It looks like Vlad the Invader is finding out how unreliable relying on sycophants as one’s medium of choice can be. Surrounded by billionaire oligarchs and civil indentured servants whose primary purpose in life is to tell Vlad how wonderful, how smart, how completely right he is, he has been making a number of poor choices the past few years, culminating now in his remarkable mistake: the invasion of Ukraine.
He has grossly underestimated the strength of the in-country Ukraine resistance. He has completely missed Joe Biden’s ability to rise to an occasion when a true crisis hits. He has failed to understand that the Russian people do not want a war and that even his presumed allies, former SSRs that border Russia and up to now have been quite supportive, feel that invading a sovereign country (which they each and every one have been since the fall of the Soviet empire) is a terrible idea that they can’t support.
Does he not see that the leaders of those now independent republics look at what he is doing to Ukraine and think to themselves: “If he can do it to Ukraine, he could do it to my country too. My country, one that I run, not him.” Many readers may recall the United States’ flawed “domino theory” that led to the Vietnam debacle. Now the dominos are Kazakhstan, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, to say nothing of the breakaway republics that have turned to the West: Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and Moldova.
Sweden and Finland, who up to now have carefully maintained their East-West neutrality, have now firmly aligned themselves with the West. Germany is showing legendary Teutonic strength of will and resolve, willing to undergo the pain of energy shortages to teach Putin a well-deserved lesson.
Even Vlad’s new best friend forever, Xi Jinping, is maintaining a very cautious and jaundiced eye on the whole proceeding. His commitment to Vlad’s cause seems to be limited to purchasing Russian oil, now that the EU is weaning itself from Russian supplies.
A medium is literally a go-between that connects a recipient of information to a source. Putin has chosen poor sources and he is learning how big a price he has yet to pay.