Russia, a Vile, Evil, and Disruptive State (Part 1)


“Enough is enough” with this vile and evil state! It has now, as of February 24, been two long years of the bestial, illegal and unjustified attack by Russia on a free and democratic country. I thus want to give the reader my thoughts on what must now be done. 

You will examine in Part 1:

  • My basic premise regarding what to be done with Russia
  • What personally started this blog (it is based on my experience in Russia, Finland and Estonia in 2014
  • Some concrete actions that must be taken by the free world starting now
  • Some vulnerabilities associated with my premise

In Part 2, I will provide justification for my basic premise, based on Russia’s long and disruptive history. (See:

This blog is my third attempt at describing and understanding Russia and its attack on Ukraine.  When I review what I have written, I feel I (he said with no real modesty) captured the essential elements of the crisis, so I will not try and do a rerun of what I was then concluding.

The first was on March 31, 2022 and was called: Putin’s War; Russian DNA (March 31, 2022). See: The second was on August 27, 2022 and was titled Putin’s War – Six Months Out. See:

My basic premise regarding what to be done with Russia

I will be making the controversial argument that, in an ironic manner, the free, democratic world is fortunate that Russia has attacked Ukraine. As a result it has the moral authority to support Ukraine. They can “fight” this proxy war, take no casualties other than economic, and severely weaken this vile state. A direct attack would not be acceptable, but a defensive attack is justified. 

This is a country that has been a rogue state and an evil and vile player on the world scene for so long, whose external aggression is part of the country’s DNA, an outgrowth of their complete intolerance for internal freedom and dissent, and now here is an opportunity to neutralize it – and perhaps weaken it in such a fashion that it can do less harm in this world. Putin’s legacy must be that of a further impoverished and reduced Russia. If that sounds heartless, it is meant that way. The history of the country has led it to this point.

The free world’s objective should aim to weaken the grip of authoritarianism in Russia. 

I submit also that, while seeing military outcomes at this point in time is murky, the longer the battle continues, it will weaken the Russian regime militarily and economically – and that is a good thing. The cruelty to the Ukranian people and their country is tragic, but has been accepted by them as a necessary condition of them surviving as a free and democratic state.

The other powerful rational for this position is one of predicted future costs to the free world, particularly Europe and the US. The Institute for the Study of War (ISW), according to its recent report, predicts if funding is insufficient, Russia will win and the costs to the West will be staggering. Russian troops will swarm Ukraine as well as Belarus and “the United States will have to deploy to Eastern Europe a sizeable portion of its ground forces and a large number of stealth aircraft.”

Here is where I stray from orthodoxy. It is my opinion that the objective should be, finally, the ultimate defanging of this evil regime. By that I mean destroying the leadership and financial and military capabilities that make Russia one of the most dangerous regimes in world history. Russia is a monstrous kleptocracy and military dictatorship which is a threat to global security. The Russian dictatorship was built by Putin and others after they stole the country’s corporations and resource endowment. They corrupted its institutions and hid their personal ill-gotten gains offshore.

The more decisive Russia’s defeat in Ukraine, the more likely it is that Russia will experience profound political change. Ukraine’s triumph in the war raises the possibility that Putin could be forced out of office, creating an opening for a new style of Russian government. A Russian defeat in the war could galvanize the kind of bottom-up pressure that is needed to upend Putin’s regime. Such a development carries risks – of violence, chaos, and even the chance of a more hard-line government emerging in the Kremlin – but it also opens the possibility of a more hopeful future for Russia and for its relations with its neighbours and the West. Although fraught, the most likely path to a better Russia now runs through Ukrainian success.

Yes, Putin must be deposed. He is like many of Russia’s previous mostly male dictators (Stalin, Lenin, etc.) that seem to be capable of horrible deeds and be disruptive to world affairs and peace. But the senior people around him (mostly military) have to be purged as well, along with civilian control of the military taking place, as well as major disassembly of Russia’s dangerous security apparatus. The “old Soviet style” is a recurring pejorative and must be eradicated. 

The free world finally has to say “enough is enough” with this vile and evil state. So weakening this rogue state is justified.

