Mr Scholz. The Leopard Tanks

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This is a critical moment in the war. The tanks can make a difference.
Ukrainians are gaining ground in some areas but meeting fierce resistance in the south where Russians have had time to dig in and fortify their positions.
President Zelensky said the other day that approximately 50 of his soldiers are dying daily.
You stated recently that leadership is not about giving people what they ask for.
Understood. But it’s not just anyone asking for assistance with weapons.
It is Ukraine. A heroic country fighting for its life.
You speak of needing to be prepared for an attack on your nation.
Of course, so by no means deplete your stock of armament, but you are part of NATO, and at this unique historical moment, a bond has been created between Western nations that will be honored in case of such an attack.
The US Congress just approved a large amount of additional aid for Ukraine.
We too, in America, have to contend with depleting stocks, so some of the approved funds are going for just that.
I am glad that you approved an increase in your nation’s defense budget. This is the time to use those funds.
There is the growing awareness in Russian citizens that this is not a war for them to lose their lives over. The Motherland is not being threatened. It’s all about Putin’s inflated sense of himself. His dreams of grandeur. And many Russians are seeing it for what it is so they are desperately trying to flee. Those who acted quickly managed to get out. Those who vacillated may have a harder time leaving since the military has now sent personnel to border points to hand out draft notices and block their exit.
How do you transform a man or woman wanting to leave their country to escape the draft into a willing soldier? You can’t.
Somehow, somewhere, people’s lack of motivation will show. And it will translate into pain and suffering.
Putin is carrying on believing he can keep bending his people’s will. But resentment is building and it will soon show up in other places.
His desperate effort to legislate that conquered territories become a legitimate part of Russia is a sham.
Ukraine will not accept it and will fight to recapture all of the land Russia has seized, now and in recent years. It is their land. And with the support of the west and their enormous courage, they are on the verge of accomplishing their dream.
Their fight against Putin is a fight against totalitarianism. A fight with which all of us identify.
Your tanks will make a difference.
I see fear in Putin. I see growing desperation. The war has come to Russians’ homes, to their children. He has given a pay incentive of an additional $800 dollars plus a month to soldiers. Yet not a single explanation of why he assigns such a dismal value to their lives.
The hypocrisy, the sadism, the brutality keep mounting.
But Putin is no madman.
He will count the loss of lives methodically, coldly, to arrange for his next move. ’50 Ukrainians dead today, 90 yesterday, hmm, what happened?’
It is unbelievable the scale of atrocities committed in defense of lies.
And so, as Ukraine presses on, the West must too.
We trust and hope that Ukraine will become a bastion of democracy and an inspiration to all nations on earth. It will be up to them to make that a reality. And so far, they’re saying, ‘Yes, we will’ and backing it with their lives.
Our reward is not what they accomplish, but the sense that in an hour of need we lent a hand. We gave our best. We risked ourselves.
Please be generous Mr Scholz. Send in the tanks.
Putin must be confronted, no matter what the size of his threats.
A nation is bleeding for the sake of liberty.

Oscarvaldes.medium.com

Vasily!

