"Will Afghanistan Turn Out to be US Imperialism’s “Last Gleaming”?"
The Saker
Unz Review August 25, 2021)
https://www.unz.com/tsaker/will-afghanistan-turn-out-to-be-us-imperialisms-last-gleaming/


"Baby Refugee" at Kabul Airport Evacuation

In October of last year I wrote a column entitled “When Exactly Did The AngloZionist Empire Collapse” in which I presented my thesis that the Empire died on 8 January 2020 when the Iranians attacked US bases with missiles and the US did absolutely nothing. Yes, this was the correct decision, but also one which, at least to me, marked the death of the Empire as we knew it.

In that article I made reference to a brilliant book by J.M. Greer’s “Twilight’s Last Gleaming” which I later reviewed here. The main plot of the book is that the US will collapse following a completely unpredictable external military defeat (read the book, it is very well written!).

So my question today is whether the debacle in Afghanistan (not only Kabul!) is such an event or not. Afghanistan is often called the graveyard of empires, but might it even become the graveyard of the last empire?

I will try to answer it below.

First, we are now all bombarded by information from, and about, Afghanistan. Issues like the failure of “country building” are mixed in with bodies falling off US transporters, US Marines sharing one (!) bottle of water with severely dehydrated kids with street whippings. None of that is analytically helpful and it conflates completely different issues. I want to offer a different set of questions which, I hope, might be more helpful:

These are just a few questions, there are many others, especially about what will happen to Afghanistan next, but that is one I think is too early to tackle and an entirely separate issue anyway.

Let’s take these questions one by one next.

Why has the US decided to leave Afghanistan?

I don’t know why or how this decision was taken. But my best guess is that it is due to combination of the following factors:

Was the decision to leave correct?

Here, I will catch a lot of flak, but I believe that yes, it absolutely was. In his (actually very bad) speech about the withdrawal, Biden said one very true thing (quoting by memory, so don’t quote this) “those who say that 2 or 5 more years will bring us victory are lying to you” (or something pretty close). Here I agree with him 100% (as far as I can tell, only a real, hardcore Neocon ideologue would openly disagree with this; at least I hope so…).

Not only does the US (or any other country) not have any kind of mandate or responsibility to police the planet, the US is certainly the least competent imperial power ever, in spite of a lot of help from the Five Eyes and its EU lackeys. If you are bad at something, but very good at something else, why persist? The US is a true virtuoso in things like bribing, subverting, economically hurting, politically demonizing, killing undesirable leaders, etc… That is really how the Europeans eventually defeated the North American Native Indians.

The US was founded by and for thugs. Calling them explorers, immigrants, robber-barons or founding fathers makes no difference to their true worldview, their ethos – the seizure of the North American continent was an act of international thuggery on every level. That is, of course, NOT to say good people did not exist then or did not live righteously or, even less so, that anybody in the modern USA has any kind of personal guilt over any of this. Only God can judge them! But unless we forget the true roots of the “American Dream”, we will end up with a “US Nightmare”.

Of course, some US immigrants at the same time did try to create a truly free society, protected from the kind of vicious abuses so prevalent in the Old World! The Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights (aka the “the Charters of Freedom”) are a monument to both the genius and the worldview of some of the founders of the United States. But good intentions and proclamations are only credible when everybody upholds them for everybody and in each case (not the kind “but this is different, we are democracies after all!” western politicians repeat every time they are accused of hypocrisy)

In the USA, generation after generation of the thugs strengthened their grip power while pushing decent people out of the way (even more so after JFK and 9/11 and other recent events). But that was just a show, a mob “going legal” if you wish.

Thugs have guns, of course, and they can beat the crap out of any civilian. But they can’t fight a military. That is why thugs have gangs, not battalion tactical groups in the first place. Furthermore, as soon as they grow in size, the gangs of thugs try to look more respectable (by purchasing PR campaigns about their “philanthropy” is typical) and less violent. Pretty soon they outsource the violence to others, expandable, lower, gangs.

