It’s all an obvious long-term NATO strategy that uses Putins limited options against him, right?
Stop hitting yourself.
Before you read this weird foreign policy piece you should know that I’m a wizard. I’m pretty sure a bunch of really smart folks in various elite universities are getting really close to finding some sort of scientific evidence for some energetic process that is representative of some sort of an afterlife. I’m pretty sure that, as a result of his behaviour, Vladimir Putin is going to personally experience whatever the heck the negative side of the afterlife ends up being. I warned him about this a while ago.
Unfortunately, and frustratingly, in order to understand this situation you need to to consider Putin to be one of histories greatest monsters and also have empathy for him. If you don’t check both those boxes you don’t understand the Ukraine war. This is especially hard for the victims of the war, but that’s not most people. Most people are spectators.
The internet is the Colosseum and the Emperors have a spectacle for you. Are you not entertained?
Before we begin: I’ve got such a boner for democracy that I invented my own form of democratic governance so miss me with any pro-autocracy bullshit.
The Fight Against Autocrats™
The Biden Administration™ has put forth a Democracy vs Autocracy™ narrative that is pretty easy to understand. All of the autocrats are doing really horrible shit (yeah!) and they need to be stopped by the freedom loving peoples (YEAH!) of the places where American corporate media can reach (… yeah?), supplied by weapons offered through other American corporations (wat), financed by the same relatively small group of individuals and institutions who finance everything (uhhh), so that all of the terrible things that are happening to Americans in their neighborhoods will stop (… ok?).
Putin is such a fucking piece of shit.
Critiques of NATO/The Good Guys™ need to be prefaced with an appropriate declaration of the badness of The Bad Guy™, right? That’s what they do on every fucking political podcast where someone comes even close to critiquing The Good Guy Narrative™, so it seems like I must also participate in this ritual, yes?
The following message is for a small group of long-lived US contrarians (you know who you are): Look at how you need to debase yourselves again to offer your contrarian viewpoint. It’s the same as it was with Iraq despite the wars being completely different from a US perspective.
So anyway, Putin is a piece of shit. Only a piece of shit sends the Russian army into Ukraine in order to shell the fuck out of residential neighborhoods and do all sorts of other terrible things. Only a piece of shit has troops that use a tank to shell a building near a nuclear reactor.
Now that that’s out the way: it’s clear he viewed himself as having no other options, it’s clear that NATO knew this, and it’s clear that he’d be willing to risk it. This may not have been The Plan™ but it sure as shit was the vibe. Everyone saw this coming and no one did anything to stop it because The Good Guys™ knew The Bad Guy™ would lose (cause he’s The Bad Guy™), and The Good Guys™ have been trying to get The Bad Guy™ out of the picture for a while. It seems evident that the only option Putin felt he had was to take the biggest swing he could. It’s easy to know he was probably always going to take the biggest swing he could because, as we’ve covered already, he’s a piece of shit. Right?
So here we are. This is it. Putins Big Swing™. This is what happens when we let The Bad Guy™ be The Bad Guy™ for decades because we know that over a long enough timeline he’ll fail. This is what happens when the people whose jobs it is to come up with different options don’t know how to do that (and are probably prevented from approaching it from certain directions relating to political or economic ideology as opposed to a reduction in harm or conflict.) This is what happens when the incentive structures of the people elected to lead them are influenced by the lobbying of weapons manufacturers. This is what happens when the people whose jobs it is to take care of the citizens of nations aren’t doing that as their main priority.
It’s BOOOOOOOOTH SIIIIIIIIIIIDES™ but in different shitty ways
No one is actually on your side at the institutional level. Your side is only considered beyond the sides of a number of elite interests. This is basically everyone losing everywhere because there weren’t options on the table that could lead to a victory — despite the table being set and visible for fucking ages. This is the formation of cognitive biases in our international systems of foreign policy, arising from dogmatic political ideology (including economic ideology), which results in a serious limitation in acceptable outcomes. (People will read this and think: “The wizard wants Russia to win!” but what I actually want is for millions of people not to die in war and then not have even more people starve to death. I won’t give a single fuck about any nation, including my own, if it means I have to dehumanize people in the process.)
