A retrospective for the Hell of it.
It’s been one year since Russian ‘troops’ rolled into Ukraine as a mighty force to crush the ragtag defenses of its neighbor on the flights of demented fancy conjured by its omnipotent ruler and despot Vladmir Putin. The claims out of the big bad Ruskies were that this baby was going to be short and painful for the “enemy” and quick and glorious for the home team. Showing might and righting historic wrongs, it was going to bring former glory back to the mother country, return land once heralded as part of a great and long-remembered empire, and show the world the invincible power of Putin and his charges that had only been a suggested concept by a blustery middle-aged mental midget.
How’s that going?
Well, for one thing, this is now a year old. The shock and awe bullshit that we bought when the Iraq War, going into its 20th year now, was sold by our government, was duly pitched to the Russian people and its blatantly overrated military. The geniuses in the George W. Bush Administration said we would be welcomed as liberators and it will all be clean as the proverbial whistle and done in a few arduous months. This obviously did not occur. Remember “Mission Accomplished?” That disaster was so far-reaching it not only elected America’s first Black president, it went on so long another Republican one used it to mock Bush and completely transform the party from international police force mongers to its current home of bleating isolationists. That is some rancid journey.
War is the great reality check – for everyone. It teaches us the valuable lesson uttered time and again by that beautiful brute, Mike Tyson, who said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” That reality check goes both way, kiddos. Ukraine did not roll over as Putin, and – let’s face it – the world expected. It fought. And won. And continues to fight and win and endure in the face of this aimless blunder.
If history teaches us one thing, it is that invasion, a favorite of humans everywhere since the dawn of civilization – I’m reminded of the brilliant opening “Dawn of Man” scene in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 – a Space Odyssey, with the monkey men and the watering hole, the bone, and the smashing of a skull for dominance – needs to be over in a few days, weeks, or maybe a month or two. Once things get into the six-month-to-one-year-anniversaries, it tells you things went horribly wrong. Say what you want about these lunatics, but Julius Caesar, Genghis Kahn, Alexander the Great, Napoleon, even Hitler had it down. Putin? Not so much. This was a grand fuck-up on the world stage and he is eating it right now.
What about the Russian citizens? These poor people and their descendants have endured the hardships of war for centuries and are once again paying a terrible price for the musings of a madman. International sanctions have crippled the country. You could make the case that the war might be the only thing propping it up. The casualties have mounted far beyond the accepted rate by any society without the obligatory blowback, and the riots in the streets and the abandonment of duties by hundreds of enlightened Russian soldiers on the battlefield have underlined this.
There is very little that has happened since the tanks cruised across the border that did not go sideways for Putin and it will continue to go sideways now that even more countries are backing Ukraine. More weapons are pouring in from the United States and elsewhere daily. They gain and lose ground in a weird two-step that costs them lives and treasure for no payoff. How is this supposed to end, if not badly?
Of course, we are no strangers to quagmires: Korea, Viet Nam, Afghanistan (also a fine Soviet screw-up), and the aforementioned Iraq. Shit, I was dubious a year ago when I wondered what might be the endgame had this ended well for Putin in a week, as he surmised. Governing a people who do not want to be governed is bad mojo. Terrorist plots, assassinations, insurrection; ask the British how the whole colonization of Ireland went? For that matter, their 18th century shenanigans around here.
Enough about history, the doomed-to-repeat-it bromide is already in effect. It has not dawned yet, if at all, on Putin that he royally screwed up and he should cut his losses. He was offering his people the kind of rose-colored gas-bag routine this week that sinks republics. Cutting losses for people with penises is not an option. Doubling-down on bad ideas is how men roll – especially powerful men with daddy issues who use the nations they lead as a half-assed form of therapy to prove in some violent way that their penis is bigger than the next guy’s.
It all comes down to this, and for Putin, I assume he will have to be assassinated. That is the best bet, because then the next guy can just say it was his fault and save face. Blaming things on the last guy is also a big favorite among the penis-set. Although, there are plenty of us walking around with vaginas who are also dipshits. Not sure if that is so much male versus female malady… looks like simply being a bipedal mammal is the cause.
At the very least this ugly year of the latest in a long line of pointless European conflicts has helped us better understand history and psychology. Of course, it has come at a cost. It has been an unmitigated horror show for Ukraine and its battered but unbowed people, who bravely fight on despite what was supposed to be an overwhelming beat-down. As a small guy with a modest penis who had to deal with his share of bullies from childhood to yesterday, I am inspired and buoyed by all this. I am proud we are backing the right horse and that not one American has had to die for it, unlike previous embarrassing military clusterfucks. We spend enough tax money on our obsession with weapons, why not use them to take down the odd tyrant?
Nevertheless, onward we go. More misery and stupidity.
I’ll have more to say on this at the two-year anniversary.
See ya there.