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The mass of protesters surged forward, some of them with their faces covered, some not. Men and women of various ages, arms interlocked, a look of fierce determination.
‘We won’t fight Ukraine! We won’t fight Ukraine!’ They chanted vigorously. ‘Long live Russia!’
A block and a half away a unit of riot police in full gear, four lines deep, waited silently to stop them, their shields and batons at the ready, their faces covered by balaclavas. Behind them three vehicles with water cannons stood vigilantly along with 2 empty buses.
The march was taking place near the center of St Petersburg along a wide avenue lined with tall apartment buildings, from which balconies people looked down as they snapped photos and took videos.
The protesters kept advancing, undeterred by the riot police staring back at them.
More than a thousand men and women made up the advancing mass.
‘We won’t fight Ukraine! Long live Russia!’
Moments later the protesters came to a stop about 15 feet or so from the riot police. They continued their chanting, which grew louder and more defiant.
An officer stepped out from behind the riot police and to one side. Bull horn in hand, he said to the protesters, ‘Disband! You’re in violation of the law. This is an illegal demonstration. Disband immediately or face the consequences!’
The protesters paused for an instant before resuming their chanting. ‘We won’t fight Ukraine! Long live Russia!’
Then the officer addressed his troops. ‘Proceed to disband!’
And the troops charged the protesters, batons held up high ready to strike the defenseless men and women. And the batons came down hard on the heads and arms of the protesters.
Cries of pain filled the air as the protesters were furiously bludgeoned. A woman and a man fell to the ground from the impact of the clubs.
A woman called out, ‘Vasily!’
She broke off from her companions attempting to reach the man who’d fallen but was blocked by the riot police and shoved back.
‘Vasily!’ she cried again, frantically.
The first cry had sounded vaguely familiar to a riot policeman in the front line but now the second cry made him cringe with fear. He knew that voice. He immediately ceased swinging his baton and yelled, ‘Irina!’
The woman looked in his direction, ‘Igor!’
‘Yes!’ answered Igor with alarm.
‘Vasily went down!’ she replied, signaling to her right.
‘What?’ His face went pale.
The riot police kept pushing the protesters back.
Urgently, Igor began to move toward where Irina had signaled.
‘Vasily!’ shouted Igor loudly, in desperation, ‘Vasily!’
He was trying to wind his way through the advancing officers, but he couldn’t get through the tight formation.
Igor pressed on and reached the fallen man, then threw himself immediately over him, his fellow officers stomping on by.
Igor felt the warmth of the body that now lay under him. But was it him? He wasn’t sure. Reaching up with one hand he then pulled off his mask. And it was him. Vasily. His son.
Irina could no longer see Igor but kept moving in their direction when a club crashed hard over her head and she,too, fell to the ground.
‘Vasily! Talk to me!’ cried Igor to his son, but Vasily couldn’t answer.
The rest of the riot police had advanced past them as they pushed back the demonstrators, the vehicles with water cannons now shooting their hard streams at them.
The officer with the bull horn strode up to where Igor covered Vasily.
‘What are you doing?’ said the officer.
‘This is my son,’ said Igor as he looked up at the officer, the expression confused, bewildered, ‘My son… I thought he was at the university… I didn’t know he was with the protesters… it’s my fault…’
The officer with the bullhorn looked down at Igor.
‘You’re a police officer. Join your fellow officers. Your son will be taken care of.’
And Igor’s expression seemed to freeze.
‘I can’t… I can’t…’ answered Igor as he looked helplessly up at the officer. And then he looked to the side where just a few yards away lay the body of the woman who had called to him. It had to be Irina. He went to her and it was she. A big clot was forming on her bloodied forehead but otherwise she was conscious. She smiled at him. “How is he?’
‘I don’t know, he won’t respond,’ said Igor.
Irina’s expression changed. ‘Help me up, Igor, I need to see him… he needs me.’
And Igor started to lift her but then the commanding officer appeared again at his side.
‘We have people to do that, now join your fellow officers, we’ll take care of your son and this woman.’
And Igor stared back at the commanding officer. He called him by his first name, Ilya. ‘Ilya… I can’t… I can’t do it anymore… these are my children… I can’t do it.’
‘Join your fellow officers now!’ insisted the man, ‘or I will charge you with insubordination.’
Igor didn’t move, just stared back, puzzled.
Two medics, a man and a woman, came up to where Irina lay and started to lift her but she said, pointing in Vasily’s direction, ‘he needs more help than I do, go to him first.’
The medics ignored her, pulled her up and took her to the side of the avenue where other injured people were being gathered.
‘Stay with Vasily, Igor, please!’ were the last words he heard from her.
Igor moved back quickly to where Vasily still lay. He was unresponsive.
‘Vasily, my child, speak to me!’ cried Igor in anguish. ‘Vasily!’
The commanding officer followed Igor and stood over him. Now he was joined by two other men.
The commanding officer stared down at Igor. ‘I will have to charge you with insubordination, do you hear me, Igor?’
Igor had been on his knees, holding Vasily’s hand in his but now appeared transfixed.
‘Do you hear me?’ pressed the commanding officer.
And Igor began to shake his head slowly, horror coming over him as tears rolled down his face. He had been taking his son’s pulse and now there was no pulse.
‘Are you deaf?’ insisted the commanding officer as he hovered over Igor.
And Igor started to slowly look up at the officer, eyes wide open, glaring in disbelief.
‘Ilya… he’s dead… my son… Vasily… he’s dead.’
And the commanding officer stood up straight, aghast.
And Igor, reacting, immediately positioned himself astride his son and started to do chest compressions. And one of the other officers joined him, alternating with Igor to give mouth to mouth respirations… and two medics came to their side with a cardio converter and they tried it. And it didn’t work. So Igor and the other officers went back to compressing Vasily’s heart and breathing for him. And they tried again the heart converter. And they repeated the cycles. Again and again. And again. With no response.
The protesters had been driven back, prisoners taken while others had dispersed, yet still they chanted, ‘We won’t fight Ukraine! Long live Russia!’
From one of the balconies in an adjacent building, a woman had video recorded the entire affair. After all was over, she would upload it and it would go viral.
Igor lay a long time next to Vasily’s body, sometimes covering him with his own, sometimes simply touching his face, remembering when his son was a child, and how he liked playing checkers, and then basketball and video games, and then the guitar, and how he later enjoyed solving math problems. He was going to school to become an engineer.
He remembered that Vasily dreamed of one day visiting the West, maybe working there for a while before returning to Russia, which he loved.
But none of that would happen now, thought Igor. None of it.
Now everything was gone.
And what would he say to his mother?
Her only child.
What would he say to her?

