27 March 2022 ~ 1 Comentario

The Idiot Vladimir Putin

By Carlos Alberto Montaner

I don’t think that Ukraine can enter NATO. It’s sad but true. The idiot Putin prevents it. Why “idiot”? It’s a very strong word. “Idiot”, because the former KGB agent is chained to a geopolitical perception prior to supersonic aviation and rocketry. His vision belongs to the time when the world was divided into zones of influence and it made sense to surround nations with a seemingly impenetrable shield. Today supersonic rocketry and nuclear weapons, besides international trade (because of “sanctions”), make the old vision of international relations obsolete.

The First and Second World Wars (the Second War was simply a sequel of the First) were the subject of the same mistaken vision, but there is no longer any right to make mistakes. After all, aviation was in its infancy in 1914 when Archduke Ferdinand, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian empire, and his wife Sofia Chotek were assassinated in Sarajevo, marking the dark beginning of the conflict that left 50 million dead, three empires dismantled – the Austro-German, the Russian and the Turkish – and a fourth, the British, slowly vanishing.

What would Ukraine have to do if it cannot enter NATO? Build atomic weapons, as North Korea has done. Donald Trump did not spare Kim Jong-un’s life out of empathy, but because he did not want to face the remote risk of a bomb falling in New York, San Francisco, Chicago or Miami. If Ukraine had had nuclear weapons, as it did until the 1990s, things would have been quite different.

At that time Ukraine’s nuclear weapons were returned to Moscow by means of an agreement guaranteed by the United Kingdom and the US. Putin would not have dared risk Moscow or St. Petersburg for the bad idea of ​​invading Ukraine. We tend to forget that Ukraine was the third country on the planet with the largest number of nuclear warheads: 1,900. If it had kept only a dozen, the picture would be different. Of course, after generating that devastation, Ukraine would be absolutely destroyed, but Russia would also be very damaged.

I don’t know how Russian think-tanks don’t realize that NATO is a club where the “proliferation of nuclear weapons” is prohibited. Those that have them (US, England and France) have no interest in other countries having them. If I were Putin’s adviser, I would tell him that Ukraine is better off inside NATO than outside of it. The same happens with the nations that formed the shield that supposedly protected the USSR: Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia (Czechoslovakia), Romania, Bulgaria and the three Baltic countries, all intellectually and economically capable of building nuclear weapons.

I take it for granted that Vladimir Putin does not want to return to the collectivist stage of Russia. I guess he actually has quit Marxism. I remember that in the nineties the metaphor of the “fishbowl” and the “fish soup” was used to affirm that it was very difficult to return to the capitalist stage. I also remember the line of needy people, almost all elderly, with a bottle of vodka in their hands, trying to sell it; or the fact that “Uber”, without an app, was invented in Russian cities, where it was enough to stop a vehicle and hire it to take you somewhere for a very modest price.

Somehow the metaphor of the “fishbowl” and the “fish soup” continues to be valid. Almost no one wants to go back to collectivism. In fact, it was very difficult to return to society and the market the ability to produce, with the inevitable differences that are generated, and the fact that, indeed, there are losers and winners in the capitalist model of production. It has to do with the character of the entrepreneur, with the studies, with the family that one has, with the contacts, with the values, with the currency in which transactions are carried out, even with luck, and with the rest of the factors that are involved in the results. Sometimes they are as unfair as appearance, including race, sexual preference, gender, and the weight and the size of the economic agent. However, collectivism is a hundred times worse, and people are willing to kill or be killed before going back to that stage.

When I visited Moscow, I heard many times that “the weight of the USSR must be removed from Russia.” I thought it was a very clever slogan. Neither the US, nor the rest of the “free world” – it doesn’t matter what that means – have any other weight than that of their own “social quality,” which means that millions of people try to enter the country whatever it takes. When is Putin going to find out that by killing Chechens, Abkhazians or Ukrainians he is not going to build or rebuild anything except his own failure? Just for that he deserves to be called an idiot.

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