the fighting.
When was the last time the world heard such a plea?
And the West heard it, heard the anguish in the voice of Ukraine, their willingness to give it all to defend their land. And the West said, ‘this is real… and we will back you up.’
Some western leaders heard the anguish more clearly than others, but gradually a consensus emerged. And the help to Ukraine started to flow.
What they have done with it is extraordinary.
Day in and day out they battle a superpower bent on enslaving them, bent on destroying their identity. A superpower who has more weapons than they do but a superpower without the moral resolve that Ukrainians have.
Ukraine’s courage has pushed the West to ask itself, is this not our fight also? And to answer, yes, it is. And to again ask, must we not sacrifice also? And to answer, yes, we must.
Ukraine’s heroism is a triumph for democracy and freedom.
Russia does not know what that is and neither does China.
And so Ukraine’s incredible performance has split the world into three parts. The one part that is privileged to have seen democracy and freedom in action; the part that lacks the wisdom to struggle with its uncertainties and thus settled on autocracy; and the part that does not want to make the choice and prefers to drift.
That Ukraine has fought Russia to a standstill is a story for the ages.
This is not the time for the West to waver but to commit to seeing Ukraine triumph over Putin. Nothing less.
All parties backing Ukraine have been making sacrifices but more will be needed to complete the task.
Germany’s Leopard tanks must be made available to Ukrainians as soon as possible.
It will be a grave mistake to be timid now for it will only embolden Putin and his allies.
Ukraine has a right to recover all its territory, all the way to its border with Russia.
Chancellor Scholz, what good are your tanks while in storage?
Do you think they will deter a Russian attack on your soil?
They will not.
Germany has cast its lot with the West. We will defend each other. You either believe that or not.
The Leopard tanks in Ukraine’s hands will help them keep the advantages so painfully earned.
Chancellor, please think of the judgment of history.
To not act now in full defense of Ukraine is a grave mistake that will forever stain your name.
In this hour of need, please, do not choose to be timid.