Origin of my title for this blog

Before I begin, I want to declare perhaps the obvious. We are talking about a subject that is grand in scope and consequence. It’s about a country that’s existed in various states for a thousand years, is monstrous geographically and politically oversized in world politics. So to make unsupported categorical statements is reckless and naive; I will try and avoid that pitfall.

The origin of this blog, and it’s strong title, really began for me back in 2014. For most of May I travelled with my wife in Russia, then on to Finland and then Estonia.

The seeds were planted almost immediately by our first guide in Russia (she was also an evangelical preacher), who launched immediately into a defence of Putin’s recent actions in Crimea. Valeria Pavina was passionate about Putin and his efforts to regain Crimea. “It’s ours, We deserve it back. Khrushchev gave it away” She would not consider any other view. 

Then fast forward through many interesting days of learning and sightseeing in Russia, through Finland to our time in Tallinn, Estonia’s beautiful and very old capital city (it was first recorded on a world map in 1154). The country became Swedish in 1566, then to Russia in 1710 under Peter the Great, had a brief independence during World War I, was occupied by the Soviet Union in 1940, then by Nazi Germany from 1941 to 1944, then retaken by the Soviets. It finally declared its independence in 1991. 

I outline quickly this Estonian history to place the remarks of our delightful Tiina Peil, a teacher, and part time tour guide who led us around the Old Town in context. From her very core she shuddered when she talked about the Russian period. “The Russians say they liberated us. But Estonians feel they were conquered by the Russians. The Germans were the pests; the Russians were the plague. The Germans were civilized compared to the Russians who were vile.” I keep a diary of my travels, and these words are exactly as I wrote them down on May 27, 2014 – and I still remember the passion and emotion that emanated from this woman as she uttered them, particularly spitting out the word “vile”; it was visceral.

I knew I wanted to write about my own emotional feeling about the state, starting after I wrote about it in my first Russia blog “Putin’s War; Russian DNA” on March 31, 2022. Then when I posted “Putin’s War – five months out” I had to deal with both my emotional reaction but now my added historical perspective.

To my choice of “vile” as a loaded adjective in my essay title, the trouble becomes, what is “vile”: the state (however that is defined), the leadership (as in Putin and his predecessors), the security apparatus (the odious KGB, etc.) or the citizens of the state. 

I have concluded that, unfortunately, it is all of the above, with the caveat that while the citizens are the least culpable they seem to accept what the leadership and state impose upon them. With some brave and principled exceptions (I will talk about the dissidents shortly), they take the tzars, the dictators, the heavy handed security, the lies, deceptions and abhorrent behaviour of their military in exchange for carrying on their everyday lives. And they have not revolted. 

In further support of the “evil” pejorative, it is valid to go back to the 1947 Nuremberg trials verdict. The International Military Tribunal agreed with the prosecution that aggression was the gravest charge against the accused, stating in its judgment that because “war is essentially an evil thing”, “to initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole”. The Nazis were then immediately sentenced for their role.

In March 1983 President Ronald Reagan referred to the Soviet Union as an “evil empire,” and warned against “appeasement” and “the so-called nuclear freeze solutions proposed by some.”

Actions to be taken – I mean ACTIONS, not hopes!

Preamble: There should be little tolerance for negotiation and modest versions of these actions. Russia represents such a present and future danger to the free world, and will continue to do so until aggressive actions are taken. Russia must be defeated economically as well as on the battlefield. The most likely path to a better Russia now runs through Ukrainian success.

Russia is only one, very immediate reason why we, and the free world, need to show resolve. It signals intent to China, Iran and other dangerous possibilities. Appeasement doesn’t work; it is, in fact, very dangerous.