Oscarvaldes.medium.com

Republicans Won’t Support Ukraine?

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I read yesterday that US representative Scalise from Louisiana had raised the question of continued support for Ukraine in its fight against Russia.
He would not commit to continuing with such support should Republicans win majorities in the House and Senate on November 8th.
It doesn’t take much imagination to realize that the gentleman is running for reelection.
He argues that the moneys spent on Ukraine’s fight for its survival should instead be spent on preparations to confront China’s rise and, generally, on other projects here at home.
Up until now it has been US support that has been the largest in defense of Ukraine. Europe, has contributed too, and the energy shortages and inflationary pressures have hit them the hardest. Yet, the western alliance against the brutal bullying of Putin stands.
Mr Scalise should wipe off his moral compass. It has got foggy. He can’t see clearly anymore. I’m assuming he once did.
But to threaten to withdraw funds from Ukraine is tantamount to saying, ‘Russia, go ahead and kill Ukrainians at will, do what you want with that nation.’
So, no, Mr Scalise, to withhold support from Ukraine now is the equivalent of appeasing Putin.
And Trump also, who’s known to be sympathetic to Putin.
Putin’s strategic mistake in Ukraine was not to have invaded while Trump was in the White House. If he had, he would have, likely, taken over all of Ukraine because they would not have had the means to defend themselves. And the world would be a poorer place as a result.
With the approaching mid term elections, president Biden has to make clear our support of Ukraine’s struggle remains a central issue.
Mr Biden’s exemplary leadership of the western alliance has Putin on his back foot and today, there is a good possibility Ukraine may drive Russia back to its borders.
I am gratified to hear that Ukraine will not respect Russia’s efforts to legitimize the territories it has grabbed from Ukraine by force. Putin has taken to insisting that any attack on those territories would be an attack on Russia itself. But we won’t fall for that lie.
President Biden and his administration are determined to keep supplying Ukraine with what it needs to fight the good fight.
He is fully aware of the enormous benefit the world and America have already derived from Ukraine’s heroic fight.
Ukraine’s valor has reminded us all of the effort needed to protect our freedom. The vigilance, the focus, the never lowering our guard.
These are critical times for our nation and the world. On January 6th 2021, a sitting American president chose to incite a riot to overturn the official result of an election that had defeated him by a wide margin.
Sadly, there are still those who believe his nonsense rhetoric. And even worse, that Trump holds influence over the minds of many confused Americans.
Apparently, he holds influence also over the mind of representative Scalise.
Dear sir, time to wipe off your moral compass. Mind you, those smudges may be hard to clean. But you should try.

Oscarvaldes.medium.com

Biden and Putin Talk

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Biden is in the White House, Putin is in his bunker.
They talk via a special channel using advanced Zoom technology and they both fill their respective screens.
While not visible, in the room with Biden are Kamala Harris, Antony Blinken and Jake Sullivan.
Two unnamed assistants sit near Putin.

Biden – It’s time to end this.
Putin – Are you speaking for Zelensky?
Biden – No… he speaks for himself.
Putin – What do you propose?
Biden – You pull back to behind your borders… and agree to pay reparations.
Putin – You’re mad.
Biden – You’ve just mobilized 300 thousand Russians to fight in Ukraine… 300 thousand men not well trained, and vulnerable to getting killed or maimed because they’re no match for Ukrainians… and for what?
Putin – I have a dream of a greater Russia… a Russia that will be respected everywhere… consulted in all important decisions…
Biden – You’ve had more than 20 years to do that… and you didn’t do it.

Putin lowers his eyes.

Biden – In those 20 years, China rose to become the second most important economy in the world… even though they were still denying their people the freedom of speech… but they let them create, invent, copy from the West which they were clever to invite in. But all the while in Russia, the power stayed concentrated on you and your oligarch friends. Now China is running into other problems which will limit their growth, but we won’t talk about that this moment.
Putin – I admit they have done better than us… but they’re not better than us… like you’re not better than us.
Biden – I agree… but we work hard to assure the freedom of all our people… citizens and residents… immigrants from all over the world who come in search of liberty and opportunity.
Putin – You’re a racist country.
Biden – We have been… and maybe still are… but we keep working on it.

The two men look at each other directly.

Biden – You started this war… not because you were being threatened… but because of envy… envy of all the nations which have surpassed you during the time you’ve been in power. So you invented this dream of a greater Russia to make up for all your blunders… and chose to sacrifice your fellow Russians. That is unforgivable.
Putin – Unforgivable?
Biden – There’s no way back.
Putin – I know that.

They pause.

