Posted by Jack Heslin on 22:36:48 06/25/23
Comparing two events and the reaction of the leadership of two countries.
I am an 80-year-old American combat veteran who loves his country. However, I have been saddened and disappointed by the actions of our government as we have watched the way it has dealt with the events of January 6, 2021, an unarmed insurrection in Washington D.C.
It is now clear that government provocateurs were present in the crowd of President Trump supporters and those provocateurs helped incite actions that led to the assault on the American Capital building. It is obvious in the videos, now available, that the Capital police assisted members of the crowd to enter the Capital building and, in some cases, guided them through the building. It is now well known that the crowd of demonstrators were unarmed and those who were armed were the Capital police officers and one of the unarmed demonstrators, 35-year-old Ashli Babbitt an Air Force veteran, was shot and killed by a Capital police officer. There is also a growing awareness in the American public that some of the political leaders of America were instrumental in creating the events of that day.
After over two years, a significant number of American citizens remain in prison, many without a trial and some being denied basic freedoms during their incarceration. It has become obvious to many Americans that our once admired justice system of equality under the law has become a political instrument to punish some citizens for their actions and to give a pass to others who have committed truly serious crimes. This two-tiered system of justice is common in some countries where the rule of law is used against political opponents, and it is a system used to suppress free speech.
For most Americans of my generation, Russia has always been held up as an example of capricious authority that does not respect the independence and freedom of its citizens. It has been axiomatic in the Western Press that Russia is not a country ruled by law but that the Western Democracies, especially America, always provided fair and equal justice for their citizens. Really?
The recent events in Russia, with the armed insurrection by the Wagner Group lead by Yevgeny Prigozhin, has captured the full attention of most of the world. The sudden action of threatening the very stability of the Russian nation state in an attack from within by armed elements of the military against the Russian national authority has sent shock waves around the world as many expected that this event would be the event to destabilize the Russian government. For some of the Western leadership, there was certainty in their collective assessment that the Russian government and specifically the leadership of its President, Vladimir Putin, was fragile and would quickly collapse in the face of the armed insurrection.
That has not happened. While the world watched an intense 24 48 hours the crisis passed, almost as quickly as it emerged. There are some indications that the Putin government was aware of a plan afoot by the leader of the Wagner Group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, to challenge the State s authority.
It is too early to grasp the details of the event that have some elements of being surreal. All we know is the objective evidence of the Wagner forces withdrawing and returning to their basses. All we know is what we are being told of how the crisis was resolved and very little of the details of the how and why the event happened in the first place. There will be a great deal of analysis and we will all have a better understanding of this event in the coming days and weeks as the evidence presents itself.
However, some things have become perfectly clear: the Russian people did not revolt against their government, the military did not join the armed insurgents, the social fabric of Russian society did not unravel. To his great credit, President Putin in his communications remained reasoned and steadfast in the face of a true armed insurrection and I am sure, the Russian people are appreciative that he and his government were able to deal with the very real crisis with restraint. For that matter, the World is grateful that a powerful, nuclear armed authority did not descend into chaos. The only sector of the Russian society that seemed to try and exploit the event were some Russian banks that quickly raised the exchange rates for the Russian ruble to exorbitant levels. It is likely that the value of the ruble will remain volatile until time has passed and the immediate crisis has passed.
To the surprise of many, especially in the West, even though the Putin government had enormous military power at its disposal, it did not act rashly to crush the insurrection with overwhelming military power which would have easily destroyed the several thousand Wagner troops driving up the highway. A column of troops that did not have much ammunition, fuel, or food for a sustained rebellion. The magnanimous statement by President Putin that the soldiers of the Wagner group would not be punished for their insurrection and that their leader Yevgeny Prigozhin would be allowed to leave the country and go to Belarus is amazing at many levels. I just cannot imagine other leaders doing that.
What would have happened if any Western country faced that same level of threat?
While many will make historical comparisons to this event, I am reminded that in late January of 1968 the Communist forces in South Vietnam launched the TET Offensive, a brutal uprising that was intended to overthrow the Government of South Vietnam with an expectation that the citizens of South Vietnam would join them and revolt against their government and that the South Vietnamese military would turn on the government. None of that happened.
As we compare the unarmed insurrection of January 6, 2021, in Washington D.C. with the recent armed insurrection in Russia, the question really is, who has the government of suppression?