I was working on a post about the 2022 Winter Olympics, complete with my latest diatribe on NBC's lousy coverage (which nobody seems to have watched anyway). I was also going to write a post about how College Football Playoff expansion is not happening anytime soon, and why that is not good for the sport. There are also other topics that I might normally be writing about right now, such as the postponement of the start of baseball season, or an interesting new airline service coming to Houston.
But after the events of the last week, I've lost interest in starting and/or completing those posts. They seem rather trivial.
Make no mistake: with his messianic ambition for a new Russian empire and his paranoid disdain of the west, Vladimir Putin has brought the world closer to annihilation than it's been in decades.
A week ago, the Russian dictator invaded Ukraine with the goal of overthrowing that country's democratically-elected government and reclaiming it as a Soviet-era satellite state, if not annexing it entirely. His invasion of Ukraine was reckless and poorly-planned. The Ukrainians are fighting back. But sooner or later, Russia's strength in numbers is likely to overwhelm the Ukrainian defenders. Devastating urban warfare is already underway, as is a refugee crisis.
Putin will not stop with Ukraine. In his quest to re-create the Russian empire, he will try to slice off some or all of Georgia, Armenia, Moldova, the former Soviet republics in central Asia. And at some point he will likely go after the Baltics: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania. All formerly part of the Soviet Union, and all current NATO members that the United States has an obligation to protect militarily.
He may wait to bring the fight to NATO until after the 2024 presidential election (which he will try to influence in order to get his most valuable American asset, Donald Trump, elected to second term). But he is almost certainly going to do it, because of the Russian irredentist philosophy that drives him. He's willing to bet that we won't have the courage to come to Europe's defense because we don't want to start a nuclear conflict. In fact, he's already threatening Finland and Sweden against joining NATO.
Comparisons between Vladimir Putin and Adolf Hitler are apt. While Putin might not have the same lust for genocide that Hitler possessed - he hasn't singled out an entire people for extermination - he does have the same megalomanic territorial ambitions, and the same indifference to the amount of life lost to achieve it. He also has something that Hitler did not have: nuclear weapons. Do not think for a moment that he won't use them.
And that's the problem: if he threatens to "push the button" anytime the west tries to oppose his neo-imperialist ambitions, where does he stop? Where do we stop him? Do we risk a nuclear exchange in order to do so?
I grew up towards the end of the Cold War, where the threat of nuclear annihilation was distant but real. We might have thought that the threat of nuclear armageddon ended with the Soviet Union. Turns out, it was only taking a break.
This is likely going to be last post here at MGCR for awhile, if not forever. This is normally the time of year when I reduce activity on this blog anyway, but I'm seriously thinking about bringing this blog to a more-or-less permanent close. Posting about trivial shit that hardly anybody reads isn't a good use of my time, and given the events of the past week, I'm not sure how much time I have left as it is.
By the way, fuck Putin for destroying one of my favorite aircraft.