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It is folly to argue that what is happening between Russia and Ukraine has nothing to do with the price of cheese in Guyana. Indifference is not an option. As a nation with a border dispute hanging over our heads like the sword of Damocles, it is absolutely our business. The images of Russian tanks and trucks proceeding on the land of sovereign territory, are nauseating, if not frightening. Now, even though this is occurring thousands of miles away, it provides unpalatable food for thought that must not be ignored. There are endless threads in the tapestry of this development that demand our attention. Space and time would not allow for all to be thoroughly expatiated but suffice it to type, from the ordinary citizens to the policymakers at the highest level, copious notes should be in order.
PUTIN’S PLAYBOOK AND OUR BORDER DISPUTE
It is not imprudent to assume that Miraflores is paying close attention to the machinations of the Kremlin and the arch autocrat, Vladimir Putin. Just like Maduro, Putin seems to be on a mission to correct some imaginary historical wrong. In doing so, he has employed myths, legends, fables and the wanton revision of history to justify geopolitical mischief. It is almost as if Miraflores and the Kremlin have been exchanging notes because this follows the same pattern taken by Maduro when he conjured the gratuitous signing of the decree for the establishment of the Atlantic Façade. As well as that, the chutzpah on display is eerily akin to the manic bluster of Maduro as he constantly articulates his intention to disregard settled international law and violate the territorial integrity of a sovereign neighbor. Besides all of the aforesaid, the stratagems being attempted by the Russians are worthy of the time and energy of our national defense apparatuses.
The false flag operations, the issuing of passports to Russian-speaking Ukrainians in the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, encouraging insurgency in those rebel territories against the Ukrainian state and the dangerous recognition of the independence of rebel-held areas. It is not far-fetched to imagine a worrying scenario of the same wickedness, in some form, being copied by the Venezuelans in Regions 7, 8 and 9. No possibility should be ignored when you are dealing with men who possess gargantuan egos. I hope our intelligence agencies have a team committed to observing what is happening in Ukraine.
WHY VLADIMIR PUTIN MUST NOT SUCCEED
From the outset, this writer wishes to disabuse any eyes that may reach this submission from the belief that this intervention is proceeding on concocted or propagandistic information. The conclusions in this column are not driven by Western misinformation. It proceeds from the basis of what Vladimir Putin represents. He embodies autocracy. He exemplifies unilateralism. He is the ultimate perfection of demagoguery. He epitomizes the careful choreography of power. For these reasons, if he succeeds, the aforesaid ignominious principles will succeed. Sadly, he is ignobly mimicked by our good friend in Miraflores. They both have a well-deserved place in the pantheon of the despicable. If the Kremlin succeeds without crushing and efficacious responses from NATO and the West, our adversaries in Caracas might be tempted to think that reconquering the Essequibo may not be insurmountably problematic. Even though I am fully cognizant that we operate in a different geopolitical context and most importantly, this is the West’s sphere of influence, it is not a waste of time to reflect on these assertions. As a citizen who observes these affairs, it is not easy to resist reflections on our border dispute in light of these developments in Ukraine. This inclination is made even more intense when one considers recent Russia/Venezuela military cooperation and pacts. You have to have concerns. At a news conference on February 16, Maduro grandiloquently announced: ‘We have reviewed the powerful military cooperation, and we have ratified the path of a powerful military cooperation, and we have ratified the path of a powerful military cooperation between Russia and Venezuela for the defense of peace, of sovereignty, the defense of territorial integrity’. It shall be observed that ‘territorial integrity’ did not escape the statement issued by the former bus driver come, President. If Russia can come up with grand plans to reclaim mighty countries with big powerful militaries, how difficult would it be to produce a plan to take territory from a small impoverished and divided state with an army of 5000 troops?
THE DANGEROUS DIPLOMATIC PRECEDENT
We cannot play footsie with words, statements and actions when nations seek to violate the sacrosanct principle of territorial integrity. In this regard, I was extremely disappointed when the White House attempted to equivocate on Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Such a dangerous precedent should never manifest. Thus, the territory and power-hungry leaders of the world are watching and will gladly pounce at any sign of dithering whenever there is an invasion or an illegal territorial incursion. As well as that, it is sadly evident that we are on a precipice of an international order which lacks the teeth to deter. At the heart of this new paradigm, is the powerful role of China. The Adviser on China at the Republican Institute, Schrader noted: ‘China is increasingly using its trade dominance to sanction countries in ways that strongly resemble the U.S. dominant position in international finance, but are much less transparent and comprehensible, and to what are arguably much less constructive ends’. China has emerged as the refuge from Western sanctions and as a consequence, the threat of economic retaliation no longer possesses the bite of yesteryear. Therefore, the question is begged: what is the deterrence for Venezuela if she seeks to grab Guyana’s lands based on dangerous nostalgia?