Will There Be a Cease fire in Ukraine?

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Putin wants all of Ukraine.
The West will not send troops in to aid Ukraine, so for Putin it is only a matter of time.
And of adding up more casualties, mainly Ukrainian but also Russian.
He has made up his mind.
Bombing residences in Ukraine is part of the price. Killing men, women and children.
I’ve read he’s ordered that the relatives of fallen Russians receive a payment of $ 50,000.
How’s that supposed to make up for the loss of a life? When the reason for the fighting was something he invented owing to his fragile ego and dreams of empire.

He believes that Russia is being threatened, he tells us.
That other people’s quest for freedom is too unsettling for him to tolerate.
So he must act to squash the possibilities.
No matter the cost.
Meanwhile, there are nations in our world that see nothing wrong with the invasion.
Nations that are afraid to speak against it. Notably China, who instead blames the US for threatening Putin through NATO’s expansion.
India and Israel, also, have chosen to not upset Putin. And other nations in the Middle East which have business deals with Russia.
Geopolitical reasons they call it.
I am sure you can think of better words to describe such behavior.

The question now is, in the absence of a cease fire, and of the West sending in troops, what will happen on the ground?
At present Russian troops have advanced from the south as Kyiv, the capital and seat of government, is still holding.
But as stiff a resistance as the Ukrainians have mounted, and thousands of volunteers returning from abroad to fight for their land, the likelihood is that the Russian army will eventually prevail.

Advancing from the south and from the north Russians are likely to converge and make their way west to seal the border with Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania and so close off the entryway for weapons sent in from the western alliance. Unless a section of the Ukrainian army – while there is still time – changes strategy and relocates West before the Russian army gets there. That way they would be able to have the border with NATO members at their back – with their supplies flowing – and help them make a final stand against the invaders.
It could be they may hold that position longer than any other one in the country.
It could even lead to a divided Ukraine, which would be better than no Ukraine at all.

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

Putin to the West – Drop Dead

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‘You keep complaining and putting sanctions on me, but I don’t care.
I want to be king of this space I now have and am expanding it.
I don’t believe in democracy.
I believe in me. In Vladimir. King Vladimir to you.
I have enough oil and gas and wheat and aluminum, platinum and palladium and nickel. We have it all. I don’t need you.
I have Russians under my control. Have managed, with great skill, to silence their voices, to keep them quiet so they won’t disturb my plans.
I haven’t asked them to kneel before me but maybe will one day soon.

There are a few dissenters, but I deal with them effectively and reduce them to mere nuisance. They are alive because of my charitable spirit.
I am one of the great leaders the world has ever known. But the West keeps calling me an autocrat. A despot.

I get no respect. Which is why I am forced to invade Ukraine.
It is your fault that I have invaded those poor souls. I love Ukraine. They are my brothers and sisters. My heart bleeds when I see the number of dead Ukrainians rising. Sometimes I even weep.
But then I remind myself that it is your fault. It is because of you that they’re dying. You have no shame and have forced my hand.

I am a peace loving man. Sure, I’ve had to kill thousands of people in Chechnya and Georgia in years past – and now in Syria too – but that was because they listened to you and wanted to be independent.
Independence from the great Russia is wrong.

I am a man with a very broad mind.
For instance, I have the greatest respect for Donald Trump, who always said, America First. Well, I’m doing the same thing. Russia First. I learned from him. And I know he has great respect for me. The other day, when I instructed my legislators to declare the Ukraine regions of Donetsk and Luhansk to be new republics under my authority, in preparation for my special military operation, he called the move a pretty smart one. In fact, I am inspired by his example. He was trying to end his alliance with Europe because they were not giving him enough respect.
That is exactly what I am doing now. Getting my respect back.

So, please understand. In invading Ukraine, I am doing a favor to mankind. Xi Jinping and China love me, too. They will help me overcome the sanctions because they love people and understand the damage the West is doing.
Sooner or later they will invade Taiwan to stop them from continuing down the wrong path of wanting to be independent. Xi Jinping will sacrifice his people to save the Taiwanese. And when they choose to do so, I will help them because they are helping me today.

