Our U.S. Constitution has some remarkable limitations on government power, like the one above.
Think of a specific right, or alleged right, upon which the un-Amended constitution is silent. Be specific and write it down. Here are some of my examples:
Right to drive a motor vehicle at any speed I choose.
Right to challenge a person who has insulted me to a duel.
Right to own slaves.
Right to be free and not owned.
Right to control my bodily functions and terminate any that are undesired.
Right to contraception.
Right not to be shot at.
Right to private property.
Right to travel unimpeded across the land.
Right to pass my property to my heirs undiluted.
Right of a legal entity to engage in business or political activity unimpeded using funds raised from a large number of individuals.
Right of a legal entity to own and control another legal entity.
Due to that word “OR” in the 10th Amendment, we’ve no guidance whether these rights are reserved to the people to the States.
Without that guidance, any State can usurp any of them by legislation, which requires only a simple majority of its legislative body, a rather small number of people. The Constitution gives nearly unlimited power to the states if this view is taken literally. We will explore it.
Some such as 1, 2, 7 are ordinary common law matters or are criminal matters, and regulation by civil law or the state are obviously necessary.
Items 3 and 4 were the subject of the Civil War.
5 is related to Roe v. Wade, recently overturned, and 6 to a right proposed to be overturned. Our point here is that these cases are not States vs. Federal rights issues. They are States vs. People’s rights, and whether the Federal government can tell the States not to take away rights.
8, 9 and 10 are tied up with the 5th Amendment
Travel is part of the “liberty” of which one cannot be deprived without due process. However, due process seems to be as simply as buying various choke points in the land and putting up no-trespassing signs.
Although Britain and other countries had stock trading companies, these are not provided for in our constitution. Law began to be enacted to address corporations from 1811, and initially they were for limited purpose such as manufacturing. As the popularity and size of corporations grew, several issues came up:
1873 – a New Jersey law broke the Camden & Amboy monopoly to enable the National Railroad Project.
1886 – the Supreme Court in Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company, disallowed taxes that favored privately owned business over corporations. The summary of a law clerk (not an action of the court) asserted the decision extended the constitution’s “equal protection” clause to corporations. This is problematic because corporations are inherently dissimilar to individuals, having no feeling, desiring only profit, and not dying from natural causes, only from lack of attention to profit.
1898 – Delaware allowed corporations to own shares in other corporations and fully exercise control and voting rights over shares. This was essentially a way to get around the 1890 Sherman Anti-Trust Act. Corporations were now significantly more powerful than regular humans. Contrast this to the equal protection idea of 1886. Why should entities exempt from certain criminal legislation be “equal” in other respects? One could say certain rights of the people were appropriated by corporations, as when denied by states, corporate law found a way around the restrictions. Now we have four players:
The Federal Government
States, possibly unconstrained except by the list of Federal Government rights, and certain imposed processes (5th Amendment)
Corporations, acquiring unique rights due to unique characteristics and unique legislation -one might say, the states took the rights and eventually deposited them with corporations.
The issue of corporations we will save for another day. The issue of the vagueness of the 10th Amendment has not been overlooked. See Interpretation: The Tenth Amendment | The National Constitution Center. ‘the Court has indeed found judicially-enforceable limits on the power of the federal government to regulate states (and their political subdivisions) directly. So it is now meaningful to speak of “Tenth Amendment doctrine.”’
Arguments about the Supreme Court frequently of two types:
Usurpation of Congress’ legislative power
Usurpation of States’ rights
It is the main purpose of this article to point out that #2 can be disingenuine, and really a cover for usurpation by the States of people’s rights, using the fog of the 10th Amendment.
10. The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
This is ambiguous. It has the surprising effect that advocating State’s Rights means advocating for the rights of government over people. Republicans (full disclosure: I have mostly voted Republican since 1980, but do not approve of the current foolishness) who advocate State’s Rights are being more successful lately. In theory a state could become almost completely totalitarian. A king could declare himself and rule the state, as long as he or she did not infringe on The Ten, the rights specifically guaranteed in the Constitution, or on reserved Federal powers. However, there are really only The Eight because 10 used in this way cancels 9.
9. The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
Nine would be fine, except that Ten leaves wiggle room for a State to take all of the ones The People might otherwise expect.
8. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
We are long past this one. Bail is routinely set to prevent a suspect from fleeing the country. Check the fines imposed for minor oversights in reporting foreign bank accounts, which I personally think are none of the government’s business. Money made out of the country is not taxed by any country but the US. The US is in the extreme minority here. As for cruel and unusual punishment, check the penalties for drug crimes which should probably be dealt with through medical treatment. Also look into the system by which simple recreational users are pressured to turn in their friends and make them look like dealers.
7. In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
Every time you click “agree” to terms of one kind or another when purchasing something on the web, you waive your right to trial by jury. Read Seven again. Does it say the right is waivable? Do YOU think the FOUNDERS intended it to be routinely waived by arbitration agreements? They had no idea of such a thing. Seven has been long ago discarded.
6. In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
Typical waiting time for a trial is 8 months. That’s TYPICAL. In that time, you lose your job, your house is foreclosed, your car is repossessed, and that’s if you are innocent. If you are in the military, or if you are accused of espionage or spying, the italicized portion is also stripped from you.
5. No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
First note ONLY the Grand Jury requirement is waived in time of war or similar public danger. No other requirement is waived. The italicized portion of 6 is NOT waived.
Second, note that property (e.g., cash) may be seized if it has traces of drugs on it even if you got the cash from a bank and did nothing wrong. This is completely insane.
But third, and worst of all, by the mechanism of political correctness you may not only be relieved of your job for exercising your right to free speech, your business may be boycotted and closed, which is clearly deprivation of property without due process of law. Someone may accuse you of some misdeed and without any trial or proof, your business and life are has-beens, toast, kaput, ruined.
4. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Ed Snowden showed the NSA violated this wholesale by collecting confidential data on nearly everyone, storing it in searchable form to be used later. For his trouble he was run out of the country, his passport revoked, and he was trapped against his will in Russia. A plane carrying the President of a foreign country was forced down on suspicion Snowden might be on board. The first step to recovering our rights in this country is to drop all charges against Snowden, pay him damages, and award him a medal. The second step would be to do the same for Julian Assange.
Aside: The World was outraged when Belarus, with Putin’s permission, forced down a commercial airliner under the pretext of a bomb threat (of course, THEY were going to blow it up), in order to arrest two dissident journalists. Putin merely pointed out the US had already done it and set the precedent. Putin credibly claims to be following precedent better than our own Supreme Court.
3. No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
This is the only one. This is the ONLY thing you have left from the Bill of Rights uninfringed.
2. A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
At the time of the American Revolution, independently organized militias proved useful in attacking and harassing the British. Clearly military weapons were intended. Today this means tanks, fast jets, cruise missiles, possibly even nuclear weapons though one can say they are prohibited other than to certain governments by the non-proliferation treaty. You don’t have this right. You don’t have the right to any military effectiveness. I am not arguing it would be reasonable to have real militias now. Just pointing out this right is already gone, even if you have a basement full of AR-15’s.
1.Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
This was the last straw. The overturn of Roe v. Wade establishes a religion, or a class of religions, giving them government power. The next thing is Sharia Law.
There are TWO religion-establishment issues involved. One of interpretation and one of type or denomination. The ruling fails on both counts. Most of the anti-abortion activists rely on interpretation because the Bible says little directly. We will get to what it does say. These tend to cluster in certain denominations, but also some non-Christian religions have interpretations that disapprove of abortion.
Islam says (from https://www.whyislam.org/islam/abortion/ ) In a famous narration, the Prophet, peace be upon him said: “Each one of you is constituted in the womb of the mother for forty days, and then he becomes a clot of thick blood for a similar period, and then a piece of flesh for a similar period. Then God sends an angel who is ordered to write four things. He is ordered to write down his deeds, his livelihood, the date of his death, and whether he will be blessed or wretched. Then the soul is breathed into him…” (Bukhari). Abortion within 40 days does not kill anyone, then.
Do Muslims in the U.S. actually feel this ruling establishes a religious law, or are they unconcerned? ‘Dangerous times’: US Muslims mull implications after fall of Roe (msn.com). They are concerned. “This ruling empowers the religious right to continue to pursue policies that basically establish their religious positions into law,” Sumayyah Waheed told Al Jazeera. “That is a complete violation of anyone who doesn’t feel that way, particularly religious minorities.” According to Waheed, many Muslim Americans are having pressing conversations about the wider implications of the Supreme Court’s decision, including how it relates to state surveillance – something, she pointed out, many Muslims in the US experienced after 9/11.
“It’s much bigger than abortion – and everyone needs to realise that,” Waheed added. “This is the first time [the Supreme Court has] taken away a fundamental right, and what does that mean for us? What does that mean along with the rise of Christian nationalism? What does that mean with the rise in white supremacist violence? These are dangerous times.” (There is more interesting discussion in the article about Muslim stance on abortion, and how Islam is organized, without churches exactly as in Christianity.)
Establishing abortion as a crime from conception denies freedom of religion to all of those. There are significant numbers of people in the U.S. to whom criminalizing abortion from conception, or even 15 weeks, would deny religious freedom (numbers are %):
Is it an issue that the 1st Amendment says “Congress shall make no law . . .” and so this devolves into the gray area I’ve already lambasted, of rights ambiguously left to the people or the states? No. Most states guarantee freedom of religion in their constitutions. Mississippi brought the suit that resulted in repeal of Roe. So, then, the argument SHOULD have revolved around Mississippi’s constitution which says:
(a) Government shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, except as provided in paragraph (b) of this subsection.
(b) Government may substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion only if it demonstrates that application of the burden to the person:
(i) Is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and
(ii) Is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.
