A nice little conspiracy theory in re Putin v. Zelensky et al
Here it is March 2nd, 2022 and there is now enough information to speculate about what's going on in Ukraine, and, more importantly, about what comes next.
But first, a conspiracy theory: I believe that the generic left's hatred of all things Russian, largely based on factors like its abandonment of communism, it's mostly white population, and the reversion to Christianity among much of the population, provided the emotional support and shared "truth" needed for a small number of conspiratorial manipulators to emplace and support a major lie. The lie is that Russians are the enemies of the west in general and America in particular, and what that lie serves is Chinese expansion across what is now Siberia and Kazakhstan.
In this context what's going on in the Ukraine should have been a sideshow: just one more round in the endless civil wars and boundary adjustments the area has been heir to for centuries - triggered, in this case, by the opportunities created through western weakness; nine years of civil war in the donbass region; and, the expectation that bringing Russia's energy exports into China's banking system would provide an unsanctionable market while strengthening that nation's incentives to continue peaceful co-existence with Russia.
It became a world changing event when Russian ground forces were unable to deliver the swift, effective, and low casualty Zelensky decapitation they promised - that changed the Russian calculation and brought the manipulators into the open as everyone from George Soros and Swiss bankers to Emmanuel Macron and the Canadian Junior Hockey League spontaneously erupted into a well orchestrated chorus of undying support for Ukrainian democracy.
What we're going to see next, therefore, is some senior Russian officers coming splat-face to the end of their careers and a slow and grinding halt to the conflict as urgent orders to stand down get ignored and players on both sides feel their way to the resumption of business as usual with just enough shelling and sniping to keep the fight alive for their home audiences.
As a result the body count will leave the world's headlines while the left continues its con brio denunciation of Russia at least until Chinese peacekeepers enter first North Korea and then Kazakhstan - at which point Russia won't have the resources to defend its borders, it will be politically impossible for the west to come to Russia's aid, and Moscow will have to choose between going nuclear or mounting a desperate rear guard action against overwhelming forces as China takes over everything east of the Urals.
So what's east of the Urals to make all this worthwhile? about 12% of the world's land mass, perhaps 15% of above water accessible natural resources, and hardly any people - enough space, materials, and arable land to take several hundred million Chinese migrants while making China independent of the western world for food, energy, and metals.
It's obvious now that Russia doubled down on the invasion, removed many of the top staff involved in the planning, and is well on its way to a pyrrhic victory that it may, or may not, be able to hang on to - and also obvious that Russia is largely in the right on this. On the other hand those units look like the Canadian army: good soldiers trying hard, led by idiots, and nicely equipped with Korean war surplus gear maintained using parts sourced from the lowest bidders.
Meanwhile the U.S. biolab funding in the Ukraine could turn out to be both Putin's way out and the major reason everyone from George Soros to Trudeau want to risk nuclear war to prevent a Russian takeover in the Ukraine. I have no idea what went on there, but when people like Obama, Biden, and Pelosi all want the Ukrainians to keep on dying in a seemingly hopeless cause you have to wonder what their motivation is - and, historically, their motivation has never been either principled or the general good of all mankind.
So my hope right now is that there are A and B formations somewhere east of the Urals; that a ceasefire emerges with the Ukraine accepting neutrality while ending the civil war through a new vote in the border republics (thus ceding them to Moscow); and then the Russians publish everything they find about Ukrainian corruption and those biolabs.