In the Land of the Blind

Sometimes I read things online and I honestly believe someone is spoofing me, playing some kind of prank.

This morning everyone is talking about the editorial by George Soros that was printed in the New York Review of Books about how evil Vladimir Putin is and how the European Union (and America, via the IMF) needs to spend untold billions of dollars to “save” Ukraine.

I won’t bore you with an analysis of why I disagree with Soros’s financial philosophies. Instead, look at this quote from the article:

Putin may then revert to the smaller victory that would still be within his reach: he could open by force a land route from Russia to Crimea and Transnistria before winter.

First of all, you can tell Soros is an idiot because winter is almost here already. It is freezing cold in this part of the world and we’re expecting snow in less than a month.

But a far better illustration of this lunacy is the very same map that’s included in the original article.

Here there be dragons
Here there be dragons

A land route to Transnistria?

Where exactly is this land route expected to go? Northeast in a direct line between Kiev and Kharkov? Hugging the coast near Odessa and then Mariupol? Either way that’s over 500 kilometers through deeply hostile territory.

Even if Putin were an idiot (which he isn’t), how is his almighty army expected to hold and maintain a 500 km land route to Transnistria? And why exactly does he (or anyone) need a land route to Transnistria at all?

The de facto government (and press) of Transnistria speaks Russian and uses a “ruble” for their currency, but the people who actually live in Transnistria are a combination of Russian speakers (and citizens of Russia), Ukrainians, and (Romanian-speaking) Moldovans. It’s hardly a united bloc of Russians that are waiting to welcome an invading army with open arms.

Furthermore, even if a magical land route were to be established between Transnistria and Russia, who would that benefit? Transnistria is tiny and already is doing quite well with the current arrangements.

Some of their manufactured goods (mostly steel, but also a lot of agricultural products like wine and brandy) roll unhindered right now eastward through Ukraine (and on to Russia in some cases). Other products get stamped as “Moldovan” and are currently doing brisk business throughout Europe, especially under the new rules that allow a lot of Moldovan products to be sold in the EU.

The Transnistrian government would love formal recognition from Russia but they don’t need some kind of magical “land route” to connect to the Russian Federation. And Russia certainly doesn’t need anything the tiny exclave of Transnistria produces. It is pure lunacy to suggest such a thing even if it wasn’t at the cost of sending in thousands of troops and tanks to make it happen.

Also, what’s really weird is how the map attached to Soros’s op-ed is labeled in a weird mix of Russian and Ukrainian spellings for the cities. Luhansk is the Ukrainian name for the city (Lugansk in Russian) while Kiev (the capital!) is the Russian spelling. All patriotic Ukrainians now spell it “Kyiv” in the Latin alphabet. Yet another sign that nobody behind this article knows what they’re talking about.

Sadly, it’s not just Soros who is pushing this bizarre myth of Russia invading Ukraine to secure a land route to the sacred oasis of Transnistria. NATO generals, both active (Phillip Breedlove) and retired (Wesley Clark) have also been pushing this nonsense. And just about every “Western” press has picked up Soros’s claim this morning, including the Romanian-language media.

With digital maps on everyone’s laptops and tablets and smartphones, you’d think the world would’ve progressed a bit since the days of the 1983 invasion of Grenada when the U.S. Army relied on (paper) tourist maps. Apparently not.

I realize I’ve never cost British taxpayers over 3 billion pounds sterling for my own personal profit and so thus I’m not “worthy” enough to appear in the New York Review of Books but trust me, nobody is going to be opening a land route to Transnistria any time soon.

17 thoughts on “In the Land of the Blind

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