No argument was made that it is in the government’s interest to prevent abortion. In fact, unwanted children are a burden to government. Were Mississippi underpopulated, one might make this argument, but it is not. I grew up in Mississippi and maintain strong ties and property there and visit several times a year. I quite well know the situation there. Growth might be flattening, but frankly urban and medium sized communities are congested and not welcoming of population growth. And in any case this argument was not made.
Note that the Mississippi constitution does not say anything about Christian religion. Nor does it exclude atheism or simple non-affiliation, or not wanting to follow the dictates of an organized religion. Perhaps Mississippi should revise its constitution, IF it can summon the necessary majorities, and simply allow the establishment of a religious state. A monarchy while they are at it.
It seems to have been a concern in Assyrian society around 1500–1200 BCE. There, if a woman was discovered to have had “a miscarriage by her own act” she was to be prosecuted and, if guilty, impaled (alive or dead) on a stake. – So, we are returning to the barbarism of 1500 BCE? That is the perception that the opponents of this repeal of Roe seem to suggest. Based on news of back-room abortions taken when fathers shed their responsibility or other unanticipated family issues developed, a time I lived through which most of the people involved in the current controversy did NOT live through and experience, I agree. It is a return to barbarism. These people who did this, including the Supreme court justices, the Governers, lawyers, all of them, are children, and I am chastising them.
What is said in Exodus 21:22–25 imagines a scenario in which a pregnant woman is injured through her involvement (or perhaps her intervention) in a fight between two men. The Hebrew version of this passage is clear about priorities: if all that happens is the fetus is lost through miscarriage then the man who injured the woman should just pay a fine. In the world of Exodus 21, this is the equivalent to losing ox or a donkey: the money is to make up for lost earnings and so the fetus is regarded as property. But, if the woman herself suffers harm, then more direct restitution is required, depending on the severity of injury: “life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, etc.” The most important “person” in this scenario is the woman.
Clearly, I’m not talking about the government interfering in religion. I am talking about the part of Amendment One that prohibits the establishment of religion. Certain Evangelical Christians would LIKE to establish the US as a Christian Nation and have been working to do so, and to establish their particular interpretation, which as we’ve seen is speculative and not biblically supported. Even if you amended a state constitution to allow establishment of religion you’d have to contend with:
The issue of whether the founding documents of this religion can strictly be interpreted to forbid a particular form or schedule of abortion.
The issue of whether a state can really assume this right or whether it should be left to the people. While early colonies were often had established religions, by the time of the Revolution other ideas had taken hold and resistance to interference from England and rejection of the divine right of kings were key points, see Religion in Colonial America: Trends, Regulations, and Beliefs | Facing History and Ourselves. And in any case Mississippi put religious freedom in its constitution.
From the late 1970s these people began to drift toward the Republican Party, since the Democrats had so offended them with Roe v. Wade. Most of them were White, I guess you could say all but Clarence Thomas. Many also drifted toward the Republican Party because they were Conservative Democrats, not happy with the Civil Rights legislation that Democrats spearheaded.
At first Republicans resisted them, and never did anything for them, never backed off of civil rights, never even backed off of affirmative action or provided school funding vouchers so these people could afford to send their kids to private schools which would teach whatever culture they wanted. But by 1990 they had a substantial voice and no Republican candidate could ignore them. They were required to give lip service to their demands, such as a total prohibition on abortion, even birth control, and now a long list of other items like same sex marriage. Hey, I’m not fond of it myself, but in the spirit of a country in which people are allowed to do what they want unless the right is specifically reserved to the government, I’m not going to tell them not to.
Here the Republicans and Democrats agree on something. You should not have ANY rights. They have them all. You exist at their pleasure. The Republicans, as we have noted, want States to claim all those unspecified rights. Except Texas. It wants ALL of them and empowers its citizens to sue you or your providers for any action in ANOTHER state that is illegal in Texas. I live in Texas. I say let them secede. I’ll move out.
By 2000 Catholics, also formerly Democratic constituents, had joined the White-Straight-Pregnant Coalition and promises to appoint anti-abortion judges began to be kept.
Those judges misled and, in some cases, lied to secure their appointments. They deserve to be impeached. If you elect me to Congress, I promise to vote to impeach them. I’m not running this year. Leave a comment if you think I put down some good points here you’d like to see represented in Washington. Maybe I’ll think about it.
So now we have the establishment of a religious-based law. At the state level. Most of which have similar bills of rights. You might argue that’s legal. The Puritans surely had religious laws. Some resulting in being burned at the stake. So maybe I agree with Democrats to that extent. States shouldn’t have the right to establish religious laws ANY LONGER. This actually changed in 1890 when the Mormons agreed to give up polygamy.
Ah, but that’s only precedent, not an actual line in the Constitution, so even though it’s been in effect 132 years, we can throw it out with the votes of 5 people, 3 of whom have lied to obtain their position.
Yes, it’s a free country. But you aren’t free. It’s the country that’s free to do whatever it wants. And if you lie down and take it and don’t resist, you are no better than the Russians who by inaction are enabling their government and their sons to commit the most horrific atrocities in Ukraine seen since 1945.
The original European settlements on the East Coast of North America represented a diverse group. First came greedy commercial interests wanting to establish corporations for profit. And Roanoke failed. The people vanished. No bodies or graves indicating plague or war were found. Then the Jamestown Colony succeeded, sort of, but 90% of the original settlers gave their lives.
Once the process was proven and risk reduced, then came the Puritans, the Pilgrims, the Quakers, seeking to have a society governed each by their own peculiar rules, even if it meant branding someone with a scarlet A, or burning women as witches. It was not exactly easy to get to another colony and they didn’t try to conquer each other. Under pressure of the hardship of establishing settlements on a continent considerably colder than expected, with on-again off-again relations with the Indigenous Peoples, a spirit of cooperation came about. This required them to overlook their differences.
Today I see an America obsessed with telling everyone what to do, sometimes when not doing it oneself. Cooperation fails when over time one group increases its share at the expense of another. And so, cooperation failed with the Indigenous as their share was taken, but states confined to borders and stripped of much of their independent military power, with plenty of unexploited opportunity, tended to get along up until the conflict over slavery drove them apart. This conflict was heightened by competition to get new states to declare slave or free, and to expand share.
As you may guess, I am not in favor of states as kingdoms competing to gain share. Like Texas, the fools.
Article IV, Section 1:
Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.
Surprise! Texas is Constitutionally required to respect public acts, records and judicial proceedings of every other state. If you are married in Wyoming, you are married in Texas, and if you later get divorced in Nevada, Texas must recognize that also. So, if you have an abortion legally in California, Texas must suck it up and respect that.
There has been, partly because of the above, a great deal of pressure to have similar, if not identical, day-to-day laws in the various states. Everyone drives on the right side of the road. Theft and murder are universally discouraged. For a while some states had no-fault auto insurance, but the number is now dwindling. For a while it was difficult to remember while on an Interstate drive whether the state you were passing through had right-turn-on-red, or gave a ticket for it. But now all states allow it.
In theory the problem arises because this mundane drive to uniformity in daily life runs into trouble when it infects important social actions which have both positive and negative consequences, like abortion. Those states which wish to be restrictive religious enclaves and burn troubled women with deserting partners at the stake for having an abortion come under pressure from those who see it as a basic right to life issue for the mother. The Roman argument against the Carthaginians for sacrificing children fails because these fetuses are not born, miscarriages are routine, and it is unclear when they become protected children. Roe represented a compromise based on viability.
But that’s theory. In PRACTICE the evil state-kingdoms who want to usurp all rights for themselves extend their legal tentacles into the business of other states, as Texas did. I am not for abortion. I’m for a healthy, free society. And I’m against either the Federal or State governments scooping up rights just because they can, just because The People independent of their governments don’t have much power. They can vote, but with gerrymandering, that is watered down. And voting is just more coercive power, majority rule. The People need to have some means to resist having their rights voted away by a simple majority within either State or Federal governments.
The Population Dilemma is rarely mentioned in connection with abortion, but is ironic. Republicans, generally, are against admittance of children or adults from other countries who are unwanted at home. But they welcome fetuses. The mysterious process of creation of humans from conception to birth is just as much a border as the Rio Grande. How many unwanted children are going to vote Republican? I suspect this issue will be self-correcting.
And we come back to increasing share, which undermines cooperation. Suppose we have Muslim immigrants, and they want to impose Sharia Law? It appears there is no Constitutional barrier. Five votes on the Supreme Court have stripped it away. Go figure.
Do The Five and their conservative state allies plan to go further?
I have no communication with Ukraine and Russian’s reading this blog and using it to plan their operations do so at risk of their own deaths when Ukraine does something different.
In general Ukraine must do a better job of saying and feinting one thing and doing another.
STEP 0 (not shown) is the complete destruction of the 40 enemy ships in the Black Sea. There is alleged to be a US “plan” to provide Ukraine with long range rockets of some type to do this, but it is on hold. The use of 1960’s carrier-destroyer missiles, essentially WMDs when used on land targets, should be used as an excuse to provide these now. But it should not be announced until it is fait accompli. Always use the Reagan method (which he used in a joke, but it works). “We begin bombing in 5 minutes.” The other side has no chance to employ rhetoric. Rational as retaliation makes their retaliation just more aggression.
STEP 1 (blue line) is already underway as of June 12 (all dates 2022) Ukraine launched a major air attack in the region near Kherson. The stated objective would presumably be to un-liberate or re-liberate Kherson, whatever you want to call it. I do not care which side is right. I’m taking the role of a strategist devising a plan on behalf of Ukraine. My plan would be to unexpectedly bypass Kherson and rush for the small corridor providing access to Crimea. It is probably heavily mined and otherwise defended.
Essential to have Western artillery and MLRS which out-ranges Russia. This is necessary to keep enemy artillery out of range when crossing rivers, and at pinch points. Air defense must be carried along at each stage to protect from sea launched cruise missiles.
Destroy any artillery west of the #1 line, and/or hug the coast, so that the column does not take fire from both sides. Attempt to clear back enemy artillery to east of line.
Put all available offensive power into crossing into Crimea. No stalls. If it really stalls, it has failed, retreat if not actually holding Crimean territory of some sort. Russia will either begin to retreat across their bridge (no navy at this point) or more likely reinforce. Pick a moment when a large number of personnel are on the bridge to Russia, and destroy it utterly, 20 to 40 missiles, so that everyone on it is killed, it cannot be easily rebuilt, and it blocks the Azov Sea entrance (no rescue by boats from there).
STEP 3 Either withdraw from Crimea, or if able hold the western edge, but redeploy main offensive capability to a similar charge toward Mariupol. The announced intent is to liberate Mariupol. As before, that is false. The offense is halted as soon as a large mass of Russian troops and artillery are place in between the leading edge and Mariupol. Then these are destroyed with the long range MLRS. Concentrate all of it there (they only have maybe a dozen units). This stops troops from using the land corridor. A major objective of the invasion is thwarted. Russia can neither reinforce nor evacuate Crimea. These trapped people are now Ukraine’s negotiating pawns. But Russia is not ready to negotiate.
STEP 3n (3-north) is to charge along the border from Kharkiv, headed east-northeast, isolating those troops from Russia. By then hopefully more long-range artillery is available. This should happen around the first of August. The claimed purpose is to regain control of the border. That’s a lie. Ukraine troops formerly in the three-sided “cauldron” in the last spot of Luhansk (likely withdrawn by then) can reassert with long range artillery, “claiming” to recapture the already-destroyed cities. That is not their objective either. Instead, the northern extent of Russian troops are now in a 3-sided cauldron. These troops are not preserved. They are killed as quickly as possible in relentless bombardment. Russia has made tactical retreats before. We want them to think of tactical retreat in this area, some of which is just outside their precious Donbas anyway.
Ukraine has now set up two kill boxes (northern troops, Crimea) but is only killing in one. Crimea, with a lot of civilians, is only subject to defensive fire on military targets. Hostages are more valuable alive and unharmed. And a break in the land corridor near Mariupol, but no cities are recaptured and no Ukrainian troops actually inserted into the break.
STEP 4 turns the corner in the north, heading along the border to the southeast (green), threatening to isolate those troops. “X” denotes intense killing of the enemy using any tactic or weapon. “To know your enemy, you must become your enemy” – Sun Tzu.
A second part of STEP 4 is to move the long range weapons over near Donetsk (city), announce its intended liberation (alarming the Separatist government there, like kicking an anthill over to expose them to poison, in this case Ukrainian artillery). But Donetsk is bypassed to the south and this time troops do charge in, using the same technique to out-range the Russians as before. But they cross a little way into Russia at the Sea of Azov as shown below.
The X’s indicate killing with extreme prejudice to the west of this new corridor. The lines indicate defensive fire only. It is now announced this is the other end of the border control exercise. A buffer zone will be established on both sides of the border. Not just on the Ukraine side. No major Russian city is threatened, though they are clearly within artillery range. Advancing military is of course slaughtered.
The real objective is to kill the remaining troops west of this corridor, clearing land that was under Ukrainian control before Feb. 24. Russian troops will be isolated in the cities and killed if they venture out. All the space between this and the earlier corridor west of Mariupol is either taken or rendered a no-man’s land.
Ukraine will have to have a strong stomach during this time. Isolated Russian troops will create hundreds of Bucha’s. Many of them will realize there is no out, they are going to die.
If Russia plans to use something like a tactical nuke, they will begin moving it into position. This is where the US must respond, both by B-52 or B-1B flights, and by rhetoric clarifying proportional response.
Proportional retaliation is legal under world conventions and laws recognized by most countries (except Russia . . . even China pays it lip service). If no other recourse is available (e.g. UN security council stalemated), it is allowed. But what if a very large country damages a small one, taking out cities amounting in population to 100,000. Is it proportional to take out 100,000 civilians in the attacking country?
Life for life, or structure for structure, is absolute proportionality. This is easy to calculate and appropriate when adversaries are within a factor of 2 of the same size.
The US will say relative proportionality should be used between Ukraine and Russia, in the ratio of 144/44 = about 3 to 1, which is their approximate population ratios. Russia will whine and complain, and maybe think before they act. Nah, as long as it’s in Ukraine they are sure we will do nothing.
So, for example, if Russia takes out a small city of 85,000 people with a tactical nuke, we take out Tagonrog just across the border, 255,000. If Russia takes out 3 cities of 100k each, we take out Rostov-na-don, population 1.1 million. If they take out ANY European city, we take out Moscow, being particularly sure nothing can ever be built on the site of the Kremlin again.
I do NOT think Russia will use a nuke. But we must be absolutely committed to this level of destruction, and I don’t think we have the stomach to do it slowly with conventional weapons the way the Russians do.
At some point, we are going to have to declare their destruction of cities to be WMD-like, and start taking out Russian cities, but as long as Ukraine is advancing we do not do this. This is held in reserve.
Two countries have a policy of first use of nukes, if they are being overrun in a conventional war: France, and Russia. France was the first to adopt this posture, after we failed to defend them in the 1956 Suez crisis. They decided to develop a completely independent nuke program, and they do NOT allow NATO to control their nuclear weapons. The US must adopt a first use policy if an ally is about to be overrun, or it will lose credibility as an ally. Whether Ukraine can kick the Russians out without the US doing this, it’s possible, it depends on what the Russians do. If they use nukes, Ukraine doesn’t have any. If they do a lot of civilian damage, we don’t have the stomach to do that with conventional weapons, we have to use nukes.
So Ukraine beyond STEP 2 would continue to reclaim the border, cutting off the separatist territory from Russia. Ukraine should offer neutrality to this region, and autonomy, but it cannot be allied with Russia militarily, politically or economically. Russia must get no economic benefit from it. Ukraine should offer rebuilding and economic incentive. The west must help with this. This is the Marshall Doctrine – rebuild both your friends and enemies.
Crimea cannot be offered autonomy because Russia seized it outright. However, all the people there who prefer Russia, and there are a lot of them, if not before 2014 then now, can be allowed to leave in exchange for returning all deported (and filtrated) Ukrainians in Russia. ALL of them. No Crimean leaves until this is done.
To incentivize negotiation, Ukraine begins extending the kill zone in the Mariupol corridor toward Crimea, while not bothering the separatists except in defense. So Russia has a time table. When the kill zone reaches Crimea, duh, what do you think is going to happen? If Russia does nothing, Ukraine has to follow through and kill them. This is war, not a game, in case you hadn’t noticed.
If the separatists do not accept autonomy and neutrality – and by the way Ukraine must be very careful not to shell them so they will not be afraid of Ukraine – then as a last resort after Crimea is cleared, Ukraine must kill everyone in the separatist territory. Anyone loyal to Ukraine left long ago.
And that’s how you clear Russia out of Ukraine. Russia may continue to attack from within their borders. I did not say I was going to tell you how to fix that. Ukraine should start a program to develop its own long-range missiles, with large-area effect conventional warheads, to make retaliation independent of Western nations. The carrot of sanctions relief can be used to try and promote Russia to quit any bad behavior. They will have already lost. By this time hopefully Ukraine is in the EU, if not NATO, and irretrievable to Russia.
My lawyer brother-in-law Mike Lewis, a significant player in initiation of the state tobacco lawsuits, came up with an interesting legal argument of principle that unites issues surrounding gun control, whether police have any “special duty to protect”, and what countries the US might or might not have a similar duty to protect.
First he notes that courts have severely limited police duty to protect citizens from violence. He calls the exceptions “unicorns” because they are rarely observed. From § 46. Special duty to provide protection, 53A Am. Jur. 2d Mobs and Riots § 46 he we learn that “failure to provide adequate police services to the general public is not actionable unless plaintiffs plead and prove a special duty . . .such a special duty exists if“ALL of the following:
the municipality is uniquely aware of the particular danger or risk
the complaint alleges acts or omissions by the municipality
the acts or omissions are either affirmative or willful
injury occurs while he or she is under direct and immediate control of employees or agents
“A municipality generally cannot be held liable . . . for failing to provide adequate police protection . . . “
“A special relationship exists between a municipality and an injured party where there is . . .”
an assumption by the municipality, through promises or actions, of an affirmative duty
knowledge on the part of the municipality’s agents that inaction could lead to harm,
some form of direct contact between the municipality’s agents and the injured party
the injured party’s justifiable reliance on the municipality’s affirmative undertaking
This particular section is concerned with riots. Limitations exist in other cases which are similar. One might consider an active shooter situation as similar to a riot. Likewise an adversary violating the accepted rules of war.
The United States Constitution, Amendment 2, assumes that citizens are allowed to defend themselves in such cases and even to organize to do so: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.“
However, in certain cases, such as gun free school zones, people are NOT allowed to effectively defend themselves against threats that have become relatively common. It is NOT the purpose of this article to argue about the 2nd Amendment. Instead we argue that in such cases a special duty to protect those who have been disarmed is incurred.
Citizens or people? Likely there will be some disagreement about to whom the 2nd Amendment applies. We accept that it applies within the borders of the US. One could argue whether aliens might be exempt from this provision. It is not necessary to settle this argument. What I will argue is that IF a person or group has the ability to defend themselves, and the US or any subdivision thereof deprives or pressures them to give up that ability, then the moral logic of an incurred obligation to provide some level of protection applies. Thus in establishing a gun free school zone, a municipality incurs a special duty to protect. Police officers often are assigned to schools already. What we are saying is that they are obligated to act. Public opinion following instances of inaction, in both Texas and Florida, is consistent with our argument.
