March 5, 2022

E12: Ukrainian Roulette - Part 6: When Ivan Comes Marching Home

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This is Part 6 - the final part of a multi-part series on the Russia-Ukraine conflict. After looking into what Ukraine could do in the face of a Russian onslaught in Part 5, we now explore what diplomatic efforts the broader international community could do to divert Russia's destabilization efforts and what this conflict means for the geopolitical future of the USA in her "Pivot to Asia".

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Henri (00:00:00):

Welcome to part six of what we can now confirm to be the final episode of our multi-part series on the Russo-Ukrainian crisis. For those of you who have stuck with us from way back in part one, I want to give you my sincere thanks for listening to what became a ridiculously long series, that I honestly thought would only take about 40 minutes. When we first started recording back in the first week of February with this in mind, I want to personally thank my producer, who tirelessly spent most of February editing and producing this multi-part series, all while juggling her own life and professional obligations, and who is now probably sick of hearing the sound of my voice. With this in mind, obviously, the invasion has since started, which we seem to have accurately predicted back in part two of our series. So if you haven't listened to that one, please give that one a listen too. But right now I think it would be premature for me to discuss the current events on the ground, given how fluid the situation is. But if there's a considerable interest from you, listeners, I may spin out a quick epilogue for this series, discussing the actual invasion that's unfolding right now.

Henri (00:01:04):

As for this episode, we just finished discussing in part five, what Ukraine could do to halt a Russian onslaught and briefly introduced the concept of "Ratchet Diplomacy". In this episode will dive more into what I mean by this term, and more broadly, what the West should do in Ukraine, and even more broadly, what the US should do in the World.

Henri (00:01:25):

Until then, sit back, pour yourself a glass, light up your cigar for Part 6 of 6 of Ukrainian Roulette. Let's have a listen.

Intro (00:01:32):

Come On, Don't Bullshit Me!

Henri (00:01:53):

Everyone likes to shit on us, but once shit hits the fan, the first thing people do is run to the United States -- the supposedly youngest country in the world. It's pure and utter Bullshit.

Intro (00:02:10):

Welcome to "Come On, Don't Bullshit Me!", where we peel away the messaging of talking heads to get to the crux of today's issues.

Henri (00:02:22):

So I keep talking about these Russian ratchets and how they destroy international stability. These ratchets just like a ratchet wrench, right? The whole point of a ratchet wrench is you can only go one direction, but then you can't go back the other way. So every minute turn of the wrench counterclockwise, for example, prevents the wrench from ever going back clockwise in the opposite direction. And this is essentially what I call ratchet diplomacy, which is what Putin's doing. Well, yeah, is doing, but more importantly, has been doing since, essentially ever since he's gone into power, but definitely ever since 2008, where he doesn't make overt actions, because overt actions are something that Americans or the West can easily see and encounter. Basically, if you give the US military a target or a threat, it's very easy to galvanize the public and also galvanize the military and the government to attack that specific threat.

Henri (00:03:21):

So the point is to do all these little small mini threats that aren't actually really threats. It's like, oh, Putin's doing something, is that really a threat? But then you can always just whitewash it away or spin away like, Oh no, well he has a right to do that. I mean, this is exactly what Hitler did in the 1930s, where he would just take these little places he here and there. It's like, Oh well, these were formerly German lands and Oh, the Czechs are attacking us and we don't really have a way to defend ourselves, so we need the Sudetenland land and Oh, well the Austrians and the Germans are the same people, so we need to be together and all this, all this. And everyone's like, well, okay, technically he's not saying anything wrong. Yeah, I guess he's right. And then you can always justify it.

Henri (00:03:58):

But the most important, part about this, which is the ratchet part, is that all these small steps mean you can't go back because they're cemented. Once he takes the action and you accept it, there's no turning back. It's not like the Afghanistan war or the Iraq war, where things are constantly moving. It's like, Oh, we got, uh, Al-Fallujah, but then, you know, oh, we lost Al-Fallujah a couple weeks later or, Oh, we've gone, we went into Tikrit, or we took over this village and we wiped out ISIS or the Taliban, but then like a week later they go back. You know, that's not really a ratchet.