Biden – You can’t bring back the dead, the maimed… the tears for whom will never dry.
And yet you go on TV the other day to say that representatives of NATO nations are threatening Russia with nuclear weapons. No one has said that. You invented it to justify calling for another 300 thousand people to join in your madness.
Putin – I am not mad.
Biden – I know… which gives me hope.
Putin – Hope?
Biden – Yes, hope that you announce to the world that this is over.

Putin laughs.

Biden – Admit that you made a colossal mistake out of envy… and that you deeply regret you have not made Russia a leading nation in the world… as your nation would have become… if they had been free.
Putin (to himself)- My dear Russia…
Biden – There is still time… time to act to redeem yourself.
Putin (pulling his head back as he closes his eyes) – That time has passed… I’ve killed too many people… destroyed too many things…
Biden – You could ask all the oligarchs you’ve made rich… to contribute four fifths of their wealth toward a fund to rebuild Ukraine.
Putin (shaking his head slowly) – They’ll kill me.
Biden – … and you could start by surrendering four fifths of your own wealth to set the example.
Putin (smiling) – You’re mad, Biden.
Biden – I’m sure there are better ideas to act on… but what is clear to me is that this is over. You can still insist on causing more damage, but it will get you nothing… and because it will be at the expense of your people, they will become less forgiving. Russia needs to breathe… you need to take your boot off their throats.
Putin – I still have my nuclear weapons…
Biden – What good will they do?

Putin lowers his head.

Biden – The West will never submit to you, or to China… or anyone. We will die for our freedom, like Ukraine is doing.
Putin – Ukraine is now part of the West?
Biden – Yes. You wouldn’t let them in, so they fought their way into it.
Putin – I won’t surrender.

Biden is silent.

Putin – There’s still a chance we could beat Ukrainians. Why won’t they let me keep Crimea, the Donbas?
Biden – Because it’s their land.
Putin – You didn’t say anything when I first took it…
Biden – It was another president… another time.
Putin – I’m not envious of America. You’re a mess… violent… racist…
Biden – … and free. The nation chose Trump as president in 2016… but didn’t like what they saw and didn’t reelect him. That’s choice. If Americans had reelected Trump in 2020, then you would’ve had no problem taking over Ukraine. Trump would’ve gone to your inauguration in Kyiv. But we didn’t reelect him and we won’t again.

Putin nods slowly.

Putin – I liked him… I should’ve invaded while he was president.
Biden – Missed your chance.
Putin – I won’t surrender.
Biden – Then the dead and the destruction will keep climbing… for what?
As destructive as you’ve been, you are still a human being… better die as a human being who acknowledged his humanity, than as one who never did.

Putin shakes his head.

Putin – I will not surrender. Russians love me. I am not envious. Russia will be great again.
Biden – Putin… Russians are scared of you… and that feeling is just sinking in in all those Russians you’ve just called to enlist. They’re now learning that because they didn’t stand up to you before… you own them.
Putin – I have more nuclear weapons than you do, more than anyone on this earth.
Biden – You can’t win a nuclear war.
Putin – That’s what they say but I will… and we’ll pick up the pieces… and we’ll be the greatest nation on earth.
Biden – Russians will stop you.
Putin – No, they won’t. Russians love me.

Putin pauses, looks tired.

Putin – I’ve had enough for today.
Biden – Should we meet again?
Putin – Maybe… I’m not sure… I’ll let you know… but maybe this will be our last meeting.
Biden – Please do what is right. If not, we will stop you. No matter how much pain we must endure.

Putin looks directly at Biden for a moment, then his screen goes dark.

Oscarvaldes.medium.com

Why a Nuclear Deal with Iran?