Countries? International treaties and agreements can be surprisingly vague. For example, the much-touted NATO Article 5 proclaims an attack on one is an attack on all, and requires a response, but the magnitude of the response is completely unspecified. It could be to send one gun or observe one minor sanction. There is also the recently arisen issues of the time between application to NATO and admission. Ukraine was attacked during this time and no defense was taken. Yet the UK has promised to defend Sweden and France promised to defend Finland, and the US used sufficiently strong words that it can be assumed it would defend either. Now we turn our attention to Ukraine, and then more generally to nuclear disarmament.
Ukraine’s Nuclear Arsenal in the early 1990’s consisted of 76 intercontinental ballistic missiles carrying 1,240 nuclear warheads, 44 strategic bombers with more than 700 nuclear-tipped cruise missiles and upward of 2,000 tactical nuclear weapons. It was the THIRD LARGEST in the world after the US and Russia. Under pressure from both the West and from Russia, Ukraine gave these up in return for security and border guarantees.
Likely none of the men signing would have ever considered violating Ukraine’s borders. But 30 years later, the document had no teeth. In 2014 when Russia seized Crimea the US and UK fulfilled “the letter” of the document by notifying the UN Security Council, over which Russia holds veto power.
By 1992 Ukraine declared it wished to join NATO. President George Bush lobbied for both Ukraine and Georgia to join. In 2008 NATO stated that Ukraine would definitely be allowed to join, but it must first complete a Membership Action Plan to make its military compatible and come up to NATO standards. This was in the context of a Russia-Georgia war ongoing. Georgia did not receive NATO’s assurance. Alarmed, Ukraine President Yushchenko “issued a decree requiring advance notice of the movements of the Russian Black Sea Fleet into and out of the Ukrainian port of Sevastopol. He also came out strongly in support of Georgia’s President Mikheil Saakashvili, condemning Russia’s invasion in Georgia during the August 2008 Russo-Georgian War. Prime Minister Tymoshenko and her Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc put forward a less critical position towards Russia.” [source]
There followed a constitutional crisis in Ukraine.
My personal visits to Ukraine began in 2009, during the Financial Crisis. I was surprised this affected Ukraine, but they complained severely. The crisis reduced European trade with the US, which reduced the EU’s demand for Ukrainian goods and labor. One of the first stories I heard from my Ukrainian guide was that in 1933 Stalin had seized all the crops and people had starved. This was the 2nd largest genocide in history, called the Holodomor. Ukrainians remember it like Jews remember the Holocaust. However, there were still many people in Ukraine with attachments to Russia, and speaking the Russian language. I had studied Russian, but could find no guidebooks to Ukrainian. It’s not quite possible to understand on the basis of Russian even though many words are the same or similar. Ukrainian is much more lyrical and is beautiful when sung.
On August 11, 2009 Russian President Medvedev in an open letter directed at Viktor Yushchenko, raised a number of issues of concern related to the perceived “anti-Russian position of the current Ukrainian authorities”. The Russian President’s comments were considered by analysts and others including the President of Ukraine as Russia’s interference in Ukraine’s domestic affairs. [source] Doubtless many Ukrainians were intimidated, and afraid of offending their powerful neighbor. I remember standing in Kharkiv, and wondering how these people could be comfortable with Russia being just a few miles away.
In a 2010 runoff Yushchenko had been eliminated, in part as people feared he might provoke Russia, and there was a runoff between the neutral Tymoshenko, accused of corruption, and pro-Russia Yanukovych. My visits ended in 2011, at which time I took a bus trip without a guide from Kharkiv to Luhansk, through what is now Separatist territory. I interviewed people extensively about their views on everything, as I was looking for a wife compatible with Western views. There was no hostility toward the US anywhere present. There was resentment of Russia even among ethnic Russians living in the East, but it was not strong enough to account for any discrimination, and none was obvious. My guides were Ukrainian, speaking both languages, and most of the prospects I met were actually Russian, and spoke Russian.
By late 2013 Ukrainians had enough of Yanukovych’s pro-Russia policy. Ukrainians clearly were dependent on the EU economically, and wanted to join the EU. Yanukovych chose instead a loan bailout from Russia. In 2014 they kicked him out of office and Russia promptly seized Crimea and parts of the Donbas region, completely disregarding international documents they had signed. Since 2008 Russia had violated the Intermediate range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, and by 2018 President Trump withdrew on account of Russian violations. In 2021 Russia withdrew from the Open Skies Treaty. China disregarded its promises to allow Hong Kong Handover Treaty in 2021. International agreements are now apparently worthless.
a limit to the deployment of troops and weapons to Nato’s eastern flank, in effect returning Nato forces to where they were stationed in 1997
Moscow said ignoring its interests would lead to a “military response”.
US President Biden flatly refused ALL Russia’s request, thus assuring an invasion. It was well known in the West that Russia had been immunizing itself against sanctions since their imposition over Crimea in 2014. There was no credible reason to believe sanctions would “deter” Russia from invading.
In the context of our discussion of a duty to protect from harm it might be argued there was no reasonable expectation of great harm. Ukraine’s government would be replaced in an almost bloodless maneuver, similar to Crimea’s seizure. The Russian forces amassed looked overwhelming. The US had just withdrawn from Afghanistan, which quickly collapsed. In South Vietnam, the government proved unable to conduct credible resistance after US withdrawal. There was no stomach in the US for a similar situation in Ukraine. Let the Russians have them. Not worth risking large scale or even nuclear war. Certainly not troops.
As an aside, Ukraine was not asking for troops and President Clinton twice intervened to stop genocides in the former Yugoslavia with air wars and essentially no loss of US personnel. “Troop” talk was political rhetoric, intended by the President, an anti-war politician first elected in the midst of opposition to the war in Vietnam in 1970, to bolster support for his timid position.
Republicans meanwhile, traditionally the hawks in American politics, were busy interpreting “Make America Great Again” as “Just Leave Me Alone” rather than actually taking a leadership position in the world and influencing world events so that America could actually prosper. Prosperity in the US has always depended on some connection to the world, whether for trade or labor. An Arkansas farmer interviewed by Tucker Carlson said he would gladly take up arms when the Russians arrived at his farm in Arkansas. It is now quite apparent the Russians would destroy completely his farm with artillery or MLRS (rockets) from 50 miles away, well out of range of whatever hunting rifle he might have. Even an AR-15 would be useless. In actual fact, it is too much trouble for anyone to invade the US. Russia would just seize control of a quarter of the world’s grain exports and, with its already plentiful energy exports, manipulate and extort markets to cause economic harm in the US and instability in neutral regions around the world until the West collapsed in disarray.
With puppet governments in Ukraine, Hungary, Germany, France (either Macron or Le Pen, both qualify), Venezuela, Cuba, Brazil, and possibly even the United States, Putin would quickly re-acquire the Baltics and Poland and Moldova, and die, eulogized as Putin the Great. Rumors are he even plans to have his second daughter Katerina Tikhonova installed as head of the United Russia Party and puppet master of his replacement regime. Don’t think about the party head as in US political parties. Think party head as in the USSR, ultimate power.
Once the invasion had been underway for a few weeks, these expectations were completely refuted:
Ukraine was willing and able to fight competently.
Russia was pulverizing infrastructure, targeting civilians, committing war crimes, erasing Ukrainian culture – the expectation of harm went from minimal to something of the scale of the great genocides of the mid-20th century.
The West’s reaction was, OK, Russia is fighting incompetently, maybe Ukraine can win with unobjectionable weapons that cannot reach Russia, like anti-tank missiles.
Russia is now fighting competently. They no longer mass exposed columns of vehicles. They hide in the trees and shell cities from afar into rubble. They do not engage in foolish urban warfare. They are taking some of their 10,000 stored tanks out of storage and putting them into service. Sure, they have morale problems and are losing officers. They are also learning, and have complete tolerance of the casualties. Their public is not terribly suffering under sanctions. At worst, the oligarchs might be unhappy, but Putin has killed two of them, and their families, so they are not going to make any trouble.
There is now an expectation of harm, of great harm, as a result of the West’s pressure for Ukraine to disarm in 1994, and pressure to negotiate with and accommodate Russia under Obama and Trump. Negotiate with a power that disregards international agreements? What is actually the purpose of that? There is none. It wouldn’t matter what the agreement was. Some European governments (France) can’t seem to absorb this empirical fact.
We now have all the conditions of a special relationship met!
The promise of security in the Budapest Memorandum AND the promise of NATO membership in 2008, reaffirmed in 2021. We also have the implicit definition of what those promises mean by the assurances of defense of Finland and Sweden in similar situations.
Knowledge that inaction would lead to harm. We might have assumed otherwise on February 24th, but it is clear now.
Direct contact between our agents and the injured party. We had been in Ukraine training their military and conducting joint exercises with NATO for some time, such as the peace-support operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, NATO’s two missions in Afghanistan, namely the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and the Resolute Support Mission, the NATO Training Mission in Iraq and the maritime operations Active Endeavour and Ocean Shield. [source]
Ukraine justifiably relies on our help by our own admission that they would fall to Russia quickly if unaided, by their own petition to join NATO, by our pressure in 1994 for them to give up nuclear weapons even though bordered by a large and aggressive nuclear power.
But do we have a special duty? That refers to the earlier four points:
The US is now aware of the danger and risk, was after Bucha, and thus incurs responsibility going forward from that point.
Current weapon supplies are deemed inadequate by competent military advice with in the US and Ukraine and every talking head ex-colonel on YouTube, so there are acts of omission.
The decision to continue to supply inadequate weapons is clearly willful, as Congress has appropriated funds, leaving the selection up to Biden, and he just announced he would NOT provide long range MLRS.