Sound familiar?

If it does – it’s because it is!

All the US “country-building exercises”, “humanitarian interventions” and other “freedom of something [fill the blank here] defense” truly are: the acts of an international conspiracy of thugs to seize the resources of our entire planet or, failing that, at the very least, destroying any country, nation, tribe or leader that would dare disobey the World Hegemon. (“We will destroy your country and bring it back to the stone age” is how Secretary Baker famously put it to Foreign Minister Aziz)

This entire invasion of Afghanistan has been one colossal drain on US ressources, including human, intellectual, diplomatic and, definitely not least, financial ones (while the US taxpayers’ money flowed into Afghanistan. That money then always magically “disappeared”, for one reason or another, but some few locals got very rich. Go figure….). So, while I don’t have any pollyannaish illusions about how peace and freedom-loving the leaders of the USA really are, I think that they had enough streetsmarts (or cleverness? guile?) to figure out that getting out was necessary. Blaming any possible problems on Trump was, of course, the magic wand which, apparently, settled any discussions. (I am still assuming that at least some professional discussions took place; more accurately, I hope that they still do, and with at least some real specialists included; please don’t tell me all the real professionals have been “diversified-out” or otherwise “canceled”; that is a truly scary thought!).

Why did Kabul fall so fast?

First, what did the US actually do in Kabul? Paid some folks, trained others, gave them tons of weapons, etc. That is the usual stuff US Special Forces and a few others do a lot. While some politicians (in that category I include all officers above colonel rank) clearly saw Afghanistan as their next El Dorado, honest, if naive, servicemen probably believed that this kind of “assistance” will somehow give birth to a peaceful, happy, democratic (read “woke”), prosperous and grateful nation. Of course, it never does. As for the actual ratio of greedy “dogs of war”, assorted “intelligence operatives” or “sincere idealists” in Afghanistan, it has absolutely no military relevance to the outcome as these motives are all equally misguided, even if some are at least more naive/sincere/stupid than truly evil.

Remember the Georgian attack on Tskhinval in 08.08.08? Remember that kind of truly galactic nonsense “Analysis: Georgian Army May Be Tough Nut for Russia to Crack” posted by no less than Deutsche Welle (you know, “made for minds”!)? If not, please do read it; it will make you laugh to tears and wonder what “area specialist” wrote this “analysis” (a rebranded wet dream, really, yet somebody got paid, probably well, to do just that)! Truth is that this five-day war really lasted only three days. The Russians had plenty of problems, yet they obliterated the entire Georgian military in 3 days of actual combat. Three! This is all which the concept what “US/NATO-trained” means: a total, and always ineffective, scam.

That mentality, typical of the modern West, apparently believes that that kind of “assistance/training” can yield good results. The entire history of Latin America and all the US failures in Asia irrefutably prove the opposite, but nevermind that. An even worse mistake made by western decision-makers is that their opponents are basically and fundamentally “like all humans”, or “like everybody else”. The issue here is that these elites consider themselves as SO much superior to everybody else (narcissism is at the core of both British imperialism and Judaic exceptionalism; think Churchill or Epstein here and their real bosses!) that they only refer to those as corruptible, hypocritical, cowardly and terminally unprincipled like themselves. It’s a pure projection, of course.

In reality, US decision makers are utterly clueless about the supposed “others” who are “like everybody else” when they inadvertently tangle with any “true believers” of any kind, from saints to demons. Examples include:

In theory, of course, the US has always known that; hence, the British expression about “winning the hearts and minds”. But here is the difference: the Brits were always excellent (I did not say “ethical or kind”) diplomats, and superb intelligence officers (same caveat as before). Finally, you can call the Brits many things, but not “poor soldiers” either. In other words, the British Empire had the means of its foreign policies.

The US does not. No?

