There’s some very scary stuff out there. Some of this is relatively new. It is not Communism, nor Fascism, but autocracies without regard to international order and expansionary ambitions. Add in nuclear capabilities, and Russia poses a grave threat.
The Wagner Group is Putin’s secret weapon, and operates very much like a terrorist organization. More specifically, the Group looks like ISIS, which profits from captured territory and uses brutality as their weapon. In my last post, The Wagner Group was hired by the existing Central African Republic to bring the diamond mines under government control, but soon the Group was collaborating with the rebel groups to also profit from the diamond industry. So, putting the fox to guard the chicken pen, and you’ll end up without many chickens.
What goes around, comes around. That’s my first axiom. Chechnya might have seem a far off conflict in 2007 when Putin’s puppet was installed, by the name of Ramon Kadyron, in the Caucasian region, but the invasion of Ukraine, first in Crimea in 2014, then full scale invasion into Donbas in 2022 made crystal clear Putin’s game plan. Of course, prior to this, Putin had vastly increased the military strength of Russia, and their involvement in Syria was kind of a testing ground for further military interventions.
What threatens autocracies is basic civil liberties, including freedom of assembly and speech. The military is used to suppress freedoms. The judiciary system loses its independence. Belarus under President Lukashenko is a perfect example of a country in decline, due to the autocratic government. Putin had easy access to Ukraine through Belarus.
Putin’s Internet Research Agency (IRA) is another threat, and it is no question that they will use cyberattacks against its enemies, including the US and our western allies. Russia interfered in our elections in 2016, and they will do it again. It wasn’t headline news, but the “Rewards for Justice” program offer of 10 million dollars for information on Russia’s interference, as posted on July 28, 2022, is a very serious effort to deepen our understanding of this threat to us and our allies.
See link: Rewards for Justice
Next axiom. The problems with Putin are long term, and awareness instead of denial, is necessary. Also, I’ll add Biden’s axiom, which is when Russia and the US are on the same battlefield, you have World War III. I give Biden high marks on finally pulling out of Afghanistan and finding ways to keep Ukraine supplied with arms without putting boots on the ground.
During the campaign, Trump loudly proclaim that he would withdraw from Afghanistan and never did. He knew how terrible it was going to look, for the US to lose a war.
In February 2022, Russia was going to blitzkrieg Kyiv through a column of tanks entering through the northern front in Belarus. This fell apart.
I don’t know where or when the next large scale advance of Putin’s expansionary plans will be. Part of his strategy is to rebuild the Russian Federation, but it is not easily done. Belarus and Chechnya toe the line with Putin, to avoid invasion. Finland and Norway are now likely to be admitted to NATO. I congratulate Secretary of State Anthony Blinken as able to persuade Turkey not to block their admission.
Russia will continue to look at weaker or less stable countries in Africa, such as Central African Republic, Mali, Sudan, Madagascar and Libya as opportunities to intervene. These are also countries ripe for terrorists organizations. Certainly, Libya could easily be the next Syrian style proxy war involving both the US and Russia. Military forces from the US and France are assisting Niger from the threat of terrorist group, Boko Haram, which now affects Nigeria.
Keeping Ukraine alive is expensive. From Wikipedia, “On 28 April 2022, US President Joe Biden asked Congress for an additional $33 billion to assist Ukraine, including $20 billion to provide weapons to Ukraine. On 5 May, Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal announced that Ukraine had received more than $12 billion worth of weapons and financial aid from Western countries since the start of Russia’s invasion on 24 February. On 21 May 2022, the United States passed legislation providing $40 billion in new military and humanitarian foreign aid to Ukraine, marking a historically large commitment of funds.”
Putin’s push requires push back, and there is not better way right now, than by helping to defend Ukraine sovereignty. All Democrat senators voted to support aid to Ukraine. Per CNN:
“Eleven Republican senators voted against final passage of the bill: Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, John Boozman of Arkansas, Mike Braun of Indiana, Mike Crapo of Idaho, Bill Hagerty of Tennessee, Josh Hawley of Missouri, Mike Lee of Utah, Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, Roger Marshall of Kansas, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Tommy Tuberville of Alabama.” Aid to Ukraine has become political.
Putin’s aggressive intervention policies must be met with resistance with a coordinated response from the US and our allies. It should never become political. I strongly support all the economic sanctions levied against Russia. The US and our European allies must do everything possible to strengthen emerging democracies around the world. Every Democrat in the Senate recognized the importance of Ukraine, and seem to have a better international perspective of the dangers of Putin. So, for my part, I’m supporting Democrats in the upcoming mid-term elections.