Vladimir Putin Has Already Won, but Nobody Wants to Admit It

Russia is too big to fail.

Jessica Wildfire

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Photo by Artem Maltsev on Unsplash

I get it now.

Nothing made sense until today, when Germany announced that it plans to keep buying oil and natural gas from Russia, even as Vladimir Putin continues committing every war crime on the books. China also recently came out in support of Russia, refusing to condemn the invasion of Ukraine and calling them a chief “strategic partner.”

Now, everything makes sense.

The German Chancellor’s remarks remind me of 2008, back when Americans were asked to bail out the very banks and predatory lenders that crashed the economy. Those CEOs used our money to reward themselves with huge bonuses and buy back stocks, even while they hiked up prices and laid off workers. None of them saw a single day of justice. They went right back to doing all the same things that are about to collapse the economy again. We asked why. We were told these banks were simply “too big to fail.” In other words, we relied on our enemy.

It’s a bad situation to be in.

And yet, here we are.

Putin knows exactly what he’s doing.

You might call me disingenuous, a pessimist. Well, I think it’s disingenuous to keep paying lip service to human rights and democracy, when the unspoken truth is that much of the so-called “free world” has painted itself into a deadly corner, where it’s largely unable to act to save lives. We can’t do much of anything about Ukraine and all the future Ukraines until we stop pretending we pose a threat to Russia, economically or otherwise, and start acknowledging how badly we’ve fucked up.

Hence my writing…

There’s been a steady stream of very confident opinion pieces this month talking about the “big mistake” Putin made invading Ukraine. They speak in a tone that sounds cavalier, even arrogant. These are the same columnists who keep predicting the end of the pandemic.

They say Putin overplayed his hand.

They say Putin underestimated NATO, that he underestimated western resilience and resolve. They say he’s unhinged, that he’s spent too much time alone in isolation from the world.

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