Injury is continuing to occur on a massive scale, and as to “direct and immediate control of employees or agents” this applies both to the school children (it was a municipal school) and to Ukraine whose military was under training and supervision of the US and NATO. It was to the West Russia addressed their demands. It was the US and NATO who refused. Had the US and NATO said nothing, or acquiesced, Ukraine would have had nothing to say about it, Russia’s demands would have been met. So, the US and NATO had total control over whether Russia invaded.
That’s it then. We have a special duty to protect them. All conditions are met. In a few days we could convince Russia to withdraw by flying US cruise missiles and F-35s, taking out launchers and artillery beyond Ukraine’s range of fire, opening the Black Sea ports and avoiding a world food crisis. Do not be fooled by administration announcements like “more advanced rocket systems.” Biden is careful not to provide 185-mile range MLRS that Ukraine not only wants but needs. Russia launches missiles from bases in Russia and Belarus, from aircraft based in Russia, from ships far out in the Black Sea. Unless Ukraine can reach these, Russia would merely continue launching missiles even if all its troops were out of Ukraine. Why should they stop? There is no reason. Sanctions won’t be lifted anyway, most likely, unless they return Ukrainian deportees and pay for reconstruction of Ukraine. They will not willingly do this. They will be mad and will not have any consequence. Ukraine has to be able to stop Russian aggression, and the long range MLRS is the minimum needed.
There is only one issue left to address. Nuclear blackmail.
Nuclear deterrence and disarmament is complicated. The US position is complicated.
The US subscribes to the NPT – nuclear non-proliferation treaty, and encourages nations to give up nuclear weapons.
Countries which have given up nuclear weapons:
South Africa (whose government was reformed under international pressure)
Belarus (they are now being redeployed there by Russia)
Kazakhstan (now a Russian client state with heavy Russian interference)
Ukraine (now being destroyed city by city, its culture erased by Russia, citizens executed, deported, tortured – all done openly, you can watch every evening on the news)
Or nuclear weapon development programs:
Taiwan (now under daily threat from China, constantly responding to air space intrusion, and with no international recognition as a country)
Libya (the government which gave up its program was overthrown with overt assistance from US President Barak Obama, who provided air support)
The US has NOT signed the TPNW – treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons.
The US was the first to develop nuclear weapons and the only nation so far to use them in war. Various excuses are given for the US not preventing other nations from obtaining them, such as no more weapons available at that moment, none of which I really buy. Weapons were soon manufactured. I think it was just a lack of clear thinking about how they would dramatically change the status of nations, freezing conflicts, eventually enabling nuclear blackmail as they spread, and most probably eventually resulting in their use. There were proposals to turn nuclear weapons over to an international organization, and the US resisted, preferring the status quo and non-proliferation approach.
During the Cold War the US was prepared to actually fight a nuclear war. Shelters were built or designated, both public and private, civil defense bulletins and drills trained the public how to survive. And yes, most people will survive. The thinking that no one would survive is really part of a rationale for just not thinking about or preparing for nuclear war. However, this makes it easier for enemies to blackmail the US with the threat. This strategy, which I’m over simplifying, worked and there was no nuclear war. We might describe this as the Post-WW2 World Order, characterized by bipolar competition and a developing Third World.
Since the early 1970s when Nixon opened trade with China and began space program cooperation with the Soviet Union, using the world trade and assistance organizations established after WW2 and economic theories that trade was not zero-sum and would lead to general prosperity, it has been assumed that sufficient economic ties would prevent nuclear war. Or in fact any major-nation war. Nations would not be willing to destroy their own economies by destroying adversaries upon which their economies depended. This might be described as the New World Order, a term that seems to have been coined by President G. H. W. Bush. It is characterized by cooperation and collaboration, in commerce, in space, and even in war as evidenced by the Gulf Coalition that reversed the invasion of Kuwait. And by the way, we had no special relation with Kuwait more so than we have with Ukraine, and Iraq had been a very close ally of the Soviets since 1958.
The New World Order is now pulverized, in the words of Germany’s ambassador to the US, at least as far as relations with Russia are concerned. It does not fear destruction of its economy, and has no regard for international agreements. It sends agents to poison enemies anywhere in the world, including in the UK and US. It avoids the urban warfare the US so fears by simply demolishing urban areas before taking them. It is willing to deport and replace local populations and then conduct a pseudo-referendum where they “decide their destiny”, usually to joining the Russian sphere of influence, or join Russia directly. Russia describes this process as “liberation” and claims the right anywhere anyone is speaking Russian, anywhere that threatens the security of Russia, and upon any condition they shall make up in the future.
Russia sanctions are already reaching a breaking point for the West as American and French and German politics turn toward the negative effects of sanctions. Hungary, Brazil, India, and China buy Russian oil, gas or fertilizer with impunity. Russia’s blackmail extends to creating a world food crisis unless they can sell their grain – and Ukraine’s from which they are stealing – and they demand sanctions are removed before they will supply the grain. China, on whom many more countries depend economically, can expect that sanctions against it will not even be as effective as those against Russia. Should the US unilaterally sanction China, likely it would be the US economy that was crippled. A right-wing government might take power in the US which was outright friendly to autocratic countries.
Without either a credible threat the US might will up to a nuclear power, or that destruction of economic connections might deter use of nuclear weapons, Russia has made effective use of nuclear blackmail. Expect such tactics to expand if nothing is done. My Russian wife informs me there are thousands of fallout shelters in Russia. They are still prepared. They even still hold civil defense drills.
NATO would, in my opinion, be paralyzed and unable to act in the face of limited use of nuclear weapons because they all have to agree, certainly if they were only used on the battlefield in Ukraine, but possibly even if a tactical low-yield device were used against a NATO base involved in supplying Ukrainian weapons and near the Ukraine border. Hungary agree? Doubtful. It would be up to the US to act. The US has low yield weapons, not as low as Russian weapons, but low enough. However, the US has developed conventional weapons like the F-35s to be able to do comparable damage, and might only retaliate with a severe conventional strike. Russia is a large country, nothing critical is located near Ukraine except for one controversial palace at Sochi, and it might tolerate a tit-for-tat with the US for some time, taking the advantage of the opportunity to take out NATO bases while only losing one’s near Ukraine. Those it will immediately replace with forward bases much closer to NATO, inside the new Russian territory that once was Ukraine and by then is adjacent to Poland, Ukraine no longer existing.
Russians are not insane, and on two occasions during the Cold War that we know of, refused to launch when radar or some other sensor gave false indications of an attack. They have a system like ours where more than one person has to give authorization in the Kremlin, as well as on submarines and on missile bases. They might care nothing for others, but I have a Russian wife. I’ve been there and gotten to know them. Their country is beautiful and they don’t want it destroyed. At present none of it is destroyed, and they won’t risk it. On the other hand, without the threat of some of it being destroyed, why would they quit lobbing missiles into Ukraine? Nothing bad is happening, it annoys Ukraine which makes them happy, and its good target practice. Obviously, their military needs the practice.
If we don’t kick Russia out of Ukraine, every country will know nuclear blackmail works, and the post-New World Order will be the Age of Nuclear Autocracy. Then the Age of Nothing when they finally turn on each other. If we intervene, and if not I have no doubt Ukraine will lose with the short-range weapons we are providing, and kick Russia completely out of Ukraine, then every country will know nuclear blackmail does not work, and they won’t be so tempted to try it.
The bottom line is that if you disarm someone – whether it is school teachers or a friendly country – and you have reason to expect they cannot protect themselves once disarmed, and you maintain enough control of them to keep them disarmed, then you incur a “special duty to protect.” To disregard this principle will be to encourage a world full of active shooters and even enemy militaries full of active shooters that destroy countries to the level of rubble and exterminate citizens and cultures.
If after thinking about it, this does not suit you, there are things you can do:
You can write to your political leaders. This is very easy. Just search “write the white house” https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/. For a Senator or Representative search for something like “write Ted Cruze” or if you don’t know a name “write my representative”. You can also call them, or send a paper letter.
You can up-vote this blog and share with your friends, post on Facebook or Twitter, etc.
You can vote for and contribute to candidates that back these ideas over just fanning polarization inside the US.
If you feel you have been injured wrongly because of yielding your ability to protect yourself, you can consult a lawyer for advice. Print this article and see if he thinks it will give you any leverage. If you think your case is common to many, contact me and I will forward your message to Mike and he’ll take a look.
If you have dual US-Ukrainian citizenship, and have been injured by the flawed US action (or inaction), you may be able to sue in US courts. Again, contact me and Mike will look at it.
My MAIN thrust in daily newsletters I’ve been writing has been to prevent humanitarian disasters like Mariupol. Now we have another one. The US has crept closer, increasing the types of weapons. A push of a few letters might get the administration to finally act.
This is the message I wrote to the President. You may use it or your own words.
I URGE you do NOT let another Mariupol-like situation develop around Sievierodonetsk, Lysychansk and Severodonetsk. It is immoral what you are doing, enticing Ukraine to believe they could join NATO, offering to defend Taiwan, Finland, Sweden, NOT Ukraine. I feel I must be blunt and I apologize, no insult is intended, but I do not believe anyone will ever vote for you or anyone associated with you (your VP) if you let this pass. There is NO time to deliver weapons. Just do it. You know what I mean. If Russia can isolate and surround one city, they can one at a time get all of them. Ukraine can only slow it, not stop it. Russian response may well be nothing, they are chicken (I have a Russian wife, I’m not just blowing smoke). But at most they may launch a few missiles at a nearby NATO base. You have missile defense, right? If not, well . . .
