Barge Haulers on the Volga
Updated: Apr 20
…and what to make of Russia’s evil.
I understand American isolationism until genocide is prevalent and to a lesser degree my finances are affected and my freedom of movement is restricted. I suffer loudly through first world problems in a beautiful world filled with evil ugly actors: China enslaving and murdering Uyghurs, ongoing Rwandan genocide, and the psychotic unnecessary invasion of Ukraine.
I know that if the USA is not involved in condemning, curtailing, or crippling these acts the enemies of truth and justice will continue to flourish unabated.
Yet the US military is a broad sword, no blue helmets in USMC bootcamp (yet!). Use it or lose it. Not weapons and munitions, as we will always purchase new toys of warfare because the military industrial complex is America’s business; however, we will lose moral authority on our planet. Our allies cannot trust us, plain and simple. We, the USA, are just another reed swaying in the wind.
Much is made of what “Putin thinks.” I don’t care. Neither should our defense policy.
I have never been to Moscow and I will never get there, now. I’ll be dipped in steaming excrement before I ever consider it again.
As a poor excuse of a student of literature and art I can imagine a Russian standing in Moscow today, a descendent of Repin’s oil “Barge Haulers on the Volga.” Looking to the east our Russian serf sees the sun rising, having passed over the USA first, giving its best effort at warming an avowed enemy of Mother Russia, rolling over the vast life altering Pacific and racing through eleven time zones of the emptiness of her third world nation. Ice, rock, forest, with gulags thrown in for diversity. Limitless natural resources and little capital incentive to extract and market it, just raiders of the national treasury, Putin and his friends, the oligarchs.
The Russian now looks south to Islamic nation-states with only one oasis of democracy, Israel. Mother Russia hates all of them, for the Bedouin descendants have mastered their bounty of God’s gift of oil and will always hold the world by the throat because of the political cowardice and intransigence of its biggest customers.
Ah, but warm water ports are the real prize, and the Crimea and Syria provide the best opportunities to moor a growing navy struggling for a return to glory.
Our Russian, weary, looks north. An icy wasteland.
Cowed, trapped, exhausted, he looks west, standing straighter.
The fertile productive land of Ukraine, Belarus, Poland has traded hands over centuries in order to feed armies and provide a buffer from invasion. Further west, the cultural icons of western civilization flourish, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, the United Kingdom and many smaller but no less important actors. They are collectively the birthright of beauty and intellectual discourse, of a faith system that espouses love of God, first. Not love of the state.
The western icons are the Russian’s greatest threat, after his own miserable wretched existence of cold, envy, and suspicion. The NATO countries represent a stop of his western vision, a gate that will not let him and Mother Russia join the community of enlightenment that is the bounty of Europe.
The Russian believes that if Mother Russia is not growing, and is not expanding, it is dying.
Ukraine is ripe fruit. Our Russian serf plods to the border, under orders.
But Putin miscalculated. He overestimated the strength of a once formidable military which has shown itself to be outclassed and second rate against a smaller but well-trained and highly motivated Ukraine militia. His generals have been living high on the hog, emulating their master, Putin, one of the wealthiest men in the world, all money stolen from his own people. And his generals could not pay the bill when due.
Putin now looks anemic, his army prostrate in front of a Jewish comedian who has emerged through this crisis as the Churchill of this generation. History will always respect and admire Zelensky and the Ukrainian people.
War crimes? Putin was a criminal before he crossed the border into Ukraine. The war crimes nonsense is an invention of a dim media, a distraction. Yes, the images are beyond understanding and horrific. But the only way you “try” a war criminal like Putin is if you subjugate Mother Russia unconditionally and he surrenders or is caught.
Ain’t gonna happen. Try the bastard in absentia, if it means anything, and makes you feel better. It will only give Putin the opportunity to say, “See, they are weak.” And he’d be right.
Putin’s goal is the de-fanging of NATO, which is not difficult as it has only a few sharp teeth left. NATO was once the greatest alliance of multiple nation-states, ever. In an effort led brilliantly by the USA, NATO succeeded in breaking the Soviet Union in a nearly bloodless cold war, a death of a communist nation controlled by killers and thieves.
Now NATO is on its last breath. I suspect a new alliance of Eastern European states will rise from the ashes of a weary Europe and flattened Ukraine. I am confident that the US and our allies are doing everything possible short of boots on the ground to help Ukraine for one primary reason: it looks like Zelensky may win, and that Putin may lose.
What is Putin thinking? Who cares what he thinks? What are we going to do, the west? A flippant Russian functionary hack alluded to the use of nuclear weapons. Biden should have told Putin that if he uses one, even by accident, the USA would unleash hell on Moscow with a thousand nukes.
A bully only understands overwhelming force, not equality of arms. Putin should read Isaiah 5:20.
There is one potential hero in all this, the Russian standing in Moscow studying the horizon, cold, disillusioned, and spent. He can say “enough.”
That would change western civilization more than Putin could ever imagine. Peace. Out.