And I will do everything possible to help Donald get back to being president. That way we can divide the world. One part for me – the King – one part for Xi – the prince – the other part for Donald, the other prince.
And working together we will end poverty and inequality and racism and crime and the human race will prosper and live happily ever after.
So long as everyone surrenders their dreams of being independent. That’s not so hard to do.
Long live dependence!’

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

The Siege of Kyiv. Is There an Option?

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A large part of Putin’s invading army is on its way to encircle and squeeze Kyiv.
The Ukrainian Army and volunteers have fought bravely to defend their land but they are clearly outnumbered and outgunned by Russian troops.
Ukraine’s quest for freedom has galvanized the European Union and America and together they have shown admirable determination in coming to the assistance of the nation and frantically sending military hardware to help it fight the brutal intruder.
President Zelensky has courageously led his compatriots in standing up to Russia.

As I write these words, the Russian army has started to surround the Ukrainian capital.
There is no doubt that the residents of Kyiv will resist, but we should ask, should Zelensky and his war cabinet remain in the city?
While it is certain that Ukrainians will fight to the death, it is also certain that Putin will show no mercy. That is who he is. He will spare no effort to demolish his opposition. World opinion does not matter.
The slaughter of thousands of Ukrainians is about to happen.
With Kyiv encircled there will be no way to pass military equipment to the city’s defenders.
And, eventually, with the world watching, the city will crumble.
Thousands will likely die in the ordeal.

As glaring as that prospect is, many nations still resist denouncing Russia’s invasion, afraid of angering Putin. Among them India and Israel. The latter not summoning the chutzpa to stand up in support of a nation led by a president of Jewish origin.
While the West has unified against Russia’s aggression, it has stopped short of sending troops to Ukraine. Sanctions applied to Russia have been increasing and will do significant damage but Putin will find relief in trading with China.

At this point, the western section of Ukraine and its border with the EU remain under the government’s control.
Instead of suffocating in Kyiv, perhaps even perishing in it, a strategic option would be for the country’s leadership to relocate to the city of L’viv in the west and so keep marshaling the nation’s defense while getting reinforcements through its border with Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania.
The assistance from the West and the fierceness of Ukrainian fighters may combine to draw a boundary that the Russian troops may not be able to surmount. The outcome may end up being a divided Ukraine. In which case, in time, as in Germany, the West will clearly outdo the East.

The idea that the pain of the siege of Kyiv will stir the world into action is flawed.
It assumes that the pain of massacred Ukrainians will lead Putin to relent. It will not.
He is in to defeat not only Ukraine but the West. No matter the tally in casualties, Russian and Ukrainians. The horror the world has been witnessing won’t deter him.
He is who he is.
It will be up to the Russian people to keep him in power, or to depose him.

Oscar Valdes oscarvaldes.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.

Watching his Troops Run Over Ukraine

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He sits alone in his bunker, watching the bombing of Ukraine, rockets being fired, buildings being set on fire or demolished. He has just got news that his forces took over Chernobyl, north of Kyiv.
He does not yet know the number of dead, on either side.

The sanctions didn’t stop him from invading. Whatever additional ones the West promises to impose, won’t either.
Sure, some of his wealthy associates will be harmed by such restrictions but he will remind them that they owe him. That they are where they are because of him.He is having the time of his life, relishing being top of the news worldwide and being feared.
He is rich, but that brings him little solace. The acquisition of wealth is not what drives him.
Power is what moves him. And he’s living his grand moment.

For too long he’s been in the shadows of world leaders he considers his inferiors when it comes to drive and sheer ambition.
He’s had to live with the frustration of seeing other economies rise and rise, becoming the envy of the world. Apple, for instance, the American technology company, has a value greater than Russia’s entire economy. How did they do that?
He wishes he had been able to unleash the full creative potential of his fellow Russians.
But he didn’t. Somehow, he reflects, his concern with power, stood in the way.