My wife voted for the communists in 2012, not for Putin, and after ten years here, says if she went back, she would vote for them again. If you use the word Perestroika around her, duck, because you are going to be attacked. I thought this was all very cute until my friends in Ukraine were run out of their apartments and cities by Russian missiles, and Natasha keeps insisting on calling it a special operation, and until the 12th week of the war would not lay any blame at all on Russia, saying Ukrainians were criminals. She has never liked them.
Finally, she admits it is not credible to think Ukraine destroyed 30% of itself, and some of those missiles are Russian, and it’s not right. But that’s as far as she’ll go. In ten years of living here, she still prefers Russian news and believes Western news is just propaganda. Well. I cannot exactly point to all the stupid articles that say Russia is losing (plainly they have tripled the territory they control since February 24th) or Tucker Carlson and dispute her.
The cab driver who took my wife to the airport, to come to America, in October of 2012, asked her, “How can you leave this beauty?” Russia is beautiful. The view from my wife’s flat, which she still owns, her sister lives there, is of gorgeous trees on both sides. You can reach out and touch the leaves. The sounds of kids playing in a garden across the parking lot drift up into the open window. Have you noticed the sound of kids playing is identical in every language? It is universal. In a few steps one is in a local shopping area, with access to a Metro Station, their name for “subway”. For about ten cents you can ride to any other point in the city. Just a two block walk away is a modern American-style shopping mall with a gun store and a food court and a supermarket in the basement. The roads are wide and the cars big like in America. I was comfortable renting a car and driving there. It is not crazy like Europe. Ukraine is like Europe. I wouldn’t drive there.
I once remarked to someone there were no homeless in Russia, that the government provides housing. My. Wife. EXPLODED at me. Nooooo. You didn’t get a place to live unless you WORKED. Housing, food, daycare, everything was associated with a job. The Soviet Union was no welfare state. Sounds like a Republican paradise, in fact.
I imagined a political refugee seeking freedom, a better life. Well. Truth is Natasha and I couldn’t communicate very well for the first half dozen years. Very nice. No arguments. But eventually we began to talk. Natasha left because it was too cold. Her body didn’t function in the middle of Siberia, and she could not have children there. Immediately we had a child in warm Houston. Now she has heat exhaustion. I guess there is always something.
My wife, you will have guessed by now, despite her short stature and sweet voice, is no pushover. She was an accountant. A chief accountant, she’ll have you know. And has stood up to Russian businessmen and let them know if they bothered her, she’d expose all their crookedness and they were wise enough to back off. You can mess with me, but I’d suggest you not mess with my wife.
Natasha keeps in touch with people in Russia every day. She says they are being told the war will last three years.
Ukraine is still a “special operation”. “War” is the word used in connection with NATO. The vile enemy supplying weapons and fighting a proxy war using Ukraine. We call it the Ukraine War, which is apt. Why? Because it is confined to Ukraine. What Russian city has been attacked and demolished? None. Maybe a couple of oil depots and one weapon factory, but otherwise no damage, and zero Russian civilians have been killed. Only one out of every 20 funerals in Russia are for a dead soldier. Their loss rate compared to their population is nil. They can keep going forever, gaining territory inch by inch. They don’t have negative news about the special operation because the public won’t tolerate it. Putin is just complying with his public’s wishes. His popularity jumped to nearly 90% and stays there.
What could Russia conceivably do with 3 years of fighting, I asked myself? That’s way more than enough to take Ukraine, even at their slow pace. Suppose they spend the rest of 2022 consolidating Donbas and perhaps taking Odessa to lock up the coast and create a world food crisis. Then what? Well, the 65-mile Sulwaki Gap connecting Belarus to a split off piece of Russia called Kaliningrad is only monitored, not actually defended. NATO probably would not do much if Russia seized it. What could they say? “No, you can’t connect to your own territory”?
I can see them grinding away as they did in Ukraine, suffering NATO counter attacks, but nevertheless gaining ground inch by inch which they never give up. NATO will only be reactive. Punitive. Once the ground is Russian, NATO will be “afraid” to actually push Russia back off “its” territory for fear of escalation, nuclear war, whatever.
Russia will insist on a buffer zone to keep NATO nukes away from its territory. And a connection between Russia and Kaliningrad which doesn’t rely on Belarus, the upper lime green region. Lithuania and Latvia will just be glad their whole countries were not taken over (but eventually they will be). Then Russia will go for the port of Gdansk in Poland.
By 2024 they will begin encircling western Ukraine, which they probably won’t have tried to directly occupy, letting the West think they have given up. From Odessa they’ll push through Moldova, using their allies in Transnistria as an excuse, and south from Kaliningrad along the Polish border toward Lviv in western Ukraine. Who is going to stop them? If we haven’t by then, we won’t.
Natasha says nothing will change if Putin is replaced. Russia might become even more aggressive. She’s thinking about Medvedev, who is the most hawkish at the moment, making threats of nuclear war as fast as spokesman Peskov can retract them. Shoigu, she says, is soft, and might be the better outcome from our point of view. Here is my take on all of them:
Natasha says Navalny is a joke, that no one would vote for him. The opposition is the communist party. Most of the parties are artificial creations that Putin arranged to give an appearance of democracy.
Russians are not suicidal Islamic radicals. They are not expecting 70 virgins in heaven. Remember the cab driver? They are in love with life and beauty. My wife intends to live another 50 years. When I mentioned nuclear war, she immediately started stockpiling supplies and looking for local fallout shelters (there aren’t any anymore, the US is unprepared for nuclear war compared to the 60’s).
Russians are Orthodox Christians. They have never had a Protestant Reformation. They have never developed an idea of thinking and interpreting things for themselves. Natasha made a comment that all American churches were greedy for money. I had to think about what she meant. Heck, I had to do some research. The Roman Catholic church got some crazy ideas. One of them was selling “indulgences”. For money, your sins are forgiven, or you get out of purgatory. The Eastern half of the church, Orthodoxy, would have nothing to do with it. The church was split. Years later Martin Luther and others started thinking this didn’t make any sense, and developed the idea of thinking for themselves. Well, in Orthodoxy that’s not allowed. But there isn’t much motivation for it. The Catholics had provided the motivation. In some letters exchanged between the Lutherans and the Orthodox Patriarch, it was apparent that even though both had a beef with the Roman Catholics, they could not even comprehend each other’s way of thinking. Tradition and authority were the rule in Orthodoxy. Freedom to do whatever you wanted as long as you weren’t hurting another group was the rule in Protestantism.
The US was founded by two groups: The commercial enterprises like the Virginia company. And the religious groups that didn’t fit in Europe, the Pilgrims, Puritans, Quakers, etc. We get the idea of working and making money from the first, and the idea of freedom from the latter. When Russia clamped down on their press at the start of the war, I tried to explain the Bill of Rights to Natasha. She had no clue, and was not able to understand it. Regulation of the press in Russia was just a matter of laws passed by majority vote in the Duma. I actually asked Natasha not to apply for US citizenship just yet. I think she needs to study some US history. She has no clue what it means. Fortunately, communists aren’t running for office here, but plenty of socialists are, and I’m afraid she might get the two confused as I did.
If you don’t like what Natasha said, then do something about it. Biden is not going to act unless pushed. Trump is still welcome in Russia; they think he is an ally. Liz Cheney is really tough on Russia but the Trumpites aren’t going to vote for her. So what are you going to do?
Well, agitation and protest does not work unless it is continuous. I suggest writing the President and your Senators and your Representative about twice a week, until they finally step up. I think air force intervention is necessary to actually push Russia out of Ukraine. Short of that, we should think about what would make it costly to them? Sanctions they’ve got handled. Sanctions are there whether they fight or not. They aren’t going to meet all the demands to remove sanctions, so they aren’t really an incentive. Sanctions are useful for slowing them down, just not a motivation for them to stop. Control of a quarter of the world’s grain and cooking oil exports, combined with the metals in Ukraine, are worth an enormous amount, and they will be able to sell these things sanctions or no.
Here is one suggestion that adds cost to Russia for everything they blow up. Send this message to your leaders: Support Zelensky formal Russian compensation multilateral agreement to deter further destruction! Use US assets to forcibly unblock port of Odessa! Expel Russia from pre-2014 borders! No negotiation with terrorist state Russia!
As far as supporting Ukraine, what do you think it takes to stop a military with a budget of $66 billion a year? That is Russia’s defense budget. Of the recent $40 billion package, only $15 billion was weapons. That’s not even a good start. Send this message: You will have to out-spend Russia to stop them – the Reagan method. They spend $66 billion a year. Actual military aid from US to Ukraine is only $19 billion counting the new so-called $40 billion package. This is a joke. Russia now has carte blanch to fight a forever war and no incentive to stop. Step up and use serious US assets to stop slaughter, prevent world food crisis and prevent food refugees flooding US.
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I do not think you’ll get far trying to convince them. You can (a) deluge them with evidence, which eventually convinced Natasha, or (b) just scare them. Russians don’t want to lose a war, or to even have a nuclear war.
The items below are formatted to bring up translations of news pages into Russian.
‘We need a way out’: Former Russian colonel criticizes war efforts in Ukraine, for Russian speakers:
These measures and warnings remind me of the walls around American compounds in Baghdad and Kabul. They are symptoms of insurgency, not civil war.
Let’s get straight what’s important – which is illustrated in the last photo “We won’t go back.” I am not here to get an abortion. I’m male and too old for that. Bigger fish are swimming. The issues in order of importance are:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident . . . Governments are instituted . . . from the consent of the governed . . . whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government. . . . laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. . . . when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.” – Thomas Jefferson, 1776, Declaration of Independence of the future United States of America.
Supreme Court justices are the highest guard of integrity in our country. Misleading, lying or otherwise manipulating their appointment and confirmation process is a gross violation of integrity and there is no course of action imaginable except their immediate removal. If the votes for impeachment are at hand, then all impeding members of Congress should be expeditiously removed by recall or at the earliest possible election.