  1. Bring Ukraine into the EU and NATO. Support for Ukraine – in the form of sustained military assistance and efforts to anchor the country in the West through membership in the European Union and NATO – will pave the way for a revised relationship with Russia, and hopefully a new Russia. A better Russia can be produced only by a clear and stark Ukrainian victory, which is the most viable catalyst for a popular challenge to Putin. A resounding defeat is also required to enable Russians to shed their imperialist ambitions and to teach the country’s future elites a valuable lesson about the limits of military power. NATO has grown stronger in response to Russia’s attack on Ukraine, and NATO allies and partners have provided more than $110 billion in total aid for Ukraine while the US has provided about $75 billion. But be careful here; the US is suddenly faltering as extremist Republicans in the House are refusing to pass a supplemental measure to provide more funding for Ukraine.
  1. NATO has to stick by its Article 5 guarantee. As Michael Ignatieff wrote in the Globe and Mail on March 5, 2023, in each of the cases of Russia crushing free people (the Hungarians, Czechs and Poles and now the Ukrainians) they “appealed to Western Europe and the US to intervene. Their appeals went unheard. In each of these cases, Western governments decided to not risk nuclear war. Their restraint saved the peace but betrayed the peoples of Eastern Europe. This time is different.
  1. No negotiations: This conflict won’t end with negotiations. Someone must win and someone must lose and only defeat will erase Putin from Ukraine. “We don’t see any signs” that Vladimir Putin is “preparing for peace,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in South Korea in early February. “We see the opposite.” Ukraine must protect itself and Europe from another future incursion. Georges Clemenceau, the French prime minister in 1919, once said that making peace is harder than waging war. We may well be about to rediscover the truth of his words. 

I’ll use the quote I used in my August 7, 2022 blog: It’s up to Ukrainians whose views are best represented by Israel’s late Prime Minister Golda Meir, who was born in Kyiv. Negotiation is impossible, she said, when a neighbour is bent on extermination: “We (Israel) intend to remain alive. Our neighbours want to see us dead. This is not a question that leaves much room for compromise.” There should be no compromise with Putin.

Margaret MacMillan said in her July/August 2023 Foreign Affairs article How Wars Don’t End: “The fate of the Axis powers after World War II offers at least hope that the Russia of today may one day be as distant a memory as is the Germany of 1945. For Ukraine, there is the promise of better days if the war can be wound down favourably for it, with the country recovering much of its lost eastern territories and its Black Sea coast, as well as being admitted to the EU. But if that does not happen and the West does not make a sustained effort to help Ukraine rebuild—and if Western leaders are determined to treat Russia as a permanent pariah—then the future for both countries will be one of misery, political instability, and revanchism.” I agree with her, with the exception of her treating “Russia as a permanent pariah”; it is that already! 

  1. Do not negotiate for peace to just appease Russia in the name of avoiding war. The highest human value is not peace simply, but peace in conditions of freedom. If peace were the ultimate good, dictatorships would exist forever, because no one would endanger his life fighting for basic rights. External aggression is part of Russia’s DNA, an outgrowth of their complete intolerance for internal freedom and dissent. As Andrei Sakharov liked to say: “You cannot trust a government more than that government trusts its people.”
  1. Do not recognize Putin as the president of Russia after March 17. This alludes to next month’s sham presidential election, in which Putin is running for a fifth term. Garry Kasparov, the legendary chess and human-rights champion, has suggested this and stated “Do not recognize the regime as legitimate.” While Putin might be indifferent to questions of legality, he craves and is keenly attuned to the trappings of political legitimacy, particularly internationally, which bolster his claims to rule. The economist Konstantin Sonin, a professor at the University of Chicago who this month was arrested in absentia by a Russian court, has said: “Putin and his henchmen should be recognized and treated as a gang whose hold on power in Russia is based on brute force rather than any kind of legitimacy. It does not make sense to negotiate with Putin as any kind of agreement will have to be renegotiated when his regime falls.” (Source New York Times, Feb 20/24)
  1. Dramatically escalate in order to obliterate as many Russian armed forces and facilities as quickly as possible. Paradoxically, this is the only way to save lives. Ukraine will lose the war because of a huge imbalance in manpower and weaponry, especially artillery. Russia won’t run out of soldiers anytime soon even though casualties pile up plus they are on a wartime footing for war materials. Thus the West must must go all in. If Moscow can create the illusion that Ukraine can’t win on the battlefield, then some of their ‘friends’ in the West will start losing their enthusiasm and start pushing them to cut a deal, a bad deal, with the occupiers.” Victory is the only option, as President Volodymyr Zelensky emphasized on British television a few months ago, when he said Putin “doesn’t want negotiations because he doesn’t want peace”.
  1. Wartime mobilization by NATO/US to provide Ukraine with the necessary war materials to win the war. Wartime mobilization of production capacity must come from all NATO counties, including the US and should include financial, training, munitions, ground, air and sea support, etc. The US Congress has failed to approve renewed military assistance. A bill with $60 billion in aid has passed the Senate but is facing opposition in the House. Every Republican with a memory of what their party once stood for has an obligation to vote for that bill. Russia has shifted its economy to a war footing and raised its cumulative troop strength to 1.3 million. It is pouring a third of its national budget towards the war, a threefold increase from 2021! Russia is powering up, and the free world has to too. 
  1. Go big on giving Ukraine more powerful weapons. The West must supply its latest and superior technologies, particularly tanks, long-range strike systems, and air defence systems. The wealthy and powerful Western alliance behind Ukraine must stop asking Ukrainians to fight with one hand tied behind their backs. Russia uses its latest technologies: Ukraine must use the West’s latest and superior technologies. If supplies in Western arsenals run low, then America and Europe must ship their mothballed jets, guns and drones. David Petraeus, the retired general and former C.I.A. director, had a specific suggestion: “The White House should announce the provision of the Army Tactical Missile System to Ukraine, which would double the range to approximately 300 kilometers of the missiles provided by the U.S. to date.” 
  1. Permit Ukrainian attacks on Russian soil, including with Taurus missiles and ATACMS, the US Army Tactical Missile System which is a conventional surface-to-surface artillery weapon system capable of striking targets well beyond the range of existing Army systems. (ATACMS missiles are fired from the HIMARS and MLRS M270 platforms.)
  1. American political parties must look beyond politics and see the crisis for what it is. David Frum put it in The Atlantic, Biden “overestimated the time available to keep aid flowing to Ukraine because he underestimated the servility of House Republicans to Trump’s anti-Ukraine animus.” Frum explained: “[T]he background political reality is that Donald Trump is an enemy of Ukraine and an admirer of the Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. As Trump has neared renomination, his party—especially in the House of Representatives—has surrendered to his pro-Putin pressure.”  Back in early November, then a brand new House speaker, Mike Johnson (R-LA) told Senate Republicans that he supported aid to Ukraine but would not deliver it without money for security on the southern border of the US. Such a measure was crucial to US security, he and other Republicans insisted, and they hyped the dangers of current immigration policy. A bipartisan group of Senate negotiators went to work to hammer out such a measure, but once it got close to completion, Trump stepped in to stop the deal, intending to run on fears of immigration in 2024. Republicans are falling into line behind Trump, putting the border deal, as well as more funding for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan, at risk.
  1. Canada needs to update its defence policy, and as part of that, increase its NATO commitment to the target of 2%. As part of that, we need to rebuild our defence industrial base (such as our munitions industry). In the meantime it needs to deliver on its promise of a $400-million air detect system to Ukraine (which hasn’t yet been delivered). We also need to develop an actionable plan to defend our North. We need to invest in a  northern military and naval presence.