There’s no doubt been voices in the space of foreign policy over the past few years advocating for things which could have prevented Putin from feeling he had no other options. In circumstances where the majority is experiencing cognitive dissonance there are always contrarians speaking the actual truth which the majority are willfully ignoring or rejecting without due consideration.
Not everyone is losing
You’re losing. I’m losing. We’re losers. Some poor bastards are doing even worse. But some fuckers are doing real great.
As the year goes on and the famine spreads and the arctic burns and the ice melts and the war escalates and the economy stutters and maybe even finally collapses, all of which is rendered more challenging to navigate because of the ongoing multi-year plague, try to keep your eye on the folks who are doing well.
They’re out there. The winners. You can see them… although they don’t want you to look at them very hard. Think about that. Think about when you’re not thinking about them and how that’s what they want. They’re not the ones who are causing this, of course 🙄, they’re just the ones who are benefiting from it.
History seems to show us that times like these move slow until they move fast.
I don’t know what the fuck Putin could possibly do at this point. As of the point at which I’m writing this it looks like Russia is going to be able to gain its land bridge to Crimea, which seems like a point at which he can stop whenever he wants and claim a win… but the consequences of that win on Russia will be felt increasingly harshly for years. The nation of Russia has once more experienced massive loss and trauma (this time while inflicting worse on another nation, which is in my opinion a legacy of the Soviet era moreso than a legacy of the Russian culture) and their collective psyche will need to process this. They will inevitably focus on Putin as the cause of their hardship, even with the bad faith behaviour by NATO and others.
Before the invasion I thought Nikita Petrov had written the best possible exit strategy for him but I don’t know what would work now:
The Tsar Monk and the Psychedelic GULAG
Putin's been in power for more than 20 years and is approaching his 70s. The longer he stays, the worse he'll be…
Many people in the west will only ever want his head and many of them will want it at any cost due to the horrible grievances they suffered at his hands. I’ve no doubt I’d feel the same were I a direct victim of his evil behaviour. Given the limited ways things could change in Russia, it’s undeniable that he has almost singlehandedly harmed or destroyed the future of millions or billions of people. In the minds of many Putin must suffer because he is the entity upon which they are projecting and placing all of the grievances they’ve experience in the past decade.
In some cases this is accurate but in many cases, especially in my part of the world, it’s not.
Putin is the enemy Americans can focus on instead of fixing their own shit, but since he’s not actually to blame for most of the shit happening to Americans all that can come from this is disappointment and increased conflict. Putins Price Hike™ was barely functional propaganda — which shows us how much things are deteriorating in US systems of influence and power.
Let us raise a glass to NATOs prosperous future
International organizations designed to stop Putin knew this would happen, anticipated it a while ago, and moved in a way intended to capitalize strategically on his behaviour. This is pretty standard stuff. Unfortunately for us they did this to serve geopolitical interests that are more aligned with corporate interests than the interests of individuals within specific nations.
Everything is done for corporate interests now because corporate interests are what drives most things with any sort of coherence. Look at the ongoing economic synergy between Russia and the rest of the world during this time of insane conflict.
It’s hard to say where we’ll end up but one thing is certain: The perception of this conflict held by huge swathes of folks in western nations, maintained by corporate interests which serve the entities primarily benefiting from this conflict, will crash down in a way that will be shocking and depressing.
We keep going higher and higher on this rickety rollercoaster of illogical illusions. It’s amazing how tenacious we’ve become in our self deception. Still, the end of illusions was a while ago.
It’s time to catch up to reality.
Thanks for reading. Here’s something else I wrote:
Here’s my card: