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I’d like to think…

… that Governor Greg Abbott and other members of his party will be ready to talk about gun violence now after the tragedy that just occurred in Uvalde, TX. I’d like to think that they have enough empathy to realize that it’s time to stop attacking their opponents and “start attacking the problem”, to paraphrase Stacey Abrams.

I’m hopeful.

I can’t offer thoughts and prayers because I prefer action. So I will commit to doing something positive to offset the evil that was released today. We can only imagine the horror and grief parents of Uvalde are experiencing tonight and our hearts go out to them.

A tale of two diplomats.

Let’s recap the current situation in Ukraine:

Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, starting an unprovoked special military operation war, reduced Mariupol to rubble, occupied suburbs around Kyiv, slaughtered innocent civilians, committed rapes and other atrocities, is embargoing grain for critical areas of the Middle East and Africa, and generally destroying everything in its path. It’s also using its army as cannon fodder and has lost its naval flagship and hundreds of sailors that were aboard the Moskva when it was hit. Russia and putin are holding Europe hostage because many countries rely on Russian oil and gas and have taken in millions of Ukrainian refugees.

Meanwhile, while Russia is the biggest country on earth in terms of area, its GDP is less than Texas. Given that both Russia and Texas are ornery asshole states/geopolitical entities, I’m beginning to think there’s something about oil that turns people into arrogant, organized crime syndicates without consciences.

This week, the world’s political envoys and billionaires are attending Davos. Henry Kissinger, who I thought was dead, attended and someone(s), probably the billionaire and financiers who are seeing their wealth challenged, asked him for his august opinion on the delicate matter of Ukraine. Here’s what he had to say:

Before we discuss the second diplomat, I am reminded of something that I heard from Ian Bremmer(?) in the last week about Russia. I’m betting Bremmer is at Davos this week so keep an eye out for that. Anyway, Bremmer said something to the effect that it is way past time that we re-evaluate our post WWII geopolitical structure especially with respect to Russia. Russia isn’t the Soviet Union. It’s a big country and it has nukes but aside from the oil, it doesn’t have much going for it. It’s not the communist powerhouse that it once was and the rate at which former Soviet client states fled to NATO tells us everything we need to know about the likelihood that Russia will ever achieve that superpower status again. What makes it different than India or Pakistan?

What is Russia, exactly? The second diplomat tells us all we need to know. You’ve probably all heard by now about how Boris Bondarev, a nuclear non-proliferation expert assigned to the Russian consulate at UN headquarters in Geneva has resigned in a “leave no bridges unburnt” manner. This guy laid it all out. If you haven’t read his resignation letter, sit down and savor the sweet smell of reality:

The perpetrators of this war have only unlimited wealth and unlimited power in mind. They sound like psychopaths. They don’t care how many bodies from their own country they have to waste to maintain their stranglehold on the world. Does anyone truly think that if Ukraine gives in that the grain will start flowing and the Europeans will get a discount on Russian oil? F{#^ no. They’ll be in the same spot that we’re in. When ever the Saudis need a new super yacht, they find some excuse to yank our chain. That democracy thing keeps getting in the way of doing business with wealthy American autocrats. Let’s drive the price up whenever a Democrat is in office, make Americans hurt, and then sit back and watch voters take it out on Democrats at the polls. It works every time.

But wait, why can’t we just throw everything we’ve got at the Russians in Ukraine and bring this war to a swift conclusion? Let’s put aside the fact that Bondarev said yesterday that the powers that be aren’t bothered by the loss of life. They casually banter about dropping a nuke on some “village” in the US and after that, watch us soft, fat and cowardly Americans go running to our government begging for mercy. This was the last straw for Bondarev. The public and the government are whipping into a frenzy, convincing themselves that it is glorious to die for the motherland.

First, I’d like to think that we wouldn’t be that weak. I’d like to think that Americans would be properly horrified and angered and filled with righteous indignation and vengeance. Secondly, the only villages I know about in America are in New England and they tend to dress sensibly in LL Bean and attend their town halls faithfully. I’d be very sad to see them go but I think a much better target would be Austin, TX, which isn’t a village but certainly deserves it more. We’d have to secretly get as many blue voters out of the way first, of course. Oh, no Mr. Putin. Please don’t nuke any “villages” in Texas. ANYTHING but that.

But let’s be serious here. And to do that, I will have to call on another diplomat, Michael McFaul, former Ambassador to Russia and now at Stanford University. This is the best reason why we should have closer the skies back in March:

Russia is not a nation state in any conventional sense of the word. It is an autocratic kleptocracy. It’s the Russian mafia on steroids. It has no real interest in governing. It’s more like a feudal state with the oligarchs paying tribute to putin and putin acting like a king. It’s interested in taking for itself anything it wants from its own citizens and when that’s not enough, taking even more from other countries’ citizens. It leaves scorched earth and dead bodies in its wake.

What Kissinger is suggesting is appeasement but not in the WWII sense of the word. Russia doesn’t really want to go up against NATO. No, who Kissinger wants to appease are the financiers who are losing their shirts right now and just want to go back to making money. We let them get away with pressuring us to give in to them in the wake of the mess they made in 2008 and now they want Ukraine to stop whining about death, destruction and weapons and just get along with The Godfather’s that are raping their country.

We are at a crossroads here. We can bite the bullet, yank the billionaires to get back in formation and take a haircut, or we’ll ruin our own citizens futures to keep them happy. Let’s give the Ukrainians everything they want and need, or get NATO to close the skies. I’m tired of being terrorized.