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Iran is not a good actor.
They’ve gone ahead with selling drones to Russia so it can kill more Ukrainians.
They have bombed our positions in Iraq.
They are strengthening their economic ties with Putin which aids in his aggression.
They’re in constant cyber warfare with Israel and recently launched destructive cyberattacks on Albania, a NATO nation.
They assist Assad in Syria with the brutal repression of its people.
They are violent participants in the strife in Lebanon, Gaza and Yemen.
Yet talks have resumed in an attempt to revive the nuclear deal that Trump had quit in 2018.
When that happened, sanctions were reinstated and that dampened significantly their economy.
The purpose behind the original agreement, drawn up with the US, France, Germany and other nations, was to delay Iran’s effort to enrich uranium so that such heavy metal would not reach the grade needed to produce a nuclear bomb.
Iran’s nuclear research was being closely monitored by international specialists who could certify the degree of uranium enrichment remained in compliance with the terms of the treaty.
But Trump didn’t trust them and pulled out of the deal. On that he was right.
When Biden became president, he opened talks to reinstate the agreement in the belief that diplomacy would work. (before the war started)
Sadly, it doesn’t look that way. The US, France, Germany and other nations have returned to the negotiating table willing to find a solution but Iran has not been cooperative. Given that, in the interim, Iran may have advanced toward their goal of obtaining the uranium they need to make the bomb, the West has insisted on inspection of their facilities to verify the level of uranium’s enrichment. Iran has declined. I can see why. They are likely very close to where they need to be but still want the benefits of reinstating the deal.
I used to think that while Israel was Israel, Iran would not have the bomb. I think differently now. Iran will get its bomb. They have been very diligent and creative about it. And while having the bomb would significantly raise the possibility of a confrontation with the Jewish state, we should also ask if having the bomb would act as a deterrent to avoid MAD, Mutually Assured Destruction. It could.
The fact that with a renewed deal Iran would again be able to sell its oil on the open market does not now appear to be a big incentive anymore. They have found ways to bypass the restrictions. For a while, in concert with Russia, they were helping the dictatorship in Venezuela sell their oil. And they now assist Russia in circumventing sanctions by taking deliveries of their crude on the Caspian Sea, then reselling it to other nations to the south.
There is another reason Iran returned to the bargaining table, perhaps the most important. The possibility that if the nuclear deal is reinstated, they would be eligible for a sizeable cash payment, likely in the order of billions of dollars, something apparently specified in the original deal.
But in light of their alliance with Russia, is that the right thing to do?
How can the West be paying Iran anything when they are selling drones to Russia to then kill Ukrainians?
Likewise with oil. It is immoral to be buying oil from a nation that uses those moneys to support Putin.
There will be voices who say, ‘well, with Iran selling us oil, we’ll have less of an energy shortage this winter, and who knows when the war will end? So, let’s deal.’
But they are wrong.
A big part of what has renewed our commitment to freedom in the West has been the morality of the Ukrainian cause. The strength of their heroism.
Putting up with some pain is part of the deal. Part of what gives strength to morality. An incentive to end this war as soon as possible and do so honorably.
‘No, you shall not tread on us,’ have said the Ukrainians, and that is a deeply moral cry.
We were not deaf to that cry and responded.
Iran’s alliance with Russia and their willingness to join in the massacring of Ukrainians is deeply immoral.
We should not count on Iranian oil to alleviate our problems. It is tainted oil.
There may be other reasons we have no knowledge of which may still lead to a deal.
But those reasons should be made public before anything is signed. And if there is outrage, let the outrage be heard.
Greater availability of oil should not be the driver of a new agreement. There is oil elsewhere.
We should pay nothing to Iranians, regardless of what was agreed to before, for they have become allies of Putin’s brutal regime and its actions to enslave another nation.

Oscarvaldes.medium.com

Yesterday, I saw a clip of Putin speaking to his country. He was angry. He said that representatives of NATO nations were threatening to use nuclear weapons on Russia and that’s why they had to be ready to fire their own nuclear weapons. And he reminded his audience, that their weapons were better. ‘More modern,’ he said. I played the clip back to make sure I heard it right. I had. No one has threatened Putin but inventing a threat will aid in recruiting the next 300 thousand soldiers he needs. Innocent men and women he will use as cannon fodder.
When will it stop?

Dear Mr Biden. Ukraine

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Read an article earlier today on the heroic resistance that Ukraine put up at the beginning of the war which prevented Russia from taking control of Kyiv.
Titled ‘The Ragtag Army that Won the Battle of Kyiv and Saved Ukraine,’ by James Marson, it is a detailed account of the brave actions that some of the participants engaged in so they could stop an impending Russian occupation. Here’s the link https://www.wsj.com/articles/russian-invasion-ukraine-battle-of-kyiv-ragtag-army-11663683336?st=zx1dqhhndyr5z6z&reflink=desktopwebshare_permalink
The article captures the commitment of a people determined to not be vassals of another nation.
People from very different occupations came together to say to the Russians, ‘No, you shall not pass.’ And Kyiv was not captured.
As I read it, I felt that those men and women’s actions were speaking to all of us here in America, saying, ‘freedom is in the fight to defend what you value, freedom is in the fight to have your voice heard, in the fight to be respected and in the fight to learn to respect others.’
I couldn’t help but think that, no matter what else they do with their lives, those men and women will always be able to say that they stood up and offered all they had when their nation demanded it.
Their struggle for their independence is now in the 7th month. Thousands of lives have been lost with more to come. But today, because of Ukrainians’ will to fight and the enormous support they have got from the West, we can see that the end is near.
We should not think in terms of a protracted war.
We should think in terms of ending this war as soon as possible.
The recent advances by Ukrainian forces offer a great opportunity to accomplish this.
There is evidence of low morale in the Russian army, of incompetence and lack of commitment.
This is the time to strike hard against the enemy.
I do not see this war as a war against Russia but as a war primarily against Putin. And there is evidence that more and more people in Russia are gaining the courage to disagree with him.
Putin knows he’s headed for a defeat. He may or may not be able to stay in power after that.
But our task is to help Ukraine push Russia out of all their territory as soon as possible and to achieve that we should give them everything they need.
Will Putin use nuclear weapons?
I don’t think so. You have made it very clear that any such action will not be tolerated.
Putin does not want to be extinguished. He still sees some role for himself as an ally of China.
But when and if that happens, will be up to the Russian people.
A Free Ukraine has become a shining light for all the world to see and, I trust, an inspiration to Russia itself.
You, Mr Biden, have played a leading role in making it happen. Do not deprive yourself of the chance of seeing it in its full splendor.
This is the time to give to that great nation all the support they need.
We must not hesitate.

