20 May, 2022

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Putin’s Self-Inflicted Fiasco

By Kumar David

Prof. Kumar David

Ukraine joining NATO and/or the stationing nuclear weapons is a red line that neither the people of Russia nor a government that wishes to survive in domestic politics can permit to be crossed. This column for months has said so. But the offensive that began on 23 February was premature, unpopular, excessive and the outcome is doubtful; diplomatic options had not been exhausted. Putin is said to be a master strategist but this time he has blundered. He promised the world that he would not invade Ukraine and then did just that. The 170,000 troops he sent in are inadequate for the onerous task the Russian military has been assigned of taking and holding Ukraine for any length of time. As of this time of writing (1 March) not a single Ukrainian city has fallen to the Russians. Frustrated by this slow progress, enraged by French high-seas piracy in seizing a Russian cargo vessel and flustered by a tornado of sanctions and illegal acquisition of Russian bank assets, Putin has put his nuclear arsenal on alert. Is it bluff to distract from his cock-up? For a long game he needed a larger force, deeper pockets, careful explanation and preparation of Russian and world opinion and global alliances. He did none of this.

It is true that the US, NATO, capitalist Europe and the government in Kiev have for months if not years brushed aside Russia’s unquestionably justified security concerns. But Putin should have persisted in these efforts until Kiev made a practical move to membership. A decades old clause in the Ukrainian Constitution does not amount to an imminent move. Yes, if Ukraine’s accession to membership was imminent it is tantamount to a declaration of war but that was not the case. However, what is far more sinister and dangerous is that the US and NATO have lied time again promising not to expand NATO up to the Russian border and broken that pledge every time inching ever closer.

The two most important presentations you can access at this time giving a general background are by distinguished American scholar and Professor at Chicago University, John Mearsheimer;

Current situation:

Background (A perceptive talk given in 2015!):

Four European invasions inflicted cataclysmic suffering on the Russian people; a Swedish invasion in 1708-09, occupation of European Russia including Moscow by Napoleon’s Grand Army in 1812, World War I and Hitler’s devastation of Russia from its Western border all the way to the gates of Leningrad and Stalingrad. The invasion by Charles XII of Sweden during the Great Northern War, a monarchical contest between the sovereigns of Russia, Poland, and Denmark in 1707-09 was against Peter the Great. It began in January 1708 and ended with the Charles’ defeat at the Battle of Poltava in July 1709. Russia carried out its famed “scorched earth policy” employed again against the Grand Army and the Wehrmacht, one and two centuries later, respectively, at enormous cost. In WW2 the USSR lost 25 million men and women, more than all other combatants in the European theatre combined and suffered catastrophic devastation. These are seared into the national consciousness.

Putin’s remark “Russia’s security concerns are non-negotiable” is just what this column repeatedly predicted months ago but his military flop has wrecked his case. On the other side Biden and court jester Boris are playing to recoup domestic approval ratings. How may it end? Permanent occupation is infeasible – maybe a deal with Zelenskyy, or a coup in Kiev, or maybe Putin will agree to let the UN replace his “peace keepers” by a battalion or two of the traditional UN type, but no way will he go back on recognition of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent countries. A compromise has to be worked out, there is no other way in this age of dismal cynicism.

The Ukrainian air-force and air defences have been partly destroyed, its puny navel capability boxed in, but the army is fighting with resolve, civilians are mobilising and neo-Nazis are taking a prominent role; all bad news for Russia. A small country is no match for the Russian juggernaut which is probably taking the opportunity to field-test new weapons systems. Putin has now offered Kiev conditions for stopping the offensive; an undertaking never to join NATO and a promise to never station nuclear weapons in Ukraine. Similar what the Americans did to Cuba in 1962. Kiev should accept the conditions though it will anger America and NATO. In truth is it Putin who is being naïve? Has he not learnt from repeated false promises since 1991? But he has no alternative now; he wants sanctions which will bite deep lifted. The West is to blame for not making it clear from the beginning that Ukraine would never be allowed to join NATO. Why did it not do so? Because it needed a handle to screw the Russians, but the sorcerer’s practices are now out of control. The West’s clear objective now is to crush a Russia that is not under its control. It may win because Putin has stumbled.

Even if assurances are given, they will certainly not be honoured down the line. I am not imputing dishonest motives to Biden and Macron (Boris is a colourful clown and crook) but times move on, priorities change and leaders are as transient as a passing cloud; for this reason, Putin will attempt to get a secure hold on Ukraine’s polity. Something less than regime change as that would be too glaring and less even than stationing a battalion or two of troops. One option is a system of inspection modelled on the Iran nuclear pact. A protracted standoff short of war will include cyberattacks on each other’s banking sectors, SWIFT, energy and electricity dispatch centres, space controls like NASA, military-nuclear facilities and air-traffic control. In any event World War 3 will not start with gunpowder.

Russian economic and financial systems are being damaged by Western economic might, Putin’s regime has been undermined and who knows, he may have to go. Ukraine and Putin are small change in this mighty game of global finance-capital. Imperialism’s real need it is to bring Russia to heel and eventually forge a grand alliance against the real alternative superpower, China. Neutralising Russia will be helpful in this venture. The stakes are astronomically high for the whole world. All bets are off the table for now.

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Latest comments

  • 8
    2

    Depends on who wins the war.

    Winners write history, losers are history.

      • 0
        3

        KD: Strategic Sri Lanka will soon be like Ukraine!
        Ukraine with the active participation of EU//NATO expansion had become a US colony confronting Russia..
        Sri Lanka, headed by corrupt US citizens Rajapakse Brothers who have sold off our national assets including the Kerawelapitiya Yugadhanavi energy plant to US New Fortress, would soon be a US vessel state albeit with the active participation and expansion of Moda Modi’s India into Lanka – against China! Just like EU helped US!
        The Third world war – the West Versus Russia, China and the Rest is on.The Global South is being colonized with Digital Colonialism.

