Eyewitness: Siege…of Kyiv

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For centuries, Russia and the nations of Eastern Europe have resented their reputation as being “backward”. As your Eyewitness has written, this resentment is one of the biggest motivators for Putin, who’s got a “chip” on his shoulders the size of a log!! But his invasion – which now has him laying siege to Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, confirms this backwardness since sieges were the emblematic mode of warfare in medieval Europe!!

Which one of us haven’t seen movies of these sieges when the “cities” were surrounded by walls as castles behind moats – into which the citizenry would retreat. The invading force would camp outside the walls and cut off food supplies to starve the inhabitants. While engaging in all sorts of manoeuvres to literally “smoke” them out!! Catapults were the advanced “weapons of mass destruction” back then and these would be armed with all sorts of missiles – from rocks to burning rags. Battering rams would be deployed to break down the gates, but the raised drawbridges and burning oil poured from the battlements of the castle by the defenders would discourage that. We’ve even seen this spoofed by Monty Python!!

But the real siege ain’t no joke – especially in modern times – as both the Ukrainians and Russians are discovering right now. Catapults have been replaced by long-range missiles that come raining down from the skies with “pinpoint” accuracy. The only problem is that the head of the missile is sure bigger than a pin and the explosives inside ensure that the damage is more than a “pinprick”!! Tanks have replaced the battering rams while anti-tank missiles have replaced the hot oil!! But the concept is the same, no? Going all the way even beyond the medieval period the goal would be “castling” the king – in this case, Kyiv’s mayor, the former boxing heavyweight champion Klitschko. He was some tough cookie in the ring and it doesn’t look like he’s softened up since!!

So what’s ahead?? From the very beginning, the Russians under Putin surprisingly didn’t use the “shock and awe” aerial bombardment of the Americans in Iraq to take out the Ukrainians. Guess unlike their brutal tactics with the Chechnyans, they feel closer to the Ukrainians? Or is the threat of NATO reprisals intimidatory? Whatever…Kyiv isn’t going to fall like a “Chicken Kyiv” – which is filled with butter!! The Ukrainians were part of the USSR during WWII and they’re also inspired by the defence of Stalingrad – which became a street-by-street slugfest.

But…can they pull off a Russian-inspired “Operation Uranus” – when a million Russian troops encircled the Germans laying siege to their city of Stalingrad?
And beat them into a pulp?? Let’s see.

…of Venezuela loosening?

One advance over the medieval siege – that attempts to strangulate your enemy into submission – are to apply “sanctions”. Here, you prevent others from trading or interacting with an entire country that’s defined as your enemy to starve them out!! Never mind that it’s civilians that suffer the most!! The military usually live high off the hog!! As Burnham used to say back in the day about his tactics against his political enemies – the PPP and WPA – there’re many ways to kill a cat!!

The option, however, is only available to those countries that can ENFORCE the sanctions – which in the modern world meant the only superpower left standing – America!! So we’ve seen sanctions imposed on Cuba since 1960. And more recently, on Venezuela for trampling on the democratic rights of their citizens!! With Venezuela rattling sabres against us since 1962, we didn’t mind.

But the US talks to lift the sanctions against the Venezuelans – to alleviate possible sanctions against Russian oil are worrying.
Whatever happened to democracy?? Or Guaidó?

…of the PPP

From where your Eyewitness sits, the PPP seems to feel these civil society groups mushrooming all over the place are laying siege to their governance – earned at the ballot boxes.
Paranoia or bitter, rueful history?