Oscarvaldes.medium.com

Why Putin Won’t Go Nuclear

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The recent advances by Ukrainian troops and their recapturing of territory has further raised the possibility that they may defeat the Russian army.
If so, how will Putin respond?
Some speculate that without a face saving outcome, without his having something to show Russians to justify the loss of life and resources, his political standing would be in jeopardy and he will be inclined to use nuclear weapons.
I disagree. I believe Putin has intimidated his countrymen so thoroughly that they will accept the losses. And if internal forces unite to remove him from power he will outsmart them and send them to prison with long sentences, like Alexei Navalny, if not underground.
He’s determined to die while in power and, barring some unmanageable illness, he’ll live for another 30 years. Sad for Russians but that’s who they’re choosing.
There’s another reason Putin won’t go nuclear.
China. Xi Jinping.
The chairman, who also wants to die in power, doesn’t want to get caught in the crossfire should Putin wish to go nuclear.
Xi, who’s closely following the recent developments, would be the first to remind Putin that Ukrainian flesh has become Western flesh.
The chairman will tell Putin, ‘because of their heroism in the battlefield, which your troops have not shown, Ukrainians have conquered the hearts and minds of the western world. They are now part of them. So, to put it bluntly, Vladimir, if you choose to use nuclear weapons on Ukrainians because you’re despairing that your soldiers can’t stop running back, and abandoning valuable armament in the process, it will not just be Ukrainian flesh burning with radioactivity, but western flesh. And the west will hit back hard… and they will tell me, Chairman, screw you, you’re an accomplice of Putin, you’ve had a hand in supporting him and his henchmen, so we’re going after you, too. So it won’t be only Russian flesh burning with radioactivity but Chinese flesh also… and how will I be able to explain that to my people?
And they’ll lose confidence in me and I won’t be able to rule until I die, like Mao did. I won’t be able to see China become the foremost power in the world, ten times superior to the Americans.’
Putin will hear this, if he hasn’t already, and decide to either militarize his entire nation, announcing that a new Hitler has appeared in Ukraine and Russia’s existence is in danger, so they must all remember their great WWII hero, Stalin, and fight again with the same tenacity they once did, or say to his people that the setback Russia has suffered is temporary and they now must regroup and plan their next assault.
Putin is a determined man. He will kill whoever gets in his way.
His nation has abundant resources but the West will need to learn to live without them. That is our challenge. Live without them so we can isolate him. And hope that Russians will one day awaken from their long sleep and retire their leader. Give him a pension and, as punishment, force him to watch video replays of all the destruction he’s caused. Roll by him the names of all the people who’ve died because of his actions. Russians and Ukrainians. Watch in the morning and in the afternoon. One hour break for lunch.
In the meantime, the recent Ukrainian advances tell us exactly what must be done.
Give those brave soldiers every weapon they need and let them drive Russia back to behind its borders.
We’re almost there.
We can win.