        • 0
          2

          Like Ukraine Sri Lanka could well become the Indian Ocean proxy war site for a US staged confrontation between China and India. Given that US citizen Rajapakse Brothers who are accused of war crimes and doing US dirty work are running Lanka.
          Sri Lankans need to be very conscious that the US is desperate for a big Asia war between China and India – to destroy the rise of Asia as the Worlds growth hub.

    • 0
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      Sensitive CT commenters over to you.
      .
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3eGYRkUcS4

      • 0
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        LM,
        The racist Rajapaksas are getting bad publicity. GL Pieris is no match for these people. That’s why they’ve removed the burial ban.

  • 14
    6

    KD, you are wrong again. The statements you make are generalizing and at times stereotypical. “U.S and NATO have lied time again in expanding up to Russian border”????. Since 2004 the members who joined NATO are Albania, Croatia in 2009, Montenegro in 2017 and North Macedonia was last to join in 2020. Where is the threat ??? Did NATO or anyone of these member countries threaten Russia in any way. In my opinion this is Putin’s war and not Russian and threat of Ukraine joining is a Putin’s made up lie to invade, if not for now, Putin would have still invaded Ukraine in future in pretext of some other lame excuse like his countrymen are being killed or discriminated. For a guy who told the world he was not going to invade until a day or two before, inventing lies, are as simple as poisoning rivals. Any new membership is a collective decision of NATO and you by making this statement is accusing all 30 members. If you are still ignorant, need to know Ukraine applied for membership years ago and was deferred for the same reason you give here. Already a NATO member, reinforcing security is their business and is one of the purpose for being a member. They are not there for name sake. Given Putin’s history /personality , no member country prefers to be a sitting duck like Georgia, Crimea or Ukraine.

    • 2
      1

      chiv,
      You question “where is the threat to Russia is, following the NATO expansion”.
      A fundamental question is “why does NATO exist following the collapse of the WARSAW pact”?
      Wonder if you had the time to watch the presentation by prof Mearsheimer (KD provided a link).
      Ukraine was destabilised by the USA. Even the USA Ambassador was on the streets demonstrating.
      We see the threat to Russia already – Biden’s assertion that NATO now plans to station more troops in the previous WARSAW countries. From the Russian perspective, it would be a catastrophe to have USA forces in Ukraine. That is the recipe for WWW 111.
      It is worthwhile for a university to conduct a study (perhaps it is still too early) to investigate the contribution the Russian ‘special operation’ or ‘invasion’ has made to ‘avoid a future’ nuclear war.

      • 3
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        Sunil, with all due respect here are my answers and feel free to correct me, 1) Why does NATO exist ?? is because of the fact, people like Putin still exist. It is a debate of chicken and egg which came first or after. If NATO did not exist do you really think Putin would not have invaded any one of those countries. If not for NATO who will protect smaller countries from neighboring bullies ?? Was NATO a reason for Hitler to invade ?? Is there a guarantee there will not be another Hitler or Putin in future. (NATO may at least discourage, but obviously not Putin). If countries can have a pact for economic development, prevent terrorism — how is that different from security. Right now if U.S ambassador is out on the streets with public, to show support to suffering Lankans , is that considered destabilization (of course Rajapaksas may say so) . None of the issues you mentioned (installing security , stationing troops) are of recent development. I first heard it almost 20 years ago. What changed acutely / a new development ,in past 1 to 2 years of pandemic, for Putin to invade now?? If at all it is Putin who made West to revisit these options by his behavior. Why is that Putin threatening with nuclear options when no one mentioned or threatened ??

        • 1
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          chiv,
          Thanks for the response.
          I certainly respect your views and it is healthy to have a debate.
          It is difficult to present a meaningful description in a short response. Obviously, such a response is based on my perspective, which could well be biased.
          1) Why does NATO exist? is because of the fact, people like Putin still exist. If NATO did not exist do you really think Putin would not have invaded any one of those countries.

          How would you support the proposition that NATO exists because of people like Putin?
          Russia was well-integrated with the European economy. So much so, part of Russian wealth is in the Western countries. Some of the high-end London properties are owned by the Russian Oligarchs. Even Putin’s immediate family was in London. Why would a modern Hitler allow such deep integration with the West?
          I would argue that Putin’s behaviour is the response to NATO’s unrelenting campaign to surround Russia. I don’t know enough to comment on the reasons for NATO’s desire to surround Russia.
          CONTD..

          • 1
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            CONTD..
            Ukraine is the fourth largest recipient of military funding from the US. The USA shares intelligence with Ukraine (openly admitted by the US), which makes Ukraine a de facto NATO member as far as intelligence sharing is concerned.
            Russia sounded out its concerns to NATO but were ignored. Is it reasonable for Russia to accept nuclear weapons in Ukraine? The answer is obvious. Then, why would NATO pursue the aim of absorbing Ukraine?
            One could argue that the Russian military analysts would have advised Putin that time was running out for Russia.

            If not for NATO who will protect smaller countries from neighboring bullies ?? Was NATO a reason for Hitler to invade ?? Is there a guarantee there will not be another Hitler or Putin in future.
            —-
            Good to check two of the NATO operations so far?
            NATO bombed Serbia (very complex issue arising out of the collapse of Yugoslavia), based on a request made by the UN Commander.
            NATO forces were deployed in Afghanistan and Europeans also had to foot the bill for troop deployment.
            So, it was not protecting countries from neighbouring bullies. NATO is a tool to extend Western hegemony.

            • 1
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              CONTD..
              If countries can have a pact for economic development, prevent terrorism — how is that different from security.

              Genuine security interest of one country could be seen an aggression by another country. It is all about the (1) composition of weapons and their reach (2) military alliances. Hence, military experts work out the details to reach a compromise. Such considerations do not apply to economic development although the US insisted that Japan needed to demonstrate the functioning of free trade by ‘defined reductions’ in the trade surplus.
              I will not deal with ‘Prevention of terrorism’ because it is based on the definition of ‘terrorism’. A terrorist could also be a ‘freedom fighter’ from a different perspective.
              —-
              Right now if U.S ambassador is out on the streets with public, to show support to suffering Lankans , is that considered destabilization (of course Rajapaksas may say so) .
              If elections are not held as scheduled, there is every justification for an uprising. Under such conditions, if the US ambassador chooses to show support to the public, then I would argue that it is not de-stabilisation.