  1. Encourage and support the Ukrainians on developing their own unique tactics and skills to present to Russia on the battlefield, be they communications, weapons or tactics.For example, a key part of the Ukrainian strategy this year is to develop their own weapons capable of hitting long-range targets critical to the Russian war effort, including oil and gas facilities inside of Russia. The drone that the military says sank the large Russian ship off the coast of Crimea is produced domestically.
  1. Continue to support the Ukrainian tactic of inflicting losses on the Russian Black Sea Fleet. On Feb 14 Ukraine said that its forces had sunk a large Russian ship off the coast of Crimea, a 360-foot-long landing ship Caesar Kunikov, possibly complicating Russia’s logistical efforts in southern Ukraine. Ukrainian officials said that it punched a hole on the port side of the ship, causing it to flood and sink. (Russia has lost more than a third of its fleet since the war began.)
  1. Undermine Russia’s oil revenues further by lowering the sanction price cap say to $50. While Russia’s oil and gas revenues have fallen steeply since the Ukraine war began, they still came to close to $100 billion last year – enough to finance the Kremlin’s war machine. Putin is financing his war with oil and gas revenues, so they need to be undermined.
  1. Restore US credibility as a Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) exporter by lifting the administration’s ‘pause’ on new L.N.G. permits and thereby give Europe and Japan confidence to stop importing Russian L.N.G.
  1. Enact sanctions on states Russia uses to circumvent oil revenue sources, along with black balling ship owners who are taking advantage of the system.
  1. New sources of enriched uranium need to be found to wrench that market away from Russia. Likewise as Russia dominates the global market for new nuclear reactors, alternatives must be found.
  1. Make the $300 plus billion in Russian central-bank reserves available to Ukraine. Bill Browder, investor and political activist, best known as the moving force behind the Magnitsky Acts, has said “The single most important thing we can do to hit back at Putin is to enact legislation to confiscate the $300 billion of frozen Russian bank reserves for the defense and reconstruction of Ukraine…Putin doesn’t care how many soldiers are killed, but he cares profoundly about his money. To top it off, all countries should call this new legislation the Navalny Act”. The idea hasbeen resisted by US government officials who fear that it exceeds what American law allows and would encourage a flight from dollar assets. But as the Harvard legal scholar Larry Tribe and a team of experts noted in a report for the Renew Democracy Initiative, seizing Russia’s assets is explicitly allowed as a “countermeasure,” an act designed to compel an aggressor to come into compliance with international law. As for the flight-from-the-dollar argument, it might otherwise be persuasive if the need to save Ukraine and punish Russia weren’t more urgent. 
  1. There is a need to end Russian political corruption, disinformation, propaganda within the countries of the free world. The free world needs to make a concerted, organized effort to strip out, expel and/or prosecute Russian intelligence officers and their assets; organized crime and corrupt business/political interests; and state-sponsored, ‘gray zone’ and social media assets sponsored or directed by Russia. It’s gone on far too long.
  1. Speed up the process for indicting Putin and in fact Russia’s entire chain of command for war crimes.  It appears certain that Putin and a selection of his generals will be indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for possible war crimes. Experts suggest that the complicated process has been made easier, given Putin regularly incriminates himself. Plus the evidence is clear: Russia has been bombarding some cities with shells, rockets (and apparently cluster munitions – which release small bomblets over a wide area, inflicting heavy civilian casualties)
  1. Stand up for dissidents and for the shared values they represent. The West needs to understand that the internal dissidents are the real friends of the free world. They also have to be seen as candidates for prisoner exchanges. Reuel Marc Gerecht, a former C.I.A. case officer and senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies was quoted in the New York Times, “The great Soviet dissidents taught us that they were fortified by Western attention to their plight. Today, we don’t know what Russian dissident, what Russian on the cusp of going ‘rogue,’ might galvanize Russians who loathe the regime.” 
  1. Develop a strategic plan to counter Russian influence in Africa. The Russians are attempting to strategically displace Western control of access to critical minerals (with uranium being a key one of them) and resources in a number of countries in Africa, with Europe being left exposed once again to what has often been called Russian “energy blackmail”.
  1. Suspend Russia from international competitions, in every sport. This is both for the doping scandals as well as the invasion of Ukraine. Putin views athletes as tools of the state whose main purpose is to win, bringing glory to their country. The West traditionally views athletes as individuals; we believe that sports and those who compete in them have value that goes beyond results.
  1. Remove Russia from the UN Security Council and other international bodies. Thiswould require an amendment of Article 23 of the UN Charter. Russia is one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (China, France, the UK, the US and Russia). All have the power of veto which enables any one of them to prevent the adoption of any “substantive” draft Council resolution, regardless of its level of international support

