The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Know Thine Enemy

I want you to ask yourself this question: what makes someone your enemy? Really think about it for a bit before continuing. Have an answer.

An enemy is someone who is doing you you harm, or intends to do you harm. If they have the ability to do you harm, they will act on it.

Note what this definition does not include. It says nothing about hate or anger or emotional state. It does not matter why someone is or wants or intends to harm you, all that matters is that they do.

It does also not matter if you are collateral damage: if they don’t even know you personally exist. If they’re willing to harm you to get what they want, without caring one way or another about you, they’re your enemy.

If a political leader passes a law or regulation which takes away your health care or your house or your food or your life, it doesn’t matter that they weren’t thinking about you, specifically, when they made that decision. They deliberately harmed you, and they were OK with it. They certainly knew, if they thought about it all, that it would harm some people, and that wasn’t a problem for them.

When healthcare execs raise the prices of medicines like insulin or care, they know that means some people who need that medicine or care will do without, and they know some people will die. If they don’t need to make the decision “If we don’t do this, we’ll go bankrupt and no one will get care” then they’re good with a bunch of people suffering or dying. They are, therefore, those people’s enemies, and they are a potential enemy for anyone who might one day not be able to afford care.

Your greatest enemies, that is the people who are most likely to make decisions which harm you, are almost always your politicians and corporate leaders. These are also the people who could be your greatest allies, if they chose, as FDR did for most Americans (though he was an enemy of the rich, and both he and they understood that.)

If you are thinking about politics this is the most fundamental concept you need to understand and emotionally internalize. People with power are your greatest enemies or your greatest allies, and your job is to make them your allies. If they are your enemies, and almost all of them in the current world are, then you must treat them as an enemy, and never think of them as a friend or ally.

For about 50 years, politicians and private wealthy individuals have deliberately pursued policies which have impoverished you. If your income had increased at the same rate as productivity, you’d have about twice as much income. Think about that. The reason you don’t is they took all of that (and more) and made sure it went to people who were already rich.

People who intend to or do harm you are your enemies.

This means, by the way, that unless you are a Ukrainian, Putin is not much of an enemy to you. Your own politicians and rich people are almost always the greatest threat to you if you live in a developed country, and if you live in an undeveloped country it’s sometimes leaders of foreign nations, the IMF, foreign corporations and so on.

It isn’t any more complicated than that. At the World Economic Forum at Davos, everyone gets a Covid test and all rooms have HEPA filters and UV light to destroy viruses. That’s how they treat themselves. Our societies could afford to do that for everyone, but our leaders, and the media they control pretend that Covid is “over”, while protecting themselves.

Your enemies. (Well unless you’re reading this and in the charmed circle, in which case they’re your allies. Just remember, in 50 years your class will be reviled and hated more than we revile and hate Hitler today.)

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A Story About How Health Care Privatization Happens


Open Thread


  1. bruce wilder

    A corollary: “good intentions” only count in Church, just as “close” only counts in horseshoes.

    Your real enemies may well say, “we are only here to help”. Such fictions do not make them your friends. Believing such fictions makes you a fool or a method actor.

    Practical means and institutional mechanisms are the currency of effective policy to make a better society. Sympathy for those visibly suffering may be commendable sentiment but is not enough. Being stupid is not a state of higher consciousness.

  2. StewartM

    As you wrote this, I thought of this tidbit:

    Moderna, one of the handful of companies currently offering the COVID-19 vaccine, is reportedly considering quadrupling the price of its vaccine. The cost would increase from $26 to $110-130 per dose, despite it costing only $2.85 to produce.

    Now, selling something for $26 that only costs $2.85 to produce is already a 912 % profit margin. But that apparently isn’t enough for the capitalist class.

    Either we have to re-introduce true competition to staid or gamed “markets”, or regulate like a utility, or simply have the government run these itself. Or some combination thereof.

  3. StewartM

    If your income had increased at the same rate as productivity, you’d have about twice as much income. Think about that.

    A quibble–I’m not sure that’s a valid calculation, because:

    a) our capitalist class has gutted and cannibalized our real wealth (the ability to make stuff) to produce inflated paper ‘wealth’;

    b) so much of the productivity numbers are pretense–like at my company, about 25 or more people were doing work that now only 9 are doing, and we’re pretending that those 9 can have the same breadth and depth of expertise as those 25 had.

