Sunday, October 11, 2015

Putin leaves the Donbas in Ruins

This is eastern Ukraine, the Donbas, after Putin.
 The ruined Donetsk airport.
"With much of its infrastructure destroyed or crippled, the vast majority of its industrial workplaces idle, many of its skilled workers and professionals internally displaced and in exile, and its banking and administrative systems in ruins, occupied Donbas is beset by a collapsing GDP, massive unemployment, high prices, and growing poverty. Around 50 percent of its residents are pensioners, a further number are unemployed — victims of the fact that as many as 70 percent of the occupied region’s factories and mines are not functioning." Adrian Karatnyckyand Alexander J. Motyl, "Putin changes the subject," Politico, 9 October 2015

Debaltseve, January 2015
So Putin's war in Ukraine has demolished much of Lugansk and Donetsk oblasts in eastern Ukraine, the industrial Donbas, and Stalinized and militarized Crimea in an illegal occupation.  He gave those Russian soldiers, bike gangs, special ops and mercenaries their game to play, because that's all they can do and that's all they want to do.  

Who wants to govern a wasteland with no infrastructure and a destroyed economy, inhabited by mostly pensioners and the unemployed.  

Some of Putin's soldiers--and make no mistake, Putin is the conductor of this military orchestra--are getting bored with the lack of action in Ukraine these days and are moving on to fight in Syria. Not to worry. Putin will create another war zone for them, the consequences be damned.   

Putin has moved on to Syria to support the murderous Assad with awesome airpower and naval power, including those cruise missiles that can travel 1,000 miles from the Caspian sea to targets in Syria.  I'm still amazed at that, although it doesn't always go as planned.  Think of those poor terrorist cows in northern Iran that got hit with a missile that fell short of its target. 

Jud's Sunflower, weeping.
I also remember and will never forget the Russian BUK missile that took down MH-17 in a wargame over the sunflower fields of Ukraine, for which Putin is ultimately responsible. 

Putin has blood on his hands. He is an expert at subterfuge and dissembling. He is a master at creating wastelands. 

Some folks see this as strength, as "leadership." Violence trumps peace.  The planet is an armed camp for guns and weapons of mass destruction.  

Others, myself among them, see it as weakness and lack of the commitment and brilliance required to seek diplomatic solutions. What has war ever accomplished? Shouldn't we do everything in our power to safeguard our planet, our "Common Home," as Pope Francis calls it. 

And yet there is something about human nature that guarantees war and violence will always be with us. Yes, evil exists, and all we can do is fight it. 

My brother Loren believed, and I agree with him, that as long as patriarchy and patriarchal values rule the world, this will be so.   

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