The New Confidence of The West and The Need for Caution

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It took the Ukrainian invasion and the fierce resistance it has prompted, for the nations of Europe to stand firm with America against the barbarism of Putin. The Ukrainian people, long in the shadow of Russia, decided it had seen enough. It would not applaud the invading Russians but fight them. And fight them to the end.
That heroism has elicited a new vigor in the West.

The cruelty Putin has unleashed on the Ukrainian people will not go unpunished. It will not be forgotten.
The lies Putin has used to justify his actions will forever remind us of the lies all autocracies or dictatorships use to justify their oppression.
By virtue of the ubiquity of cameras the invasion and its consequences have been thoroughly documented, making it one of the most public wars. And that evidence will not be buried with the dead but forever stand to remind us of the price of freedom.
Putin, of course, has tried to hide all of it from his people. But his days are numbered.
The Russian people are now asking themselves, ‘is this violence not being inflicted on us too? By denying us freedom of speech and thought?’
And that stark reality will bring unease to their consciences and so move them to assert the fullness of their existences.

Sooner or later, Putin will fall. And it will be the Russian people who will bring him down.
He knows he is losing the war. He knows he has nowhere to go and hide. It is a matter of time before he is set aside by his own people.
China, meanwhile, has refused to condemn the invasion. But their leadership is accustomed to denying their own people their voice. What else could we expect from their autocrats?
The influx of weapons from the West has made a huge difference in the fierce Ukrainian resistance and so, too, the fact that the mighty Russian army has not been all that mighty.
Their advance has proven difficult and the likelihood is that it will need more and more resources to complete the conquest of Ukraine, raising the possibility that Russia will not have the capability of doing so.
A diminished Putin will be tempted to resort to chemical weapons and even nuclear ones.
This would escalate the war with uncertain consequences.

Earlier today, in Brussels for a meeting with NATO partners, a confident president Biden said that if Putin used chemical weapons against the Ukrainian people, NATO would respond.
Putin will likely challenge that position and use such weapons. The same way that Assad in Syria challenged president Obama’s drawing a red line intended to bar the weapons.
In our confidence, we must not forget caution.
Putin is a failed man but as long as his people don’t rebel against him, he can unleash horrible weapons.
So we must watch our language.
Putin has little to lose at this stage. But we do.
With this catastrophic performance, not only Ukraine but other nations now under his influence will turn toward the West. That, we can be confident about.
I say that Belarus is next.

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

For the Love of Russia

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

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

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

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

Oscar Valdes,,, buzzsprout, apple and google podcasts

Mr Putin’s Fall Has Begun

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He thought it would be easy. Surround Ukraine with 200,000 soldiers, war planes, tanks and missiles, make threatening noises and gestures, and Ukrainians would look at each other and realize they had no chance. A nuclear superpower was demanding their surrender: give up their government and demilitarize. If not, they would be run over.

Accustomed to most Russians – not all – bowing to him and not protesting, Putin thought Ukrainians would respond the same way. After all, he had already taken Crimea from them in 2014, and they had been pushed back in the Donbas area.
Putin reasoned Ukrainians would be tired of war and would just stand by, perhaps even applaud as his troops rolled into Kyiv, unopposed.
He would then meet with their president, a former comedian, pat him on the back and put him on a bus to Poland.
There would be protests in the West but they would all calm down once they realized he could cut off their oil and gas supplies and hurt their pocketbooks.

But something different happened.
Ukrainians said, hell no! This is our land and we’ll defend it.
So Putin ordered the troops to move in, still hoping the sounds of the tanks and the roar of the jets would bring Ukrainians to their senses.
They did not.
What has followed has been an unbelievable story of courage and determination, with their president, Volodymyr Zelensky, committing to the task of leadership with great valor.
That amazing story has shaken the West out of their complacency and united them in support of Ukraine.