For Or Against Putin

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Russia’s president chose to invade Ukraine because it’s part of his quest for glory.
There is no other credible reason.
An envious man, seething with rage because he has not been able to elevate his nation past others with fewer resources, angry at the realization that he’s not a statesman and never will be – and running out of time – he chose to invent that a threat to his future lay in neighboring Ukraine.
How to deal with it? Just take it. And if they don’t surrender, then exterminate them.
He can do it because he has nuclear weapons.
He can do it because he has built a reputation for being ruthless.
He can do it because the West is afraid of him.
Stalin is one of his heroes.
And like for him, people are mere numbers. Disposable. Expendable.
If things didn’t turn out as well as he expected during the invasion, and he has been ‘forced’ to indulge his appetite for killing other human beings, there are plenty of anti western countries that sympathize with his plans.
Anti western countries governed by autocrats and thugs.
The invasion happened and it’s been 10 months. Putin has been unsettled by Ukraine’s resistance but not very much, because knowing that he has Russians on their knees – something he is very proud of – he is sure he has the time and room to maneuver.
His main opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, is in prison. At one point he had chosen to kill him through poisoning with a nerve agent but his operatives bungled the job. Navalny thought he could continue to build a movement against him so he made the mistake of returning to Russia, which left Putin with no choice but to grab him upon landing. He could just as well have ordered him shot on the spot but there is a part of him that likes to toy with his prey before putting it away. Surely, one day soon, the poor man will fall down a set of stairs and break his neck. One way or the other, he won’t leave prison.
Ukraine’s resistance has given Putin more trouble than he expected. And a headache or two. But he’s dealt with such trifles before. Russia has plenty of mineral resources the world needs and friendly countries willing to purchase them and thus help him sidestep the sanctions the West has imposed.
It may now appear as if Ukraine will win the war but it’s only an illusion, says Putin. Sooner or later, their will to fight will crack. And there are so many more Russians than Ukrainians. Docile Russians. Russians willing to do his bidding.
And in the United Nations, with Russia and China both sitting in the Security council with the power to veto, nothing against Russia or China will get through.
Interesting, how such a large organization lost its teeth.
Now and then some idealistic soul calls for talks to end the conflict. But what’s in it for Putin when, if he perseveres, he can conquer all of Ukraine?
He will have Ukraine even if he has to burn it down. He will have Ukraine even if it is without Ukrainians. Minor matter. He’ll repopulate it. Better that way so he can extinguish any traces of what was there before.
And the world will say nothing because the world is afraid of him and his nuclear weapons.
The world will say nothing because they know he can go crazy. Yes. Lose control.
Except, that he is not crazy at all. Just more determined than his opposition.
If he were the West, he would ask the rest of the world, ‘are you for or against Putin?’
If you are against Putin, then line up over here so you can get favors and trade advantages. If you are not, then go to the back of the line and wait.
If he were the West, he wouldn’t be afraid of dividing the world, forcing nations to choose.
Has he not made it clear, with his repeated missile attacks, that he’s willing to exterminate Ukrainians?
What else do they need to see?
Gas chambers?
So it’s only a matter of time. A matter of more killing. Repeated. Methodical.
He will not stop. And he’s good at it.
Keep killing and he will win. He’s sure of it. And after a while people will get accustomed to the carnage.
So he just has to wait. He will say no to negotiations unless he gets what he wants and then set up to invade again when he’s ready.
In the West, they have to deal with free speech, which is not at all helpful to a man like him.
So long as Russians are willing to be silenced, so long as the rest of the world is willing to help him, he will keep killing Ukrainians.
Until there are no more.
It would take an uncommon type of courage for the West to unify and standing up to Putin, say, ‘Enough! Except for nuclear weapons we will arm Ukrainians with everything available so they can push you back to behind your borders and have you stay there. That way the fight you picked will be fair’.
But the West won’t do it.
They may have nuclear weapons also, but they don’t have the resolve.
Until then, if ever, Long live King Vladimir!

Putin and Xi

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P – The West, they don’t get it…
X – No, they don’t.
P – The simple notion that people are more at peace when political thinking is left to others…
X – I know… it’s like they all believe they could become leaders.

They laugh.

P – It has taken us a long and arduous journey to get where we are now… all those difficult choices we’ve had to make… to finally be able to say to ourselves… we are the best of our people… and so it belongs to us to rule them… to tell them what to do and when to do it.
The satisfaction is immense… well worth the sacrifice.
X – Well said.
P – I’m so glad to have got all the support you’ve given me in this war.
X – My pleasure.
P – Without you… things would’ve been even more difficult. So your support gives me the time to wait them out… because they will crack, I’m sure of that.
X – I hope it’s soon… so you won’t suffer any more casualties.
P – Russians know there’s a Heaven… free of pain.
X – We differ on that… but the Chinese people are willing to sacrifice for the sake of a greater nation… that together with Russia, will rule the world. I hope to see it during my lifetime.
P – Yes. I do, too. The day will come when we conquer the West.
X – We don’t have to conquer them… just use them to our ends… and surpass them in every field.
P – You don’t think we’ll have to invade Europe?
X – No need. I’m certain that all their talk of freedom is simply poison, that it ignores the reality that most human beings prefer to be told what to do… to be given direction… in exchange for security… a job… then a pension at the end of the road… and someone to turn to when they’re in trouble. As my father used to say, men and women who moderate their ambitions live happier lives. Sleep better, too.
P – Very good.
X – By creating too many options, freedom confuses people. Look at all that violence in America… and all those homeless… it’s pathetic.
P – They should be using all that money they’re giving to Ukraine to help them instead. I’m sure the homeless would be in favor.
X – They don’t get it.
P – How would you handle the homeless problem?
X – Show up with a truck. Tell everyone to get in. That’s it. If you don’t get in, then you go straight to jail.
P – ‘My civil liberties!’ they’ll start screaming…
X – In the truck. Period. Or we’ll shove you in.
P – They’re not in their right mind so someone has to think for them.
X – Exactly. That’s where the party comes in. Structure. Obedience. Accept the fact that if you’re homeless you’re a failure as a human being… but the party is generous and will give you another chance. Feed you and clean you up. Teach you a skill. But you must obey. If you don’t, then straight to a reeducation camp… for however long it takes.
P – People, at first, fight it, but with a little coercion… not much… they slowly give in.
It is amazing how both you and I can control so many people with so few.
X – It’s not an easy thing what you’re doing, Vladimir… getting people to surrender to you in Russia… but then summon their aggression to kill as many Ukrainians as possible.
P – Thank you. I’ve been working on it for a while. Redirecting their aggression, I call it. It takes a deft hand.
X – Excellent.
P – You’ll have to do the same when you invade Taiwan…
X – We are preparing… laying down the groundwork… reminding all Chinese that they are a superior people… like Russians are too… and that we deserve to rule the world… in fact it us our duty to do so.
P – Do you really think we are superior?
X – No… but as we keep saying it, people start believing it. It’s happening in your land and in mine.

