There are very few things on this boiling rock called earth that I hate more than war, but I've also been fascinated with war for as long as I can remember. There is just something about the cataclysmic conjunction of clashing cultures, rugged geography, radical ideology, and existential philosophy that seems to trigger my own cataclysmic conjunction of obsessive-compulsive disorders and ADHD. All of which leads me to follow international conflicts the way more well-adjusted dorks follow sports teams.
It's an admittedly perverse hobby likely driven by my own history of childhood trauma and the resulting need to gain some sense of control over the horrors of a violently uncontrollable universe, but it also ultimately drove me to become a downright evangelical anti-imperialist and anarchist once I realized the very basic fact that states kill. It is their most defining attribute. A monopoly on the use of grotesque behavior and the insanity of war is how they justify their very existence. All of them, in ways big and small. Not one of them is special. Every team in this blood sport sucks.
But I can honestly say that in my 34 years as a compulsive antiwar nerd, I have never seen a war more horrifically insane than the rapidly expanding mess in Ukraine. There have been plenty of wars that are more violent. There's about a dozen raging in Africa as we speak that make the carnage of Bucha look downright quaint by comparison, but I've never in my lifetime seen a war that is more pointlessly dangerous.
A savage proxy war between two disintegrating nuclear superpowers that somehow combines the Mad Max-style barbaric warlordism of Afghanistan with the almost casual disregard for mankind of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Every fucking second that that Slavic dumpster fire keeps burning brings us another step closer to a nuclear apocalypse and literally everybody has already lost this war months ago, at least in any way that counts. All conceivable reason should lead even an insane person to just fucking end this thing, but this monstrously hideous thing has defied all reason from day one.
The war in Ukraine didn't start this February, it started in 2014 when a wicked clique of neocons buried like a tick in the Obama Administration and led by Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, hijacked the Maidan protests in Kiev with openly fascist thugs and used what was left of it to overthrow the very corrupt but still very democratically elected government of Ukraine in order to replace it with something compliant enough to allow NATO to use the country as a platform to heckle Russia from.
Russia in turn responded by kind-of-sort-of recognizing the autonomy of the most heavily ethnic Russian regions of Ukraine that demanded independence from an overtly Russophobic new government that they never consented to be a part of. With Uncle Sam's credit card now in their arsenal, the new regime in Kiev responded to Russia's meddling by sending neo-Nazi death squads to these breakaway regions and launching a dirty war against their impoverished citizens for nearly 8 years straight, resulting in the senseless slaughter of over 14,000 people.
Meanwhile, NATO began throwing increasingly provocative dress rehearsals for Barbarossa 2: Electric Boogaloo on Russia's shores and borders with nuclear capable battleships and bombers until things finally exploded late last year into a jarring series of violent twists that has left even seasoned observers like myself with a serious case of whiplash.
In the Summer of 2021, Russia began stacking troops and heavy machinery at the border while demanding a sit-down with the newly elected president of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky to at least talk about the growing NATO presence in the Donbass and the Black Sea. Both Washington and their loyal flunkies in the Western press responded to this bully tactic by immediately predicting an imminent Russian invasion and began picking a procession of passing dates when the bombs would drop.
Zelensky and his administration desperately tried to convince the chickenhawks-at-be to end this self-fulfilling countdown to doomsday but also stubbornly refused to even discuss kicking these moneyed lunatics out their country with Moscow. As the pressure mounted, violence finally boiled over in the already embattled Donbass region while Zelensky openly toyed with the idea of restarting Ukraine's still very much operational nuclear weapons program.
On February 24th, Putin finally flipped his wig and responded with a full-blown shock-and-awe style invasion which he comically declared to be a special military operation. After boldly and brutally attempting to take the capitol of Kiev hostage, the colossal Russian military machine was nearly derailed, not by Ukrainian neo-Nazi battalions but by the irate Russian speaking proletariat who had foolishly voted for Zelensky to contain them, the same Russian speakers who Putin foolishly assumed would greet his own stormtroopers as liberators.
For his part, Zelensky initially seemed open to negotiations after it had become painfully clear that NATO had plaid him like a harp from hell and after a month of humiliating losses, Putin's army retreated from Kiev and headed back to the Donbass region to save face. In any sane world this would have been all she wrote but drunk on the cult of personality bestowed upon him by the Western war paparazzi and armed to the teeth with the latest killing machines US tax dollars could buy, Zelensky rejected diplomacy at a time when he held all the cards and doubled down on America's twisted dream of destroying Vladimir Putin with a tidal wave of Ukrainian corpses.
At this point the momentum appears to have violently shifted in Putin's favor as his forces have focused on liberating the only section of the map that had actually demanded his help. In fact, they demanded it nearly eight years ago when he was too busy leveling tenements in Syria to bother lifting a finger for the ethnic Russians he's suddenly so damn concerned about. Regardless, after spending a month struggling to hold onto a single neighborhood in the suburbs of Kiev, Putin took over 90% of Luhansk without even trying.