A divided EU-US alliance has found new vigor and a willingness to stand firm against the aggressor. Sanctions that were not enforced when Putin invaded Crimea, now had a devastating effect.
Just yesterday, Putin went on TV to tell Russians who still believe the story that Ukraine is a Nazi threat, to prepare for yet more hardships, as they contend with job losses, inflation and growing scarcities as a result of the sanctions.
Russia is now on the verge of defaulting on their debt.
The assets it holds in foreign banks, American and European, are frozen. They cannot be used to pay down Russia’s debt.

Putin spoke calmly, promising relief to his fellow Russians who believe they are on the right side of history.
But what I didn’t see in his expression was a trace of remorse.
The thousands of casualties, both Ukrainian and Russian, meant nothing to him.
The horror of the carnage doesn’t touch him.
He is, somehow, insulated from it.
Over 3 million Ukrainian refugees have fled to the West in search of safety – mothers with their children – while the men of fighting age stay behind to resist the barbaric Russian onslaught.
The thousands of dead and maimed don’t seem to weigh on Putin’s conscience.
How did that happen?

He first became prime minister in 1999 and has been in power ever since.
How is it possible that all the leaders he’s come in contact with over the years, didn’t get the essence of the man?
The ascent of Putin has been the failure of leadership in the West.
And the failure of the Russian people – not all – to not stand up against him.
But now the end is near.
The unceasing brutality he’s unleashed on Ukrainians has been seen by everybody, except Russians themselves, for they live in a censored bubble.
Where can he go hide?

China, in its remarkable denial of the extent of the savagery, has become his accomplice.
And Putin is counting on them to circumvent the sanctions.
But the West won’t be easily side stepped.
Putin has begun his fall but he remains a dangerous adversary.
Knowing that his end is near, he will not tolerate the defeat of his army and will resort to nuclear weapons if he thought it would spare him the embarrassment.
Will he fire a nuclear weapon on Kyiv? It is possible.
Will he fire several? He may.
Putin will not survive the scorn he has earned from the rest of humanity, but he may yet stay in power a while longer, until Russians choose to retire him.
The world is waiting.

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

Letter to Russians

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It is a difficult time.
Your country, under the direction of your leader, is massacring people in Ukraine.
Many of you who have protested the war are now in jail because of it.
I have just seen a video clip of a woman sneaking up behind the anchor of a news show in Moscow and showing a sign that said ‘No War’ in English and ‘Don’t believe propaganda. They lie to you here’ in Russian.
The woman, identified as Marina Ovsyannikova, had recorded a video before she interrupted the newscast. In the video she says, ‘What’s happening in Ukraine right now is a crime and Russia is the aggressor country.’ ‘It’s only in our power to stop this. Go to protests; don’t be scared. They can’t arrest us all.’
OVD-Info, a human rights organization who distributed the video made by Ms Ovsyannikova, said she had been taken to a police station.

By doing what she did, she dared a new law signed by Putin calling for a prison term of up to 15 years for people who knowingly disseminate false information about Russia’s armed forces.
Here’s the link to the article in the WSJ
All of us – the world – thank you for your courage.

But how did we get to this point?
Your leader was allowed to stay in power too long.
The task of leadership is too complex to be entrusted to one person. All leadership needs to be open to criticism, whether warranted or not.
And those governed have a responsibility to ensure that happens.
Putin remained in power since 1999, because he persuaded others that there was no one else with his ability to lead Russia. But in the free world we’ve learned that even if someone is exceptional, they cannot remain in power for more than two terms, as in the US, or no more than a single longer term, say 5-6 years, as in other democracies.
Renewal is vital to free societies. Even if the successor to an exemplary leader is deemed of lesser quality than who preceded them.
That’s how important renewal is. It opens the door to new relationships and gives the governed a sense that corruption is less likely to happen.
We, the governed, have come to learn that corruption in government happens anyway.
To place limits on those who govern us is to accept that reality.