              • 1
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                CONTD..
                The stiff resistance Russians encounter in Mariupol (Mariupol was nearly captured by the separatists in 2014) is evidence of a well-fortified base. Such fortification is based on the arms and the training provided by the West. What could be better than getting Ukrainians to fight the Russians for Ukrainian’s right to join NATO?
                The US strategy has worked well for the USA although Zelenskyy’s actions have been disastrous for Ukrainians.
                In the longer term, Ukrainians would hate the Russians, which is a very desirable outcome for the West. A cynic could say that NATO will fight the Russians until the last Ukrainian.

                Why is that Putin threatening with nuclear options when no one mentioned or threatened ??
                Russia does not have the capability to fight a conventional war with the NATO. Although we do not know how nuclear capabilities match, any differences in nuclear capabilities are immaterial because both the USA and Russia can destroy the world many times over.

                • 0
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                  As people think it’s US war and not NATO , my opinion is it,s putin war and not Russian. So he who decides when to stop. ( until last Russian or not) Obvious that Putin kerps shifting his goal post. Initially it was border areas, then few cities but the attack is all over Ukraine and now Putin says it may be the whole country.

                • 0
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                  Sunil my answers are not in the right order but tried giving my own opinion. Thanks for a healthy discussion.

            • 0
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              I already voiced my opinion on Wrongs committed by U.S. ( WMD) But that does not change the fact NATO is to protect their members. Personally I believe two wrongs will never make a right. To further discuss we need to agree that NATO and US are not same. Ukraine did have nuclear weapons under Soviet Union and Putin can still install in places he invaded or annexed.

          • 0
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            Sunil, I think to discuss further we need answers to 1) Is NATO and US are synonymous or NATO, an independent organization ??2) Is this truely Russia or Putin,s war.?? Because any further discussion will matter based on answers to above questions.3 ) European NATO members and EU took an independent stand differing U.S in working together with Russia integration.. But it’s the same EU who has now taken a firm stand against Putin. Especially German and France. Yes Putin personally has hidden slush funds in New York City.

  • 13
    3

    Prof, ……… We gotta first answer a simple question.

    Is NATO a threat to the Russian people ……… or to a dictatorial despot like Putin?

    Wherever NATO has gone, it has been embraced by former USSR “colonies” ………. they are welcomed with open arms ……. as a protection/bulwark against falling again back into …….. previous Soviet/Russian subjugation.

    Don’t you think NATO is more of thereat to Putin ………. than to Russia or it’s people?

    What would NATO do, liberate or colonize Russia?

    And what would Russia do ……. liberate or colonize Ukraine?

    • 3
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      nimal fernando

      “Is NATO a threat to the Russian people ……… or to a dictatorial despot like Putin?”

      Here is the capitalist answer:
      Los Angeles Times published a neat idea.
      Please read:

      Proposal to Buy Siberia
      L.A. TIMES ARCHIVES
      JULY 26, 1992 12 AM PT
      Walter Russell Mead’s plan (Opinion, July 19) to have the United States buy most of Siberia is splendid, except that politically the Russians cannot sell it. A variant which the Russian people might accept is to securitize Siberia.
      In order for such a plan to go into effect as soon as possible, it would have to be grand and simple and make use of existing institutions. For example:
      1. American investors would invest a trillion dollars in Siberia at the rate of $50,000,000,000 per year (invest, not spend).
      2. In return, they would receive a 49% interest in a series of corporations which would own all of the production of the affected area of Siberia.
      3. By treaty, American commercial law would apply for a period of 25 years.
      4. American banks would be permitted to operate in the area just as foreign banks are allowed to function in the United States.
      5. Initially, again in the interest of saving time, the corporations would be organized by American investment bankers. There would be at least two competing corporations in each industry.
      Time is of the essence. Think what it would mean to the people of Russia to have $50,000,000,000 per year invested now, to have all of those jobs, and to have those industries training Russians.
      JACOB OLIKER, Venice
      https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1992-07-26-op-5233-story.html

      • 2
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        Native,
        “Proposal to Buy Siberia”
        Is it my hyperactive imagination, or is a similar scheme operating here? Yo know, Port City, Hambantota, Oil tanks…..?

    • 3
      0

      nimal fernando

      “What would NATO do, liberate or colonize Russia?

      And what would Russia do ……. liberate or colonize Ukraine?”

      Why does NATO want to expand?
      Why does NATO want Ukraine to be part of its network?
      Don’t you think NATO membership could substantially increase Ukraine’s Defense and other budget and make the Merchants of Death very happy people/institutions?
      With all the weapon system USA and the Europe still worry about Russia. The Military Industrial Complex cannot be satisfied even with periodical wars. So it needs war everywhere.

      By any chance you occupy a top position in any of those leading merchants of death firms or the firms of strategic analyst, defense consultancy, ….

      Also does Putin’s unethically gotten wealth (petrodollars) bother Swiss banking systems and threaten US currency speculation?

      • 0
        1

        NV,

        That was in 1992, that US was suggesting the Siberian buyout to Russians. It was a good opportunity. Soviets had not the money to develop the oil industry of the region. They dismantled their empire to secure the Siberian oil. Now that they got it after 30 years, they want to reclaim their old ill-gotten empire back. In the meantime, countries of the former Russian colonists want their independence as they see a far more expansive way of life with the West and NATO.

    • 3
      0

      NF,
      .
      Please watch our self-proclaimed POLITICAL ANALIST of the nation
      .
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9a0S3Qv-GzM

      BP doest not seem to know what he is talking about.

      • 3
        0

        LM, Thanks.

