A man. All men. He will pass up a hundred chances to do good for one chance to meddle where meddling is not wanted. He will overlook and fail to see chances, opportunities, for riches and fame and welldoing, and even sometimes for evil. But he won’t fail to see a chance to meddle.
~William Faulkner, Light in August 24 (Vintage International Edition, October 1990; Original copyright William Faulkner, 1932).
Despite being a quote from a famous work of a notable and quintessential American literary figure, it’s also the pure, and yet impure, essence and sentiment of Vladimir Putin’s message to Sergei Magnitsky and the rest of the world upon his complete consolidation of power and coronation as the Don of the world’s largest mafia organization — one with nukes. Imagine Tony Soprano with nukes — would he still have blinked to black in that last episode, or would the ending have to be rewritten as a blink to white, blinding light? Perhaps Putin will answer that question for us, but I hope we (as in We Are The World) don’t let him. IF only “we” had a say in the matter. As each day, week, month, year and decade passes me by, the collective weight of all these “if’s” serves as a traditional stoning (the method of laying stone upon stone upon you until you can no longer breath and die of suffocation). It’s like an elephant on our chest. Metaphorical COPD. Spiriva can’t and won’t help.
For those of you who don’t know who Sergei Magnitsky is, or I should say was, here’s several YouTube videos to get you up to speed because I certainly don’t want to reinvent the wheel describing him and his significance to you since it’s already been done. Even if you think you know of and about The Magnitsky Affair, watch anyway, you may still learn something.
A charming lot, aren’t they? What great foster parents they would make for wayward, bastard or abandoned children. Perfect role models. That’s Putin’s Russia in a nutshell. I’d like to say that’s hyperbole, but I’m afraid it isn’t. Putin’s Russia is a finely tuned Kleptocracy with him and his bloated ego as the Chief Kleptocrat in perpetuity until he dies, and any moral and ethical person hopes, even though there is no hope, he dies soon — REAL SOON. But Putin dying wouldn’t be enough to free Russia. Russia cannot be free. It has a date with destiny, and that destiny is for Russia to devour itself in a feeding frenzy as it’s doing now under Putin’s reign. The West must not stand in its way. Russia must be allowed to destroy itself once and for all. The contagion it is must not be allowed to spread any further beyond its borders. Don’t contest Ukraine — let Putin and his capos hang it around their cannibalistic necks like a deformed and mutilated albatross serving as a Meddle of Dishonor on their way to the mosh pit of history’s dregs.
Of course, there are some among us, those who seek to misdirect and avert your eyes from the whole, who believe America is the cause of all the world’s ills, and The Magnitsky Affair is no different. It’s somehow America’s fault that Russia is a Kleptocracy and they’ll go to outlandish ends to “prove” that point. These same people will tell you to mind your own business and focus only on criticizing America because it’s all America’s fault. People like Catcher In The Lie‘s very own Major Nelson, for example.
It’s time to declare Russia a rogue state like North Korea and isolate it completely. Russian oligarchs need to be prohibited from traveling outside Russia. The oligarchs who currently reside outside Russia need to be shipped back and their stolen wealth assets residing in foreign locales need to be frozen and confiscated and used to keep them and Russia contained. Sniper teams and assassin squads should be created using the proceeds of their frozen assets — their stolen wealth — to fund these individuals who will have orders to hunt down and shoot to kill any high net worth oligarch or kleptocrat who wanders outside Russia’s borders. If Russia is so great, there’s no need for these scum to go anywhere outside Mother Russia.
Anyone caught trading with this rogue enemy gets the death penalty, automatically and quickly. If Siemens continues to do business with Russia, its entire management team and shareholders are given a choice — deportation to Russia or execution by firing squad. Same goes for any other company including the major oil companies that think they are above the law, above morals and above ethics. As Ray Hicks from the movie Who’ll Stop The Rain said, “they’re animals — you can’t make a deal with animals.” You put animals like this in a cage and let them maul each other to death. Keep them locked away from the general population of the world and they’ll extinguish one another in due course. Contain them until they’ve finished feasting on one another and are no more. Don’t try to bargain with them or reform them or otherwise deter them in any way from their destiny. Let it rain. It’s futility to try and stop it. Nobody can stop the rain — not even the USAF.
