Ukraine Needs Fighter Jets

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Russian troops in the eastern section of Ukraine continue to push to encircle Ukraine’s forces.
Should it happen, Ukraine would lose a significant portion of its army.
I read that the leaders of France and Germany, Macron and Scholz, have spoken to Putin and that he’s shown interest in peace talks.
But to think that the Russian would cede the territory he’s earned is sheer denial of the facts.
With such a deal he could turn to his people and say, ‘we now have most of southern Ukraine and more of the East. We pause now, resume later.’
And he’ll speak with the same assurance of Russian leaders who offered security guarantees to Ukraine when they gave up their nuclear weapons in the 90s, only to violate them later.
The sanctions imposed by the West are biting. Putin’s army is short of men, thus the decision to increase the upper age limit to conscription from 30 to 40 years old.
It’s in Ukraine’s best interest that the war be short for they are fighting in their land and suffering all manner of losses. And it’s in our best interest too.
But we need to push harder.
I was pleased to hear that a large aid package to Ukraine was approved with bipartisan support, and that Biden is about to send more weapons, i.e. MLRS, multiple launch rocket systems to Ukraine. But it may not be enough.
So why not give aircraft to the Ukrainians, fighter jets they can use to push back Russia in the East and elsewhere?
Would this be seen as an escalation on the part of the West? Yes.
But is Russia fighting in Ukraine with an army equal to theirs? No.
So is it fair for Russia to have all the advantages and for Ukrainian soldiers to be supermen and beat back the Russians with fewer numbers and weapons?
While Ukraine has the will to fight, the West, not just the US, should give them what they need.
This is the time.
Will the giving of aircraft push Putin to threaten nuclear weapons?
Maybe, but I don’t think so. By now his posturing has been degraded.
And just how will he threaten with his nuclear weapons? Will he threaten to use them in Ukraine itself, or will he threaten to fire on the West?
The resolve the West has shown in support of Ukraine tells Putin that we are not intimidated.
He has nuclear weapons and so do we.
Putin is not crazy. He likes remaining in control of his country which by now, after 20 years of his leadership, has become emotionally impoverished and accustomed to bowing to the ‘great’ leader. Accustomed also, to seeing their emerging leaders, like Alexei Navalny, be treated like criminals. Navalny just had his prison term extended on trumped up charges.
What this war has shown, is that Putin is no match for the West.
China is seeing the drama unfold and is having second thoughts about betting on Vladimir.
Having become an accomplice of Putin has eroded China’s prestige in the world.
And should they catch wind that Putin wanted to use nuclear weapons, they would be the first to tell him, ‘Don’t. For if you do, the West will answer, hit you and hit us too.’
Ukraine needs planes to win this war.

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

Straight Talk: Biden and Putin

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A few days ago Mr Biden stated, at the end of a speech in Warsaw, that Putin ‘cannot remain in power.’ The statement set off a flurry of commentary, some of which held that he was calling for regime change in Russia. The White House promptly clarified that was not the case.
The Kremlin dismissed the statement.
Mr Biden has called Putin a war criminal. I believe he may have said, also, that the man was a murderer.
Mr Macron, France’s president, quickly put in that saying those things interfered with diplomacy.
But I don’t think so.

All those things Mr Biden has said are true. Putin has targeted residential buildings, schools, theaters, hospitals, people in the streets, women, children. If that doesn’t make him a war criminal, then what does?
He has unleashed his cruelty without provocation. In his defense, he’s told us that he and his beloved Russia are being threatened by Ukraine. Not threatened with weapons but by their desire to emancipate.
It doesn’t take much to threaten Putin. A country next door willing to exercise its right to sovereignty and lean to the West was too much of a provocation. For Putin to sleep well at night, Ukraine needed to continue to live under the shadow of Russia. Under his boot.
But Ukrainians had enough of it and they mounted a fierce resistance that has unified the West. From now on, in our hearts and minds, Ukraine is part of the West.

What troubles Putin is that the rebellious nation is so close to Moscow. And their show of defiance is likely contagious. Other territories under his boot, may want to go their own way.
And so he felt a need to be cruel. To set an example. To oppress. To squash other human beings into submission. The more blood the better.
Mr Biden had finished speaking with refugees from Ukraine when he made his speech in Warsaw. He was obviously moved by their pain, he told us himself. And so he responded, acknowledging their suffering.
Putin, on the other hand, carries on as if it was just another day.
But something is brewing under the surface. He knows his status in the world has been seriously diminished. Young Russians are leaving their land. Slowly, his authority is eroding, and it is doing so because of his inhumanity.