Henri (00:04:34):

The way I like to think of these Russian ratchets is I look at it through the lens of, Al Qaeda and ISIS. In that in Bin Laden's fatwa against the United States. Yeah, okay, there was a 9/11 part, but the main thing that he wanted to do was spring up this concept of stochastic terrorism, which is random terrorist attacks. And he hinted at this in the beginning, but because he had these grand designs of the large international terrorist organization, where he was commanding the faithful, he could direct the terrorist attacks, but then, as he began losing his power base structure, he started increasingly leaning back on his original premise of the stochastic terrorism. Some people might call like "lone-Wolf attacks" or whatever, but basically it's just random terrorist attacks by random sympathizers of the Al-Qaeda or Salafist Islamic cause. So that countries, governments, and intelligence, and police organizations couldn't exactly target them or couldn't anticipate these attacks. So and it didn't have to make any sense: they could happen to any time, anywhere, at any place. These're just random chaotic terrorist attacks that wear down the resolve of the infidel and at the same time galvanize and improve the morale in standing of the Wahhabi faithful or overall this presumed futuristic Caliph that he was dreaming about.

Henri (00:06:07):

And Putin does a similar thing. In my mind, I look at this stochastic terrorism, and then I look at Putin, and I say, well, what he's doing is essentially stochastic diplomacy, where he doesn't take outright military actions, Crimea notwithstanding, but even that he didn't even do, because, if you remember, that was the whole thing when I was talking about earlier about, Oh, these troops, they were just on vacation and the Crimeans want to come to Russia, so we're just here protecting their interest. So even there he didn't fully recognize that it was a military action. But again, the point here is that he does all these little random diplomatic actions throughout the World, or at least throughout his sphere of influence, that are kind of tiny at the surface so that it doesn't prompt a visceral response from the West. And because the West is so emphatic about peace and stability and not going into a war, despite what the internet might say, like, Oh, we're such war loving people, and we always constantly are trying war this and war that. Well, no, that's not really the case. Otherwise Putin's strategy would never work. The point here is that the West is so predisposed to wanting peace at the expense of stability, that there's a overreaction to any type of event that could upset that status quo.

Henri (00:07:24):

So he takes these random diplomatic, uh, I would call them attacks, but random diplomatic actions throughout his sphere of influence, that don't incite a visceral response from the West, and cements through tacit acknowledgement by the international community. And once the international community acknowledges it, there's no way of going back. This is what happened with, uh, I keep talking about Georgia and Moldova is that, even though no one has recognized South Ossetia city or Aphasia or Transnistria, the fact that they're allowed to exist and there hasn't been any repercussions for their existence, it legitimizes their existence. And from an international framework standpoint, because one of the preconditions through joining NATO and or the EU is territorial stability by having these instability in countries and by having the West legitimize these instability by allowing them to perpetuate, it cements that ratchet, where, again, you can't go backwards, because the status quo now is the instability of these countries, which means they can't go back to a stage where they were on the path to the EU or NATO. They're stuck in this timeline, if you will, where they will never be able to go towards these Western institutions, namely NATO and the EU. And no matter how much diplomatic effort the West tries to put into reverse these, the fact that they've been essentially militarily cemented, means you can't go backwards.

Henri (00:09:00):

And it's not just these... These ratchets are not just in his sphere of influence in a physical or territorial space. These ratchets also exist in cyber space as well to include not just internet and telecommunications, but also one of the actions of telecommunications, which is supporting the modern digital economy. That means money that's being laundered out to a lot of right-wing or anti-establishment organizations in the West. Classic case uncovering of the fact there's substantial Russian funding of the Brexit campaign, not just monetarily for the campaign within the UK, but also funding in the sense of using Russia's cyber offensive capabilities, which the public knows as these troll farms, to go towards laying the propaganda battle ground for allowing Brexit to succeed.

Henri (00:09:56):

And then obviously not only the funding of the Trump campaign, but also the funding of the anti-Hillary campaign, because not only is Trump in debt, literally in debt to Russia and its oligarchs, but also that Putin holds a specific grudge against Hillary Clinton in that, back when she was secretary of state, there was that whole "Obama reset" thing, where she gave the reset button, said, Hey, we're gonna go reset this hostile relationship that we have between each other. And he thought that meant he was gonna be able to go ahead and do what he wanted to do. And of course, the Obama administration through Hillary Clinton being secretary of state put kibosh on that. And of course, not only did he felt betrayed by that, but also the fact that she was a woman doing that. And of course in his whole masculine Alpha-male bravado image that he likes to bring about, he was threatened by being emasculated by such a woman. And it was a serendipitous and convenient act, that Trump was the Republican candidate. But it was mostly a payback towards Hillary Clinton. And so all this funding of not only Republican campaign, but also the right-wing media within the United States.

