Tuesday, April 12, 2022

John F. Kennedy Invades Ukraine

Those of you who know me also know I spent the better part of my career manipulating hearts of minds for the highest bidder.  I make no apologies for that. I set my own ethical boundaries under the rationale that nobody really gets hurt by switching toothpaste or driving a different kind of car.  Of course, after that many decades, it's become easy for me to spot when a messaging game is rigged.  The truth is that there never has been and never will be an occasion where (to paraphrase Lincoln) "all of the people were fooled all of the time."  So whenever I see a tidal wave of "unanimous popular opinion," I can smell something a lot different.

And there's definitely something in the air floating around Ukraine and Russia.

Let me start by saying I have no skin in this game. I care less about what you think than why you think it.  You and I could spend hours playing Who's More Horrible without either one declaring victory.  But if you really want to gain insight about what's happening over there, you need to know about two things:

1.  Russian history

2.  John F. Kennedy  

If you know anything about Russia and its history, this is all playing out very predictably, and the first thing you need to know is that Russia is not simply a Communist version of the United States. Far from it: Even transitioning from its monarchy to Communism to its present form hasn't changed the basic Russian persona, just as centuries haven't changed the American personality.  

Keep reading.  This makes sense:

While not as xenophobic as China, Russia has always been suspicious of the west.  That's because unlike America, Russia has never had one, central cultural ideology that could unify its regions spanning eleven different time zones. As a result, Russian "unification" has always been impressed upon the country through authoritarianism -- sometimes very harshly. This "top down" nationalism is not organic in the way "from the ground up" nationalism is in the west, where nations like the USA established themselves through common cause. In Russia, cultural infighting is practically a national pastime, which means Russian unity has always been fragile at best, as we saw most recently when the Soviet Union collapsed.

This fragility heightens Russian concerns of foreign intrusion -- and justifiably so. Most people know nothing of Russia's history, but if you read up on it, you'll find two common threads throughout Russian history: 

1. Authoritarian leadership suppresses cultural differences across those 11 time zones, and despite the west's disapproval, has proven the only effective means to that end.  Note that I never said it was successful, but if that's the best they can do, Russia keeps doing it.

2. The Russian agenda can and does turn on a dime, driven by self-interest.

This time around, Putin sees the European Union and NATO as alliances of explicit military and economic threat. He doesn't want missiles on his borders and has repeatedly let the west know that. So when Ukraine, Russia's immediate neighbor to the west, begins kissing up to NATO, the west and the World Economic Forum, it's very much a matter for Russian concern.

If any of this sounds familiar, it should:  John F. Kennedy tried and failed to secure American borders with his Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba (even Teddy Roosevelt wanted to "secure" Cuba as a matter of national security.  That failed, too).  And Kennedy's Cuban Missile crisis was practically a blueprint for Putin's recent actions: Back then, Russian Prime Minister Nikita Krushchev planted nuclear missiles just 95 miles away from Florida, and Kennedy was having none of it.  The saber rattling never got to the point of actual military conflict, but it came close enough to send everyone north of Tampa scurrying for their bomb shelters.

The media is also not reporting a piece of history that would seem critical to know: Putin is not claiming the two eastern-most provinces as part of Russia, but instead "recognizes their claims of independence they asserted in 2017." Didn't know that?  Well, it happened.  It was official  It just wasn't reported.  Neither was the widespread conflict in both of those provinces which are culturally and geographically closer to Russia.

Taking the Russian-speaking provinces to his west was the only remedy Putin felt he had left to retain a "neutral buffer zone" that was *supposed* to be Ukraine.  That buffer zone was fine until Zelensky started drifting over to the west, WEF, the NWO -- and NATO.  That's when Ukraine became a threat and that's when and why the Russian tanks started rolling in.

Didn't know any of that? Maybe that's because everyone prefers protecting their special interests rather than comprehensively discussing anything that doesn't fit their agenda.  Think about that before you the next time your friends start waving their Ukrainian flags while sipping their lattés -- or sending America's sons and daughters off to war.


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