How Browder, who renounced his U.S. citizenship in 1998 and is the grandson of Earl Browder, the former leader of the Communist Party USA, was able to convince Congress to pass, let alone consider, the Magnitsky Act is beyond me. On second thought, it’s not beyond me. It makes perfect sense. But the Magnitsky Act is lightweight and doesn’t go nearly far enough. These are not just a few bad apples. The entire Russian barrel is rotten and unredeemable. These cowardly criminals are not the exception to the rule, they are the rule. The law is a farce in Russia — what law there is. Russia is a criminal organization at the Nation-State level — a criminal organization with nukes. Every effort must be made to mitigate Russia’s nuclear capability. It is the largest single threat to life on this planet. Russia’s nukes must somehow be neutralized and technologies and plans should be in development to do just that. If you were to elect me president, and I know you will, I promise to accomplish all the aforementioned and more. Russia’s expansionism will be thwarted, its nuclear capability mitigated and its criminal, ass-backwards, unenlightened inhabitants contained within its borders where it can’t despoil the rest of the planet with its regressive and barbaric behavior. I thank those of you who have already contributed to my campaign. It’s $100,000 and counting. I promise to use the money wisely. Life Is Good. We will do this together.
I know, that last comic pic has nothing to do with the subject matter, but it was too funny to pass up. In researching Ukraine, I review what Alexander Motyl, a Ukrainian-American professor at Rutgers University-Newark, has to say on the subject. He spends considerable time in Ukraine rubbing shoulders with the sentiment and therefore, I believe, is a more accurate reflection than many of the mainstream propaganda outlets. Motyl is starting to change his tune as it relates to Ukraine. At first, he considered it imperative Ukraine, under the assumption of significant material aid from The West or even in its absence, fight Russia and the East Ukrainian terrorists every step of the way not conceding one inch. Since that approach has obviously failed as well as the failure of any feigned negotiations with the Russian animals, Motyl is now suggesting an approach that will allow Kiev to save some face since it’s lost most of it and it’s obvious The West is not going to aid Ukraine in any material way. Here’s his latest analysis and suggestions — the link is behind the title so please click it and read everything Motyl has to say about this conflict when, or if, you find the time, but I’ll copy the short article in its entirety with proper attribution for the lazy who don’t like to click links because they think they know it all already and have made their minds up:
Now that the first step toward a negotiated settlement of the Russo-Ukrainian war may have been reached in Minsk, the question of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s reliability as a negotiating partner should be on everyone’s mind.
In a word, can he be trusted with anything? The answer, unfortunately, is no—for several important reasons.
First, by invading and annexing the Crimea, Putin violated the 1994 Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances, in which Russia, the United States, and the United Kingdom agreed to respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity in exchange for Ukraine’s adherence to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Putin’s subsequent justification—that the Maidan Revolution ushered in a new Ukrainian state that was not a signatory of the memorandum—was a preposterous claim that, if generalized, would subvert every treaty ever signed. Subsequently, Putin also violated the April 17th Geneva accords and the September 5th Minsk Protocol, both of which outlined specific steps toward defusing the conflict.
Second, by instigating and arming the separatist rebellion in eastern Ukraine, as well as by deploying thousands of regular Russian troops in the occupied Donbas enclave (whose presence there he continues to deny despite indisputable photographic evidence), Putin has launched a unilateral attack against a neighboring country, thereby violating the spirit and letter of every post–World War II agreement on international norms.
Third, Putin has shown himself to be in thrall to an imperial Russian ideology that clouds his ability to make rational judgments about Russia’s genuine interests. He has repeatedly justified the Crimean annexation in terms of the peninsula’s supposed “sacredness” to Russia and centrality to Russian perceptions of grandeur. In fact, the adventure—along with the subsequent invasion of eastern Donbas—has led to international condemnation and isolation and crippling sanctions that have contributed dramatically to Russia’s current economic free fall. Putin wants Ukraine to remain in Russia’s orbit. Yet, by waging a war of aggression in the Donbas, he has assured and accelerated Kyiv’s westward movement and taken Ukraine-Russia relations to their lowest point in memory. Just a year ago, Ukraine was well on the way to becoming a Russian vassal state with no army, a confused identity, and an unreformed economy. Today, thanks to Putin, Ukraine is an independent state with a functioning army, a reforming economy, and a strong sense of national identity that had eluded the population until the Kremlin and its proxies decided to wage war.
How should Kyiv and the West stop the fighting in eastern Ukraine, if the other side is led by a man who is mendacious, untrustworthy, and consumed by ideology?
The West’s current set of approaches—negotiations and sanctions—must be supplemented with a third, one whose effectiveness does not depend on the trustworthiness of Putin: containment. Negotiations with Putin should be pursued, even though no document that Putin signs will be meaningful—or more meaningful than the 1994 Budapest Memorandum. Sanctions should be maintained and, possibly, even increased, but they will not soon force the hand of a leader whose strategic priorities are driven by an obsession with an ideology that blinds him from his self-interests. If and when sanctions and continued low energy prices bring the Russian economy to a standstill, even Putin may see that he’s driven Russia to the brink of collapse, but that could take years.
