Did Putin Just Walk Into Another Afghanistan?

As the fighting between the US and Russia, aspiring back to her days of the USSR increase, that more incident would happen until something “breaks” in so far as a series of changes add up to a larger change, and for good or ill. Such may have recently happened as a result of the Navalny poisoning, where German officials, including Merkel herself, are expressing notable concern at Russia over the confirmed poisoning of Putin’s political opposition candidate Aleksy Navalny with a poison and in such a way that in spite of Kremlin denials, strongly points to an assassination attempt by government agents.

What Western officials call a botched attempt to kill a leading opposition figure has triggered a new downward spiral in Russia’s ties with Europe, and above all with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose patience had already been tested by President Vladimir Putin. Her government was grappling with how to respond to a 2015 cyberattack on the Bundestag and a 2019 killing in Berlin, both of which were ordered by Russian state actors, German prosecutors say.

Even against the Kremlin’s track record of malfeasance, the brazen targeting of a chief critic would be devastating to Putin’s already low standing in the West, a European diplomat said.

The Kremlin says it found no proof Navalny was poisoned and has rejected Merkel’s calls to open a criminal investigation. Russian officials have presented a variety of conflicting accounts of what may have happened, ranging from claims Navalny was merely sick to suggestions he was poisoned after he was taken to Germany in a medically induced coma for treatment days after the attack.

Western officials dismiss those claims. Calling on Moscow to answer for the attack, the European Union and others are weighing a response that could range from expelling Russian diplomats to more painful economic sanctions. Merkel has suggested she could even take action against the 9.5-billion-euro ($11 billion) Nord Stream 2 pipeline to carry Russian gas to Germany.

Days later, the German military’s Institute for Pharmacology and Toxicology, one of the few laboratories in the world with first-hand knowledge of the toxin, made the Novichok conclusion. That Wednesday morning, Merkel gathered six top cabinet members to inform them — and agreed that a swift response was necessary. Police tightened security around the hospital, fearing another attempt on his life.

For Merkel, a self-described Russophile who grew up in East Germany, a deep well of patience had been emptied. Her message to the Kremlin was blunt by her standards.

“It’s clear that Alexey Navalny is the victim of a crime,” Merkel told reporters gathered hours later. “The intent was to silence him.” (source)

The future of Europe is going to be decided by Germany, like it or not. Germany has always been the powerhouse of Europe, and with the USA gradually removing the post-WWII shackles imposed upon her, she is inevitably going to rise again. This process began with German reunification at the time of the fall of the Iron Curtain, and has continued since.

Germany right now is at a crossroads, as she is being courted by both the USA and Russia. If Germany goes with Russia, the US will be forced to sit out of a European conflict and she will be forced to renegotiate her relationship with Europe as well as to largely maintain her influence in the Western Hemisphere and parts of Africa. However, if Germany goes with the USA, Russia will be forced to fight for her survival and will likely, barring a huge miracle, be conquered by Germany simply because she does not have the ability to fight against such as large and overwhelming collection of force against her at one time.

Twice in the last century, the Russians have barely kept Germany from winning, and each time with more German successes. In the First World War, Germany walked across Ukraine but could not keep her and so was forced to retreat. In the Second World War, she took all of Ukraine and the Volga basin but could not hold it, and not because of Russian superiority, but because a miraculous winter froze out the German military. However, the latter came at the cost of 800,000 German soldiers and 1.1 million Russian soldiers, not to mention the destruction of all 400,000 inhabitants of Volgograd. Were it not for that winter, the Germans would have been able to refuel their war machine and Stalin’s mighty empire would have crumbled to the ground. Thus World War II was decided in 1942 at Volgograd, since it was there that Germany lost control over her oil supply for her factories, and at which point it was only time before the German war machine would be forced to stop.

It is not a surprise, as I have pointed out, that Russia has been militarizing the Arctic, for as I have noted, Russia is extremely weak- far weaker than she was at the time of World War II -her population is in decline for a multiplicity of reasons largely due to self-inflicted behaviors, and her actions suggest an assumption that she likely will lose the Volga region, which is why she has been fighting so hard in Ukraine and trying to divide up sub-regions in the Volga Basin and why the US has been so aggressive there also. Her move to the Arctic is to try to capitalize on the cold climate as well as easily accessible resources in oil and gas to fuel her war machine in the event of a (likely by all standards) Volga basin loss in what one may see as a last-ditch effort to retreat into autarchal solitude that Russia so often uses as a tool of survival. However, the US is very aware of what is happening and has been aggressively militarizing all of northeastern Europe and the Arctic too in the northernmost parts of Norway, Finland, and as far away as Svalbard.

Both the US and Russia want to pull Germany into their sphere. Whoever wins this version of the global “dating game” likely also wins the war.