Prior to Roe v. Wade, backstreet abortions were a travesty and a plague upon the United States. Almost none of the right-wing Christians now lobbying to end abortion even remember. But I do. The freedom of America is the principle of not telling other people what to do if they are not harming you. You are not called upon to judge others. The Christian bible says: Matthew 7:1 KJV “Judge not lest thou be judged!” I judge you now and find you guilty of torture, slavery, misogyny, and crimes against women. The governor of Nebraska said he was going to outlaw abortion even in cases of rape, even from DAY ZERO. This is the grossest crime imaginable. Personality is largely determined by genetics (look it up, there is solid research based on identical twins). Survival of rape fetuses will assure an increase in the population of misogynistic males. God does not step in and overrule natural selection. In fact, God says in Matthew 18:18, NIV: “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” So, you are going to allow rape in heaven? Not if I have anything to say about it.
In the short-term population might be 4th priority in this discussion, but in the long term it is the only thing that matters. The population of Earth has increased 4 times since I was born. Frankly, it should have been held to less than half what it was then. I will elaborate below, but first, the Declaration of Independence, or the argument of precedence.
To call Roe v. Wade precedence is misleading. It’s not some legal technicality. Over 50 years it has become to be self-evident, in the language of Jefferson. That is beyond precedence and cannot be overturned by a court. Or by – anything. The people have the right and duty to claim their self-evident rights. This is why Russia is so messed up. The population there has no history of standing up for itself, only of being ruled by despots. The American colonists had a unique history of being in countries where first nobles stood up for themselves (the Knights of the “Round” Table, the Magna Carta), and then ordinary religious folk learned to think for themselves in the Protestant Reformation. Some of those religious groups, unwelcome in Europe, came here – Pilgrims, Puritans, Quakers. It was the Quakers who first petitioned Congress to disallow slavery.
Now a message to non-religious Republicans who take stands against things like illegal immigration, or excessive and frivolous amnesty of masses of people fleeing ordinary criminality, not political persecution. Why do you want to keep out children and adults that are already living, and allow unwanted unborn fetuses of at best dysfunctional relationships and at worst rape, to enter through wombs, which is a kind of border? That’s, well, stupid. I don’t have another name for it. And if you allow them to enter, why do you not support and welcome them lavishly? Why do you vote to cut their benefits, or deny them, while you insist they arrive? Anti-abortion is not a natural Republican issue. Get it out of your platform.
Just for example, Nigeria has a population of 200 million, 2/3rds of the US, in an area barely larger than Texas. And a quarter of that area is Sarah Desert. Its growth rate is not projected to level off until well after 2100, likely at a population of 2 billion.
In a democratic world order, assuming it comes out that way, these people will rule us. Before you answer, keep in mind Nigeria is mosty Islamic, as are the other orange countries, and most of the tan ones in the Middle East and Africa. I think we can be sure the planet will be placed under Sharia Law. You have Christian motives for not reducing birth rate? So you have Christian motives for assuring Sharia Law in the future. As I said earlier, not as long as I have anything to say about it.
To all those who think it’s so cool that a trick was played and cheaters placed on the Supreme Court so your side could win, think about the consequences of your actions. It doesn’t mean your side wins the long game. It means the Islamists do.
Notice to all. This is my blog. I can say anything I want. I don’t hate anybody. I just look at what they typically do. If you think they would do differently, don’t tell me, show me.
What is the problem with population? I have a friend who thinks 50 billion people would be nice. More brains to drive innovation.
Quantum Mechanics (which enables modern electronics), electric power, trains, air travel, Relativity (Einsteins theory of gravity, black holes and all), radio, TV, refrigeration, antibiotics, the theory of computing, and most other modern concept and inventions were accomplished with a world population of about a billion. From my perspective, born in 1950, innovation and meaningful change has slowed dramatically since the early 1960s. A lot of things have backed up since the early 70s. Middle class living standard in the US stagnated and declined.
Beach area near Houston has declined by half due to over use, while the population has increased 4 times since I moved here. That’s 8 times density increase. All the sand is so hard packed my kid cannot dig a sand castle in most places. The windsurfing area has been shored up with rocks to prevent more erosion, and I can no longer access the water there. It was one of the best windsurfing locations in the country. Ruined by population.
Energy? We will use up all our uranium in 80 years at current rates. Forget nuclear power. Trust me, fusion is still a century or more away. Every tiny improvement is big headlines, but reports are not even counting the energy to run the facility and most produce only a tenth of breakeven power, and only operate for a tiny fraction of a second. Windmills wear out in 20 years and there are already massive graveyards in Montana. Wind is not sustainable. We might have enough materials for solar power, but it is a vast change to the landscape and habitat, and likely would affect climate. More importantly, solar needs massive batteries to operate at night or on cloudy days, and batteries use lithium, nickel and cobalt, which are in short supply even before we start to scale up globally. Keep in mind much of the world still uses less energy per capita than the US and Europe, but wants to catch up. Including those future 2 billion citizens of Nigeria. We have no moral right to tell them no. But we have a moral responsibility to educate them about the consequences of population growth.
Conflict? Solid research results show cooperation evolves in small groups, and diminishes in large populations. If you want to know more, write me and I’ll try and dig up some references. One requirement of cooperation is that the parties must not feel they are losing ground in the long run. If one population increases faster than another, or migrates more aggressively, then the other population is losing and will resent it. Whether the growth is a military invasion like Russia taking Ukraine and wiping out its culture, or a legal infusion of a higher growth culture, or political dominance by a large population even if it remains separate, or simple competition for resources, rebalancing power will destroy cooperation, leading first to polarization and then conflict.
So that’s what we have. First polarization. Then one side getting an upper hand, rigging the Supreme Court. Then conflict. Then the self-evident right to abolish an abusive institution and replace it. The 2nd American Revolution.
I just realized stealing tractors wasn’t an isolated humorous incident. It is part of a consistent and deliberate pattern.
This will create starvation and instability in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and other places. Refugee waves and even violence will spill into Western countries. This affects You even if you weren’t otherwise interested in Ukraine.
The resulting world instability will wipe out markets and your retirement accounts, both directly through volatility, and indirectly through massive inflation.
Are you a Republican? Do you care about immigration? This will destroy your hopes.
Are you a Democrat? Do you care about refugees? Try handling 1.7 billion.
Tremendous damage can be done in a few days or weeks
Urge your officials to take unilateral action to expel Russia from Ukraine immediately
Use cruise missiles and F-35s to gain air supremacy
Relieve humanitarian crises first, while notifying Russian troops they must withdraw
Provide Ukrainian army air cover as they push Russian troops back
When Russians retaliate or escalate (they will), destroy the port of Novorossiysk completely
When Russia retaliates again, destroy all retreat paths and annihilate Russian army in Ukraine
Russia is not a country. It is a gang of common criminals threatening the world. – – – – – – – Put an end to it today. – – – – – – – Russian citizens do NOT get a pass. Many support the war, the rest are complicit.
Suggested wording for letter to your officials
Dear Senator ___ / Representative ___ / Mr. President,
It appears from recent news that Russia is systematically attacking the world food supply. I’m sure you have the details. Grain blockaded, rails that might provide alternative export attacked, farm equipment and grain stolen, grain storage facilities bombed. Projections as high as 1.7 billion people thrown into poverty and hunger. Imagine the refugees that will flow into any country that has food.
Do you consider this an attack on the people of Earth, not just Ukraine? Does it not already qualify as something that requires a firm response? Is it not potentially more devastating than limited tactical nuclear and chemical attacks? Can I persuade you to advocate / do something more immediate than the current slow approach, or mere sanctions?
There are many ways the Russian War on Ukraine could escalate, but most articles only discuss ONE of them. Why do you suppose? Here is my list . . .
Russia attacks Finland and Sweden to prevent them joining NATO (probably with missiles, since their troops are tied up in Ukraine). Both have said they are going to join NATO. Russia already attacked Ukraine to prevent it joining NATO. Russian spokesman Peskov said such a move would not be existential (Russia would not use nuclear weapons). However, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said deviation from Finland’s non-alignment policy would bring “military and political consequences.”
Serbia attacks Kosovo using the Ukraine was as cover. Much like Russia’s claims about Ukraine, Serbia has continued to claim that Kosovo attacks Serbs living in Kosovo. Here is an example of a 2019 claim. Two days ago, China sent 6 cargo transport jets to Serbia with a semi-secret delivery of air defense missiles. These could be used to protect Serbia from NATO while it attacks Kosovo. There is not really any other need for them, since Kosovo does not have an air force. It is too small and can’t afford one. Serbia does not have any other enemies. Surrounded by NATO countries, no one else could even reach it. Kosovo is concerned that Serbia may use the present distraction to attack.
Russia attacks inside NATOaccidentally (wandering drone, there have been several but no harm done) or on purpose (e.g., to hit a supply base).
Ukraine attacks inside Russia (an airfield or supply depot just across the border). This morning Ukraine attacked an ammunition depot in Donetsk. Two weeks ago, Russia alleged Ukraine attacked a fuel depot in the Russian city of Belgorod, which Ukraine has never confirmed nor denied. If Russia starts losing again in the east, or civilians are killed, escalation could follow.
Russia does something egregious. This could happen if they feel they are losing in the east of Ukraine. It could be the use of chemical weapons. They’ve said they won’t use tactical nukes (Peskov said Ukraine was not an existential threat), but when have they told the truth? It could be just a more rapid destruction of cities and greater humanitarian crisis than Mariupol. NATO leaders have indicated they would make a strong, unspecified response, and pretty much all possible sanctions are already in place.
China attacks Taiwan. I consider this unlikely unless one of the other escalations already has the US fully occupied in Europe. Then it becomes likely. I list it for completeness.
