Amateur hour

I haven’t written much about the prospective war in Ukraine because it is mostly a military farce:

Standing on the hood of an armored personnel carrier as his ashen-faced
paratroopers slumped behind him, Col. Alexander Shvets of Ukraine’s
25th Airborne reported back to command on a cheap cell phone.

“We’ve been taken captive. They used dirty tricks,” he said. The
hundreds of local residents and ragtag militiamen that had surrounded
his column of 13 APCs throughout Wednesday bayed. “Look,” he continued,
losing his patience. “I’ve been surrounded by a human shield of 500
people all day. You don’t know what you’re fucking talking about.”

As the sun set, Shvets and his men — many of whom were reservists
called up to help Ukraine regain control of the eastern province of
Donetsk from anti-government rebel groups — were allowed to drive back
to their base in neighboring Dnipropetrovsk. The day they spent here
outside the small town of Kramatorsk, hemmed in by angry residents, was
emblematic of the Ukrainian central government’s withering attempt to
assert control in the East, now in tatters….

Ukraine’s “anti-terrorist operation” against
anti-government rebels has proved a spectacular debacle. Soldiers
refused to move in on rebel-held positions. The rebels captured six
APCs, drove the soldiers into Slovyansk flying the Russian flag, and
sent them back on dingy buses, dejected, disarmed, and defeated.
Self-appointed “self-defense” commanders who couldn’t even agree on
which one of them was in charge disarmed and defeated Ukraine’s army.

This government ineptitude is a common theme of late. An elderly rancher forced hundreds of federal agents into retreat. A few hundred civilians captured multiple armored personal carriers. The USA has been pursuing an obviously futile occupation in Afghanistan for 13 years now to little purpose and no avail. Mexico is a failed state where cartels rule entire regions.

The central governments are exhausted and bankrupt. They’re turning up the tax and regulatory heat around the world even as their corruption becomes ever more apparent. Meanwhile, they are afraid to utilize their heavily militarized agencies because they fear the inevitable backlash that will threaten to destabilize their pretenses to legitimacy. The people over which they nominally rule are fat, decadent, weak, and fearful.

Fraud and empty gestures are the order of the day. A battalion of troops have been sent to Poland, of all places? A whole battalion to intimidate the Russians, who sent both Napoleon and Hitler running? This would be comical if it wasn’t an obvious harbinger of much more difficult times to come.