        What can one say? ……… These are the people who put us in this situation today. They themselves don’t believe what they say ……. but think others would! :))

      • 3
        0

        LM,
        Even the presenter seems amateurish. He introduces DJ as the former “rusiyanu thanapathi” or “former Russian Ambassador”. The media is as ignorant as the politicians.

  • 10
    3

    Putin was expecting EU to melt but they in turn became stronger, then he put nuclear arsenal on alert expecting U.S to bait but they were smart to ignore and called for more sanctions. Past history and invasions are for historians to research and study , not a reason or even an excuse to intervene a country in the 21 century. Putin’s remarks ” His security concerns (not Russian) may be non negotiable” , but his warmongering and uncalled invasion is definitely non negotiable. Hence pretty much every country including those neutral Scandinavia has rallied behind NATO and taken a stand. If Putin takes over and decides to hold, is when the actual war begins. Then we will come to know whether he has enough fire power and money or these are just empty threats. In the mean time, he need to survive the coordinated sanctions, hoping his citizens do not come up with different plans. Yes Cuba, Iran, Venezuela did survive years of sanctions but none were so coordinated and were in active war.

  • 7
    1

    Countries expand from humble beginnings to become big empires; Some empires shrink and become a small nation; Some empires have disappeared completely in history. Kivian Rus consisted of a Russian component, Belarus and Ukraine in 860 AD. This nation grew into a big Russian empire and later expanded to form the USSR; along the way there were many wars and annexations of territories to form the Soviet Union.

    After the break up of the USSR, Russian empire has shrunk significantly.

    Ukraine has suffered in several wars and massacres in its history, and still suffering another war. Russia has suffered too while inflicting suffering on others along its journey.

    I don’t think I will take any sides here because some countries and empires want to expand at the expense of others. Think of American imperialism, if you like. America doesn’t want its hegemony in the world to shrink, but it will like to see it expand. Democracy is a fig leaf.

    To me it is a geopolitical phenomenon going on for at least 8000 years. The only thing is that I am witnessing some of these wars while I dwell on Earth.

    • 5
      1

      Thiru

      “I don’t think I will take any sides here because some countries and empires want to expand at the expense of others.”

      Even if you take sides you cannot effect much either, we can only have an informed moral position.

      Here is quote:
      Albert Einstein is often quoted as having said: “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones”.

      Well this quote must inform something to warriors and worriers too.

  • 9
    3

    The rest about socialism, imperialism are your personal views,.You say “West was not clear about NATO membership”, KD it’s time you sharpen your writing skills , Putin may be a psychopath but please give the devil it’s due, he is not retard or stupid like our typical Lankan politicians. Remember he was the director of KGB and now aiming for life time presidency. I mean it, because I LIKE your articles more for the style, humor, pun and at times unparliamentary, if not soon readers will consider you like Jehan, Rusiri, —— the list is unending.

    • 6
      1

      KD, if your objective is to tell readers, of a wrong committed by Putin, by bashing the West, don’t you think there are plenty around to do so ?? Isn’t it irony you discussed the very same in your previous writing . I may not be free of bias but I assure my opinion would have been the same, if it was U.S or any other country was involved, in exactly similar situation.

      • 2
        4

        “I may not be free of bias”
        That takes the cake for understatement.

        • 5
          1

          SJ, Putin may change though not expected in near future, but you will remain a hypocrite frog living in your own well. I hear your Ding Dong associates are in talks with Ukraine and keeping a clear distance from Putin.

          • 1
            4

            Use a dictionary before using words whose meanings you do not understand.
            Get some help with reading if necessary.

            • 5
              1

              I sure will do, in the mean time you get your head checked for disorientation,(RW won and SP lost) lack of abstract thinking, overt paranoia and grandiose delusions (Lankan PhD’s are crap, not a single writer in CT is worthy) and worse hallucinations( Venezuelans are writing comments in CT).

              • 4
                4

                Oh dear, a long confession, at last.
                Take a break, have a KitKat.

  • 4
    4

    The problem is that world leaders start wars without consulting our hard-hitting columnists and commentators. By doing so, they miss out on shrewd and smart intelligence. What a pity.

    • 4
      1

      Sarath, world leaders do start wars and give stereotypical excuses acceptable to many, which too is a pity. No wonder EU predicted the exact lame excuses Putin will provide, if at all he decides to invade Ukraine ( for that matter they never thought him doing) Can it be any simpler, people in year 2022 believing a simple excuse is good enough to invade a country and start a war. I wish there was such simple answer for 30 years of our Lankan problem.

    • 1
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      Sarath
      Imagine their listening to CT columnists and commentators for a start.

      • 4
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        I guess that is why you are hanging here so long. Of course not everyone gets personal thank you note from Chinese first lady. Do you think Rajapaksas are listening to your whining???

        • 1
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          You are the one who is whining all the time about the Rajapaksas.
          Did the Chinese first lady write to you? That should be a consolation.

  • 7
    7

    KD,

    Russia had the economy of Spain, now after the crushing sanctions, it will be a Portugal. Can military power be sustained in the face of such a crushing economic blow? Putin has lost his ability to dictate terms to the West; so much for any redlines.

    His empty threats of nuclear destruction don’t faze the West because it is mutually assured destruction.

    You, SJ, and many others on the internet have seized on John Mearsheimer, but he is ignoring the fact that Putin is a uniquely evil man who should be taken out of the system. The West can deal with Russia under another leader in the way that JM describes, but not with Putin. He is Hitler, Saddam and Gadaffi combined and will need to face the same fate. Let us see what all those Oligarchs deprived of their wealth, including yachts, planes, and Western women will do.

  • 6
    5

    Have you read anything about why Germany took a dramatic course correction to send lethal weapons to Ukraine and raise its defense budget above 2%?