Then please tell me when was the last time that the US truly inspired somebody? West Europeans after WWII, and that was nothing but a more or less “friendly” takeover of the continent and the creation of a servile comprador ruling elite).

NASA, Jazz, Rock, Hollywood, US writers, artists and simply kind and sincere US Americans did truly inspire millions worldwide. And the official values of the USA, the Charters of Freedom, truly did inspire millions worldwide. But I have to say that after decades of abominably incompetent Presidents (all after Bush Sr. imho) there is very little left from all this.

NASA? It turned into the current “private space” farce cum embezzlements of billions by smug billionaires getting billions from the state in a supposedly “private” venture.

Jazz and Rock have been effectively replaced by MTV and YT and their insipid woke-ideology (especially for the young – old guys like myself are mostly and happily “stuck” in the 70s and 80s or foreign, non-corporate music).

Hollywood? Peuh-leeeze! Anybody not blind (or brainwashed) already knows that this is just a crude propaganda machine which will put blacks (aka “minorities”) everywhere and anywhere. I think of it as the “Snow Black” mental disorder.

Writers? Okay, yes, there are still a lot of those around in the USA. This has probably something to do with the fact that the target audience of writers is composed of readers, not unblinking screen-gazers [emphasis added]. But the problem here is most people read very little, and what they read is mostly worthless intellectual prolefeed anyway.

And in much of the rest of the planet, people are often too poor to read, in English or otherwise. So what I am saying is that while US writers may be very talented, they are either uncontroversial (authors like Stephen King or John Grisham) or they will only appeal to a rather small elite of, shall we say, “daring” people (authors like Stephen Cohen or Charles Murray). Thought-criminals, in Orwell’s brilliant lexicon.

Which leaves “sincere US Americans”. Do they exist? Absolutely, in the millions, all over the USA and all over the planet. The latter often go completely native and are loved by the locals. Also, millions of expats come home and see their own country in a totally different way.

But the problem is very simple: the US elites are doing a rather effective job silencing people, including US nationals. So what most people in Zone B experience is often very kind, friendly and otherwise great personal relations and even friendships with US Americans, but a belief that these wonderful US Americans either can’t do anything about it, or don’t really know what their leaders are really doing.

It is extremely difficult for any “not in my name” type of voices to be heard when the trans-national US propaganda machine is investing billions into silencing these voices!

Did the voices of Smedley Butler or Stephen Cohen make *any* difference to the US ruling classes other than convincing them to spend even more on imperialistic and messianc (the former always implies the latter) propaganda? This is why I have always maintained that the anti-imperialist struggle is not “just” a national liberation struggle for oppressed nations, but it is also a national liberation struggle for all the peoples (plural) of the USA.

And we all know that most of the people of the USA never had much say into what their so-called “leaders” did, no more than any other Middle-Ages’ serf. Every time they get to vote they get the opposite. I will leave it at that.

Now, coming back to our topic, in 2021 the US truly inspires nobody. Absolutely nobody. That is a sad, but undeniable fact. And that is the main reason why Kabul fell so fast: the “defenses” of Kabul were like the fists of a man with advanced osteoporosis – they lacked a crucial element: faith. No matter how good, effective or otherwise powerful those “fists” really were, or thought/pretended to be, it made no difference: one crucial element was missing and that decided it all.

Any force not moved by true/sincere faith always will end up having a “Saigon embassy” or “Berezina” or “Stalingrad” or “Kursk” moment. The preferred term or historical reference doesn’t really matter here.

As for the US armed forces, most of the (reading) public already knows the truth about why people sign up for the military: some truly go waving the flag and holding their breast, especially after the 9/11 false flag, but most simply want to survive. Yes, and while PMCs are typically motivated by pure greed, the regular US soldier only wants to survive at home and get a job (the other options are becoming a cop (less now!) prison guard or a criminal) or in the frontline trenches. And, as we all know, survival instincts go a long way and make it possible for people to do that which they thought was impossible. But there is a much stronger instinct out there, also forged over time by about 1000 of existential warfare: the spirit of self-sacrifice will always defeat any survival instinct, be it inside a warrior’s heart or on the battlefield.