What will Russia look like in say, five years, if the forces of Europe and the US rally in the fashion I propose?

Putin will be deposed. A vast rebuilding of Ukraine will be undertaken. NATO military budgets and capabilities will stay vigilant and substantial. The world will relax just a bit with the reduced Russian misleading media, disinformation and distributed lies. Sports programs can proceed without Russian black clouds of deception. Countries on the borders of Russia will not live in fear. Particularly Ukraine, which found itself since the collapse of the Soviet Union, in 1991 increasingly, and dangerously, stranded: it was both on the border of a truncated Russian empire forging dreams of a comeback and outside the emerging Western post–Cold War order.

Diane Francis on her August 28 blog last year had her view: “If and when the West pulls out the stops to vanquish Russia, this mafia state will disintegrate quickly. New anti-corruption leaders will be released from gulags and organize political movements. The Federation’s ethnic minorities — in the Far East, Turkic republics, and the northeast — will form statelets and find partners. The Russian people will remain sheeplike. The military will disobey any attempt to seize the nukes as happened in 1991. And the rapacious elite and their mobsters will grab their foreign passports, board private jets, and disappear to wherever their ill-gotten gains have been stashed. This is what happened to Cuba after its revolution ousted a corrupt government run for decades by mobsters. This will be the destiny of Putin’s Russia.”

We shall see, but it’s tantalizing to forecast the scenario, as it can give some hope and meaning to the agonies that precede it.

Acknowledging four serious issues with my premise

There are four serious issues or vulnerabilities with respect to my premise that have to be acknowledged, before I move on and support my premise and recommended actions. 

The first vulnerability rests in the reality of Russia’s nuclear capabilities: how extensive they are, where they are located, and what is their future use in Russian hands. 

It’s also necessary to reflect on the nuclear capabilities around the world. Noam Chomsky (whatever you think of this “public intellectual’s” other writings) has made the case that the world is presently in the most dangerous state it has ever been in in its history. It’s because we are both vulnerable from a future climate change scenario and we are in a very dangerous situation regarding nuclear capability. He quotes the Doomsday Clock scenerio. In January 2023, the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved the hands forward of their famous Doomsday Clock, largely (though not exclusively) because of the mounting dangers of the war in Ukraine. Maintained since 1947, the clock is a metaphor for threats to humanity from unchecked scientific and technological advances.

The odds are diminishing that the United States and Russia will agree to a replacement for the New Start treaty once it expires in 2026. In the absence of an agreement, Russia’s ability to produce strategic nuclear weapons and deploy new systems would be unchecked, and the United States would lose important insights into Russia’s strategic nuclear arsenal. (Notably, China is also modernizing its nuclear arsenal. As a result, the United States will find itself dealing with two unconstrained nuclear powers, both focused on the United States as the primary threat.) 

Also Russia, as an enriched uranium supplier, can subject a number of countries to political pressure.Russia’s supplies almost half of the world’s enriched uranium and dominates the global market for new reactors. And most of Europe’s more than 100 reactors rely on Russian fuel. Rosatom, Russia’s state-owned nuclear-energy firm, is the world’s biggest exporter of reactors. Many of Rosatom’s customers have relied upon Russian loans for the construction of nuclear power stations. Russia has used its nuclear technology to wield political influence in many developing countries. Rosatom supplied the technology for 20 of the 53 reactors under construction in 2022. Many experts insist that there is no way to decarbonize global electricity grids without building more nuclear power stations. 

A paper published in Nature Energy last May by Kacper Szulecki and Indra Overland at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs notes that at least nine countries, including Bangladesh and Egypt, could be vulnerable to political pressure because they depend on Russian-built or -operated nuclear plants. Several other countries have high levels of nuclear co-operation with Russia. Turkey also depends on Russia for natural gas and assistance in building nuclear power plants. (I have written a blog on the world nuclear situation: Themes and Patterns Emerging From A Scan of History, Theme 1: The Nuclear Reality (June 23, 2023). See: )

The second vulnerability: is what to do with Russia’s prime source of income – the sale of oil and gas to the world. Western sanctions have curtailed sales but Russia still maintains huge revenue streams. For example, Prime Minister Modi of India has held a neutral stance on the Ukraine war, while purchasing an increased volume of oil supplies.

While Russia’s revenues from fossil fuel exports have declined significantly since their peak in March of 2022, many countries are still importing millions of dollars a day worth of fossil fuels from Russia. Revenue from fossil fuels exported to the EU has declined more than 90% from their peak, but in 2023 the bloc has still imported more than $18 billion of crude oil and natural gas. 

China continues to be Russia’s top buyer of fossil fuels, with imports reaching $30 billion in 2023 up until June 16, 2023. With nearly 80% of China’s fuel imports being crude oil, Russia’s average daily revenues from Chinese fossil fuel imports have declined from $210 million in 2022 to $178 million in 2023 largely due to the falling price of Russian crude oil.