Putin laughs.

P – I am very impressed with how much China has accomplished in just 40 years plus… since the opening.
X – I’ll admit that, sometimes… I really think we are a superior race.
P – Even better than us?
X – No… not better than you.
P – We have lagged behind you…
X – True… but you’ll catch up. You’ve stumbled a bit in Ukraine… because the West has got so involved… but like we’ve said… that union will crack… and everybody will go their own way.
Then they will insist on Ukraine negotiating for peace. Zelensky will scream and go crazy but in the end will accept.
P – He’s tougher than I thought…
X – Trust yourself… keep firing those missiles…
P – It would help if Trump won the presidency again… then the war would be over.
X – You think he can win?
P – No.
X – I don’t either. Too bad he failed in the assault on the capitol.
P – It would’ve changed history. We would’ve made an alliance with the Far Right and we would all be happy. Missed opportunity.
X – Sadly.
P – Do you really think… that during our lifetime… we’ll get to rule the world?
X – I really do.
P – How come you’re so sure?
X – Most people want bread and comfort… a warm place to be in… to get laid… to watch soccer games… and feel safe.
All the talk about freedom is for the intellectuals… but they can be intimidated.
And we know how to do that.
P – Yes, we do.
X – Our challenge is to get our people to be as well educated as possible… but to have them remain sheepish politically. One way or the other we have been doing it for years. We need to keep getting better at it.
P – And maybe one day soon, we’ll rule the world.
X – I’ll drink to that.
P – I’ve got some vodka, just for this occasion.

P pours and they drink.