So, short answer: Kabul fell because belief always defeats unbelief.

Next, my tiny bit longer answer: Kabul fell because the Empire’s “fists” have crumbled.

Finally, my longer answer will be in the form of a freely translated Russian joke I recently heard (can anybody guess the context? begins with “C”): “People who learn from the mistakes of other are called “smart”; people who only learn by their own mistakes are called “dumb”; and people who do not learn from their own mistakes are called “(US) Americans”.

We can now look at the last two, comparatively simpler questions, together: Why did such a truly colossal failure in intelligence happen and how was the operation executed?

The failure in intelligence is due to the fact that political conformity is now vital for the bloated US “intelligence community”. I can see that dialog happening everywhere inside and around the beltway:

What the actual order was matters little. Demonizing the opposition is much more important. Hiring unskilled people solely for their ideological purity is also a top priority. Who cares about abilities, which we all know are “equal”, whatever that means, even down to the individual level? Procrustes in his most insane dreams could not have dreamt-up the woke-freaks and their CRT!

That is the kind of paranoia-induced witch-hunts which all actively collapsing regimes undergo. The current collective US insanity is very reminiscent of what, first, Trotskiysts and, later, Stalinists did to the Soviet Union or the Red Guards to China.

It is also true that the US intelligence community was inevitably infected with “Patton’s logic”, and is run by politicians with zero true patriotism.

Take away a country’s intelligence community and you just shot its brains out.

Take away a country’s armed forces, and you just cut off its arms.

And there you have it: the “evacuation” of Kabul/Afghanistan is the only kind of “evacuation” you can expect from a former superpower which has lost both its brains and fists.

By the way, there are strong signs that the US has also lost its “legs”, hence the chaos and the need to suddenly resort to the use of civilian airlines. To clarify – there is nothing wrong with civil augmentation of military assets at all, quite to the contrary! The key word here is “suddenly”, not “civilian”. One of two options is true:

In theory, there is a third option: “this is the plan”, but theoretical options are only relevant when they are backed with at least some empirical evidence which in this case it is not. Also, some vaguely stated intention, however sincere, also does not qualify as “plan”. For comparison’s sake, it took the Soviets about 18 months (!) to prepare their withdrawal from Afghanistan. The difference in outcomes is now self-evident.

That is not to say that the Empire will necessarily totally lose all influence in Afghanistan, or anywhere else for that matter. Wrecking a place requires very little skills. Actually, re-building anything typically requires a lot of skills.

As Che Guevara once pointed out, “the true revolutionary is guided by strong feelings of love”. Alas, the word “revolutionary” has been terminally stained with blood; as for “love” and “truth”, they have long lost their true meanings ago (at least in the West). But let me rephrase that this way: “true change requires true, loving, faith”. Better?

The ugly truth is that as long as the United States and Europe are ruled by the current international gang of thugs, the Empire will retain a very significant capability to threaten and attack almost everybody else. And if you count their nukes, they can murder us all.

So yes, the Empire did die on January 8th 2020, and the US died almost an exact year later, on January 6th 2021. But there is plenty of momentum left in both of these two cadavers to keep deep nails inserted into the flesh of most nations out there. However, Not Russia. Not China, and not Iran. Not anymore. The US is also losing control of Central Asia and the Middle-East. That possibility is now even discussed with great concern in Israel and the CENTCOM-occupied countries of the Persian Gulf and Arabian Peninsula.

Now is the time for the US military to get its act together and seriously and carefully prepare more evacuation plans for the entire Middle-East, if not these “evacuation plans” will quickly turn into “extraction plans”, followed by more rooftop/runway nonsense the US is famous for. Does anybody still remember how the US forces left from, say, Somalia, or, maybe, Lebanon? These “evacuations” turned into a panicked “run for your dear life operations”.

