Monday, April 18, 2022

Today's News: Hoping for the best, prepared for the worst

My theme tonight is from a Maya Angelou quote: "“Hoping for the best, prepared for the worst, and unsurprised by anything in between.” First, the Ukraine refugee crisis had topped 5 million: So in just the last 6 weeks, more than 5 million Ukrainians have had to refugee from their homes in Ukraine. There are already likely some military lessons to be learned from the Russia Ukraine War, but one lesson I think we also need to consider is the importance of getting civilians out of the way of war more quickly. 
That kind of planning didn't appear to be happening in Ukraine last winter, even though the CIA was telling the US government last fall that Putin intended war, and Biden was highlighting this information publicly.
Then when disaster struck in February, millions struggled to get out and to get their children out - no time anymore to assemble "go" bags or set up transportation, they were poorly organized, unpacked, lacked medicines and money, abandoned their pets and farm animals. 
Here's a typical article from md-February, nine days before Putin's war began:
...For several weeks, residents of the capital dismissed the Russian buildup as posturing and the US warnings as overblown. Pulled between Zelensky’s calls on the West to refrain from creating a panic, Moscow’s denials of any intention to invade and the drumbeat of warnings from Western leaders on missions of shuttle diplomacy, Ukrainians went about their lives with admirable calm. Shops in the capital remained stocked, there was no run on the banks and there were no signs of panicked shopping for necessities. 
 And here's another one, from just three days before Putin invaded
Even as tensions boil with more than 150,000 Russian troops along the border in annexed Crimea and in neighbouring Belarus, just one in five Ukrainians think the full-scale conflict is inevitable. 
Only 20.4 percent of Ukrainians believe that a “full-scale invasion” will happen soon, and only 4.4 percent are adamant it is “definitely” taking place, according to a survey by the Gorshenin Institute, an independent pollster, conducted between February 2 and 14. 
A staggering 62.5 percent think the invasion is not going to happen “in the nearest future”.... 
But we all should have known what Putin would do to cities in Ukraine, because he has done it before. A March 16 AP story describes the horror and despair as the hundreds of thousands remaining in Mariupol realized they could not get out
This agony fits in with Putin’s goals. The siege is a military tactic popularized in medieval times and designed to crush a population through starvation and violence, allowing an attacking force to spare its own soldiers the cost of entering a hostile city. Instead, civilians are the ones left to die, slowly and painfully. 
Putin has refined the tactic during his years in power, first in the Chechen city of Grozny in 2000 and then in the Syrian city of Aleppo in 2016. He reduced both to ruins.
Damn it, we all knew what Putin would do to people he considered nothing but animals. 
But we just didn't want to believe it. Ukraine didn't want to believe it. Nobody wants to believe it. Its a dangerous kind of wishful thinking that we have to stop indulging ourselves in.
And by the way, Canada's own Emergency Preparedness Week is coming up May 1 to 7 -- you owe it to yourself, and your family, to check this out and pull your own kit together.

When it comes to Ukraine, the world can never forget or forgive this kind of horrific, unnecessary destruction:
In a post at Daily Kos, Markos explains the enormous steel plant property in Mariupol that is still in Ukraine control. Here's a tweet about the plant itself. The Russian lies about Ukraine, its inability to see the truth, will be the seed of its defeat. Military twitter is excitedly posting tonight about how Ukraine is fighting back. The US and NATO are setting a blistering pace in delivering arms. 
And here's the latest news on the eastern front: Finally tonight, I know Joe Biden and Justin Trudeau have been trying their best to keep NATO out of this war as a direct combatant against Russia, to avoid instigating a nuclear war. 
 But it seems Russia is already convinced the enemy they are fighting is actually NATO: So maybe we have to start thinking about the unthinkable -- another example of hoping for the best but preparing for the worst. 
Military strategy professor Phillips O'Brien has an interesting tweet thread tonight discussing the possible implications of Russia using a small nuke in Kyiv. 
It's a worthwhile issue to start discussing now, rather than just trying to ignore the possibility and then over-reacting with horrified hysteria. Here are some of the tweets in that thread:

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