    So yeah, we commoners be richer if we had done things right, but maybe not twice as rich.

  4. ibaien

    this is an absurd argument vis. ukraine – totalitarian germany and japan would have both left “you” alone, cozy in north america while carving up eurasia. putin means me harm because he means to harm free people who share my values. i am utterly unsure of why this website continues to carry water for a despot.

  5. Ian Welsh

    Hard up on reading comprehension, that last fellow.

  6. Mel

    “The mind is its own place, and of itself
    can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.”
    — John Milton, _Paradise Lost_ (IIRC)

    The Russians are the enemies of the USA because they are stealing Russia from the USA. USA regards Russia as the rightful property of the USA. It’s an existential struggle because USA’s very existence as the owner of Russia is threatened.

  7. Willy

    Everything is what people do regardless of what they say. It should be something we learn by kindergarten. Yet even I still give people the benefit of the doubt after they’ve proven themselves, too long after they’ve entrenched themselves in positions of power and my gut had been telling me something wasn’t right about them.

    It’s all about stealth. And spotting and manipulating fragile emotions. And preemptively ruining the reps of potential whistleblowers. All for what? One’s own selfish ambition?

    (BTW, I looked for synonyms for “whistleblower”. I thought it meant “informer of unethicality coming from power.” Nope. According to the synonyms, it’s nothing positive. Snitch. Betrayer. Tattletale. Rat. Not sure what’s up with that. Maybe there’s a better word, not yet tainted.)

  8. Willy

    Putin-Ukraine is a complicated topic. I don’t see him as being any different from an Ottoman sultan, say Suleiman “the Magnificent”. Suleiman was constantly at war with Christian rivals over territory, yet he built edifices for his poor. He cared about his family, yet murdered innocent sons for suspected disloyalty. But Putin is my enemy, since he’s the only one who’s threatened nuclear war.

  9. EricF


    “Putin is my enemy, since he’s the only one who’s threatened nuclear war.”

    Do you have a link to that threat?


  10. Willy

    What’s interesting about these uber elites, is their ability to think themselves as being superhuman-superior to everybody else, all wise and knowing and deeply responsible for the lives of those under them.

    It’s been fascinating to watch Elon putting himself out there as he really is, for all to see with no handlers restraining him. Seems less like a super-genius mega-manager, more like a poorly reasoning buffoon so full of himself he almost appears mentally ill. Is this the way they really are?

    I’m sure there are many variables making up the many flavors of powerful elites. But it’d be funny if most were little more than mega-confident narcissistic figureheads who’d been able to get far wiser supplicants and handlers to hop on board whatever lucrative bandwagon they saw developing under their figurehead’s lead.

    Maybe most of them turn crazy, and it really does take a village. A village willing to guide and contain the village idiot god-king they helped to create.

  11. Joe

    I read somewhere recently that much of the aid going to Ukraine is actually on a buy now pay later basis’ Similar to the lend lease deals of the past. The people of Ukraine will be on the hook for the bill if they ”win.” Therefore if they don’t “win” the western arms suppliers and their government accomplices will find it much harder to realize payment. It appears Russia is being goaded into nuclear conflict and mostly for the benefit of weapons makers. I want to be wrong.

  12. Willy


    Google has many more, if that’s your flavor. I ignore outfits like Murdoch’s The Sun, maybe Fox News etc… because they once proclaimed Putin to be a good guy and stuff, and now he’s a boogieman.

    I also don’t do extremist left like Grayzone or extremist for clicks like Dore either. And yes, I know that the MSM is mostly corporate. It’s a shame we’ve gotta do a bit of hunting for credible these days.

  13. Willy

    Sorry, make that “EricF” and only one duckduckgo search. Long day.

  14. EarthMagic

    It’s looking like the upper class is more reviled and hated than Hitler, right now.

  15. mago

    Any deals brokered in this conflict will be negotiated by the surviving lords, not the dead peasants.
    The dependent and voiceless are at the mercy of their psychopathic rulers.
    Animals, children and the aged are natural victims.
    May all categories of beings under threat, stress and trauma find respite and shelter from the storm.
    (Thanks Mr Dylan/Zimmerman.)

