The issue of supplying Ukraine with air firepower has reached a level of nonsense rhetoric. Vice President Harris left this morning for Poland to address this issue. Aside from the fact that VP Harris has little if any experience in foreign policy or military logistics her trip may be simple grandstanding, raising more questions than providing answers. On Sunday Secretary Blinken asserted that the US had given the green light for such a transaction. When Poland responded that it would send Migs to the US airfield in Germany, the US demurred stating it was caught off guard and expressing grave concern that this would be viewed by the Russians as participation of NATO in the war effort.
Certainly there are questions for both the US and Poland. Why fly the Migs to Germany when the distance between Poland and a Ukrainian airfield is less than one hour away. Secondly, how is supplying Migs in terms of war participation, different from supplying Stingers and Javelins. The Migs would never be used in an offensive manner. Ukraine has no intention of flying over Russian skies and bombing the Kremlin. The Migs would be used to defend Ukrainian skies.
In any event this matter is taking entirely too much time and there is blatant dis-ingenuity on the part of both the US and Poland. In the meantime civilians, women and children are being slaughtered. Migs are not a panacea but they make Ukraine’s air defence more competitive and its civilians safer.
The New York Times recently published an opinion piece by one of its most respected longtime columnists and multiple Pulitzer prize winner. Thomas Friedman wrote:
Because there is only one thing worse than a strong Russia under Putin — and that’s a weak, humiliated, disorderly Russia that could fracture or be in a prolonged internal leadership turmoil, with different factions wrestling for power and with all of those nuclear warheads, cybercriminals and oil and gas wells lying around.
With all due respect, Mr. Friedman fails to consider many factors in this conclusion. Firstly, while Putin is a product of the Russian soul rather than Russia being the product of Putin’s psychosis, Russia is not a monolith and hardly a homogeneous society. There are at least 150 nationalities that make up the Russian Federation. Almost all, in one or another way have been maltreated by the Kremlin.
Russia’s census as to determining nationalities within its borders is grossly misleading. The customary approach of Russian census takers is entering the home of a family, asking questions in Russian, receiving responses in Russian and upon leaving telling that family that since it does speak Russian all members will be counted as Russians. Very few object for obvious reasons.
At a recent rally of Ukrainian Americans at Lafayette Park in front of The White House one of the speakers was a representative of Free Russia. She spoke on behalf of Russians who oppose Putin. When she concluded I approached her and said, You do not look Russian. Are you a Buryat? She acknowledged that I was correct. Many similar non-Russians in Russia have picked up the mantra of Russians opposed to Putin.
The ethnic Russian population in the RF is declining even if the census does not indicate so. Ethnic Russians average significantly less children than the other ethnicities, in particular those of the Islamic faith, i.e. Chechen, Buryat, Yakut, etc.
Consideration should be given to the fact that Putin is relatively isolated. While in the United States a war declaration is within the purview of Congress, in Russia there is no real parliament or congress. In any event the Russian Duma did not declare this war against Ukraine. Putin declared himself and called it a military operation.
Finding Putin a pathway to end this war and save face is an academic discourse. The better approach is to find a way to eliminate Putin. Discord in Russia and a struggle for power would be a welcome sight. This is a project for all humanity. I am certain that as I write this there are many who are considering this option as the only viable solution. A Russia without Putin where 150 ethnic groups would be deciding its future would be a Russian Spring. When was the last time there was a Spring in Russia?
March 9, 2022 Askold S. Lozynskyj