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Is it a “proxy war”? No.

Disinformation flows so quickly out of Russia these days that it requires some therapeutic Imodium. The “proxy war” disinformation has been a constant *almost* since the beginning of the 2022 war of aggression of Russia against Ukraine. Let’s put it to rest.

The stated goal for Russia’s “Special Military Operation” (remember, no one in Russia is allowed to call it a “war”) was “denazification” of Ukraine. That would imply that the government of Ukraine was run by Nazis. There is no evidence of that. But it was a clever use of history on putin’s part because the Nazi’s destroyed Ukraine and parts of Russia in WWII. Russians hate Nazis. Well, who doesn’t, except some of Donald Trump’s followers who think fascist nationalism and Nazis are cool again.

(For more historical insight into how Russians have suffered under their own repressive regimes and how their army has behaved in other wars, see The Core of Putin’s Weakness in The Sipher Brief)

Sure, there are nationalists in Ukraine but they’re fewer in number than the number of nationalists in Republican areas of the US and I can say that with confidence because 1.) nationalist Democrats are virtually non-existent and 2.) Republicans have a traveling nationalist mouthpiece holding rallies on a regular basis and making nakedly nationalist speeches.

Ukraine doesn’t have a political leader in the opposition with the same nationalist pull like Trump. They have Zelenskyy who is a democratic Jewish president with strong EU sentiments. In other words, a typical liberal.

But let’s get back to Russia.

When Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, it and the world, with the notable exception of Ukraine, thought the “special military operation” (because no one in Russia can say war without getting a jail sentence) would be over in 96 hours. The goal was to Blitzkrieg the Donbas and Luhansk, and then speed to Kyiv to either capture or kill Zelenskyy. Reports from Ukraine in the early days were that Chechen assassins were repelled on a couple of occasions. Then the Russian convoy got stuck on the road before it got to Kyiv and decided to rape, pillage and destroy Bucha and Irpin instead.

If everything had gone according to putin’s plan to do a naked land grab in Ukraine during his brief window of opportunity while Europe was distracted by upcoming elections in Hungary and France where putin had already manipulated the public to go for more authoritarian, Russia friendly politicians, the “special military operation” would have been over by now and Ukraine would be Russia. Also, he counted on Europe’s dependency on Russian oil. We can talk about Germany’s catastrophic blunders when it comes to putting itself at putin’s mercy by closing down almost all of their 30 nuclear power plants in the last 30 years. There’s a lot about Germany’s aggressive business practices that we should talk about. But let’s save it for another time. Suffice it to say that putin had/has Germany by the balls.

Nevertheless, Europe was justifiably on alert and determined to fight back against a destructive putin. But now we see, the whole world sees, that putin’s bark is loud but his bite is much less threatening than previously thought.

Nobody counted on the Ukrainians to be so good at defending themselves. putin also underestimated Zelenskyy’s superpower. We don’t know how he transformed himself from a comedian to world leader (I think we have to acknowledge that he will never be the same and the world now sees him as an iconic leader). It’s a miracle for Ukraine that the right person was in office at the right time and he stepped up and exceeded every expectation. Let this be a lesson to testosterone fueled bullying strong men. The liberals might not be the pushovers you think they are. Zelenskyy has definitely given us our mojo back. Don’t test us.

When putin’s lazy, illprepared army was mowed down, defeated and retreated by Ukraine’s highly trained but underpowered defense force, and Zelenskyy rallied the world to help defend it, putin had to come up with a reason why he failed. That’s when the “proxy war” excuse got rolled out.

I don’t think NATO or the US would have gotten so involved if Ukraine hadn’t been willing and able to take putin on. But once the west saw what putin’s plans were and that it was necessary to assist Ukraine, it started pouring in weapons and imposed harsher sanctions. That’s causing hardship to some extent in Russia, although it has been able to manipulate the economic situation for the short term. It’s not going to last.

There’s a news blackout in Russia. If you don’t have VPN or a relative outside the country calling you to tell you what’s going on, then you don’t know how badly the “special military operation” is going. But with a “proxy war”, you can blame all of the escalation and hardship on the US and western Allie’s in NATO.

To recap: putin and the world had every expectation that Ukraine would fall in 4 days. The plan was to take over a limited area in Ukraine, cut the head off the government and install a Russian governor for Ukraine. Russia didn’t expect ANY push back from NATO because Ukraine was not a part of NATO. That’s why putin thought invading Ukraine would be consequence free for him. To make sure NATO didn’t get involved, putin threatened nuclear holocaust. Defanging NATO *almost* worked. Turns out that Ukraine was more ferocious than he thought and that Zelenskyy got the world on his side when he showed how crucial its position was globally. Now, putin has to blame his failures on the west because he miscalculated in a catastrophic way.

Russia has shown what it wanted to do. The world reacted accordingly. The “proxy war” is putin’s idea that he would like to foist on the world to cover up his failure. It’s his construct, not ours. He brought this on himself. The world is reacting in the only way possible.

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3 Responses

  1. I’ve got to say that I’m really disappointed in Yves and Lambertover at NC. I appreciate a desire to be skeptical of some of the coverage of the war, but they seem to have swallowed Russian talking points hook, line, and sinker. I am sure that Ukraine is not a perfect place, but:

    1) I know who was elected in a relatively free election (without poisoning or imprisoning his opponents) and who wasn’t,

    2) I know who has repeatedly invaded neighboring nations and who hasn’t, and

    3) I know whose tanks and troops are in whose country.

    • Yep, they lost me years ago.

      • Same here. Yves was great on the global financial crisis in 2008 but she went batsh*t crazy when Bernie lost the primary in 2016 and went full anti-anti Trump. It’s one thing to say, as she did, that too many Dems failed to stand up for their (former) blue collar base.

        But though she claims to stand for that base, she reserves her real animus for the Democratic party, not for the Republicans. She became a useful idiot of Putin and Trump.

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