  16. Eric Anderson

    Broader definition. An enemy is someone/thing that threatens to destroy what I love.

    I’ll often fight harder against an enemy who seeks to destroy that which I love, than myself. I don’t think that’s unusual among moral individuals. I think this so, because, often times, those things I love are without the same defenses I have. My child, my family. My place. The underdogs.

    I’m in full destruction mode right now over a 30 yr old con-man who cozied up to a 78 yr widower who recently walked in my office seeking legal help. Her mind is eroding. He got her to sign a power of attorney and filched her savings. Got her to sign over a quitclaim deed to her house and is threatening to kick her out.
    I’m obviously doing it all pro bono b/c she has no money.

    He’s my enemy — but no threat to me. I’m going to legally destroy him.
    I love the defenseless for reasons I guess I don’t really understand.

  17. Eric Anderson

    On reflection, it probably has to do with the fact that I still remember so vividly being bullied myself as a — slow to mature — child.

  18. Astrid

    Russia derangement syndrome and China derangement syndrome are just liberals’ way of coping with living in dystopia. Everything that the US is actually doing in plain sight is projected onto the “other” with heresay from MSM known liars. They’ve done it so many times, privileging Western narratives over more reliable sources. As Ian said, in this, they are playing into the hands of their true enemy who have progressively stolen property, autonomy, liberty, and life (via BigPharma, AIDS/COVID, healthcare crapification GMO food), by fueling animus against other countries that just want to be left alone (aka don’t want to be your enemy).

    It is the US that is threatening Russia with nuclear annihilation by placing nuclear capable missile batteries against its neighboring countries. The only thing that could even be construed as a nuclear threat is Putin’s reminder to the West that Russia is capable of defending herself and has the means to do so. This is a restatement of Russian nuclear doctrine, which would only use nuclear weapons in case of first use of nuclear or existential threat by another country (so US doesn’t try a decapitation strike or assasinations, because it’s done so many of those against enemies and former allies).

    It is the West that prodded Ukraine to not implement Minsk 2, against the clear desire of the overwhelming majority of it’s population, and to provoke Russia into intervention in early 2022. In this the West thought that cutting Russia off of SWIFT, stealing its currency reserves, and cutting off its trade with the “world” would quickly bring down Russia and Putin, The only this did not happen because Russia spent 8 years properly preparing for this eventually and has 85% of the world on its side. To “defend” the West on this point is no different from being a “good German”. To do so in this blog, where counter evidence is provided repeatedly, is like being a “good German” living next to Treblinka (yes, I know it’s in Poland, but presumably there are Germans living nearby, if only as family for the German supervision staff).

    USSR/RF and China have nothing akin to Western style imperialism in their history. The USSR and PRC “imperialist” actions are to secure their borders after a traumatic history of invasions by Western powers and involve installing and supporting friendly governments around their borders. This is no different from US actions after WWII to purge communism from Western Europe and Italy, except the US was far dirtier through covert assasinations, false flags, and working with local mobsters that continue to the present day in Kosovo and Montenegro.

    To hear libs here go on and on about imagined crimes of RF and PRC and Iran. Meanwhile, their minds have no room for what Israel is doing to Palestinians, for the 3 recent US backed coups against Peru, Brazil, and Argentina (none of these governments threaten US national security in any way), and what is Biden continues to do to Assange.

    Truly, there are none so blind as those who will not see. “Their” government can evict them from their homes, jail them for years on false claims, surveillance them minutely, exposed them to deadly pathogens repeatedly…but you can’t take away their sense of superiority to imagined wretches elsewhere.

  19. Astrid

    Ian, can you actually back up your statement about Russia being enemies of Ukrainians? A huge majority of the voting population supported peace with Russia by voting in Zelensky. Eastern and southern Ukraine clearly prefers to be inside Russia.

    So other than Galician Nazis who hate Russians as subhumans and those paid by the West to force Ukrainian nationals (including ethnic Hungarians who are overrepresented in combat casualties) to fight Russians, how is Russia the enemy of Ukraine? Would you say in that in 1978, the Vietnamese are enemies of Cambodians? If my own government is pushing for a course of continued war and destruction, I think they’re the my enemy, not the people they provoked into war and destruction.

  20. Astrid

    And Caitlin Johnston just put up a great article on my last point.

  21. Eric Anderson

    W/r/t to this post I suspect some could use a refresher on the empathy/sympathy conundrum Ian.

  22. JohnA

    To Willy
    all your alleged links are in western media, and all use weasel words such as ‘could’ would etc. The only ‘politician’ who has actually come out and threatened to use nuclear weapons was Liz shorter shelflife than a lettuce Truss. A woman who vies with Ursula vDL in the who can be the most stupid female on the planet stakes.
    Russia has no need to go nuclear, it has clear superiority in conventional weapons and is fighting in its own backyard. NATO has already lost this war, and has 2 choices, find an offramp or escalate until nuclear weapons are involved.

  23. Mark Level

    First, as to Ian’s post, as usual, succinct and clear, very difficult to find category errors or broad brush mistakes. Now, as to a couple of comments. To the “reading comprehension” new guy, a couple of things I learned early on in my political education from Malcolm X– (some may be paraphrased & not exact quotes)– “If you’re not very careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.” Also, much as you might hate all oppressors, your first duty if you want to be a free human being is to fight the s.o.b. that has his (usually, not always) foot on your throat. Lastly, a warning specifically to the black community, “If you can’t tell the truth, you don’t even deserve freedom.” Now, I am not black and I grew up quite privileged, good health and good education, BUT I had to support myself starting at age 19 because I grew up in a deeply authoritarian family. My dad found out that I had smoked a joint at this age, which he thought only the underclass (non-whites) did, & threatened to have me institutionalized– (which in reality, even as a rich, powerful person he probably did not have the power to do, but as a 19 year old I had to flee and support myself for several years for my own safety.) So I threw away my Class Privilege card, worked in a shipping warehouse, then in central Louisiana in an oil inspection pipeyard, then on boats in the Gulf of Mexico servicing oil drilling platforms. My coworkers in the Merchant Marine were uneducated and violent, also extremely racist, so I joined the “group” like one would join a gang. I was called a “Yankee” (though Chicago where I grew up is not New England) & an “N—- lover,” because I did not join in in my coworkers’ virulent racism. Then I was attacked and punched in the face, etc. Once I won the 3rd fight I was in, I was still not respected but I was accepted and left alone . . . later I went to live in Nicaragua for 4 months in 1983-84 and picked coffee with the CST, Sandinista Workers Union locals, plus other “Internacionalistas” who went there to see the US’s “totalitarian communist enemy” face to face. These people were NOT any threat to the US, Reagan’s scare stories that they would hop in their decades old jalopies & drive 7-800 miles thru Mexico to attack the US and install “Soviet terror” were fever-dreams . . . anyway, living among non-bourgeois and non-white people, I had a lot of tribalist bullshit get pushed out of my psyche. (Actually even as a youngster I was one of those odd kids who was not a “respecter of persons”– not meaning that I disrespected people generally, but not being super confident or “type A” myself I always took people as they were & did not discount automatically people with darker skin-tone or less education than me . . . So, here’s my point– growing up in an authoritarian household I have a reflexive hatred of powerful people who wield that over others . . . now Mr. Putin certainly belongs in that class, however, I would note the following– 1. Being anti-war, I know that MY taxes paid for the Bush-Cheney carnage in the middle east and across the world, so if I bear any war guilt it is for the roughly 1,000,000 mostly innocent people the NeoCons murdered in Iraq and elsewhere, & Mr. Bush continues to run around hooting & gibbering cheerfully without any accountability. Perhaps IF you (presumably US supporting from your post) were calling for Bush, Rice, Wolfowitz et al to go to the Hague you MIGHT have a shred of credibility to call for Putin to do so afterwards– but I don’t see you doing so. 2. Those of you, including the Shit-Libs, who are “Respecter of Persons” (who speak English, don’t eat weird foods you don’t, etc.) and well-propagandized by corporate media seem to create 2 levels of victims, “worthy victims” & “unworthy victims.” So dozens of Palestinians are routinely killed and jailed non-stop by the Israeli Apartheid state (including children as young as 8) & you feel not the least discomfort. “They asked for it”, right? Same for the Russian speaking folks in Ukraine post the 2014 coup, somewhere around 35% + of the populace, especially up in the Donbass area, who didn’t want to be forced not to speak Russian or relegated to 2nd class citizenship. And who were shelled by “their” government in the Donbass region, all directed indiscriminately mainly at civilians, really few military targets there. The respected estimates of the dead are 14,000 minimum, plus there are the maimed, people’s houses destroyed, etc. But like the Palestinians, they asked for it I guess. (If I were ever in a room with Bill Maher, though not a violent person, I would walk up to him and punch his racist, Zionist face for saying that when the IDF bombs civilian homes and kills children, “The blame for the children’s deaths is on their parents, for opposing Israel.” How sick! This is akin to reports in the 90s that when the Chinese government executed dissidents they billed the families for the cost of the bullets used.) 3. Your hero Zelensky (a TV creation like the wonderful leaders Berlusconi & Trump, incidentally a native Russian speaker who had to learn Ukranian in later childhood) at the behest of Victoria Nuland threatened to put nuclear weapons on Russia’s borders one month before the Russian SMO. Now, ANY competent leader would react to an existential threat like that, & Putin did (after earlier ignoring the Donbass breakaway republics when they requested to formally join Russia for security under bombardment) did what the populace demanded and defended his nation by addressing the existential threat. Had he NOT done so he would have been quickly replaced by someone who did, & I’m sure he has as good (or better) self-preservation instincts than most. To quote someone in Compton I saw on TV during the Rodney King riots, “If you get a little, tiny kitten trapped in a corner and are about to kill it, even the kitten will fight back.” Now I am not saying that Russia is a kitten (Napoleon and Hitler learned otherwise), nor that I would like to move there or expect I’d be comfortable with much of their culture. However, unlike yourself (evidently) I know that I’ve funded far more murders in the last 40 years than Putin has committed and it’s my responsibility to face that. Also, the only “tribe” I belong to is the human race. I do not and never will accept the proposition which you evidently carry, that some people are lesser, if they are invaded, tortured, murdered etc. to benefit the powerful, oh well, that’s just business as usual. Anyway, if you are rich or well-invested in Raytheon, Pfizer or the other wonderful institutions that have their foot on my (& my family and friends’) necks, you are certainly entitled to your opinion, having earned it. It must be nice to have no guilt as weaker and more vulnerable people are oppressed or killed, as long as you’ve got yours. Jung’s Shadow is real, & people who are unaware that they have one and incapable of addressing and trying to overcome it are among the most dangerous sociopaths out there. And I personally respect the sociopaths who kill and maim directly more than those who do so from a distance, like Madelaine Albright responding to Leslie Stahl’s noting that US sanctions had killed half a million Iraqi children (& would soon up the number to an even million) without harming “Saddam” in the least– “we think the price is worth it.”

  24. Ian Welsh

    One commenter thinks I’m carrying water for Russia, another that Putin isn’t Ukrainian’s enemy.

    A LOT of Ukrainians have died due to the war, Russia invaded. A country who is likely to kill you is your enemy.

  25. Kevin

    Hi Willy:
    The reason everyone believes Putin has threatened to use nuclear weapons is that his statements about same are always paraphrased the way the west wants to spin it. If you read his actual statements (released by the Russian government) or official copies of the speeches in question, or even translations of the many question/answer sessions at events or press appearances you will find the reality is quite different. The same goes for other Russian high officials ( lavrov, peskov).
    To sum up Russian statements:
    -Russian nuclear posture is well-documented, public and transparent; this is the only way for it to be an effective deterrent.
    -Russia maintains a no-first-use policy, except in the situation where the survival of the Russian state is threatened.
    -Russia believes there are NO winners in a nuclear war, but maintains a strong and modern nuclear force as deterrent, is confident about that, and will use it if necessary.
    …while there is some ambiguity there, Russian statements are consistant in stating that their nuclear weapons are deterrent in nature. American ambiguity however is, and has been for years, in the opposite direction with “all options are on the table” a commonly quoted phrase at the highest levels: Official American nuclear posture (I quote) “would only consider the use of nuclear weapons in extreme circumstances to defend the vital interests of the United States or its allies and partners.” That ambiguity certainly seems a bit more available (and ominous) than Russia’s.