Russia reacts to a US or NATO defense of Ukraine. This is what all of the other articles on escalation are about. Putin experts say the only time he bluffs is when he is weak. He has no viable military response to NATO, he’s basically admitted that, so this is not a real possibility. Russia, via Peskov’s comments, has carefully walked back any nuclear threats over intervention in Ukraine.
Items 1-5 seem just as likely as 7. Items 1-5 increase in probability as the war continues, since they are time and opportunity based. Item 7 decreases with time. If they haven’t reacted to the supply of T-72 tanks and British anti-ship missiles, they aren’t going to react to a few old jets or land cruise missiles.
What does the US public think of the risk of nuclear war? I’ve run two polls recently of 500 random people in the US, giving a margin of error of 4%. A week ago, I learned that 60% favored increasing the range and capability of weapons provided. For discussion of this poll see ShulerResearch.org. There has since been some of that, like anti-ship missiles from Britain, T-72 tanks from the Czech Republic, Air Defense through various collaborations, ability to re-arm the Bayraktyar drones from the US, and armored vehicles from Australia and the US. No jets yet. No cruise missiles publicly acknowledged.
The second poll, just completed today (April 11, 2022) shows that 55% think the risk of eventual nuclear war from allowing nuclear autocracies to take one country at a time, is greater than the risk from confronting Russia now, even a direct NATO confrontation:
While a few people are hyper-concerned, most people think the risk of nuclear escalation from Russia losing ground in Ukraine, even with US/NATO help, is of order 1/1000:
A wrinkle in the polling data is that 55% do not really want to defend any country other than the US from nuclear war, counter to our treaty obligations . . .
So, in an election, it would depend on what order you asked the questions in, or which you most emphasized. This provides insight into the success of Trump’s isolationist “withdraw from NATO” ideas. Most people favor defending democracy, e.g. in Ukraine, and just evaluate the risk of actual nuclear war as small. But if a candidate fans this flame and enhances the nuclear risk, as Fox News has been doing a lot lately, people may be induced to make a decision based on something that is not likely. Since this is a Trump-Republican strategy, it is actually illogical for the Biden administration to over-state nuclear risk.
However, when one considers again the first opinion, that escalation due to continued events like Ukraine is twice as likely to result in eventual nuclear war than confronting Putin now, then the equation changes again. Even those hyper concerned about nuclear war would, if they are in the 65%, chose confrontation now. Only by hiding this scenario can a candidate employ nuclear fear. Trump asserts that Putin will not take countries while he is president. Even if you buy this argument, and you make Trump president for life, he is 6 years older than Putin, far more overweight, and likely to die first. It took Putin only 13 months to invade Ukraine after Trump left office.
Can the war be stopped by negotiation? Most of those involved or in a position to judge likely outcomes think not. Austria’s chancellor visited Russia to talk directly with Putin today and got nowhere. Lithuania’s Foreign Minister said “I personally have no reason to believe that he’s talkable.” Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs Jan Lipavsky said “Don’t be naive. Putin is a perpetrator of this horrendous war crime and those atrocities, and he should be punished for that.” Zelensky himself has given up finally on negotiations, saying he is not interested in NATO’s diplomacy. Even before, he estimated the chance of negotiations working at only about 1%.
Russia has broken every treaty ever signed with Ukraine, including the 1994 Budapest Memorandum where Ukraine gave up nukes to get border security, the 1997 Russia-Ukraine friendship treaty, nearly 500 treaties when it annexed Crimea, and the Minsk Agreement which should have ended the 2014 war. It’s hard to think of a treaty Russia has kept. They said they wouldn’t invade Ukraine, then did. They claim they are not targeting civilians, but they are. Can you honestly find a statement made by Russia which is true? What is an agreement with a liar worth? Absolutely nothing. There is no negotiated settlement possible. Even the complete removal of Russian troops, even from Donetsk and Crimea (astonishingly unlikely) would not resolve the West’s complaints enough to remove sanctions, because Putin and most of the rest of his government are now wanted for war crimes. That leaves only a military solution to Russian troops in Ukraine. The solution to what to do about Russia’s criminal government I will not address in this post.
Can the war eventually be stopped by sanctions? We know it won’t be quick but would sanctions eventually stop the war? Extremely unlikely. Even Russians who oppose Putin will not want to appear so weak as to be manipulated by Western sanctions. It’s most likely a first coup would be driven by hard liners.
The basic mechanisms of a globalized economy (the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, now replaced by the World Trade Organization) were established after WW2, along with the UN and World Bank and the IMF, to try and prevent large scale war. The theory was summed up by Immanuel Kant, the “power of money … perhaps the most dependable of all powers,” would compel nations “to prevent war wherever it threatens to break out.”
What actually happened was Russia and China played along for a while to get fabulously wealthy. China nearly surpassing US in GDP has the second largest number of billionaires. Russia has the 4th largest number of billionaires behind Germany. They’ve used this wealth to build up their militaries and ensnare other nations in economic dependency. An article today in the Washington Post puts it like this:
“All of that now seems hopelessly naive. Putin invaded Ukraine despite unambiguous Western threats that Russia would be immediately isolated from the global economy through sanctions. China under Xi Jinping has crushed democracy and press freedom in Hong Kong, increased military threats against Taiwan, and entered a loose alliance with Russia to challenge the U.S.-led global order. Rather than moderating the ambitions of authoritarian leaders, their rising wealth — brought about in good part by foreign investment and trade — has emboldened them to challenge Western democracies head on. So has economic engagement been a catastrophic failure? . . . Economic interdependence breeds peace only if the costs of breaking those ties are high enough — and just as important, if all sides recognize that the costs are high enough.”
The cost of sanctions to Russia’s economy in the next year are predicted to be maybe as little as a 10% contraction. They’ve survived lots worse. The economy of Ukraine, which they might hope to add, is worth already 1.5 times that, and much more if they develop its energy reserves. It’s a straight business deal to them. Acquire Ukraine. Pay the cost.
Sanctions will lead to instability and other wars in the world, in the same way the Financial Crisis led to the Arab Spring. Recall it was started by a Tunisian who “just wanted to work,” not for ideological reasons. What is the cost of not having fuel to drive to work, or gas to heat your home? Infinite, basically. This is not a guess. Here is the evidence:
World Trade is a cooperative enterprise. China and Russia favor extortion and ultimatum, not cooperation. In 2012 Press and Dyson showed in a now-famous game theory paper that extortion beats cooperation, mathematically.
There is nothing you can do about it, except disallow extortion. And there has never been found a pleasant, “cooperative” way to do that. At the level of countries, it is a matter of joint military action. It cannot be the action of a single or a few countries as “Who watches the watcher?” Aside from the atrocities committed, that is a fundamental problem with Russia’s unilateral intervention in Ukraine.
So as time goes on and the probability of the first 5 increases, taking action to roll back Russian troops from Ukraine decreases the chance of escalation by cutting the time short for the most likely causes of escalation. It is just backward of what people are claiming. If you don’t want escalation, write to or call your legislators now and request they intervene directly to help Ukraine drive Russia out. Here are the addresses:
@ 1:40 Two weeks ago this place [Kherson, soldier, not shown] had life, now nothing.
@ 2:15 [crying man on left] They killed ALL the civilians. These are bastards, reptiles, parasites. They don’t fight troops, they fight people. WORSE than fascists. Yes, worse, worse.
@ 2:35 [older man, on right] I remember how the Germans attacked us. They didn’t mess with us like this.
Civilian deaths from deliberate bombing/shelling in Ukraine already exceed some European genocides (Slovenia and possibly Croatia). Kill lists, forced deportation of around 6000 from Mariupol, targeting of schools/hospitals/shelters, placing landmines in refugee corridors, and Putin’s rhetoric point toward genocidal intent. It often takes a long time to “declare” genocide. War crimes have already been declared.
I researched all known genocides since WW2.
Three in Europe were present, all related to the breakup of Yugoslavia:
There was a 10-day conflict in Slovenia in 1990. This set expectations conflicts would not be long lasting. In Croatia, starting at the same time, the US, mired in aftermath of First Gulf War, was obsessed with the Middle East and too slow to intervene. Typically it takes the US over a year to intervene. The conflict terminated in early 1991 with UN intervention.
In Bosnia, 1994, the US and NATO intervened via a bombing campaign.
In Kosovo in 1999, the US and NATO intervened via a bombing campaign.
That bombing campaigns were successful and show that such interventions do NOT typically require troops on the ground.
It appears to be STANDING US POLICY TO INTERVENE IN EUROPEAN GENOCIDES since WW2. It can take a while, resulting in being too late in Croatia.
Likely due to the ancestry and large number of family connections to Europe, and US membership in NATO
The US has also intervened in Middle East genocides, e.g. the Yazidis targeted by ISIS
The US typically does not intervene unilaterally in Africa but supports UN intervention. Sometimes the African Union takes action.
The US typically does not intervene in Southeast Asia where there have and continue to be genocides. It may participate in economic boycotts. We may be reluctant to intervene because of our history in Vietnam, and the sheer numbers of people involved in the region.
Limited economic boycotts have been undertaken against the Uyghur alleged genocide by China, which is a complex issue, perhaps a cultural genocide. The physical ability to intervene inside China’s border was conceded to be beyond the US will to act during the Korean War.
Due to the high standards for declaring genocide and disbelief that Russia would actually invade Ukraine, no US intervention other than economic and supplying weapons was contemplated prior to the February 24th invasion. That situation appears to have changed.
The Senate approved overall legislation including increased Ukraine aid by 68 to 31. 40 Republicans and an unknown but numerous number of Democrats lobbied the administration to send Polish jets to Ukraine. 67 Senators can override a Presidential veto. We MAY have already reached a veto-proof majority in the Senate.