From Russia with hate

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Was Russia behind explosions that caused three leaks on the two Nord Stream gas pipelines under the Baltic Sea on Monday? If so, the security implications for Europe — and by extension the rest of the planet — could be dire indeed. It could mean that the EU’s undersea energy and communications infrastructure is now a Russian target, and European militaries should get ready for a brand new front in the Ukraine war that could bring them into a direct showdown with Russia’s navy.

Britain has long feared that Russian submarines in the North Atlantic and other northern waters could strike undersea cables critical to the internet. This week’s explosions are grim reminders that those fears could be justified. It’s real Tom Clancy Cold War stuff, reminiscent of a time when soviet submarines played high stakes games of nuclear brinkmanship with NATO fleets.

But this time the real question is “Why?” Back during the Cold War it was generally (however mistakenly) believed that the Soviets had nuclear parity with the West. Their nukes supposedly equaled our nukes, their subs equaled our subs, and their strength equaled our strength. However dangerous and white-knuckle scary the game was, it was more or less a balanced game, and it was that balance that kept both sides from firing any serious shots.

This time the Russians are at a distinct disadvantage and therefore the situation is that much more dangerous. So the question remains ”Why?”, and the answer has to be Vladimir Putin. Putin is the kind of man who doesn’t seem to care if the world knows he’s behind the evil he does. Like some real-life Bond Villain, he arranges for perceived enemies to “fall” out of windows by the dozens, despite the lottery odds against those falls being accidents.

What’s more (and to everyone’s surprise) the war he’s fighting in Ukraine is a losing war. Ukrainian troops are pushing back dispirited Russian troops, and newly-minted Russian draftees are fleeing the country. This is, in short, a bad time for Putin to tweak Europe’s nose, but tweak he does.

The reason may be nothing more than the unmistakable fact that Putin is a man who hates, and he lashes out at what he hates. It doesn’t need to be any more complicated than that. Cruelty is the point. He has some dark evil need that requires constant refilling in much the same way Donald Trump requires constant praise. Putin loves evil and he wants the world to know he is the servant of evil.

The discontent with Putin among Russia’s ruling elite is not to be discounted. With each passing day, they and the Russian people are growing increasingly disgusted with the Russian leader, shrinking his inner circle and increasing his paranoia. Like Hitler in his bunker, could Putin be planning some sick and misguided vengeance on the world?


I’m reminded of King Henry II, the English monarch who ruled nearly a thousand years ago, and his rhetorical question about Thomas Becket: “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?” Unlike last time, this time it might be a pretty good idea. Russia, if you’re listening … . And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.

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