Oscarvaldes.medium.com

A Different United Nations

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What we have is not working as it should.
Just look at one glaring contradiction. Two very large countries who do not grant political freedom to their people, are members of the Security Council, which gives them veto power over anything. If one such nation says no to a proposal, then the proposal is dead.
Those two countries are China and Russia.
There should be a peaceful revolt in the UN and those two countries should be removed from the Security Council.
Why isn’t there a mechanism to suspend veto power from nations who are not holding free elections, whose rulers stay in power as long as they wish?
If a revolt cannot happen, then a new United Nations should be created.
A United Nations that has as its core principle respecting the freedom of human beings and limiting the time rulers can remain in office.
Neither Russians or Chinese enjoy such freedom, no matter how hard they chant the names of their leaders or how low they bow to them.
Nations that keep electing the same leaders again and again are not free. They do so because they’ve been intimidated and brainwashed.
Our current United Nations stands by while Russia massacres thousands of Ukrainians and destroys their infrastructure and while China squashes Hong Kong and mistreats the Uyghur population in Xinjiang province.
Our current United Nations stands by while a religious elite in Iran enslaves their countrymen in the name of God and while Maduro in Venezuela oppresses his people in such manner that over 6 million of them – 5.1% of its population – have emigrated seeking relief in neighboring countries and elsewhere.
A United Nations without mechanisms to correct its mistakes is deeply flawed and needs to be dissolved and recreated.
A United Nations firmly founded on the respect of the freedom of human beings and the periodic transition of power, should be able to intervene forcefully in the affairs of a nation where the people are being consistently repressed.
Take the example of what is happening today in Myanmar (Burma), where the military has repeatedly ignored the results of elections and is now violently imposing its will, with thousands of dead as a result.
Believing they own the truth, and claiming national sovereignty to do as they wish while preventing outside interference, the military are decimating the population to protect the privileges of an elite.
And the UN does nothing of consequence.
A new UN with the authority to intervene in defense of the freedom of human beings, would have acted to stop the disaster from continuing.
And in Central America, why should the people in Nicaragua, for instance, continue to be oppressed by the Ortegas, who’ve been in power off and on for 60 years?
‘Oh, no one should intervene because we’re sovereign,’ they would argue. But sovereign to do what? To enslave minds and hearts?
The existing UN was created as a weak body on purpose, since the powers that created it wanted to escape close scrutiny or feared the possibility of world government.
But times have changed.
A United Nations with the authority to suspend veto power to countries with a proven record of not respecting human freedom, and not limiting the time its citizens can hold office, would have been able to play a strong role in Ukraine and even prevented the tragedy.

Oscarvaldes.medium.com

Person of the Year

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Every year, TIME magazine comes up with their person of the year. It comes up on the cover of their very last issue for that year.
So I was wondering who would be the chosen person for 2022.
Putin is a consideration, since his actions have convulsed the world, economically, politically morally, geographically. The award is not given for merit but for how consequential the person’s actions were.
Joe Biden is another consideration since he has played a key role in uniting the West in defense of Ukraine.
Volodymyr Zelensky is a strong candidate given the manner in which he has embraced his leadership role, rallied his people against the invaders while also working very hard at getting the rest of the world to step up and support his country’s fight.
But my choice is not any one person.
My choice is Ukraine itself.
Ukraine itself for its enormous courage in defense of their freedom to exist and to choose their destiny.
Thousands of Ukrainians, men, women and children, have died in defense of their beliefs.
Their country has been torn apart by the brutality of Putin and yet there they are, day after day, continuing to resist.
That pluck, that steady courage, has invigorated the West, reminding us of how dear freedom is.
Ukrainians’ determination to assert themselves has helped Germany look at itself and reflect, ‘how come we became so dependent on Putin and Russia for our energy needs?’ ‘What manner of denial had we allowed ourselves to lapse into, believing that a man like Putin, clearly known for eliminating his adversaries, incarcerating his foes, assisting despots and tyrants oppress their people, i.e. Syria, would spare us his wrath when things didn’t go his way?’
Why, even a former German chancellor was sitting in a prominent position in a Russian energy company. And Germans knew it all along.
Sadly, much of that occurred while Angela Merkel was still chancellor, which tarnishes her legacy.
Ukraine’s fierceness in defending their land has inspired Americans to fight back against internal forces that seek to diminish it. To fight back against leaders who polarize and incite hate against fellow Americans.
Had Donald Trump been reelected in 2020, there would have been no governmental support for the Ukrainian resistance, for Trump, steeped in his own denial about who Putin is, would have not objected to Russia’s taking over Ukraine.
Because of Ukraine, NATO is stronger in its commitment to defend its member nations. Finland and Sweden are scheduled to join the alliance and already enjoy its protections.
Because of Ukraine, the European Union, is a stronger union.
Britain, in spite of pulling out of the EU, has played a key role in assisting Ukraine and now trains some of its soldiers.
The grand effort Ukraine has put out, marks it as a special land in our world today.
Yet there are dissenters. Those who point out that Ukraine had been well known for its corruption before the war and should not be trusted.
But people change. Nations change. Courage in defense of their land does something to its people.
Whatever effort and moneys the western alliance has poured and will continue to pour into Ukraine is amply justified.
We should continue to do for Ukraine whatever is needed to ensure their freedom.
They have done much for the West and the rest of the world.
So it is Ukraine that deserves to be person of the year. One nation, one person.

Oscarvaldes.medium.com

Gorbachev and China’s Central Committee II

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Chairman Xi Jinping’s office. Member # 7 sits across.

Chairman – It took a lot of guts to say what you said.

Member # 7 – This is a historic moment. President Biden has seized the day in the West with his support of Ukraine and you can seize the day in the East. I believe you’re willing to accept that the stimulus from the West has been critical to our tremendous economic and military growth.

Xi nods slowly.