What we, the governed, should never lose sight of, is that we have power. But to keep it, it must be exercised. Otherwise, it atrophies.
Leaders like Putin learned that they could intimidate others into not speaking their minds.
And it started with small acts of intimidation, which then grew into larger ones.
It happens the same way everywhere.
And slowly, the governed lose their voice. Because of fear.
When we allow that to happen, then we are diminished as people.
We become smaller. And before long we will find an excuse for allowing ourselves to be smaller. And so we shrink.
Anytime you have given up on expressing your opinion, whether right or wrong, you give up something dear about yourself.
You give up the right every human being has to be unique.

A man like Putin clearly enjoys reducing the size of other human beings.
The thousands of Russian soldiers who have died in Ukraine didn’t have to die as they did, because there was no need for that war.
The thousands of Ukrainians who have died defending their land, didn’t have to die as they did.
And it can be traced to a man being allowed to remain in power.
It can be traced to many Russians – not all – choosing to relinquish their right to be themselves, the right to have a voice of their own.
Every Putin supporter is a person who has chosen to deny themselves the right to be their own person.
Why, because in their right mind, they would not consent to the indiscriminate killing of innocent human beings.
So all those Russians who support Putin are not in their right mind. They may think they are, but they are not, for long ago they chose to not pursue the path to becoming individuals with their own voice.

All dictators do the same thing. By various degrees of intimidation, they coerce others into giving up their own selves.
It happened in Russia as it happened in China. It happened in Syria, as it happened in Myanmar. It happened in Cuba as it happened in Nicaragua and Venezuela.
Every one of us has power.
But we have to choose to use it.
Every one of us, has the power of their mind and their voice.
The fate of mankind depends on speaking our voices.
Dear Russians, you can be an example to the world.
Just like your brothers and sisters in Ukraine.
And like you, Marina Ovsyannikova, a hero to all of us.
Thank you.

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

How Does This War End?

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Putin is holding the threat of nuclear confrontation as his answer to the West’s rallying behind brave Ukraine.
He desperately wants Ukraine and is willing to do anything.
Because he has such control over the Russian people, he believes they will tolerate the effects of the sanctions against him for starting the war.
But the pain he’s inflicting on Ukraine seems unreal.

We have heard of people in pain. In Myanmar, in Xinjiang province in China, in Syria, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Yemen, Venezuela.
But who had thought it would happen right next to Poland and Slovakia, Hungary and Romania?
Who had thought that one man would disrupt or end the lives of so many?
And that not a single shot triggered Putin’s wrath.
He is angry, he says, because the West is getting too close to him.
He is angry, we can discern, because he has been incapable of moving Russia to the top of the nations of this earth. So he falsely concludes that he is not getting his respect.
But what is there to respect?
That he has nuclear weapons capable of destroying millions of lives? Granted.
But what else?
He has a narrow mind and a lust for destruction.

It seems unreal, to see presidents and chancellors, foreign ministers and diplomats, all going to see narrow minded Putin to ask that he engage in substantial negotiations.
But the man does not budge. He wants Ukrainians to bow to him.
This morning he bombed a military installation near the border with Poland, killing 35, prompting the West to say that any hit to Poland or any NATO nation, even if not intentional, will trigger a full response.
Sadly, it could happen.
Meanwhile, the wave of Ukrainian refugees rushing to the West is now greater than 2.5 million and growing.
The number of casualties is probably in the thousands. The destruction of property rampant.

Ukraine is a big country, home to 44 million people. And it is being destroyed by the actions of one man, who makes decisions by himself. One man, who doesn’t have to answer to anyone.
And what use is the United Nations, when Russia’s or China’s vote in the Security council can block any action by it?
What is the point of that body? A pretense of dialogue?
No one seems to listen. Countries go there to parade their viewpoints but not to hear each other.

The sanctions the West is implementing will hurt Putin. Will hurt the Russian people most of all.
But will the Russian people rise against Putin?
Will they see him for who he is?
Putin is not afraid of a nuclear confrontation and that is his advantage.
We in the West, are afraid of a nuclear confrontation, and that is our advantage.
Preserving the collective work of humanity is important to us and not to Putin.