But with Antony Blinken and Boris Johnson whispering sweet nothings into his ear, Volodymyr Zelensky's objectives only became grander as he refused to even continue negotiations until his regime had completed the impossible task of retaking all of the Donbass and Crimea. With this the war grinded to a bloody halt on the ground but NATO still managed to intensify the conflict they started by sending Ukraine weapons like the HIMARS long range missile system, capable of hitting Russian territory from well past the Donbass.
Russia responded by announcing their intention to absorb even more territories like Kherson and Zaporizhya in order create a buffer zone of even more Novorossiyan human shields, large enough to make Zelensky's deadly new toys ineffective. But those same countries that promised Ukraine a mythical NATO membership to rile Putin into a sinkhole on his border just keep sending Kiev deadlier and deadlier toys.
The end result of this suicide circus isn't just thousands of dead bodies but a war without victors. There is no one left alive who can leave this battlefield with their head held high and there is absolutely zero prospect of things getting any better for either side. It didn't have to be this way. There were multiple clearly marked off-ramps to peace on this highway to hell but everyone involved just kept blasting past them with their pedal to the metal. And now we are left with a battlefield governed by broken losers.
Volodymyr Zelensky lost this war when he failed to realize that the only people who screwed him over worse than ones in Moscow were the ones in NATO. He could have easily brokered a peace deal with Russia after they left Kiev with their tails between their legs and left this clusterfuck looking like Churchill with abs. Putin would have gladly taken even a meager concession at that point just to save face after Russia's biggest imperial flop since the Afghan trap, but Zelensky chose to press his luck in the Donbass instead.
By doing so, he didn't just abandon Ukraine's best hope for a favorable outcome in this war, he abandoned the moral high ground to play Putin in someone else's neighborhood. The people of the Donbass have repeatedly made it violently clear that they have absolutely no interest in being part of the post-Maidan Ukrainian experiment. Regardless of Russia's manipulations, what Ukraine did to those people for years is no different than what Putin has done to Ukraine for months.
Zelensky's predecessors indiscriminately carpet bombed the People's Republics of Luhansk and Donetsk into oblivion for the crime of leaving Ukraine the same way Ukraine left Russia and for the same reasons. Zelensky was elected to end this savagery. Instead, he's decided to pick up where his predecessors left off to fulfill some sick twisted revenge fantasy. Zelensky will never take these territories back. All he can do is punish poor people on both sides of their borders and provoke a nuclear confrontation for his vanity.
Vladimir Putin lost this war the moment that he expanded it beyond the Donbass and stepped into America's trap in Kiev. For decades Putin displayed the kind of cool sociopathic discipline that has long defined Russian brinksmanship. He has played the long game with patience and poise from Damascus to Tbilisi and has repeatedly humiliated an often-bludgeoning American hegemon violently lurching towards its twilight in the process. This isn't to say that Putin is the anti-imperialist wunderkind that some desperate leftists have made him out to be.
Putin is a heartless fucking bastard, but he's always been a very sly heartless fucking bastard, practicing a kind of counter-imperialism using the gargantuan size of his American foes against them like a Judo master. This all ended the moment he crossed the Dnieper River. At some point, Putin made the fatal mistake that many once-great pugilists before him have made, he decided he was a bad motherfucker who couldn't lose and began fighting like an imbecile. This whole stupid fucking war could have been avoided had Putin simply taken back the Nazi occupied sections of the Donbass to begin with and left NATO to bitch about a region no one who doesn't use the Cyrillic Alphabet even gives a fuck about.
Even America has lost this goddamn war. Our economy has been decimated, not because Putin invaded Ukraine but because America declared war on the Russian people for his actions with a sweeping sanctions regime that has only resulted in strengthening the Ruble and making gasoline more expensive than cocaine. The entire Western World is on the brink of a massive recession and the entire Third World is on the brink of starvation. All because two empires decided to play battleship with Ukraine and the only people who have anything to show for it are the jackals who make the game pieces.
The Military Industrial Complex is raking in the dough, selling Stinger missiles faster than Putin can blow them up at the airport and footing taxpayers with the bill. At some point somebody has to say it. These motherfuckers need to go. A handful of corporations like Raytheon and Lockheed Martin have held the world hostage for a century and now they are risking full blown omnicide every fucking day just to make another buck. How are these people any better than the Nazis and how do we justify allowing them to exist? I'm not telling you; I'm asking you. Where do we draw the line?
I have been fascinated with war for as long as I can remember but there is only one war that I'm willing to fight with my own two hands and that is a war against the war machine and the state who keeps it alive with our stolen pocket change to justify their own malignant existence. As far as I'm concerned, Russians, Ukrainians, Americans and 99% of the planet should fight this war with me because our lives all literally depend on it.
Peace, Love, & Empathy- Nicky/CH
Soundtrack: Songs that influenced this post
* Stop Whispering by Radiohead
* One Step Beyond by Madness
* The Drowners by Suede
* Highway to Hell by AC/DC
* Where Do Ya Draw the Line by Dead Kennedys
* Mental Math by Julien Baker
* Kill For Love by Chromatics
* Bones by Soccer Mommy