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An essay on reading tealeaves

If you happen to be convinced by the NATO-narrative that Russia always intended to conquer all of Ukraine, you will be able to believe in Ukrainian successes when the Russians vacate territory they never intended to liberate (as the Russians would have it) in the first place. However, if you cling to the intentions as laid down in the wording which came with the announcement of the Special Military Operation, you will come away with an entirely different perspective. 


When I wrote about the prospect of war in Ukraine in January, on my Dutch language blog, I predicted that Russia wouldn't even think of taking all of Ukraine, and would limit itself to the 'Russian' half of Ukraine in the East and South, where all the people live who voted Yanukovych in 2010. The people who were swept aside by the blatant NATO-coup in 2014, when Victoria Nuland, on behalf of NATO, dictated who was to rule over Ukraine as her 'pick' for office. Still, at that moment in time, in January of this year, I was hoping the EU would step in, and prevent war from breaking out, but the opposite happened. And war became inevitable. 


Now, consider that this limited objective of liberating (conquering) only those parts of the country which welcomed the Russians left Russia with the need to anticipate on an outcome where Ukraine would continu to exist as a neighbour, while making sure that the territory seized would not turn against them. If they left Kharkov the way they did, evacuating their troops to withdraw behind the Oskol river, NATO-minded observers will be tempted to hail this as a Ukrainian victory, and in a way it was, since the Russians failed to interest the people living in the Kharkov Oblast to take their side. But it was not a military victory. 


Therefore, Russia 'freezing' the conflict now through accepting the verdict of the people in the areas it conquered, today around twenty percent of the country, if they vote to become part of the Russian Federal Republic, doesn't signal a desire to escalate the conflict, but is offering NATO an 'off-ramp'. However, by the looks of it, NATO is not satisfied with losing yet another war, and is preparing for an epic battle with Russia as it insists on returning full control over the Yanukovych era Ukraine they f.cked real hard over the course of eight years of NATO-rule. This has nothing to do with what the Ukrainians as a people want. Less so what the Ukrainians in the Donbas and on Crimea, Kherson and Zaporizja want. NATO doesn't give a hoot about what the people want, anywhere in the world, and less so if they are leaning towards showing sympathy for Russia, China or Iran, and soon India by the looks of it.


NATO never prepared for this situation, and it shows. They are selling alternate realities by the dozen in order to be able to stay afloat. For the moment. Because the entire NATO strategy from the very beginning was a disaster, but the biggest failure was the 'sanctions-war' they unleashed. Even at CNN they no longer shy away from admitting that Russia was way more resilient than anyone on the NATO-side predicted. And that is actually an understatement, since Russia is doing real well, under the circumstances. And far better than any of its western 'partners', as Putin called them before all hell broke loose. 


In the past six months I worried about the end-play for Russia if they refused to take all of Ukraine, and how that would be received in NATO-stan. How to arrive at a situation where Ukraine had to bend the knee, take its losses, and be on its way to an uncertain future, fully dependent on European handouts if they insisted to refuse trade with Russia/SCO, or how an independent Donbas would survive after they were done fighting. This part-mobilisation of Russia this week says: 'Look! Don't try anything funny! You will be bitten if you attack our territory!' This is therefore a 'Make My Day!', and 'Do You Feel Lucky Today!'-territory we're in. 


Understand that western sources citing waning support for Putin refuse to explain that Putin is a 'Middle-of-the-Road' guy, balancing between a decadent 'Navalny-hoard', which is as divided among themselves as the entire western population is, and Russian 'hardliners'. Putin still has the vast majority of the Russian people behind him, but if any change is on the horizon, it most certainly will not be the 'Navalny-hoard' taking the helm. And no, I do not mean 'herd', but 'hoard', because Navalny is notorious for 'hoarding' opposition to support his cause as an agent of western intelligence who are lightyears apart ideologically. 


Now, what will happen if NATO simply ignores yet another possibility to serve the peace, while Zelensky ignores his generals? I emphasise, again, that this is not a 'military blog', telling you how the battle is going to unfold once war has been declared. But I maintain that Russia is still holding all the aces, as the European economy is looking more fragile with every new day, and the Americans not in fine shape either. Yet Russia appears to have weathered the storm, economically, and looking strong on the battlefield with around 300.000 fresh, well-trained military to boost the troops already engaged, and recruiting fresh 'Storm Troopers' for 'Wagner', while offering 'positions' to adventurous foreigners with an expedited naturalisation-process to boot. The Iranian 'suicide drones' appear to be a 'big hit' with the Himars teams, where those drones hunt in pairs, and pursue a launching platform after it scooted from its launching position, destroying it while it is on the run. But in the end strategy and tactics, as well as the ability to supply and resupply will seal the fate of combatants in this war by the looks of it, as NATO and Russia now consider themselves in an 'existential' war. With just one difference. Russia is a country, with real people who support its policy, if they don't want it to become more 'hardline', while NATO has become the 'Head of Hydra', ruling a hodgepodge 'cartoon-army' of 'cage-fighters'.


My perception of what people backing up NATO are about is not shifting. They are either 'loyal to a fault', ignoring what their brain is trying to tell them, since they are left supporting politicians they detest, or they are lying for nefarious reasons, unless they are plain stupid and ignorant. I accept that they may insist that my point of view is revealing similar 'qualities' on the opposite end, in which case I claim stupidity on my behalf to be the cause of my mistakes, but up till now I have no reason to offer you an apology, since developments are still in line with what I expected from before the war. However, because of the very complex situation, we're all reading tealeaves when anticipating on future developments from here on. Those who claim otherwise are at risk of becoming cheerleaders for 'final solutions'. And history teaches us we are ill advised to accept the promise of a 'final solution' if we value our humanity.

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