    I did follow those DuckDuckGo searches, clicked on many of the links, but it took a long time before I could actually find Putin (or Russian official statements) directly quoted, and even then the quote did not support the headline. This is not at all unusual, and if my comment does prompt you to look a little further you’ll find this is only the first step into a remarkable rabbit hole of history and politics.

  26. Astrid


    If your hiking partner throws rocks at the bear, kicking its cub, and then runs off to leaves you to confront the bear. Is the bear your enemy or the person who just left you alone with a very aggrieved bear? I guess you can say the bear, but it’s a meaningless statement that completely ignores the contexts of the situation.

    I very much do disagree with your frequently expressed views on Russia. If the alternative to going to war (or doing unsavory things) is the destruction of your country and people who placed their faith in you, then you go to war. NATO putting more nukes around Russia and trying to do regime change again and again were red lines, every bit as much as putting nukes in Turkey or Cuba in the 1960s. To me, there’s nothing immoral about going to war to prevent a worse outcome for your side. You do it to survive. The alternative is your country becomes Iraq, Libya, Honduras, and other victims of the West’s tender mercies.

    Putin has shown restraint at every stage of this conflict (and I don’t particularly believe Western coverage of purported atrocities from Chechyna and such. Bad things happen in war, but I have zero faith in Western coverage of their “enemy” at this point) and kept destruction and casualties to a minimum.

    This is something I recognized pretty recently. I was always puzzled by why my Chinese friends were so ready to forgive Mao despite the tremendous personal suffering that they endured during the Cultural Revolution and the Great Leap Forward. Only now that I have greater understanding of Western evils that they fight against, do I recognize why they can still contextualize the post-1949 sufferings as better than what came before. Given the chance to rebuild after 1976, they did. They made lots of mistakes and lots of people were hurt along the way, but it is much better than the alternative of Western domination.

  27. Trinity

    “USA regards Russia as the rightful property of the USA.”

    Agree. In accepting the globalist’s stated intention to eliminate “nations” in exchange for global domination (and to me, this is what Russia and China are fighting against, so they are not my enemy*), I have this fantasy.

    Let’s pretend they’ve nuked Russia and cowed China into submission, and they now own the entire globe. Who gets to run the world then? Who will be in charge, and make sure the right people get the right money from the right place? Will they vote to select a supreme leader? (Oh, the irony.) I’ll bet that supreme leader will have an official taster to prevent poisons leading to yet another regime change.

    I imagine that the US oligarchs believe it will be they who will be in charge, but I also imagine there will be a lot of infighting, jockeying for position, and the usual payments wired to numbered accounts, convenient suicides, and unexpected assassinations. This could go on for years, decades, centuries, exactly as it has in the past.

    I mean seriously, just thinking this forward into the future, any doubt about their insanity should be dispelled by now. The truth is, they are a joke, a cliche, stereotypical, predictable by anyone with a knowledge of history, AND they lack any kind of originality.

    * Russia and China aren’t trying to kill me. My rulers, however, are quite seriously trying to kill me as quickly as possible. They want me homeless, paying rent for my own home, sick and unhealthy living on junk food, indebted for my entire lifespan, and addicted to prescription drugs, violence, and mayhem. More importantly, they are deliberately interfering with my ability to enjoy being alive.

  28. Willy

    If Russia feels its territorial integrity is threatened, we will use all defense methods at our disposal, and this is not a bluff.

    After Putin annexed various Ukrainian zones, this obviously meant that “all defense methods at our disposal” implies using only antiquated equipment and prison convicts. It clearly means that only the insane would ever try bombing civilian areas let alone nukes.

    Think that’ll sell to American voters?

    Ukraine gave up its nukes on the condition that Russia wouldn’t attack. So maybe Putin is actually attacking the western neoliberals? I’d be all up for that, had Putin just said so unequivocally right from the start.

    Now maybe that would’ve sold better to American voters. I await the appropriate Putin quotes.

  29. GM

    Ukraine gave up its nukes on the condition that Russia wouldn’t attack.

    That isn’t what the Budapest memorandum says, it says that the signatories will guarantee and respect the sovereignty of Ukraine.

    That was violated immediately by the US and the UK whose program of sponsoring Galician Nazis started all the way back in 1945 but was after the collapse of the USSR free to escalate without restraints.