On a clear night, when he looks up at the sky as he is fond of doing and sees the international space station orbiting the earth, he thinks of the Russian cosmonauts up there. And he reminds himself that it was two Russians and an American who first went up to that station. Years ago.
He knows he presides over a powerhouse of talent. Russians with great ability in many fields. And yet, economically, Russia is in the shadows of America and now China.
It is hard to stomach.

In his clearer moments, he recognizes that the world sees him as associated with brutality.
Supporting the vicious Assad in Syria, for instance. The Generals in Myanmar. The repressive government of Maduro in Venezuela. And associates of his, with his consent, of course, have mercenary troops spreading through Africa, aiding in the coercion and subjugation of hundreds of thousands of people.
All of that and yet, somehow, whatever the pain being inflicted, doesn’t keep him up at night.
He sleeps soundly.
How interesting the human mind, able to put things in separate spaces – boxes or compartments, call them what you wish – so that there is little spilling over between them.
Ah, but enough of that introspection.

He has invaded his beloved Ukraine because it belongs to him, belongs to Russia, and whatever the costs to be paid he will pay them.
His troops have acted quickly and decisively so there will be little chance for an armed resistance to make a difference.
He will put Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky in a plane and send him to Poland, or Moldova. Anywhere but keep him in Ukraine. Let him blah blah all he wants about Putin in exile, but he will not set foot in Ukraine ever again.

He is surprised that Biden had the gumption to rally Europeans to oppose him. He likes that about him. Feisty. But he’s always liked feisty people. And then being able to outwit and dominate them.
He pauses and swivels around in his chair. The mood pensive.

‘I grant that during my reign, I did not have the ability to free up the creativity and imagination of Russians… that’s just not me… but I did have the genius to develop a terrific armed force, to facilitate the development of an arms industry, and make Russians proud’.

He closes his eyes as he rubs his face softly.
‘Biden will not give in but neither will I. And I will drive my army all the way to the border with Romania, Moldova, Hungary and Poland. And scare the West… so Russians will be happy, like they were when we went into Crimea.
As to the sanctions, I’m not worried. We will find ways around them. China will help, of course. They know they need me. Though now and then I will have to remind them I have lots more nuclear warheads than they do.’
He laughs.

‘In America, Trump likes me. How interesting. Something about my charismatic personality. I never imagined that would happen. I love it, of course. And when the next elections come around, well, I’ll think of something. Anyway, whether Trump gets reelected or not, sooner or later, an American president will be chosen who doesn’t care about Ukraine, and the sanctions will be lifted. Europe may complain but without American support, they will slowly yield. It will be their excuse to appease me. And all their presidents, chancellors and prime ministers will come to Moscow to endear themselves to me, to buy my oil and gas and wheat and aluminum and nickel and palladium, for we have it all, and get back to business as usual.
But Ukraine will be mine.’

He leans over to the desk next to him and picks up a globe of the earth.
He looks at the area where Ukraine is drawn.
He taps on it and says, ‘how many men can boast that they redrew the boundaries of a country?’
And he laughs loudly.
‘I can see the title of an upcoming book by some writer, “Putin, the Conqueror”. Maybe even become a film.’
He laughs again.

Behind him, in the wall monitors facing his desk, Russian war planes fly over cities in Ukraine.

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

What Use Will the Sanctions Be After they Bomb Us?

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Said Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s president, a few days ago.
He is right.
The West has announced sanctions on two major Russian banks and on Russian debt after Putin’s troops entered the Donetsk and Lugansk ‘new’ republics in the Donbas region of Eastern Ukraine.

But the EU–US alliance is choosing to not announce what is to follow until the invader takes the next step.
To Putin, that smells of the West not being truly convinced of his intentions to take over the entire Ukraine.
The only firm deterrent to him would have been NATO’s troops on the ground, but since Ukraine is not a NATO member, that was never going to happen.

There is a clear difference in the motivations of the contending parties.
Putin has made up his mind to annex Ukraine.
The West, though committed to placing sanctions on him, is not quite clear on which ones to choose.
So Putin, who’s willing to dare and push his way through the entire country, East to West, North to South, is not deterred by them.

