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DFW

(54,958 posts)
10. One observation I can agree with from personal experience
Mon Feb 14, 2022, 09:16 AM
Feb 2022

The Russians as a people are not hostile to America. I still run into Russian colleagues on occasion, and they are as friendly and as cordial as they ever were. The imperialistic ambitions of their leadership are not shared by the populace in general.

What Putin must know intellectually, even if his emotional training in the KGB won't let him admit it, is that NATO and the west don't want economic basket cases like Moldova, Ukraine and Belarus as part of them. Ukraine might WANT to be part of the EU and NATO, but in their position, who can blame them? They see what happened when poor countries like Greece, Slovakia and Portugal joined the EU: money from taxpayers in Germany, France and the UK flowed into their coffers and built up infrastructure they never would have been able to afford on their own. The only "support" that Ukraine and Belarus have to expect from Putin's Russia is military force, which is not edible. Moldova is another basket case that no one wants. It is divided between ethnic Romanians and ethnic Russians. While Putin would welcome them back into the Soviet Empire, he doesn't want to feed them, either.

Putin could still risk an invasion, but he would do well to remember the words of one of the inner circle of another ambitious imperialistic power that invaded his own country:

“Why of course the people don't want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally the common people don't want war: neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But after all it is the leaders of a country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or fascist dictatorship, or a parliament or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peace makers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”

The author of that quote committed suicide soon after the interview, rather than be executed by the powers that defeated his ambitions. That was Hitler's buddy, Hermann Göring. They were accomplished propagandists. A friend of my father-in-law was 10 years old when WWII ended. Stuck into the Hitlerjugend, he was born into a Germany already under Nazi rule. He would tell us that there was no way we could possibly even imagine the extent to which he and generation had been brainwashed (he had never heard of Fox "News" ).

If Putin invades Ukraine, you can bet that Echo Moskvy will be immediately silenced, and that the whole measure will be presented to the Russian people as an exercise of patriotic "brotherly assistance," which is how the Soviet propagandists sold the invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. That didn't turn out so well, and neither would this.

By the way, I have mentioned this before, but in going back to one part of Göring's quote: "Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece?" Obviously few WANTED to, but it's not like they were given a choice. There was a draft, and resistance meant an instant death sentence. My father-in-law WAS that "slob on a farm." He was drafted at age 17, sent to Stalingrad as cannon fodder. At age 19, he did return. He did NOT return in one piece. Putin will find few of his people interested in sharing that fate.

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