The method in the ANC’s Ukraine madness

David Bullard on the case for avoiding unnecessarily offending Vladimir Putin


There’s an interesting discussion taking place online (where else these days?) as to whether Chinese President Xi Jinping might be rethinking his long threatened invasion of Taiwan in the light of Putin’s experiences in Ukraine. Putin’s original plan was to invade Ukraine and take the city of Kyiv within 72 hours. The war has now dragged on for over 5O days and the Russian fatalities stand at around 15 000, four times the number of US troops lost in a 20 year war with Iraq.

Although Russian troops have destroyed complete cities like Mariupol and Kharkiv that seems to be more in the line of recreational destruction rather than the achievement of any military goal. After all, if your aim is to seize control of a city and install your own government then you surely don’t want to rule over a pile of rubble with all utilities smashed beyond repair.

In a fascinating dialogue between historian Niall Ferguson and former four star US general and CIA director David Petraeus in last week’s The Spectator, Petraeus was scathing about the Russian war effort saying it had failed so far.

“….. it’s a mystery to me as to what the Russians accomplished in all the training, manoeuvres and exercises that they conducted for months on the border just east of Ukraine and in Belarus. It’s very clear to me they were camping, not training”.

While Petraeus gives a fail grade to Russia he gives an A pass to Ukraine, not just for the heroic defence of their country but also for the incredible leadership of President Zelensky.

The entire nation has been galvanised by a leader who has been positively Churchillian. There are four tasks of strategic leadership, and President Zelensky has performed each of these brilliantly. First, he has got the overarching big ideas right. Second, he has communicated the big ideas effectively throughout Ukraine and around the world. Third, he has overseen the implementation of the big ideas relentlessly. And, fourth, he has determined how he needs to refine the big ideas again and again. I think you give an A-plus since we’re using Harvard and Stanford grades.

None of this is likely to be music to the ears of Putin though and while the Nato countries and the US send in more munitions and ever more sophisticated weaponry Putin is even more likely to behave like a cornered rat. He mentioned nuclear weapons early on in the conflict and has since spoken about chemical weapons.

Since the Russians have already flouted most of the rules of war and broken every norm of the Geneva Convention it isn’t impossible that Putin would resort to such desperate measures, possibly even sending missiles into European countries that have been supporting Ukraine. Terrifying as the prospect is, nothing is off the table at the moment.

Sanctions may be hitting the Russian economy heavily and jobs are apparently being lost in their thousands but this is unlikely to influence Putin. Neither are the body bags returning to Russia from the war zone. As far as the freezing of assets of Putin’s oligarch chums is concerned it is proving to be rather more difficult than anticipated.

Thanks to the labyrinthine paper trails and the offshore nominee companies registered in the British Virgin Islands (with the UK government’s full support at the time) it’s almost impossible to prove the real ownership of some of the most expensive properties in London and the south of England. So the people that sanctions were intended to hit are largely unaffected and those most affected are unlikely to have any influence over Putin’s future plans.

Petraeus doesn’t rule out Putin’s use of some sort of weapon of mass destruction but makes the point that when certain thresholds are crossed in war then you pay for it in the court of public opinion. I very much doubt whether Putin could give two hoots about public opinion, particularly as his own citizens are fed a carefully prepared diet of propaganda which portrays the invasion of Ukraine as a noble quest to restore what rightfully belongs to Mother Russia.

South Africa’s non-committal reaction to the invasion of Ukraine has been heavily criticized but maybe there is, for once, method in the ANC’s madness. We know that the NATO countries and the US are quite happy to send munitions but don’t want to actually get involved in other people’s wars again.

So the chance of an attack on SA from Europe is minimal, no matter what our government does to offend them. The UK still donates £76 million a year to basket case Zimbabwe despite all the anti-white or anti-imperialist hate speech political leaders in that country spew.

Russia, on the other hand, is quite prepared to go to war and bash a few heads together so maybe staying sweet with them isn’t such a bad strategy after all. I’m not sure if a hypersonic missile would reach us from Moscow but I wouldn’t be keen to put it to the test. And without Russia where will our beloved Comrades go for medical care when their wives attempt to poison them?

As to whether President Xi Jinping has rethought his plans for Taiwan it’s hard to say. He has had nearly two months to observe the West’s reaction to his buddy Putin’s calamitous invasion. From that he would have learnt that the West has no appetite for fighting, that their down-scaled armies are vastly outnumbered by Chinese troops (2.1 million regular personnel in 2021), that the Chinese military are better equipped, better trained and more disciplined than the Russian military (on current evidence) and that all China has to fear are economic sanctions and damage to its economy.

That would only happen though if the West decided it could do without what China manufactures at prices far lower than anyone else can manage. Looking around my own house at the ‘Made in China’ products (including my Apple iPhone) my guess is that sanctions on China would be just as damaging to the West, dependent as they are on cheap Chinese imports and technology.

It seems Xi Jinping has little to fear.


Of course, that’s not entirely true. The thing Xi Jinping fears most is catching COVID and he apparently hasn’t left China ever since the Wuhan virus began. He is also terrified enough of the virus to have implemented a ‘Zero-Covid’ strategy which has involved locking down entire cities and insisting on regular testing.

The latest and most newsworthy of these is the financial centre Shanghai where 25 million people are either being told to stay in their soul-less high-rise buildings and never to leave them or are being transferred to very primitive and overcrowded quarantine centres where they sleep close to each other thereby creating the ideal conditions for viral transmission.

In scenes worthy of Ridley Scott’s ‘Blade Runner”, drones fly over the city telling people to “Control your soul’s desire for freedom. Do not open the window or sing”. This while thousands of people are screaming with frustration from the window’s of their cramped apartments. There was even YouTube footage of a robot dog with a megaphone strapped to its back trotting down an empty street warning people to stay inside. I think I might order one from The Crazy Store.

Naturally all these restrictions are necessary because the Chinese Communist Party head honchos care for and love the people and have only their best interests at heart. They obviously haven’t been too happy at all the leaked footage of food riots, attacks on the Haz-Mat clad thugs and the shots of screaming people which have appeared on social media because they much prefer to decide what people are allowed to see.

It does seem rather fanciful to force around 25 million people to stay at home without expecting them to object to the fact that they can’t go to work and earn money, can’t exercise and, most importantly, can’t get food or medicine.

Which is why I suspect that this has nothing to do with Zero-Covid and everything to do with seeing how much control you can wield over your citizens. Those that do fight back will obviously be executed but the majority are likely to submit to government will and do what they are told.

Our own tame commies tried this two years ago with bans on open toed shoes, rotisserie chickens, tobacco products and alcohol…. all of which failed miserably as South Africans simply made other arrangements to get hold of these ‘banned’ products.

As the Shanghai experiment drags on it will be interesting to see whether China experiences an uprising from unhappy citizens or whether they will manage to control their soul’s desire for freedom; a commodity that’s never been much in evidence in communist China.