We Must Choose

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As the year draws close to its end, it is clear how 2022 came to be dominated by brutality.
A year haunted by horror.
The steady brutality of Putin – with the consent of the majority of Russians, willingly or unwillingly – and the shame they will have to endure for the rest of their lives.
A year haunted by the absurdity in the neutrality of nations who use such stance to cover their fear of the wrath of the Russian dictator.
A year haunted by China’s rulers’ increasing despotism and naked ambition to dominate the world.
By Iran’s clerics, who in the name of god, keep unleashing their violence upon their own, and on citizens of those countries which they have infiltrated.
A year haunted by Myanmar’s military’s massacring their own with impunity.
A year that has seen, once again, primitive regimes in Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela, continuing to cruelly tyrannize their peoples, leading to punishing poverty and mass emigration.
No, it has not been a good year.
And yet, Ukraine has shined. Their sacrifice in pursuit of their freedom has drawn an unmistakable distinction for others to follow.
Their example tells us that this is not a time to waver.
I’m reminded of a statement by a leader of Singapore, who said his nation should not be forced to choose.
But this is a time to choose.
The cruelty of Putin is the cruelty of Hitler, nothing less.
With his repeated attacks on Ukraine he keeps telling the world, ‘Go screw yourselves! We will take what we wish when we wish.’
The cry of a desperate man, who’s slowly cornering himself, yet a man who could disguise himself well enough to have fooled Germany and many in Europe that he could be relied upon as a source of steady energy supplies.
It is not the first time Europe is fooled. We all hope it will be the last.
Still, the cry of the Ukrainian sacrifice is heard all over the world.
Tell me, reader, do you not hear it, too?
When will it end? Their pain, their anguish?
Ukraine keeps dying, every day, dying for their freedom and refusing to submit to the atrocities that Putin and his supporters keep inflicting on them.
Now that Ukrainians have made gains in the battlefield, there are those who are rushing in to ask that negotiations be started with Russia to end the conflict.
But Ukrainians do not want to negotiate. They want their land back. All of it. What Putin took at the start of this invasion and what he took in 2014. And they want Crimea back, too. And why not? It is theirs.
Cries will be heard in the West complaining that we have sacrificed enough. But we have not.
The problems we had not solved with the resources we have given to support Ukraine, will get solved, but today is Ukraine’s day. For they keep doing the daily dying. The daily sacrifices that have shone a light for the West to find its way.
Ukraine has united us. The blood they have shed keep reminding us that theirs is the noblest of causes, and that together we shall march forward as one.
There is but one choice to make.
The torch we keep lit will spread its light to every corner of the world.
For there is but one way forward. Not two or three or four. Only one.
The way of freedom.

What Ukraine is Doing for Us

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The big guy decides to squash the little guy and he gets a surprise.
No! Says the little guy.
But lacking enough resources of their own, the little guy turns around and says to the world, ‘I need help fighting this big guy who wants to walk all over me. We’ll do the fighting. We’ll do the dying. We’ll do whatever it takes to get their stinking boots off our throats, but we need guns and lots of tactical and economic support. Will you lend us a hand?’
And the West said yes.
It wasn’t easy. The West had to overcome internal differences, with one side saying, ‘do we really need to help them… won’t it inconvenience us too much?’, and another side answering, ‘will you not lend a hand to your brother or sister if they were reaching out to you to pull them out of the mud pit they were sinking in?’
And the side willing to commit to help prevailed. And it did because we could see in their faces,
that they really were our brothers and sisters, that they really were being threatened with slaughter and that we had the means to assist them.
Imagine that we had chosen to not help and then see Putin stand in Kyiv and proclaim to the world that Ukraine was now another of his satellite republics. How would we have felt?
It has cost us billions. Yes. And it will cost us even more.
But helping the little guy has had a transformative effect on the West.
We are pulling together and discovering strengths we didn’t think we had.
China, a problem? We’ll handle it.
Taiwan wants to stay free? We’ll back them up, too.
Climate change forcing us to adapt? We’ll do it.
Iran getting close to producing nuclear weapons? Go right ahead. We’ll deal with you when the time comes. Or, quite possibly, the brutal clerics who, in the name of God have been killing their own people, will be removed from power by a popular uprising that will vault women to positions of leadership in a new government if not to the very top of it.
The daily accounts of Ukrainian bravery have inspired the West and the clear minded peoples of the rest of the world. There is no turning back.
Through the tremendous courage of the Ukrainian people Putin is being defeated and the Russian people will step forward to unseat the man who is responsible for tens of thousands of deaths and enormous destruction of property.
China, next door, is beginning to awaken. The White Paper protests against overly strict covid restrictions are only the beginning.
Chinese people need to breathe and are realizing the communist party is vested in repressing their freedom of thought. Xi Jinping thinks he is God. That won’t do.
A new power alignment in the world is being hatched.
Ukrainians’ determination not to be trampled on started it. The West’s willingness to support them keeps pushing them on.
In America, president Biden has been a forceful agent for change. He is in office, able to do what he has done, because the American people realized in the 2020 elections that America mattered in the world and that Trump’s sectarian leadership would lead us to defeat.
Internationalism is winning the day. As to the glitches, we will work them out.