After China and the EU bloc, India is the next-largest importer of Russian fossil fuels, having ramped up the amount of fossil fuels imported by more than ten times since before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, largely due to discounted Russian oil.

The third vulnerability: in strongly supporting Ukraine (along with all that’s going on in the Middle East, particularly regarding the Israel-Hamas conflict), some feel the US would be pinned down and not feel as nimble in pivoting resources to Asia, particularly if China becomes aggressive towards Taiwan. Professor John Mearsheimer, the American political scientist, has been quoted as saying that the Ukraine conflict ”is mana from heaven for China” as it has the potential of draining American and European resources. (He is also noted for saying that there is a moral argument for Ukraine wanting to continue the war and not negotiating a solution as wars involve the deaths of many on both sides – an absurd point that totally ignores the reality that it was Russia that started it unprovoked.) (I’ve quoted Mearsheimer in my first blog on Russia, March 31, 2022, when he famously said that trying to subdue Ukraine will be like “swallowing a porcupine”.)

The fourth vulnerability: the clear intention (and it would be clear) of crushing Russia’s war forces and economy to boot could provide Russia a rationale for their invasion and reinforce one of Putin’s many justifications for his “special military operation”. As well, the demonization and dismissal of most things Russian will likely galvanize Russians against the West. “See what I told you”, Putin would say.”The West is out to crush us, make us less of a nation.” It can be called the Stalingrad effect, i.e. the loss at Stalingrad in WWII was the first failure of the war to be publicly acknowledged by Hitler. It put Hitler and the Axis powers on the defensive, and boosted Russian confidence as it continued to do battle on the Eastern Front. Remember also Putin’s approval rating remains above 80%.

Historian Margaret MacMillan has her way of looking at the end game, when the war finally ends. In Foreign Affairs June 12, 2023 she says, “But the past also offers an even darker warning—this time, for the future…Yet if Russia is left in turmoil, bitter and isolated, with many of its leaders and people blaming others for its failures, as so many Germans did in those interwar decades, then the end of one war could simply lay the groundwork for another.” My answer to that is an aggressive one – crush this evil regime as Hitler and the Nazis were crushed in WWII, and rebuild from that. We have to get rid of centuries of trouble, and prevent centuries of future trouble.

I will stop the blog right here. Part 2 will back up the charge of Russia as a vile and evil state.

4 thoughts on “Russia, a Vile, Evil, and Disruptive State (Part 1)”

  1. Excellent Ken. I really appreciate being on your mailing list. You works are always very well researched and balanced.

    You might consider sending this to Biden as he prepares for his State of the Union address.

    Thank you for your insights..

  2. Ken–You make many good points about the vile Russian state but you dont put
    much emphasis on the very real prospect of nuclear war if we intervene and put
    Putins back to the wall.I thought that was our biggest concern.

  3. Ken, you present a clear and concise summary of the situation today in Ukraine in all its complexities. A frightening situation indeed and Canada needs to ante up defence spending quickly but the political reality with a Putin lover possibly in the White House is a grave threat indeed. Thanks, Ken. An excellent read.

  4. Ken,

    As always, a very convincing argument. I have a couple of comments:

    I am deeply ashamed of Canada’a limp role in NATO. After all, Canada invented NATO. The origin of NATO was in a paper delivered by one of our diplomats, Escott Reid, at the annual Couchiching Conference in 1947. Britain was keen on the idea, but we had a terrible time convincing the U.S. to join.

    The U.S. Republican Party has totally lost all sense of purpose, except to stay in power. Its leaders are spineless sycophants! It is “vile an evil” to stop money to Ukraine for purely political reasons, especially as most of the money for arms to Ukraine, as well as a lot from European countries, will go to American arms manufacturers.

    The Russian argument that Ukraine is really part of Russia is nonsense. All you have to know is what Stalin did to Ukraine. His deliberate starvation and murder of roughly five million Ukrainians in 1932-33, was caused by his export of Ukrainian grain to acquire hard currency. There was no lack of food in Ukraine in these years. Stalin just took that food away and let them starve. There is little love for Russia among most Ukrainians. Stalin was a monster and I’m close to believing that Putin is his reincarnation.

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