We’re all vulnerable to slide into acts of cruelty. More so if we choose to isolate ourselves. Which is what Putin has done. He’s a one man show in Russia. Everybody else must dance to his tune. Alexei Navalny, a prominent dissenter is now in jail for pointing out Putin’s flaws and just got his sentence extended. Opposition organizations are labelled terrorists and barred from civil discourse.
By contrast, Mr Biden is open to criticism. He may sometimes not like the criticism he gets but he knows he has to work with it. The laws of this country require that he do so. I believe he is open to feedback from his team, a team which quickly came to his aid when he said Putin ‘cannot remain in power.’ No, his team added, the President was not calling for regime change in Russia. And yet, we all knew, that in his heart, that’s exactly what he was doing.

We all understand that it is up to the Russians to depose Putin. But the rest of us, every single one of us, also have a right to join in with Mr Biden and say that he ‘cannot remain in power.’ We have such right because the images of the pain and suffering inflicted by Putin are clear to all of us.
And there may be more to come. In his desperation to push his boot onto the throats of Ukrainians, Putin may wish to use chemical or tactical nuclear weapons so he can finally overcome the courageous people fighting for their right to choose their own destiny.
Perhaps Mr Biden’s views of Putin will damage negotiations for an end to the war.
I don’t think so.
And if the two men were ever to meet again, I believe Mr Biden would sit across him and discuss whatever needed to be discussed. And if Putin were to ask, ‘do you think I’m a war criminal?’, Mr Biden would answer, ‘Yes, I do. You are a war criminal. A murderer. It is a matter of record. The whole world knows it. Now, let’s talk about what we have to talk.’

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

More Absurdities

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On Sunday, president Macron of France was quoted by a French newspaper as stating that he did not believe Russia’s goal was to seize Ukraine, but instead to ‘clarify the rules of cohabitation’ with NATO and the EU. He added that Russia had a right to seek security guarantees from the West.

But who is doing the threatening in Ukraine?

Who has encircled it with 130,000 troops?

Who annexed Crimea in 2014, biting off a huge chunk from Ukriane?

Who has fueled a war in the Donbas area in eastern Ukraine with cumulative deaths estimated to be 14,000 and counting?

The West is racing to help arm Ukraine with defensive weapons only, not the kind they could use to attack Russia. And the West is doing it so Ukrainians can put up a good fight when the Russian tanks start rolling and their airplanes start strafing their people.

Mr Macron’s need to seek attention seems to have outrun his common sense.

Maybe it’s the prospect of national elections later this year that is the key motivator.

Mr Macron went further. He stated that one of the models on the table was to make Ukraine like Finland during the Cold War with the Soviet Union, when the Finnish were allowed to remain ‘independent’ but they could not join NATO, and Russia was permitted to have ‘considerable influence over their political options.’

So the West allows Ukraine to be ‘considerably’ influenced by Russia?

Doesn’t that sound like betrayal?

To please Putin’s paranoia?

In another article, mention is made of a spokesperson for Russia’s Foreign Ministry, a woman declaring that the West was demonizing Russia, so as to take public attention away from their domestic crises, invest huge sums to arm ‘fragile democracies’ (as in Ukraine), and bolster an image of invincibility that has been weakened by the Afghanistan collapse.

But do we have political prisoners like you do?

What about releasing Alexei Navalny, whom you poisoned and nearly killed?

What about your branding every dissident organization you find upsetting, a terrorist one?

In democracies we sometimes elect people to govern us who are not fit, but we can throw them out at the end of their terms. You can’t do that. You’ve been stuck with Putin since 1999.

Yes, we parade every day our million flaws so that the whole world wonders how it is we still function.

But we do.

And we prosper.

Unlike Russia, where, with no free press, the citizenry is daily growing convinced that it is America who wants to invade them.

Quoted statements for this piece come from articles appearing in the New York Times on 2/7/2022. The reflections and judgments are my own.

Oscar Valdes., buzzsprout, apple and google podcasts