Will somebody replace the USA? Please?!

It appears that just like “Biden” farmed-out the Ukraine to the Germans, “he” is now farming-out Afghanistan to the Brits. If so, this is a rather clever intention (the devil will be in the details, in this case, in the planning and execution.) Keep in mind that the Talibans do not control large parts of Afghanistan and that the traditional opposition to the Taliban rule in northern Afghanistan (Panjshir Valley) very much exists and is combat-capable (at least by local standards). As for the son of Ahmad Shah Masoud, just like his father, seems to have strong ties to Britain. Ahmad Masoud Jr. looks very much like his father and has some of his charisma. Does that not all sound familiar too?

In the meantime, a motley pack of rabid EU politicians with imperial phantom pains are also making some noises but can do nothing at all. Putin once referred to these noises as “oinking backing vocals”!

As for the AngloZionist legacy press, it is mostly wailing in despair and horror just at the mention of the possibility that Russia and/or China might actually have some influence, however tiny, in Afghanistan. (Remember “these ragheads/russkuies/goooks/niggers/sand-niggers/injuns/etc. live on OUR land and OUR resources!”). This is what Manifest Destiny really is. Or Germany’s “civilizational mission in the East” was. Or the “White Man’s burden”, or the French Mason’s “Universal Values” etc.. Ditto for the Papacy’s splitting of the planet in its now long forgotten (but not by its victims!) 1494 Treaty of Tordesillas) into separate control/exploitation/pillaging sectors, ad majorem Dei gloriam, of course. Modern ecologists, woke activists and militant homosexuals all very much share in that mindset.

The sad but undeniable truth is that the true roots of modern Europe are not in Rome, even less so Athens, but in the Latin Crusades and the subsequent Middle-Ages. The Reform and Renaissance changed nothing, or even made things worse. Neither did 1789 or WWII. The spiritual and philosophical roots of the West are neither Roman, nor Greek, but found amongst those who destroyed Rome and severed it off from the truly civilized world, not only in the Christian East, but worldwide: the Franks.

Imperialism originates in our heads, it is a worldview, a mindset, and that is where it must be eradicated for it to finally vanish.

The mind is where imperialism begins but also where it will end, just like any other human phenomenon. And while I do fear the inevitable chaos before some “future West” or “future Europe” can replace the current ones, I also do believe that, when shown the true cost of their mistakes, all nations will reject imperialism in all its forms.

By creating an instrument of total control (the Internet) the Empire also created the first global resistance to empire community in world history! Not only that, but the US ruling classes turned US schools and admired US academia into both an imbecile/serfs-producing machine and the laughingstock of much of the planet (even in Zone A!). But what the US ruling elites failed to do is to prevent regular, mainstream, US Americans from wanting to know, to learn, to explore and, eventually, to fight for justice. True, as political indoctrination goes, Uncle Shmuel can run circles around the Nazis or the Soviets, but no Uncle Shmuel will ever “fix” our fallen nature or the universe, so our resistance runs deep, even the US and Israel. Yes, it is mostly silenced, but in the depths, it is very much still there.

I don’t believe in any Grand Replacement plans, at least not one focused on “race”. But I do believe in a cultural/civilizational “grand replacement”, which I see as inevitable and already well under way, even in the USA and the EU!

Of course, I don’t know what the future collective West will be like, assuming there ever is one again. But I am confident that the type of imperialism which has its roots in the medieval Papacy (which even Hitler admitted with some admiration) is coming to an end.

Think of it: dreams about becoming the “next Mongol empire” must have been sexy. Or being the next East Roman (aka “Byzantine Empire”) too. And to my infinite regret, sadness and pain, (and location of my own place of birth) most of the rulers of imperial Russia fell for such temptations. And this is also the true, core, reason why the Russian monarch fell in February of 1917.