Henri (00:11:11):

And again, it's not just the funding on United States territory. Just like with Brexit, there was the funneling of local resources of these troll farms to incite this disinformation campaign to undermine the legitimacy of the United States political system. And we saw this again with France with Front National with Marine Le Pen and them trying to incite the French Brexit, which I guess we'd call, uh, some people call it Frexit, but I think that's stupid, because if it's going to be a French exit, it should be French name. So I always like to call it "adiEU": A D I, capital EU, I think that's a better thing than "Frexit". But anyway, that's besides the point. So there's that.

Henri (00:11:51):

And then this is not just some new, super advanced technique that Putin just pulled out of his ass, because he's such a genius. This is something that's been going on since the beginning of the Soviet Union. Well, I don't know about beginning, but definitely since the early days of the Soviet Union. I forget if it was the Czech dictator, I think it was the Hungarian dictator during the Hungarian socialist Republic, but there's this terminology called "salami tactics". And the whole thing about salami tactics is that, okay, salami is really rich, expensive meat, or at least it's a rich expensive meat in the communist states. And the point that you don't just eat the entire salami, you have to cut very thin slices, and then you eat those, and that's the only way to consume a salami. So the point of salami tactics in geopolitics is that you, yeah, I'm pretty sure it's Hungarian, but anyway, the whole point of salami tactics is that you do these small diplomatic actions throughout the world, that the West could, quote, "digest". 'Cause if you do an overt major action, you know, that's akin to not being able to digest the action, and of course that is met with a military response. So the point is do all a lot of these thin small either military incursions, but more like diplomatic incursions, and let the West digest them to the point where it's accepted as now the new norm. Some people call that, in political discourse, there's the shifting of the Overton window. That's another concept that's close to the salami tactics. Some people say "horizontal diplomacy", as opposed to "vertical diplomacy", where you just do these diplomatic efforts all over the place. But I like to call it stochastic diplomacy, because the point is, you don't have an overarching goal of where you want these diplomatic efforts to go. It's more about just doing these random diplomatic attacks to undermine the status quo. So there doesn't have to be an end goal in it.

Henri (00:13:45):

And this was the problem that a lot of people were disillusioned with during the Trump presidency in that they would say, oh, well, Putin wanted Trump to win, and he's a puppet of the Russian government. Well, it's not exactly really that case. Was Trump under the influence of Russia because of all of his private business debts and whatnot? Yeah, absolutely. But the goal of Putin wasn't to get Trump on board or to get Trump elected. The point was to cause this random political attacks. That just serendipitously it happens to be that Trump was thrust into the white house. He just got lucky in the sense with Trump, but it was more about just undermining the credibility of the political system, which obviously he succeeded at, because the United States, the public are at each other's throats, and there's no common ground for anywhere to do discourse. So the point is, it doesn't have to make sense. He would attack the Republicans just as much as he would attack the Democrats. Again, he didn't have an overarching goal, the point was to erode confidence in the whole system, from both sides.

Henri (00:14:50):

To combat these Russian ratchets, this salami tactics, this spastic diplomacy, what we need to do in the West is do the same thing to him. And again, they don't have to have a rhyme or reason. I mean, I'm gonna present a rhyme or reason, but that's besides the point, the point is you have to spread his attention. And also, more importantly, his financial resources into defending against random attacks to his legitimacy and also the territorial integrity of Russia. 'Cause that's what's gonna threaten him. But again, you don't do this through a military or, you know, overt action. You take these small actions, just like he does, through propaganda, through manipulation of the global telecommunications network.