Regardless of Mr Biden’s firm efforts in addressing the crisis, Putin is calculating that the West’s lack of strong conviction owes to their needing to check with lots of nations to make sure no one member of the alliance is disproportionately burdened by any one sanction.
Putin, on the other hand, does not have to weigh any such considerations. He alone speaks for Russia, and therein lies his advantage.

It was a confidence booster for the West to hear that, upon starting the invasion, Germany had stepped up and stopped the certification of Nord Stream 2, the gas pipeline from Russia to their northern shore. But as Putin’s troops run over Ukraine, what else will they agree on?

Putin seems to have no interest in diplomacy.

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

Zelensky sees, quite clearly, that Ukraine matters more to Putin than to the West.
Placing sanctions on Russia will also have an economic cost to the West but it is Ukraine that will pay dearly once they end up a vassal state.
Ukrainians know this is their fight. They know it will be Ukrainian blood that will be spilled.
Western principles will be invoked and sanctions placed on Russia to support such principles, but in the end the great fight will be fought by Ukrainians. It will be their parents and children and brothers and sisters who will die in defense of their land, paying with their flesh and blood the price to have a destiny of their own.

Putin is no grand strategist but a clever and vicious thug. He can spot weakness in an adversary and do what he needs to suit his needs.
Today, he is bent on grabbing a nation, capturing a people, subjecting it to his will.
We don’t know what he will want tomorrow.
Letting him know in advance what the sanctions are may be more effective than announcing them after his assaults. And though sanctions alone, however severe, will not deter him, they will inflict harm, which combined with Ukrainians’ courage to fight may prove decisive.

Ukrainians know it us up to them to bear the greater cost of the struggle.
And that surrender is not an option.

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

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.

Does the West Have the Guts?

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Putin is sitting at his desk in the Kremlin. He is alone.

‘So the head of the German navy said that Crimea (annexed forcefully by Russia in 2014) was “gone, it will never come back” and that I, Vladimir Putin, only wanted and “probably deserved respect”, and that it would be “low cost, even no cost” for the West to give me such support, in part because it needed Russia as a bulwark against China.’ (WSJ 1/22/2021)

Putin laughs.

‘Beautiful. I should send him a check. Just beautiful. And if that is the head of the Navy talking, then he reflects the opinions of many Germans in the armed forces. In other words, they’re acknowledging their weakness and their need for me and all Russians, to defend them from the Chinese. Never mind Ukraine, they can be sacrificed. They are expendable to keep me happy. To give me respect.’

He shakes his head slowly, still in disbelief at the comments from the German officer. Now a hint of a smile forms on his lips.

‘If I hadn’t put the pressure on them, the cracks wouldn’t have shown. I would never have guessed it… Vladimir Putin as a defender of the West. This is too much’.

He smiles broadly for a moment and then, leaning forward, hands clasped, his mood turns somber.

‘Ukraine is mine. The West cannot get consensus, and I’ll drive my army right through their doubts. And the sanctions they will impose, whatever they may be, they won’t work because they won’t last, because Germans will start complaining of how cold it gets after I turn off the natural gas they depend on me for. And they’ll start calling their prime minister pleading that he intervenes, that their factories cannot produce enough and they’re not making enough money. And they’ll beg that the government appeal to my generosity.

And the French will bitch that they can’t get enough croissants, and the Italians not enough pasta, and Macron and Draghi will call pleading for a meeting with me. 

Or they’ll turn to America for help, but the Americans will say they can’t act without consensus – but nothing can get through their congress, and their people keep tearing each other apart over vaccinations, abortion, gun control, race, women’s rights, so how are they an example to anyone?

And all the while, I’ll be smiling, as I arrive in Kyiv at the head of my triumphant army, secure control of the country, appoint one of my devout followers to write a new pro Russian constitution, then take a well deserved vacation in Sochi, do some skiing, and plan my next move.

Life is beautiful. Yes, it is.’

He stands, crosses to the window, looks out.