During the late 1970s, the Russian invasion of Afghanistan was pressed on by the US at the direction of the military strategist Michael Vickers, who believed that the Soviets could be drawn into a prolonged conflict using proxy troops in the form of Islamic militants and terror groups (Taliban) to sap their resources and strength as long as the latter was provided American material and logistical support. The strategy worked, and Operation Cyclone was one of the major blows that destroyed the USSR, for it was out of a miscalculated major act that Russia lost.

Now the question is, did Russia make such an error again with the poisoning of Navalny?

Unlike Afghanistan, which required an invasion, the German situation is a dating game, and each partner wants to make him or herself look the best as possible. It is known that the US and Russia are engaging in “tit-for-tat” fighting right now, but what happened with the Navalny case took the conflict to a new level.

As I have said before, I do not like many of Navalny’s positions, and I do not wish to defend his views. That said, Navalny is the only real political opposition, even if just theoretical, to Putin, whose actions at enshrining himself as a “ruler-for-life” in Russia, his open admiration of Stalin, his open subjugation of religion for political purposes, and his increasingly dictatorial efforts in spite of a Russian people who are largely poor, suffering, dying, and many who still want to migrate away from Russia does not help his image. Rather, it makes him look like he is trying to follow in his hero of the mass-murdering, God-hating, outright evil man who was the dictator Stalin.

Regardless of one’s opinion of Russia, all of the evidence- from the history of the KGB using poisons as a means of assassination (as compared to the CIA, who tended to use poisons for scientific reasons) to the use of a poison designed by the USSR to the patterns showing how he was poisoned and the time in which he was poisoned -all indicate a government hit. Just like the Russian historian who discovered evidence of Stalin’s mass murders and when he released his finding he was suddenly “discovered” to have child pornography on his computer and was convicted of it, curious deaths and strange legal troubles have a consistent pattern in that they so frequently seem to befall those in Russia who criticize Putin and his cadre, and so it is not a surprise that Navalny had trouble or that the Kremlin most likely would be tied to it.

But this time was different. This was not a subtle death. This was a blatant, in-your-face poisoning so brazen, so obviously done, and so aggressive that there is no way to hide it. The fact that it can be directly traced to Russia means that Putin is obviously confident in acting like what the USSR used to do- to deal with others in brash, aggressive, brutal ways and think it deserves respect because of it.

This attitude is also one of the things that killed the power of the USSR. People just got tired of the blatant, brutal aggression and rebelled. It is the reason why so many former “Iron Curtain” nations, by choice or not, are running to US-German support. It is not because they like the US or Germany, but given the choice, and how historical memory is long, who wants to be back under the Soviet yoke? At least the Americans and the Germans will use some manners and give some economic freedom before beating them up, and even after, while the Soviets would just take non-stop and then continue to press their faces into the proverbial mud, and who wants to deal with that?

Now above, I mentioned the German invasion of Russia for oil and gas resources. While Russia and Germany have been fighting for oil and gas since its discovery and the first industrial oil production in Baku around 1849, Germany’s lack of gas has historically placed her in a place of dependence on Russia, for gas must flow from east to west, and if it is not coming through Turkey and the Balkans, it comes through Russia. This situation has been made better in modern times with the advent of pipelines from sub-saharan Africa, but a pipeline from Nigeria across the Sahara to France and then Germany, or even from Algeria, Libya, and points North Africa to Europe, still is at a high risk for sabotage. After seizing the oilfields in Europe such as those in Romania and Norway, Russia is the next most reliable option.

We bring into this point the issue of Nord Stream II, which Shoebat.com has discussed extensively alongside the trains and pipeline systems from Turkey. In the case of the latter, it seems that the US and German companies are building up a “redundant” network in the event that if one goes down or is damages, other lines can be used to keep the flow of oil moving. In the case of Russia, however, Germany still buys a lot of oil from Russia, and given the comparatively short undersea passage from Murmansk to Germany, it is an easily defendable pipeline. The problem, from the American view, is that it ties Russia to Germany, which Russia wants to use both as a way of making friends as well as extorting the Germans with threats of turning off the oil lest they support her. As the German Marshal Fund reported back in 2015,

Frankly speaking, one should admit that Europe cannot abandon Russian gas supplies if acting purely with economic interests in mind. There is no cheap alternative both to this type of fuel and to this source. Therefore Putin is now putting forward financial incentives to seduce Europeans into cooperating with Russia in exchange for “giving up” on Ukraine. Natural gas has long been a weapon in the Kremlin’s hands, and Europe’s choice looks clear: either surrender politically to Putin while securing some financial gains (or rather not incurring additional costs), or stay firm and try (of course, with certain expenses) to repel Moscow’s attack. (source)

The Americans cannot provide Germany with oil, as the US needs what she can get for herself. However, what the US can provide is a strong military support and also, to make herself the only real ally choice between Russia and herself, for while Germany has allied with and fought against both, if the US can help Germany to rise again and make herself a “choice” of “frenemies”, then she will back her over the Russians. In such a case, no matter how many raw materials Russia can throw at Germany doesn’t matter, since what the US is offering is for Germany to realize a historical dream- to integrate Russia or parts of her into her Lebensraum and in such a way as to neutralize her as a serious long-term threat, at least for now, and with that also take her resources.