That leaves only one option: containment. The Romans built fortifications along sections of their boundary with the barbarians. The Chinese built the Great Wall. The West should try to keep Putin east of Ukraine and Belarus, while Kyiv should keep the Donbas enclave east of Ukraine.
The West should treat Ukraine as the contemporary equivalent of West Germany and help transform it into a stable, secure, democratic, and prosperous state. That means, above all, economic and military assistance. A more ambitious form of containment would regard Belarus—whose authoritarian president has recently changed his country’s course from its formerly pro-Russian direction to a more pro-Ukrainian and pro-Western direction—as another key state in need of Western aid.
Ukraine should pursue containment vis-à-vis the separatist Donbas enclave that, according to the February 12th Minsk agreement, is supposed to enjoy a level of autonomy within Ukraine. Personally, I would have preferred a sanctioned separation of this corrupt and backward region, but since Kyiv agreed to make an effort at reintegration, so be it. But, in that case, Kyiv must now work to restrict the nefarious influence the region will otherwise have on the rest of Ukraine and its efforts to establish a politically and economically reformed and coherent society. Let the separatists have all the autonomy they want. Let them misrule the place to their hearts’ content. In return, let them have as little influence on Ukraine’s movement toward democracy, the market, the West, and the world. Squaring that circle will be hard, but Kyiv may be able to offer maximal autonomy in exchange for maximal non-interference. And if, at some point in the future, Ukraine’s reactionary “Deep South” chooses to separate, Ukraine should oblige.
Will containment resolve the problem of Russia’s illegal annexation of the Crimea or bring a quick end to Putin’s imperialism? No, but it will throw a wrench into Putin’s expansionist designs and thereby weaken his claim to being Russia’s savior. By undermining his legitimacy, containment will accelerate the decay of the Putin regime and its ability to be a bull in Europe’s china shop. In time, the result may even be a Russia that is once again willing to be a fully respected member of the international community.
I agree with Motyl’s assessment of Putin’s Russia but I think to continue negotiations is futile and a waste of time. I also believe Ukraine is a lost cause and cannot be included in the containment strategy as I’ve noted earlier in this blog post. I responded in a comment to that article. I will copy it here for those too lazy to click and review. It doesn’t matter whether Poroshenko is a mole or not, what matters is, considering his track record, he may as well be. He is effectively Putin’s man, wittingly or unwittingly.
Cold N. Holefield • 3 days ago
When is The West going to realize Poroshenko’s Putin’s man? Pro-Russians, pretending to be pro-Ukrainian, permeate Kiev at all levels. Everything Poroshenko has done thus far has played perfectly into Putin’s hands. It’s not a coincidence. Where will Poroshenko flee when Kiev topples? It will be telling.
Once again, Poroshenko’s troops are overwhelmed and pull out hastily leaving heavy equipment and weaponry to the Russian terrorists. It’s a pattern, and unless something more significant and material is done about it, it will persist until Ukraine is broken up into vassal statelets. Considering, it’s a good thing The West has not materially committed armaments to the cause just yet. The Ukrainians haven’t proved trustworthy and who would argue Ukraine, like so many former USSR satellite states, isn’t as corrupt as corrupt can be?
Containment needs to take place outside the borders of Ukraine and Ukraine needs to be hung around Putin’s increasingly bent neck as another albatross. Let him have Ukraine. It’s a lot of mouths to feed and all those pensions to pay to an aging population that yearns for the glory days of The Soviet. I say, let them have breadlines and let it go no further than Ukraine and start implementing that containment strategy now. Putin can go no further and The West must be prepared when he does with a real show of force.
Of course, there will be no containment, but instead only appeasement accompanied by admonishing rhetoric and failed peace deals. Soon enough, at this rate, Minsk will surpass the Super Bowl in Roman Numerals after its name.
I was surprised to find that I was not alone in my assessment. A commentator who responded to my comment had the following to say. Note how he/she invokes the American Revolution and the Founding Fathers’ conflicting interests with the British Empire in defense of Poroshenko. I’m actually pleased Turtler brought this up because it’s something I’ve researched in the past and I have to say, this Norman Livergood fella nails it — but first Turtler’s comment to me and others:
Turtler G. • 13 hours ago
I’m not saying Poroshenko is a saint, or that he does not deserve a criminal investigation of his own. But almost every Founding Father in the American Revolution had property, business ties, and financial interests in the British Empire. Which they were quick indeed to downplay as the war went on, even if they funneled money for the cause. And the hero Ivan Mazepa gained the seat of Hetmanate by accusing his predecessor of trying to secede from the hegemony of the Tsarist Empire. Something he would try to do himself when he saw how Ukraine suffered.