The question we must be asking ourselves is, why does humanity tolerate the rise of tyrants?
Why do we allow it?
Why does the rest of the world permit any tyrant, anywhere, to rule without the consent of the people?
Why can’t the rest of the enlightened nations of this earth act on behalf of humanity and join to depose those who rule through brutality?
What is the point of sovereignty in today’s world, if we must tolerate dictators who force their people into submission, and then use them to attempt to submit another nation?
What is the point of the United Nations today?
What is the point of someone like Assad in Syria, remaining in power (with Russia’s aid), or the generals in Myanmar (with Russia’s and China’s aid), or in any other dictatorship?
Why can’t there be more external pressures from the rest of the world to unseat these people?
Ukraine story is telling us that it must be so.

But how does this war end?
This war ends with Putin conquering all of Ukraine after a campaign that will leave hundreds of thousands dead and maimed. A nation scorched.
It ends with Europe being flooded with refugees but becoming stronger because of it.
This war ends with Russia becoming weaker and forcing their citizens to look at themselves and choose between remaining servile to Putin or daring to join with other nations in the march to freedom.
It ends with the world economy going into recession and Russia’s loss being the greater.
A stronger West would then have to look ahead and continue preparing for the inevitable confrontation with China, both economic and military.
Russia’s stated aims at the start of the invasion were two: regime change in Ukraine and the country’s demilitarization. They have not changed.
Given Putin’s behavior, I don’t see any point in the West’s continuing to reach out to him for a diplomatic solution. But it is up to the Ukrainian people, whose lives are being lost, to make that choice.
Meanwhile, we will continue to assist.
Is there a risk of a nuclear confrontation? Yes. For Putin is growing desperate.
But the West is ready.
So let us stick with the sanctions, and Ukraine’s heroic resistance will have marked a new beginning for the free world.

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

The War and Increasing Venezuela’s Oil Production

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The Russian invasion of Ukraine has significantly altered the politics of oil worldwide.
With western sanctions being set to squeeze Russia, its price has jumped.
Now there’s an American willingness to lift sanctions on Venezuela’s main export product.
Mr Maduro, Venezuela’s dictator, ceased to be recognized by the US after his reelection in 2018 was deemed to be fraudulent by international observers.

In 2019, the Trump administration imposed harsh sanctions on Venezuela’s oil production and Maduro turned to Russia, China and Iran for help selling it.
However, as a result of the continuing political repression, a large portion of the talent required to maintain the oil industry fled the country.
Oil production took a dive and the country is now extracting a fraction of the output in years past, which averaged 2.3 million barrels per day over the previous 50 years, and was down to an estimated 760,000 barrels in 2021.
All sectors of the economy in Venezuela have been deeply affected by Maduro’s policies and approximately 6 million people have emigrated to neighboring countries. The suffering he’s inflicted on his compatriots is enormous.

Sobered, perhaps, by the extent of his atrocities, or simply in his attempt to survive their repercussions, Mr Maduro, even before the Ukrainian tragedy, had signaled to the US that he was willing to do business in exchange for the lifting of their sanctions.
And so the Biden administration recently sent a delegation to Caracas to meet with Maduro’s representatives.

There are obstacles to overcome.
Venezuela, which had been defaulting on a $60 billion debt for the last few years, has now offered assets, including oil reserves, to restructure such debt.
But it will take time for Venezuela to increase production.
One such obstacle is that their oil producing infrastructure is in a state of disrepair and would require considerable outside investments over several years to get it back to working order.
On the plus side, American companies have shown an interest in investing, though they would want legal safeguards, a tough issue in a country with the lack of an independent judiciary.
We can also anticipate that there will be political opposition to a deal. As part of the sanctions imposed in 2019, control of Citgo, the US operating refining subsidiary owned by Venezuela, was transferred to representatives of the opposition. They will likely want assurances, such as Maduro agreeing to the release of political prisoners and to holding free elections in 2024.