This is what makes the Navalny poisoning so interesting. Germany certainly has her interests, and as we have noted, Russia seems to have been trying to get a new Molotov-Ribbentrop agreement in the form of the Steinmeyer agreement, but this has not seemed to have been followed through with complete success so far. With the US successfully stalling the construction of Nord Stream II, one must ask what Russia may be trying to do in order to “break” the the stalemate drawing either her or the US to Germany’s side.

This is not to say that the Navalny incident was done with this purpose in mind. There are strong indications that Navalny is receiving money from the Americans or other western sources, and naturally, Putin wants him gone. But the way that he handled it, in such a dictatorial way, rings in the minds of those living in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Brandenburg, and Sachsen the echoes of East Germany under which that land was subjected to the yoke of Soviet-influenced communism and suffered gravely in comparison to her Western neighbor, who also looked on with great concern as the American, British, and French worked with the West German government to form a bulwark against the Soviet Union.

With Germany reunited, like it or not and regardless of one’s opinion, is there anything else that people might expect from seeing this Navalny incident and Putin’s response as echoes of the past, like a specter from a horror film, coming back to haunt her? It does not help that Chancellor Merkel, like her or not and who has been asserting herself more aggressively in her position in the recent years, comes from a family with Prussian and East German roots, and so knows very well what life under Soviet-influenced communism is like, and thus Putin’s actions are not just mere politics for her, but most likely strike to her own and negative experiences in East Germany, which only adds to any public effects or opinions about his actions.

This is why I refer to this moment as an “Afghanistan” type moment, possibly, for Putin, since in his efforts to eliminate his domestic political rivalry, he has presented, seemingly unintentionally so, an image to the world and the nation he is trying to court her assistance with as that very thing which terrorized that nation for over a half-a-century. If this was a dating show, then it would be like a man who seems normal until he does something really disturbing that scares the contestant and she dumps him for the other one.

Likewise, it would not be just one incident, but rather the series of incidents of a rising Russia in the Soviet sense along with Putin’s attitude juxtaposed against how a public sense in Germany is being inculcated that her very survival is being threatened. This sense of being “surrounded” with “no escape” is, as Hitler has pointed out in Mein Kampf, a pattern in German history that tends to incite a sense of national identity in her that translates into militarism and then violence against her neighbors.

What the Americans have been attempting to do is what Putin himself may have done for him, as in his attempts to assert and grow his power, he may have cast his image in such a way as to seriously scare his potential ally into the arms of his enemy. This is yet to be seen for its results, but the fact that Merkel seems to be frustrated enough that she would allude to interrupting Russo-German progress on Nord Stream II is a serious matter. If this was to be affected, one could only imagine what other ventures could be affected, and given how many companies operate in Russia who are either owned by ethnic Germans born in Russia or who are directly tied to Germany, if they would feel that Putin is threatening their ventures by his actions, thus perpetuating the cycle of fear and uncertainty. This is also nothing to say of the other Slavic nations, who while they also have troubles with Germany historically, they also have the same problems with Russia, and while Germany has apologized to Poland (at least nominally), one cannot say the same for Russia and her past. In such a case, given incident such as this, the other Slavic nations would be continually inclined to support Germany for the simple hope that she would not subject them to the same continual abuse that they suffered under the USSR.

Russia can dangle all of the candy in front of Germany or any nation that she wants, but what cannot be so easily repaired is a bad image, for if Putin does not seem as though he is a generous benefactor giving out candy, but a man with large glasses in a white t-shirt, dirty black sweatpants, and making his calls for candy from his old white bukhanka, then no one in his proper state of mind will give his trust, for while the American may have his large belly protruding from beneath his flag T-shirt on with his “USA” cap and a holding an oversized weapon, any behavior that one may find irritating is compensated for by the genuine conviction of his positions and actions. This is also not to say that Germany would not at some point turn against the US, but rather that for the time being, if Germany is going to choose an ally, that Putin’s actions, regardless of his intentions, may come back unintentionally to hurt him in the future.

But for Russia at the current time, the translation above is from the movie Jaws, where Brody (played by Roy Scheider) famously said to Captain Quint (played by Robert Shaw) “We’re gonna need a bigger boat” (or to be literal above, “We need a bigger boat”), because that is the situation she is finding herself in.


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