As for what actually followed this supposed “wonderful” and even supposedly “bloodless” revolution was the worst centuries of mass murder and atrocities in human history. Bravo and thank you, Kerensky (and his western masonic “sponsors”!). The Ukies did not invent their ridiculous “Maidan”! Kerensky and his supporters did. (Gene Sharp – you can see his pietistic quasi-hagiography here (Wikipedia on politics, as usual) – only systematized the study of this field). Thinking Russians can add up and realize that imperialism in any and all its forms, even call it “Capitalism with a human face” if you prefer, is a mortal danger to humanity itself.

In the Soviet times, Russians were promised “Communism” (aka the end of history and heaven on earth, “just” without God); then they were promised “democracy”. Had Russia better elites, all these delusions would not have been replaced with total horror. (Think of the monolog about true horror by Colonel Walter E. Kurtz in the brilliant allegorical movie Apocalypse Now!). The immense costs of WWII for both China and Russia truly brought the reality of imperialism to the Russians and the Chinese people, and they want none of it again. No matter how “pious” the latest pretext may be.

In other words, an overwhelming majority of Russians reject not just the execution but the very principle of imperialism (or the optional use of military force), even if Russia wins! The fact that other nations, experts, pundits either fail to realize this, or try hard to ignore this, has no bearing on that reality (at least amongst Zone B types in Russia, about 95% or more of the total). The “real reality” in 2021 is that actual imperialist delusions in Russia are only held by a small, aging and quickly shrinking group of ignoramuses and/or nutcases. This is not because Russians are somehow “better” than US Americans, Brits, Spaniards or any other imperialists. The difference is that Russians now know, personally, the true costs of Empire.

Awareness of the true costs of empire is a formidable empire-killer (as seen recently in Afghanistan between the clueless GIs and the Afghan warlords). This is why the Empire will do everything it can to deny, obfuscate or otherwise conceal these costs!

Furthermore, once the costs of empire become known by a critical mass of sincerely patriotic people (whatever the country or their political system), the core ideology needed by the empire to justify itself and simply operate becomes gravely endangered.

How bad does it get?

I have an example:

The Soviet “defeat” in Afghanistan: the USSR was never militarily or even economically defeated. Not in Afghanistan. Not by Reagan and his “freedom fighters” (currently declared “evil terrorists”, as opposed to the “good ones” from the Axis of Kindness). Not by SDI. The famous “we won” of the US CIA really should have been “they lost”. Big, big difference.

The USSR was defeated by the CPSU Party Nomenklatura who basically destroyed an entire country to rule over its many leftover chunks, almost none of which actually managed to become a viable state. Put it simply: the Soviet regime died because of its own lies, hypocrisy, inhumanity and, frankly, frequent sheer stupidity. Initially, many soldiers sincerely believed in their alleged “internationalist duty” to “fight US imperialism in Afghanistan” which was quite real. Some were not even informed that they were being sent abroad (the abbreviation “TurkVO2” was used. It meant “the “second” Turkestan military district suggesting a domestic extension/creation of a second TMD. Not a foreign military operation.

Eventually, over time, the painful truth began seeping into the Russian mind. That is how and why the Soviet forces had to be withdrawn. Not because of any particularly intrepid and CIA-run “freedom fighters” or the Stingers (devastating initially, but effective countermeasures were quickly developed and successfully practiced). Again, the US won nothing, the Soviets are the one who lost – they did it to themselves, really!

Again, does it sound familiar? It’s because it is! It just happened with the “Afghan democratic government”, as it will eventually happen to the “Ukrainian democratic government”.

To be unambiguously clear: I think that the Soviet decision to enter Afghanistan was both deeply misguided and inherently immoral (my personal interactions with Soviet officers and participating in a very interesting discussion between a representative of the Northern Alliance and Russian exiles, convinced me of that). The figure of dead, wounded, oppressed or exiled “civilians” is terrible. But the following facts are also undeniable:

Compared to what the US brought to Afghanistan, the Soviets look like both true warriors and true humanitarians. And, remember, we are talking mostly about conscripts here, many poorly trained, poorly supported and even poorly commanded. Yet they did so much better than the supposed “pros” of the “greatest military in history”.