Germany and China

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China’s ascendancy has come with a rising ambition to put their stamp on world affairs.
But since their system of governance remains autocratic and repressive, the West has thought it prudent to begin to pull back investing in their land.
The hope had always been that political change in China – toward a more open system – would come through trade.
Instead, the Chinese Communist party keeps tightening its hold on their population.
Many western companies have now begun to move their Chinese operations to other nations, notably Vietnam and India.
Germany, on the other hand, is choosing to go in the other direction, increasing their investments in China.
Is this wise?
Is it naïve on the part of Germany’s business leaders to expect that China’s communist party will treat their increased investments any differently than those of other nations as they pursue their policy of favoring their own SOEs – state owned enterprises?
I think it is.
The communist party will not now change for German automakers and chemical plants.
Instead the Chinese leadership will learn how to use their ties with Germany to find their way into the rest of Europe and undermine the western alliance.
The German business sector knows of this risk and yet they persist. Has the lure of profits clouded their judgment?
I think so.
The cohesiveness the West has found in support of Ukraine’s defense needs much care to keep it alive.
Engaging with Chinese company Huawei for the installation of 5G systems to upgrade communications infrastructure was deemed a poor choice by America, since it would open the way for information gathering on western operations by Chinese authorities.
But while most of the West has agreed to bar Huawei from bidding on the 5G upgrade, Germany has chosen to believe there is no risk and will not do so.
France, by contrast, is barring Huawei.
Judging by the close economic ties Germany had developed with Putin over the years, it seems their successive governments have had trouble with reality.
Denying that China is keen on using the West to their own ends is embracing denial.
German business leaders think they will be spared but they will not.
Of course, in the meantime, money will be made by both sides.
By increasing their investments in China, Germany will be contributing to that nation’s ambition of world domination.
German business leaders, with the complicity of prime minister Olaf Scholz, are denying reality.
They have a history of doing so.
Meanwhile, gentlemen, Ukraine could use more help.
Winds of freedom are blowing from Ukraine.
Not from China.

Do Not Negotiate with Putin

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With the start of winter and Russia’s retreat from Kherson – a city northwest of Crimea – a top American general has talked about negotiating with the Russian despot. There may be others similarly minded.
But so long as there is the exceptional vigor that Ukrainians possess, the West should back them up fully and so continue to push Putin to behind his borders.
Ukrainians are writing their history in blood for the whole world to see. As they do they clamor for continued support.
Putin is counting on the solidarity of the West fracturing but that is not happening.
I am sure he is profoundly disappointed that democrats in America have retained control of the Senate in the recent elections, and that even if Republicans gain control of the House, the margin of difference will be very small.
Putin was banking on Trump to lend him a hand with his grandiose ambitions. And he still kicks himself for not having invaded Ukraine while Trump was president. Back then, he could have placed a call to Trump a week before and said, ‘I’m thinking of taking over Ukraine, just to feel more comfortable about NATO’s encroachment, and give Russians something to cheer about. What do you think?’ And Trump would have answered, ‘Do it quickly, overnight if possible. We go to bed the night before with Ukraine being independent, we wake up with you announcing it is now part of Russia. So do it fast. How’s the family?’
Meanwhile, solidarity in the West keeps building.
At the start of the war Macron in France talked about the ‘Finlandization’ of Ukraine. During the Cold War, the term referred to the Soviet Union ‘respecting’ the territorial integrity of Finland but retaining influence in that nation’s political affairs.
That didn’t fly so Macron then switched to speaking about not humiliating Putin. Never mind the atrocities the Russian was committing and still is. But when that didn’t click, either, Macron finally got it and took a strong position against Putin, asking the French to think of their support for Ukraine’s resistance as a sacrifice for the sake of freedom.
Macron’s evolution may reflect the change in other political leaders in the West.
In Germany, Olaf Scholz is still handcuffed by his timidity but appears to be evolving.
A weakened Russia allows for the resurgence of protest movement in Belarus, in Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and the hope that they’ll be installing democratic regimes instead.
And the new power alignments may well lead to better fending off China’s ambitions of world domination.
None of these possibilities would have arisen if not for the enormous courage of the Ukrainian people.
Even Iran is feeling its effect, with their women led protests shaking the foundations of that corrupt theocracy, which is now selling drones to Russia so they can kill more Ukrainians.
Ukraine’s heroic effort shows they are determined to not submit to Russia.
They deserve our full support.
Ukraine and the West can win this war.
We should not hesitate to make whatever sacrifices are needed.
The winds of freedom are blowing.
They are blowing from Ukraine.