    Because its chancellor, Olaf Scholz, who met Putin in person, found Putin to be a megalomaniac intent on restoring the old Russian empire and a pathetic liar. Putin did the same with Macron. And guess what, by doing the things that Americans had been pressing them to do for decades, Germany and France are now seen a lot more favorably in the US, creating unity in NATO. When the entire Democratic world comes together to trade and invest only within that bloc, except for some commodities and energy, it will have far-reaching implications for Russia and China. Despite their bravado, they will find that absent their interdependence with the West, they cannot sustain their economies.

  • 3
    3

    If the West is going to help Ukraine, they should directly attack Russian military targets. They should not strike the Russian soldiers in Ukraine. I need to tell honestly what I feel. Ukraine has sustained massive damage by the Russian planes and missiles. But the Russian Soldiers had done Ukrainians is not one in one millions of what the Rapist Army did to Tamils, It is prof. Kumar, like Valathukuraincha Idathusari consultants who lured President Putin into this trap. Even if GLP had consulted Putin, he would have done much better than Prof. Kumar, isn’t it?

  • 2
    0

    Part 1.
    The 11-year Yemen war, the rain of US and UK bombs by proxies, Saudi Arabia and UAE, has a media blanket over it. No one bothers about Yemen, not the mainstream media, not keyboard warriors. No one counts the thousands of dead, wounded and incapacitated. No one counts schools, hospitals, wedding and funeral parties bombed. According to UN figures, this is now one of the poorest countries with a near-starving 30-million populations without medicines, basic and vital goods. But our keen focus is on Ukraine.

  • 2
    0

    Part 11.
    The problem in Yemen is its large Houthi segment. They are of the Shia religion, the same religion as in Iran. The West and two Arab countries don’t want them next door with political power. Will give their own large and brutally-suppressed Shia populations ideas. So kill them. Make the world love and worry about Ukrainians. After all, as one BBC correspondent unashamedly said the other day [and here I depend on memory]: “These are no ordinary refugees. These people are white with blue eyes and blond hair like us.” That may be the same sentiments that distresses our bleating Lankan populations. “White no. Sin men.”

    • 4
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      Sarath, I agree that West is selective with their actions and our own country is an example, where there is no need to look any further. But do you agree, it is the West which eventually rise to the occasion and gets much needed international attention/help ( in natural calamities, HIV , pandemic in Africa —etc) regardless of getting blamed at the end. Irony is that, West responded within days after Tsunami, but took more than 30 years to respond to our man made tragedy.

      • 4
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        Udaya called Basil “an ugly American” who is trying to control Lanka. He further accused of an international conspiracy, which he will reveal soon. It’s likely, this too will be added to U.S sin list. I wonder what Udaya thinks about the other U.S citizen ??

    • 4
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      Sarath,
      I also heard a comment from a journalist (can’t quite remember which broadcaster it is) in the lines of ‘…these are the Europeans who are dying….
      Essentially, the implication is that, it is normal for Arabs, Black Africans and Asians to die in conflicts.
      Double standards everywhere!

      • 2
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        Sunil,
        The latent racism is always just below the surface. It comes out at unguarded moments.

        • 2
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          OC
          That is certainly true.

          • 5
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            OC, Sunil, et al.,

            That may be true, but before you make a big issue out of it, consider how South Asians themselves treat others within their own societies.
            Do Sinhalese and N-E Tamils treat the upcountry Tamils (and to some extent Muslims), on an equal footing? Do the North Indians treat the South Indians on an equal footing? Do South Asians and Arabs treat sub-Saharan Africans on an equal footing? Do they even care to read about the poverty and violence there?

            The human mind has an inborn tendency to form a certain pecking order and treat others with a certain amount of disdain. As long as this doesn’t lead to serious roadblocks for the progress of all societies or overt discrimination, I don’t dwell too much on it.

            • 0
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              Agnos,
              “consider how South Asians themselves treat others within their own societies.”
              Even ones of the same skin colour .
              But isn’t there a theory among some that Tamils are darker than Sinhalese?

  • 2
    1

    If we dig deeper into history we will find the “Winter War” USSR had with Finland between 1939 and 1940. USSR “suspected” Finland might harbor enemies of the USSR and started a war which resulted in Finland ceding about 10% of its land to the USSR. Finland remained neutral during WWII. Russia used similar reasoning to annex part of Georgia as we all know.

    Now with the eagerness of Ukraine to join NATO Russia finds stronger reason to attack Ukraine.

    I am not finding fault with Russia, but merely stating the historical facts.

    Other powerful empires of the West, China, and India have in the past resorted to such acts of wars or annexations of territories of other nations.

    We simply have to get used to the world we survive in:

    Big and powerful are mighty; smaller ones are at their mercy. If we have a multi-polar world like one we moving into now, a smaller nation might survive I suppose if it has one power on its side. With NATO providing arms, funding and assistance, the odds are high that Ukraine will survive; may be after ceding part of its territory to Russia.

  • 5
    5

    What I like about Kumar David’s predictions is that they mostly fail, and thus I know what not to expect.

    • 6
      3

      At least KD gives his own predictions whereas you give predictions of Xinhua, CCP, CDT, Ecns —- which mostly fail, and thus we know what not to expect.GROW UP if not too old. I remember you blowing your own trumpet typing ” none of those who write in CT are considered worthy”

      • 1
        5

        None of the acronyms make predictions.
        Some are news media.
        Will you know the difference?

    • 3
      4

      Hopefully, at least, at your death bed, your narcissism & Stalin-ism may end.

      ” thus I know what not to expect “ why “thus” and what is it?

      • 2
        3

        Yawn!

    • 5
      1

      SJ, this is what you mean “PhD crap”. I get it. You like KD but not his crap PhD.

      • 0
        5

        Did you have your language lesson?
        Never mind!
        Have a KitKat.

        • 4
          1

          No Thanks. Few of us remember how few language lessons from you was enough for that poor guy TV to leave CT ( ex MP ‘s son)

      • 4
        1

        SJ, seems like tinge of professional jealousy. Happens to few when they get old.

        • 2
          3

          SJ had a little troll
          whose wit was very slow.
          Everywhere that SJ went
          the troll was sure to go.
          *
          Dr No 0,
          Any little kids around, like grandchildren?
          I can offer a few more stanzas.