As for what the Russians can do now, they should remember that Afghans will remember both the bad and the good (there is a large Afghan community in Russia) and they can promise to themselves that in the future all Russians will treat all the people of Afghanistan with true, informed respect and extend a sincere hand of friendship. Whether, or which, Afghans will accept that extended hand is their decision to make, nobody else’s (not even Kamala Harris!)

So all that nonsense peddled by Zbigniew Brzezinski (“Russia needs the Ukraine to be a superpower!”) and Hillary Clinton (“Putin wants to rebuild the USSR”) is solely and only an expression of the true phobia which the Western elites, especially in northern Europe, feel towards Putin, Russia, Russians and anything Russian. Makes perfect sense that the European invaders never succeeded in controlling Russia, imperial, Soviet, even “democratic” and least of all, modern Russia.

As for the putatively invincible and “superior” western militaries (Sandhust! West Point! Saint-Cyr!), they completely lack the kind of experience Russians have learned for about 1000 years now: ten centuries of warfare, with no geographical boundaries, with expanses more reminiscent of the high seas than central Europe, and with no hope of mercy from their foes (most Russian attackers were hell-bent on exterminate the Russian nation, or culture or religion, mostly all three at the same time). Western ruling classes are terrified of the fact that they cannot defeat Russia militarily, so they pretend the “real Russia” doesn’t even exist.

Instead, there is a “resurgent” Russian-Soviet “Mordor” filled with noble and “diversity” loving “dissidents” who are slowly dying in “Putin’s Gulag!”, the Russian economy is ‘“in shambles” and Russia is just “a gas station masquerading as a country”. These Russkies can’t build shit and they drink vodka all day. Russians might even be an inferior race, since they are so evil and stupid! Most importantly, unless they are “contained” and “deterred” by the West (what a joke!), these Russians hell-bent on war and will invade us and the rest of the “civilized world.”

This type of delusional coping mechanism is well known to modern psychology and is really quite common. It is really just a stage of grief, not an analysis of anything real.

The truth is that even the popular Putin had to work hard to defend his personal decision to engage a small, relatively weak military task force into Syria. Even a loyal Putinist like myself initially feared that this might be a huge mistake. It was not, and Putin and his generals were even smarter than I thought at the time (the entire operation is a masterpiece for future military textbooks!).

Had that operation failed, and it was both daring and very risky (in the early phases especially), there would have been hell to pay for Putin, Shoigu and all those who put their moral weight behind it. If somebody in the Kremlin ever thinks again of invading another country, he/she would be reprimanded and demoted, possibly fired or, failing that, “retired up”.

Of course, there are plenty of Russians condemning Putin for not moving forces into the Donbass (besides a few special forces, artillery spotters, forward air controllers and one very effective artillery strike across the border), but these people would have unanimously considered such a Russian military intervention, had it happened, as self-evidently purely defensive strategically (but not operationally or tactically, of course).

Frankly, the Balts and Poles look ridiculous in their narcissistic paranoia. On Russian TV, the western propaganda is immediately translated and aired, to the greatest laughter of the audience! As for the Ukronazis, they only inspire disgust and a firm determination to never allow another attack on Russia coming from the West, or elsewhere for that matter.

But there is no desire for war with any of these guys, even for a war Russia would win in a week or two. In fact, in its current shape, the Ukraine is potentially a deadly toxin for Russia, especially if the Russians ever put their guard down. The very last thing modern Russia needs is to get poisoned/infected by the many Ukrainian toxins...

Conclusions:

Will that ever happen? Will Zone B nations be strong, wise and determined enough to create new international institutions? I don’t know.

But if it does not, then our planet is indeed lost until the Second Coming.

. . .