    And it escalated really sharply twice, first with the Orange revolution in 2004-05, then with the coup in 2014.

    After the latter Ukraine ceased to exist as a sovereign country.

    From then on the Budapest memorandum was null and void.

    Also, I take very serious issue with the view that Putin is the enemy of Ukrainians.

    If he was that, he would have indeed finished this war in a few weeks. By doing what had to be done — sending a million-men army, evaporating the military barracks and all other relevant infrastructure in the first hours and days, and causing hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties as collateral damage.

    He didn’t do any of that, quite the opposite, it was kid gloves for a very long time, and it still is very far from a full-scale war.

    Because it is essentially a hostage operation, in which the real enemies of most Ukrainians, which is the Galician Nazis and the West are using most of the Ukrainian population as cannon fodder and human shields in their war against Russia.

    Recall that they were shooting anti-personnel M30A1 HIMARS rockets at civilians in Kherson city. They have of course been doing that in the Donbass too, but let’s for the sake of the argument accept the view that in Donbass it is only Russians (that they are civilians we ignore too). Which is not the official view of Ukraine’s government, BTW –according to them those people are Ukrainians under Russian occupation. Yet they still bomb civilians there (just yesterday they blew up a hospital in Novoaidar, again with HIMARS). But Kherson did not spend 8 years under such “occupation”, and it was the most pro-Ukrainian city between Odessa and Kharkov prior to the war. Regardless, once it passed into Russian hands, the moment Ukrainians acquired the capability to do so, they started terror bombing.

    Including with anti-personnel rounds.

    Against what had been just a few months earlier their own citizens and “Ukrainians”.

    Because the reality is that for the Galician Nazi scum everyone east of Galicia is a potential Moscal and ideally should all be exterminated and the land repopulated with people from pure stock from Galicia. They are tolerated as long as they play Ukrainian, but that game ends the moment an area passes under Russian control.

    While for the West the ideal outcome is that everyone, including the Galicians get out of the way and release that extremely valuable territory.

    Which is quite relevant to the question of who the real enemy is.

  30. Kevin

    Thanks for seriously considering my comment. The quote you use is actually a perfect example of what I described: take a look at putin’s words in context (with special attention to the second paragraph):

    “In Washington, London, Brussels they are directly pushing Kyiv to transfer military operations to our territory. No longer hiding, they say that Russia should be defeated by all means on the battlefield, followed by the deprivation of political, economic, cultural, in general, any sovereignty, with the complete plunder of our country.

    Nuclear blackmail was also launched. We are talking not only about the shelling of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, which is encouraged by the West, which threatens a nuclear catastrophe, but also about the statements of some high-ranking representatives of the leading NATO states about the possibility and admissibility of using weapons of mass destruction against Russia – nuclear weapons.

    To those who allow themselves to make such statements about Russia, I would like to remind you that our country also has various means of destruction, and for some components more modern than those of the NATO countries. And if the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will certainly use all the means at our disposal to protect Russia and our people. It’s not a bluff.”

    While granted there is ambiguity, this is plainly a statement of deterrence to and addressing all the nuclear talk that was flying around western media at the time.

  31. Willy

    GM, I highly doubt you’ll get many USAian voters on board with that reasoning. Now, maybe if Saint Basil’s Cathedral had been destroyed along with 3000 Russians by Galician Nazis, these voters might’ve been more amenable to Putin’s views on invading Ukraine. Optics, BM, optics.

    But then I forgot the part where the USA lost in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and the USAian voter’s attitudes towards invasions may have changed a bit.

  32. Willy

    Putin is on record saying he wouldn’t invade Ukraine. But then, Putin does seem to speak a lot like a Mafia Don from days of old, full of subtle threats, veiled demands and innuendo, regardless of right or wrong. So I find it very easy to see how the entire western media and voters could overreact to anything he says. CGTN has even reported Putin that way, although they do tend to follow up better than the western media whenever Putin attempts one of his subtle veiled innuendo “corrections”.

    Add in that the USA invaded Iraq and Afghanistan and lost. I’d think Putin would have learned a few lessons from those debacles. I remind you that current military thinking is that it’s the occupation which is the hard part and not the conquest. Please tell me how Putin is winning the hearts and minds of Ukrainians?

    If Putin is one of the good guys

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