Why Support Ukraine. Inflation or Not

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We’re nearing nine months since Putin invaded Ukraine, expecting a quick surrender because his majesty Vladimir was so bold and visionary and oh so talented that the West could not hope to match him. There was no way that the West could ever stand against the enraged Russian bear.
And, of course, Putin had the large store of nuclear weapons, and if anyone dared to stand against him, he’d get them ready to fire and the West would pee in their pants, kneel and plead for forgiveness.
Instead, the big bad bear is retreating.
The West stood up, looked at his majesty Vladimir in the eye and said, ‘excuse me, no, you’re not getting away with it. Ukrainians want to fight and we don’t turn our backs on men and women willing to fight. Got it?’
His majesty Vladimir is still processing that reply.
To his credit, he’s been able to resist. He hasn’t buckled. Not yet.
But it’s been costly for him. He knows he’s crossed the line and will never recover from the atrocities he’s committed.
That’s not to say he won’t be embraced by some, say China’s Xi Jinping. Xi’s atrocities are not yet of the scale of Putin’s, but he will catch up. Give him some time. His murderous repression in Hong Kong and his vast mistreatment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang province are just the beginning.
Putin knows he screwed up but still has hope.
His bet is that the West will get tired of the war.
He knows the West has to contend with citizens who are opposed to it and have a right to be heard.
Putin doesn’t have that problem. What he says is law, the majority of Russians having been intimidated into submission long ago. Some don’t even know they were, that’s how sad that picture is.
Putin’s hope is that people in the West will increase their complaints about inflation and shortages and their discomfort, then put pressure on their leaders to tell Ukrainians, ‘We’ve done enough. Take care of yourselves.’
Sadly, it could happen.
Protests in some NATO countries in Eastern Europe have been growing.
Macron, in France, facing the same pressures, has told his people of the need to sacrifice for the sake of liberty.
Every leader in the West should be doing the same thing. Putting the matter up front. Educating the voters. Reminding them of how unique this opportunity is to push back Russia and start a new alignment of powers in the world.
Even if some NATO members choose to back off in their support of Ukraine’s heroic fight, we should not.
Too much is at stake.
The winds of freedom from the valor displayed by Ukraine are blowing into the Middle East. Because of it there is now the chance of regime change in Iran.
And yet, here at home, there is talk in the Republican ranks of cutting back on support for the war, should they win control of congress in next week’s election.
It would be a serious mistake.
It is urgent that our voters be educated on the enormity of what’s in play.
A defeated Russia in Ukraine would have vast repercussions across the area and eventually on China.
Ukraine’s heroism has opened a door we didn’t know existed.
With an abundance of guts and sacrifice, they had the imagination to wish to reinvent themselves.
Stepping up they reached through the darkness and pain of the invasion of their land and grasping the door of freedom threw it open.
And the winds of freedom blew in.
All their pain made sense. All their sacrifices found meaning.
Ukrainians thought they were fighting for their beloved land.
They found, instead, they were fighting for the world.
America, we cannot close that door.