Venezuela needs to get back to producing oil. Their oil is heavy in sulfur and high in emissions, so it is a major contributor to global warming, which limits its attractiveness to investors.
The world still needs oil but there is a rush to improve the technologies to make solar, wind and hydrogen power our main sources, and to accept nuclear power as a transitional source.
So time is running out for oil.

It is sad to see how a country as rich as Venezuela has wasted the opportunities it was given.
I am reminded of the distinguished Venezuelan writer and thinker, Arturo Uslar Pietri, who once said, ‘We have to sow our oil’. As in, let’s use this precious but finite resource, to diversify and grow other industries.
Venezuela has plenty of human talent.
Its politics, however, have wasted it.

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

Mr Biden: Resist Pressure to Cut Off Oil Imports

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Earlier, I was in favor of them. Now I am against such action.
The horror of the war keeps unfolding. The expectation in cutting off imports from Russia is that their economy will be so affected that Putin will back off.
But judging from his actions in Ukraine, he will not.
The Russian people will suffer, but he will not.
His oligarch friends will be inconvenienced but they owe Putin – knew that the good times wouldn’t last forever – and have made contingency plans.
Meanwhile, our economy and markets will keep deteriorating as inflationary pressures mount.

Together with our allies we’re doing a great deal for Ukraine. But Putin will not stop.
The damage to his reputation and Russia’s economy will be enormous but it will take time to set in.
I know you’re under pressure from many groups, including the president of Ukraine, to do more and more, but we have limits.
The horror of Putin’s actions will not be forgotten.
And the sanctions already imposed will have their effect, so long as we enforce them.
Unfortunately, Putin has the support of China, and they will offer relief to him.
That tells us a great deal about China and how to proceed with them in the future.
They are cut from the same cloth as Putin and, when the time comes, will try to do in Taiwan as the Russian is doing in Ukraine.

You have done an excellent job in building bridges among the free nations of this world but should set limits on assistance to Ukraine.
NATO has been firm about not agreeing to a No Fly zone over Ukraine.
Zelensky wants fighter jets, but how will you hand them over without Russia charging that we have become a co-combatant in the war against them?
The West and the rest of the world can get around everything Russia has to offer. We need to work on it but it can be done.
If we must rely on nuclear plants to reduce our dependence on oil, as technology for renewable sources and battery power grows, so be it. (Ukraine’s power supply is over 50% nuclear)
But as the war heats up, we can’t let Putin drag us down that road. He would love doing that.

So firm limits are needed. We must not appear desperate.
I read that we are now talking to Venezuela about making deals to enhance their oil production.
That would be good for Venezuela (who has ended up in bed with Russia, China and Iran and are now regretting it) and for us but sounding desperate is not a good bargaining position. The Maduro regime will need to make important concessions, such as freeing political prisoners and committing to free elections in 2024.
Same as with the nuclear deal that is presently being negotiated with Iran. Sensing that the West is desperate for their oil will backfire. We’ll end up with a lousy deal, with Russia taking advantage of the situation.

In Ukraine itself, despite their great bravery, the greater chances are that Russia will keep on with their savagery as they murder the population to achieve their aims.
One option is for Ukraine’s army and population to head to their western border and dig in.
That way they will have a steady source of supplies from the alliance – through their border with Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania and Moldova.
Better a divided Ukraine than no Ukraine at all. For now. Like with East and West Germany after World War II, it will take time to reunite.

The future of mankind is at stake.
We should not get dragged into a nuclear confrontation with Putin because the weight of his cruelty – and of those who support him – will eventually marginalize him. He will not last forever.
Let us stand firm against his crimes against humanity but be careful and patient.
Thank you for the good job and keep it up.

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

Wake Up Russia!

Photo by Katie Godowski on

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., buzzsprout,, apple and google podcasts.