          • 2
            0

            “SJ had a little troll “
            Ha ha ha ha
            When was that demon troll had the little troll? When it was 6 years old? Wow! Did the little troll too went to Britain to study Communism?

            The heroines in Valli Thirumanam and Sakuntham grew up with fawns and became known for their graceful acts. Same time, the demon troll grow up with the little troll became worse than Mahanama’s lion pup, Vijeya. Is that why Britain deported the demon troll?

            • 0
              0

              Apologies if this petty troll is sad that I forgot him.

              • 0
                0

                “iffffffffffffff ?

                Sad to hear that your bloated tummy still neither resting nor letting you rest!
                Give up Deva. That is the only way!

            • 0
              0

              Mallai , now a days SJ is into nursery rhymes. Here is his special BLAH BLAH black …..

          • 0
            0

            Grumpy old grandpa let grand children check diaper size.

            • 0
              0

              Never liked nursery rhymes?
              No little kids around?
              One of the twin grand children (the gentle one) can improvise on nursery rhymes.
              I can ask for suitable rhymes for you. Will be good for your mental development– never too late.

    • 1
      0

      SJ
      The banter from University days is still alive!!

      • 3
        6

        SA
        I communicate directly as well when an extensive comment is needed or one that will be abused here.
        It was no banter. I was plain annoyed as this is among several matters where KD does not think through enough and re-offers the media narrative.
        I do not want to go into much detail here. His line of analysis is utterly flawed.
        *
        Look at this: “It is true that the US, NATO, capitalist Europe and the government in Kiev have for months if not years brushed aside Russia’s unquestionably justified security concerns.”
        Was it a matter of brushing aside?
        It was planned undermining of Russian security which started with the coup of 2014. Does he even mention the coup?
        I will not bore you with further detail.

        • 5
          1

          SJ
          I agree.
          It was certainly not an innocuous exercise of brushing aside Russian concerns.
          What is unfolding in Ukraine now is the culmination of a well-planned effort to diminish Russia.
          With the ongoing NATO expansion, Russia should have considered 2014 as the final warning.
          Russia should have acted methodically after 2014 but it waited too long (2022) to act.
          Some of my non-Sri Lankan colleagues do not have a deep understanding of international affairs – they are pro-American to start with.
          I have listened to the Indian representative’s speech at the UN Security Council. I admire the Indian position and the manner it was communicated.
          Australia is complaining that China is assisting Russia by importing Russian wheat – Australia prefers to export its own wheat after a record production!!
          India in the QUAD is an anomaly.

      • 3
        0

        Sunil, good to know there is someone other than me is having fun. But are you sure it’s all banter and not inflated ego of a now grumpy old man. Who else would no better than you, his university buddy.

        • 3
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          Sorry who else would know better than a uni buddy.

        • 0
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          chiv,
          Both KD and SJ are exceptionally gifted individuals.
          It was great fun and quite frankly an educational experience listening to them having a go at each other!

          • 3
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            Sunil, you seems humane and definitely not grumpy. Apologize for mistaken you a buddy of Prof. ” . EVERY WHERE THAT SJ WENT” ?? Poor soul , a mix of paranoia/ persecution/ grandiose delusions.

            • 0
              0

              What a sad retreat!

        • 1
          3

          Hi Sunil,
          Great news.
          We were university buddies!
          How come that we sat together for a chat?
          *
          Poor soul– I mean troll.

          • 2
            3

            Sunil
            How come that we never sat together for a chat?

            • 0
              0

              You returned from the UK (after your PhD) in my third year. I was an intent listener to many conversations you had with KD. Lecturers do not remember students but students remember them very well!!

              • 0
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                Sunil
                That comment was not directed at you, but at a pest of a troll.
                *
                Just to clarify, there is banter and there is serious discussion.
                I think that I have spent more time debating with JVP youth like Keerawella and Tamil leftists like Vishva at the time than with academic colleagues. (I had no chance to talk to Bopage until he was behind bars.)

                • 0
                  0

                  Even DJ in the 1980s.

                  • 0
                    0

                    Keep blowing EVEN DJ??? That’s an achievement.

                  • 0
                    0

                    Even DJ ??? It would have been quite an event. Narcissist going at each other trying to out smart.

  • 11
    3

    What was Putin supposed to do? Eight years of negotiating went absolutely nowhere.

    President Biden’s spokesperson was all over the militarist-corporate mainstream media this past weekend assuring everyone that Russia never had anything to fear regarding NATO. What a blatant distortion emanating from the same nation that obliterated Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yugoslavia and almost Syria.

    Moreover, this flatulence of the mouth is coming from the same nation that has handed military arms and equipment to a kleptocratic Kiev regime that’s been waging daily bombing campaigns against the ethnic Russians in the Donbass for the past eight years. It should also be remembered that through Ukrainian territory was where Napoleon and Hitler invaded Russia killing millions.

    Given this reality, it’s the height of effrontery and audacious propaganda for the Biden clan to lecture the world about how Moscow never had anything to fear relating to NATO’s eastward expansion. And Zelensky had just returned from Munich essentially vowing that Ukraine would seek nuclear weapons.

    Western talking heads essentially champion the idea that NATO’s no big deal and nothing to worry about. If so, why does the Washington empire insist on expanding it to Ukraine? Why not simply grant the Kremlin its very reasonable and long sought security guarantee of Ukrainian neutrality?

  • 3
    1

    Disturbing reports are coming about people of non-European background, Arabs, Africans, South Asians, many of who are even citizens of other western countries being harassed and illtreated by Ukrainian border guards and in the eastern European countries where they are fleeing to. They are stating all these are first reserved for Ukrainians ( meaning to white Europeans ) and then only when they have been serviced, you may partake or cross the border. Many have complained one an African student, another a man of Iraqui background who has been a Danish citizen for the past 32 years. These people are complaining of racism but they themselves are racist to the core, why should be sympathetic to these racists, eastern Europeans many of whom have a standard of living far below a middle-class Sri Lankan or Indian but think they are superior just because they are whites. Western European nations and the USA pander to these people as they are fellow European whites. If these people behave in this manner I have no sympathy for them. Ukraine has supplied lots of arms to Sri Lanka, many of them banned and even pilots to bomb and kill innocent Tamil civilians, proving these people have no morals and now behaving in this racist discriminatory manner, whilst complaining about racism and discrimination from the Russians. May be they deserve what they get.