Member # 7 – We have seen how strong our people are, how creative… we do not need to steal anything from the West… by just trading with them fairly we’ll gradually become better at competing with them. If we create better products they will buy our better products… If we create better chips they will buy our better chips… If we create better batteries and solar panels they will buy them too… And it will be them trying to imitate us… They now make better planes than we do… but that can change… What I wish to emphasize is that we just need to compete… and do so fairly… and trust that we have the capacity to create things that not only America, but the whole world will want. We have the capacity to continue to rise without getting paranoid that the West will try to obstruct us… or without us making them paranoid that we’re in to harm them. If we were to prove that we’re better, then they will accept that we’re better… And it will motivate them to improve themselves… not to want to harm us.

Chairman – It’s a very rosy way of seeing things… but you may have a point.

Member # 7 – Chairman… by stirring paranoia in our people about the West, we end up harming ourselves. It may help you stay in power but in the end, history will not be kind to you.

Chairman – How so?

Member # 7 – As we develop we yearn for political freedom… and if the party, as it now stands, will not allow for it… we incur in a basic contradiction that hampers our progress and should be exposed.

Chairman Xi smiles.

Member # 7 – You disagree…?

Chairman – I wonder how it is that you were able to hide all those beliefs to the point of becoming a member of the central committee.

Member # 7 (smiles) – It hasn’t been easy. If I may be allowed to continue…

Chairman – Please do.

Member # 7 – What we have accomplished shows that if we put our minds to it, we can outcompete America and the West. We are more disciplined socially and politically…

Chairman – But don’t you think that we are more disciplined precisely because it is being imposed by the communist party?

Member # 7 – True… but it should not go on much longer and I think we’re reaching our limit. We have to trust that we have learned the importance of political discipline and not do as America where their people have become so polarized that a group of dissenters tried to overturn their free election results. Of course, any government transition ought to be done in stages.

Chairman Xi pushes back slightly from his desk. He clasps his hands on his lap.

Chairman – What do you think of our assisting companies in their development?

Member # 7 – It has helped… but it has also created inefficiencies and corruption… which is why it would be best to allow more freedom in the markets… with less interference from the party. We now stand at a very critical moment… America is not a threat to us militarily… modern history shows they are not trying to take over countries… and if another nation outperforms them in the production of goods, then they will try to compete with that other nation, not threaten them with harm. Of course, a strong military is always important… I’m all for it… but we need to let go of our paranoia. Are we making a demon of America to keep the party in power?

Chairman Xi stirs in his seat.

Member # 7 – Putin has done great harm to the world with his invasion of Ukraine but he is a limited man, who has restricted wealth creation to a selected few. We did not to that. Millions of Chinese have opened businesses and continue to do so. What we need now is political freedom. And you, Chairman Xi, can make a huge difference by holding free elections. I am sure you would become the nation’s first freely elected president.

Chairman (leaning forward slightly) – You realize that I would have to convince a lot of people in the central committee and in the communist party to make that happen. There would be much resistance… same as what happened to Gorbachev.

Member # 7 – Yes, but you’d be surprised at how many people already are thinking that way…

Chairman (interested) – Like who, for instance?

Member # 7 (smiling slyly) – They should speak for themselves… in case I misunderstood what they shared with me.

Chairman – I appreciate your honesty… and I am sure you mean well. Dissent is difficult to manage if not stopped early. We have the example of Hong Kong… the Uyghurs in Xinjiang… and yet, while I don’t share your enthusiasm, I see your point. What do you think was Gorbachev’s mistake?

Member # 7 – Resigning. I say that with the benefit of hindsight… I wasn’t there and I am sure the difficulties he faced were many. Boris Yeltsin had stopped the coup against him, there was much dissatisfaction in the people and he was preoccupied with the health of his wife who’d had a stroke. Still, I think he should have stayed on and called for free elections in a couple of years, for instance.

Chairman – Good point. I promise you I will consider carefully what you’ve told me and address the matter in one of our upcoming sessions. Meanwhile, I ask that you not continue to speak to others about your ideas. It would be best for all of us.

Member # 7 – Chairman Xi, I am honored that you have given me this opportunity to speak my mind. I have spoken in the hope that our nation will continue to prosper and become the star we are destined to be. Thank you.

Chairman – You may leave now.

Member # 7 bows, rises and starts to leave but stops at the door and turns around.

Member # 7 – It is my belief that America is afraid we’ll become better than them… not only economically but politically, too. The race between our nations is the contest of the century.

He exits.

Chairman Xi pulls up to his desk, picks up the phone and dials National Security.

National Security Official – Yes, Chairman.

Chairman – I need a report on all contacts, phone, internet and personal, that Member # 7 has had in the last year, including places he’s travelled to.

National Security Official – As you know, he’s been under observation, so it won’t take long. We’ll have it in your office tomorrow, by early afternoon. Anything else?

Chairman – That’s all.

He hangs up, then swivels in his chair to look out the window and take in a grand view of Beijing.

Chairman – First freely elected president of China? Interesting… and appealing. Possible?

Oscarvaldes.medium.com