‘What is the secret of my astounding success? Simple. My willingness to act. To repress dissent if necessary. To squash opponents if called for. Alexei Navalny will never rise to power while I’m alive. I’ll invent charges for him to die in prison.

And those I’ve sent into exile will die in exile.

But I do have to invigorate Russia’s economy. I must do that. My fellow Russians expect that from me. Trump said “America first. Well, I say Russians first”.

And to do that I will look to the Chinese system. It is much better than democracy.

Look at how fast they’ve risen. I’m envious of them. I recognize that.

But I don’t trust the Chinese, either.

They mesmerized America with the promise of riches. How can you explain that America has fallen behind in their production of microchips? In artificial intelligence?

The Chinese cast their spell and America relaxed. “Don’t worry, America, we have what you need,” they said, but the tags read “Made in China.” “We are making you money, isn’t that what you’re about?” And America nodded a little more, its belly growing in size, its robust quarterly reports in hand as it dozed off.

China smiled.

Then it struck. The South China Sea is ours. The Belt and Road initiative is on. We’re going after Taiwan. We’re conquering outer space on our own, never mind the International Space Agency, which you denied us entry to. And there we are.

Trump may have put America to sleep – in terms of their place in the world – but the trend was already there. Hubris. It will kill you.

Now it’s Russia’s turn. My turn.

And so this is only the beginning. For I will keep annexing territory. Little by little. The Baltic countries look like a good possibility. Little Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia. Who will go to war for them? No one. They are too small.

Then I expand. Poland would be a good one to catch. A fat little fish.

And again, who will go to war for Poland?

Not Germany. Not America.

In America they’ll say, ‘Wait, we’ve too many problems here at home, with our schools, immigration, racism, inequality, we need more time.’

‘Once upon a time they had fight in them. Now it’s gone. But they will still kneel before China to get their money.’

Putin laughs. Then the pensive and serious mood returns, eyes narrowed.

‘Ukraine is mine. Not just the East, but the whole country. It’s mine.’

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

This is the Time for Russians…

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To stand up against Putin and simply say No.

No to Putin’s threat to invade the Ukraine.

No to Putin inventing the idea that the West wants to invade Russia.

No to Putin’s willingness to sacrifice Russian lives in the conquest of the Ukraine.

Ukrainians will not be intimidated by Putin.

They will fight for the right of their country to choose their path forward

Like Russians themselves should do.

Russians should say ‘thank you’ to Ukrainians for their courage to defy Putin.

This is also the time for Alexei Navalny, still in prison on Putin’s orders, to speak out on the importance of respecting Ukrainians’ wishes. No matter what bonds they may have with the Russian people, Ukrainians have made it clear they are willing to embark on a new path.

Let them be. Respect their choice.

This is the time to say

No to Putin’s blocking free elections in Russia.

No to his barring freedom of speech.

No to Putin’s wanting to stay in charge until 2036.

This is the time for a young leader, man or woman, to emerge in Russia, a fresh voice speaking on behalf of the future of their land, to say loudly that the country needs to step out of its isolation, that the country needs to open up to the world and be part of it, that Russia wants to stand shoulder to shoulder with other cultural, technological and industrial leaders of the world, confident as they should be that they have the brains and competence to do well.

Just imagine for a moment a Russia that is not led by a paranoid and controlling Putin, just imagine a Russia that on opening its borders makes itself attractive to foreign investments, just imagine the increase in productivity and in the standard of living.

There is a yearning in the breast of Russian citizens to be part of a changing world.

Putin stands in the way and uses violence to repress that yearning.

The Russian spirit should not give in.

The Russian mind should not bow to a man consumed with dreams of personal power.

Do not enable him by conforming.

This is the time to say No.

And it can be said peacefully. Just keep saying it.

Again and again. Until he steps down and then the spirit of freedom will sweep into that great land.

Say No to Putin and Yes for Russia to be a part of our new and changing world.

Please join us. The rest of us are waiting for your contributions. We need you and your creativity.

Please step forward and join the forces fighting for progress and against repression.

This is the time.

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