  • 2
    0

    A friend emails me:
    Reading this, I was reminded of the saying that the man who fell down from a tree was attacked by a bull…
    “Police in Poland have warned that fake reports of violent crimes being committed by people fleeing Ukraine are circulating on social media after Polish nationalists attacked and abused groups of African, south Asian and Middle Eastern people who had crossed the border last night.
    Attackers dressed in black sought out groups of non-white refugees, mainly students who had just arrived in Poland at Przemyśl train station from cities in Ukraine after the Russian invasion. According to the police, three Indians were beaten up by a group of five men, leaving one of them hospitalised.”
    “Around 7pm, these men started to shout and yell against groups of African and Middle Eastern refugees who were outside the train station,” two Polish journalists from the press agency OKO, who first reported the incident, told the Guardian. “They yelled at them: ‘Go back to the train station! Go back to your country.’”
    Let me add: A young Indian student was attacked and killed in Kiev when he went to buy food a few days back. The Russians are not yet in Kiev. Not difficult to guess who the killers were.

    • 0
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      Sarath the student is a 4th year med student from Karnataka. Another Sikh student died due to complications in a hospital. Heard about the abuse but not sure .

  • 2
    3

    One valorous man is trying to save Ukraine single handedly while western countries are watching and clapping. I am not asking to send Ukraine military equipment, which is insane. Isn’t there anything else these powerful countries can do to save Ukrainians?
    Damn the UN, US, NATO and EU!!! What are they for? The UN should be dismantled. It is of no use.
    The Ukrainian President will not bow down to Russia for sure, but he agreed for talks. Belarus Talks are too slow, which will continue until Russia annexes Ukraine!
    A part of Donbass region is under Russia, but they are not advancing towards Central Ukraine from that side. Russia taking over DPR and LPR could be a relief for Ethinic Russians & Russophones who were said to be subjected to ethnic cleansing at the hands of the Ukrainian military.
    Russia will not negotiate over Donbass. But, at least other parts of Ukraine could have been saved through talks.
    Sanctioning Russia didn’t do any good to Ukraine. Sanctions were meant to isolate Russia, but ultimately Ukraine ended up having no one to turn to. Isolating President Putin won’t save Ukraine. Instead, he should be encouraged (?) to engage in direct peace talks.

    • 4
      0

      Champass

      “Damn the UN, US, NATO and EU!!! What are they for? “

      To protect war criminals, crooks, rich …. people from the long arm of the law. See how your Sinhala/Buddhist war criminals and robber barons are living in total comfort while the people of this island are on the verge of committing mass suicide.

      I find your demand for selective justice amusing.

      By the way your one time hero Wimal has been sacked from cabinet along with another up and coming Sinhala/Buddhist racist Udaya.
      I felt very sad about it.
      Aren’t you sad?

  • 4
    0

    Disappointed, Kumar?

  • 3
    1

    is this Putins fiasco or the Westen and Zelinsky’s ?

    Putin warned many many times. The other parties either laughed at his demands Said he will not invade .

    duh.

  • 3
    2

    I sure will do, in the mean time you get your head checked for disorientation,(RW won and SP lost) lack of abstract thinking, overt paranoia and grandiose delusions (Lankan PhD’s are crap, not a single writer in CT is worthy) and worse hallucinations( Venezuelans are writing comments in CT).

    • 2
      2

      The troll is hallucinating too?
      Poor sod!

  • 3
    2

    Putin is unreliable both in war and diplomacy. His external aggression is an escape route from internal popular dissent. New generations and enlightened Russian people are moving against his authoritarian dictatorship. He promised not to invade Ukraine but did the opposite in weeks’ time. He has prepared his nuclear forces without any external threat. The danger of a nuclear war in Europe is real now with his bombing of a nuclear power station in Ukraine. He does not appear to be deterred by the UN General Assembly resolution. He may concur Ukraine but will not be able to hold the territories in the long run. Ukrainian People’s resistance will persist. It is a modern country with enlightened nationalism although with extremist sections within.
    Whatever the duplicity, weaknesses, or wrongs of the Western countries, we (Asians) should not fail to understand the bigger picture of the struggle or choice between democracy and dictatorship, right and wrong, or people’s freedom and oppression. India, China and even Sri Lanka should not be equivocal. This is not a choice between Russians and Ukrainians. This is a choice between right and wrong. Upholding the UN Charter and independence and sovereignty of all countries is important.

    • 5
      2

      This is a choice between right and wrong, AMEN.

      • 3
        2

        By the way where is our real conspiracy theorist/experts Dinuk and DRS ???? Hope they are not in Ukraine , on investigative mission.

        • 2
          1

          Great, soon I after writing the comment Dinuk came into action. Now it’s DRS turn, to come up with a very lengthy article on Ukraine crisis.

      • 5
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        chiv

        Laksiri Fernando types “Upholding the UN Charter and independence and sovereignty of all countries is important.”

        UN charter is considered unnecessary evil which our chattering classes and so called intellectuals believe infringes our sovereignty (whatever that maybe). War crime deniers and war mongers go one step further and dismiss UN ruling/reports on regular basis.

        Now why suddenly has the UN charter become important?

        Did anyone supporting the clan and the state insist on complying with UN charter apart from honouring war criminals and robber barons with DSc and LLD?

        You remember Dinesh another racist hypocrite went to UN and dismissed UN findings and rulings.

        On record I have been campaigning for an impartial investigation of all war crimes committed by the state from 5th April 1971 to date.

        What is intellectual honesty?