This is practically a war of independence, and as much as I hate to admit it I feel it somewhat unjust to expect Poroshenko to have behaved better than the Founding Fathers in a far more corrupt and cowed climate. This is not to say that his conversion is genuine, or to exculpate him from his prior actions. These things are troubling- especially with the long history of Russian intelligence. But they should be analyzed in moderation.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Especially since one of the oldest strategies of Russian intelligence is the “Salami strategy”; cutting up the target by turning it against itself, and thus dividing it up into easily swallowed chunks. Poroshenko might well be the victim of that rather than a sleeper agent.
And rather than an arch traitor, It’s as likely if not more that he is incompetent or even just learning the ropes (heck, Washington until Trenton probably had as bad a success rate as Poroshenko militarily).
That doesn’t mean he gets a free pass, and we should watch him (not only for treason, but if he just can’t hack the job). But all things taken together- especially how Putin has shown himself to be ungrateful to former allies and dupes, and with the amount of vilification that has been targeted at him- makes me question if he would be willing to lay his fate in Putin’s hands. Even if he started out as a sleeper agent.
Since Turtler brought up the American Revolution as a paradigmatic example of what he believes to be a Ukrainian revolution, let’s look at the American Revolution from a unique and unconventional historical perspective. From my research, I’ve determined that the American revolution is not complete, and that it in fact was hijacked and usurped by the wealthy, land-owning elite who duped the common rubes into fighting on their behalf for independence from the British Crown only to replace that British Crown with their own, less ostentatious Crown. In otherwords, the colonial elite set about to foment an oligarchy and the Constitutional Convention and the product of it, the American Constitution, sealed the deal. The common rubes were duped into believing they were fighting for freedom from tyrannical oppression and the realization of democratic ideals, when in fact all they were destined to get was another form of aristocracy. This blog, Completing the American Revolution, does a fantastic job of explaining it all and it includes some great references. There are many great quotes to be found at that link, but this one is pertinent to Turtler’s comments about Ukraine:
“We see then, that in the context of the struggle for independence, the specific aspirations of common people put them into conflict with the people we think of as the ‘Founding Fathers’ or Framers. The Sons of Liberty, the Loyal Nine, and the Boston Committee of Correspondence and other such groups which the Framers organized were rooted in the ‘middling interests and well-to-do merchants’ and upper classes. They have been wrongly described as revolutionary. The truth is that they took great measures to keep the peace and defuse revolutionary tendencies. the Boston tea party As mass resistance to British policies mounted, for example, they urged, ‘No Mobs or Tumults, let the Person and Properties of your most inveterate Enemies be safe.’ Sam Adams agreed. James Otis urged, ‘No possible circumstances, though ever so oppressive, could be supposed sufficient to justify tumults and disorders . . .’ The Boston Committee of Correspondence actually did its best to contain and control the militancy of activists involved in the Boston Tea Party.”
~Jerry Fresia, Toward an American Revolution, 1988
It’s clear the Framers did not want a wholesale rout and annihilation of the British, and particularly no rout of aristocratic order regardless of the shade of lipstick it wore. They tempered and quelled any popular, independent grass roots conflict and labeled it as chaos, bedlam and anarchy — things to be avoided because it posed a threat to the uniquely American aristocracy they had in mind to replace the British version. I see similar patterns in Ukraine except replace kleptocracy with oligarchy, so I refuse to label what’s transpiring in Ukraine as a revolution. It’s a civil war to be sure, and a highly fabricated one at that. But it’s no revolution, not even an uncompleted one like the American Revolution.
But I digress, as is my wont. This is getting far afield of the title of this post and Magnitsky. Magnitsky showed his meddle. I show my meddle every day, every week with commentary at various blogs and blog posts of my own at this space. Both of us were, and in my case I still am, persecuted for our meddling — Magnitsky’s persecution many times worse than mine for sure and for now. But I share his temerity. His fortitude. His against-all-odds stand — in which the odds won/win but that’s not the point. Do you have meddle? If not, you should. Turn Faulkner’s quote on its head and treat meddle as valor, not a vice that keeps you from good fortune. If enough of us did, meddling would pave the way to good fortune, otherwise what you believe is good fortune is merely the jungle and the law of it.
So, in closing, I tip my hat to Sergei Magnitsky and perhaps, if the religious are right, we’ll meet sometime in the hereafter. But would we recognize each other? Something to consider. I’ll be making a pitstop in hell first to pay a visit to Putin and his friends and hand them their asses yet again for good measure before ascending to meet Magnitsky and the rest of the Heavy Meddlers as part of that Spirit in the Sky.
Sorry, I couldn’t resist with that last YouTube video. There’s nothing more hilarious than a nice Jewish boy singing about Jesus.