YOU CAN’T DEFEAT A BULLY WITH A BULLY PULPIT ALONE
Monday, February 28, 2022
So what comes next?
Is he bully with a plan, crazed despot gone berserk, or a bully without a plan?
Re-proving his credentials as a bully — and as tactician, clearly, Putin has been planning.
Kudos to everyone donating to help Ukraine, and congratulations for the Ukrainians’ fierce resolve and resistance against being overtaken by the bully next door. So far, they are the only ones making a difference, while the rest of the world is hitting Putin with everything they’ve got: words, scorn, scowls, and they are threatening to kick him out of the money-transfer clubhouse. Oh, and one more thing, they want to purge Russian liquor from store shelves.
I remember growing up in small communities — where every block, every classroom, had its bully. Some would cower, some had bully-envy and tried to bully weaker kids while pledging fealty to the senior bully in the class, who in turn was no match for the bully a grade above.
Bullies on the grown-up world stage have become legends and heroes to few — and Putin now seeks to add his name to failed evil-mongers like Hitler, Mussolini, Attila, Pinochet, Pol-pot, Tito etc.
Another week begins …
All politics, they say, is local. But this week, it’s not — it’s all Ukraine.
I’ve often muttered, “Sanctions, smanxtions, …” because politicians and talking-heads talk about them as if they are a single-pill cure for massive problems. Americans will point to the Cuban blockade (a farce that has been going on for 50 years,) or gridlocking Iran’s oil sales and stopping its nuclear program (it seems like France et al are about to undo that juggernaut), and now it’s Putin. Recent weeks of warnings — his, that he would do what he is doing now, and western countries, including Canada, the U.S. chief/loudest among them, have been crowing about sanction consequences. So far, threats and sanctions haven’t stopped or even slowed Putin.
To their credit, Ukrainian forces are putting up a courageous and formidable resistance.
The west is now threatening to cut off transmission of data and financial transfers as their next threat to bring Russia to its knees. Yes, the entire free world will hold STOP signs on the flow of money, no doubt hoping to surprise Russia that it would stoop to such measures. Yes, ladies and gentlemen — boys and girls, the big tech-smart diplo-savvy western countries are pushing back.
EU countries are banning Russian flights in their air space (but haven’t committed to shooting them down) and talking about kicking Putin’s regime out of their co-op. Yes, they are talking now about taking Russia’s ATM card away. They presume I suppose that Putin hasn’t thought of that possibility or developed a Plan B or that he cares one way or the other.
Meanwhile, Putin is talking about putting his nuclear program on ready alert. The bully might appear crazy or suicidal — or maybe just proving again that he is a better bluffer than his western counterparts; he is powerful and unpredictable, ruthless and murderous, clever and devious, and he’s been proving that to the world without much resistance for decades. He has those who speak loudest against him killed, and he squashes opponents and protest movements the way we crush bugs — he’s an unchecked bully.