        • 2
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          Native I agree.

    • 1
      1

      Hello Laksiri,
      The issue is not a choice between democracy and dictatorship.
      It is neither an issue of upholding the UN Charter nor ‘right and wrong’.
      Right and wrong have been replaced by each country’s ‘interest’. What is right for one country is wrong for another.
      World is experiencing the consequences of NATO expansion. Pure and simple.
      All the above-noted considerations were of no consequence when the USA and the UK (with Sir Blair playing the role of the lapdog) invaded Iraq. There are many other examples – too numerous to note.
      The UN is a tool to be used when it suits the West.
      China and India staying on the side-lines, is evidence that there is no global denunciation of Russian action. So far at least.
      It is the ‘balance of terror’ (mutually assured destruction) that is in operation now. Nothing else.
      Sadly, that is the only language that dominant countries appear to understand.

      • 0
        1

        Sunil,
        “The issue is not a choice between democracy and dictatorship”
        You’re right. We’re told America is a democracy. But on closer inspection, doesn’t it have a pretty peculiar system of candidate selection? We hear much about Russian oligarchs. But why aren’t George Soros, Bill Gates, or Jeff Bezos called oligarchs? Would Russia be justified if it seized Mark Zuckerberg’s yacht?
        On the other hand, I am amazed at how many faithful non-Russian Communists support Putin. They don’t seem to understand that he’s a nationalist who has restored the power of the Church, and even gets priests to bless his tanks!

        • 4
          0

          OC, Sunil,

          Despite any peculiarities in the electoral college system that gives more power to states with a small population, in terms of democratic freedoms, how can China and Russia come anywhere close to the US? It is like night and day.

          You are also mistaken about the term oligarch. In the context of Russia, it has a specific meaning, referring to those who became billionaires using their closeness to Putin to swindle state resources and dominate businesses, and then have influence over Putin’s political power.

          Those who simply became billionaires using entrepreneurship in a free market as in the US are not oligarchs. They don’t control the country’s political power. Bezos’ Amazon can’t get a Pentagon cloud computing contract unless it provides the best and the most cost-effective proposal. The procurement process cannot be interfered with even by the President, though Trump sometimes tried to flout it. Bloomberg tried to spend a billion dollars of his own money to become President but wasn’t even in contention.

          • 1
            0

            Agnos,
            You have raised a number of issues!
            The purpose of my comment was not to compare the kind of democracy that USA has with the political systems in Russia or China.
            You know very well the manner contracts were awarded to Bechtel for services in Iraq. Bulk of the funds allocated to Iraq war was recycled for the benefit of security services providers.
            There were several investigations on the government being overcharged.
            With Russia, oligarchs were created by the Kremlin. All I say is that politicians create very wealthy people everywhere and the USA is no exception. Remember the debates and compromises on the appropriation funds (pork barrelling). Sri Lanka is a textbook case.

          • 1
            0

            Agnos,
            Wasn’t Trump a billionaire businessman with not-so-clean deals to his credit? Would he qualify for oligarch status?
            Let me be clear. What Russia did is as bad as what Hitler did to Czechoslovakia. But it still isn’t as bad as what Bush did to Iraq . We must remember that the same media that cheered Bush are now trashing Russia.
            When labels are applied, like “dictator” or “oligarch”, it is well to check the identity of the labeller.

  • 1
    0

    Kumar,
    I haven’t listened to (rather, read the subtitles to) Mearsheimer, yet, but I have read so many articles now about the situation that I feel my early response, posted on CT, was rather naive — something like “I stand with the Ukranian people”.

    And so I’m just going to repeat something I urged earlier here for those of you who may still be stuck where I was some days ago, namely Craig Murray’s article at:
    https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2022/03/the-universal-boosting-of-putin

    which some commentators have called “amateurish”, but it produced a fascinating discussion among them. One led me to a tv interview with journalist Chris Hedges, which was interesting during the few minutes he actually got to speak, but rather tested my patience.
    A couple of his short articles re the war are:
    https://scheerpost.com/2022/02/24/hedges-the-chronicle-of-a-war-foretold/ &
    https://scheerpost.com/2022/02/24/not-one-inch-eastward-how-the-war-in-ukraine-could-have-been-prevented-decades-ago/

    My apologies if all this is old hat to some or most of you.

    • 3
      0

      Manel,

      Add Siddharth Varadarajan’s “Ten Theses on the War in Ukraine and the Challenge for India” to your list.
      https://thewire.in/world/ten-theses-on-the-war-in-ukraine-and-the-challenge-for-india

      • 0
        0

        Will do. Thsnkyou, Agnos.

        I finally managed to “listen” to US political sci Prof. John J Mearsheimer yesterday & sent some sites to Dr Asoka who says “Send Putin th America”.

        I’m appalled by how the boycotting of Russians & their “products” is proceeding by leaps & bounds — so that even Netflix is withdrawing its streaming of a Tolstoy classic, virtuoso Russian artists of all kinds are being sacked or shunned, & even dogs bred in Russia are banned from animal competitions!

        And yet a limited boycott of Israeli goods from the Occupied Territories, products of an apartheid state with blood on its hands for well over 70 years now, is banned in so many Western countries!

      • 0
        0

        Agnos
        I broadly agree with Sid V’s analysis. I wonder if you do.
        The tenth thesis sums up all of it nicely:
        Neutrality of Ukraine is perhaps the only viable solution.

        • 2
          0

          SJ,

          No, though I often agree with SV’s views, on this issue I don’t fully agree with him. I simply wanted Manel and others to consider the Indian perspective as well.

          I find my views to be more in alignment with Klaus Richter, a history professor in the UK, but I saw his views on Twitter; I don’t have the time to research his writings and provide more info or links here

        • 0
          0

          SJ,
          “Neutrality of Ukraine is perhaps the only viable solution.”
          Yes. It has happened before by agreement, in another Russian neighbour, Finland. Everyone was happy. It didn’t stop the Finns from being as capitalist as they liked.

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