Henri (00:15:50):

We have to present opportunities for these random diplomatic events to foment into a success for the West or failure to Russia. By this I'm picturing the map of Europe in my head and I'm gonna go counterclockwise, starting from Finland. The big issue here is: what are we talking about with Ukraine? That, okay, we're not defending Ukraine, because Ukraine's not part of NATO, right? Yes, we wanted to invite Ukraine to NATO, but before they could come into NATO, they had to shore up their government, stamp out the corruption, and put in institutional frameworks within their government to make it more of a liberal Western democracy. And of course, obviously Putin was threatened by this. And that's the whole Crimea thing, we've already discussed about this ad nauseum. But we have to make the point here that yes, we are not sending troops into Ukraine. Not only from the standard practice of that by saying this, it potentially prevents World War III from happening, but more importantly, this has to be a signal. Ukraine has to be a signal, an example to the other European nations that are holdouts into the Alliance, and saying, like, look, we have all the intention of defending the entire territory of the Alliance, but if you're not part of the Alliance, you're on your own.

Henri (00:17:11):

And it's kind of like a tough love type of, I mean, obviously it's just, fortunately the fact is that we don't wanna do this with Ukraine because we don't wanna have world war I three happen. But again, I'm not saying don't provide weapons, obviously. Yes, definitely provide weapons. I mean, I've already talked about this ano about providing military aid Ukraine. Of course we will provide military aid, but we are not going to put troops in there. We're not going to defend Ukraine because Ukraine is not part NATO. And this sets a signal to Finland specifically right now.

Henri (00:17:39):

'Cause I'm talking about Finland is that, look, we've been wanting you to come to NATO since God knows how long and you steadfastly stubbornly refuse to join. And you're saying, Oh no, you wanna be neutral and everything. And you don't wanna antagonize Russia. Okay, fine. We can respect that. 'Cause NATO is a voluntary Alliance, right? We're not like Russia here, trying to coopt Belarus and Ukraine into their own Russian sphere of influence. We're not trying to do that with NATO. Of course it's voluntary. It's your decision. But Finland see what's happening in Ukraine? You can no longer afford to be neutral anymore, because even if you're neutral, just like Ukraine, it was neutral, if Russia perceives you to be a threat, again, you don't actually have to be a threat, 'cause obviously Ukraine wasn't a threat to Russia, but it was purely on the whims of Putin to think, Oh, I believe that Ukraine is a threat, and therefore I'm going to invade Ukraine. Well, Finland, even though you're saying, Hey, we're neutral or we're not a threat to Russia, when's it gonna be the case that now Putin, for example, turns his head North and perceives you as a threat? Again, you may not have been doing anything and you could shout it until you're blue in the face, that you're not a threat, you're not doing anything. But no amount of convincing is going to change. Putin's mind, should he decide to put his sights on you. So you can either wait around, and in that case you're gonna suffer the same fate as Ukraine, where yeah, we'll try to provide military aid as much as we can, but you're gonna be on your own, 'cause the Alliance is purely a defensive and we're not going to break that. We're not gonna start doing offensive operations and undermine 70 years or so of credibility of the Alliance.

Henri (00:19:19):

And of course, Finland may say, Oh, it doesn't matter, we're on the fast track: the moment we say we want to join the Alliance, we'll be able to come in. But even that: nothing is instantaneous. It's gonna take some time. And this is exactly the point, what happened with Ukraine is that they never thought in their wildest imagination that Russia would invade Ukraine. And so they were taken completely by surprise with Crimea. And Russia denied it and still denies it to this day, that they never attacked Crimea -- it was just the local people and, you know, and "soldiers on vacation". This is the whole like little green man trope. But that's the point: Ukraine was completely caught by surprise, 'cause why would anyone attack a peaceful non-threatening non-aggressive nation? But sure enough, Russia did. And the moment that happened meant that no longer did Ukraine have territorial integrity, which meant it was ineligible for joining both EU and NATO.

Henri (00:20:19):

Now of course they were ineligible for other reasons, like corruption, et cetera, et cetera, and Finland doesn't suffer from that. But all it takes is, again, another Russian soldier vacation, where all of a sudden now Finland's territory is no longer secure, and they can't join the Alliance. So you can't just rely on the fact that you'll immediately come in, because if there's a preemptive strike by Russia, which again, that's their whole M.O. They realize this, this that's what happened with Georgia, that's what happened with Ukraine. There's no reason to now believe that it's not going to happen with Finland. So Finland, you either get your ass together and join the Alliance, while Putin is distracted, or it's on you -- you're gonna suffer the same fate as Ukraine.

Henri (00:21:01):

Now I shouldn't put the blame firmly on Finland, because Finland -- it's been longstanding policy of Finland where they say, Hey, look, we don't have anything against NATO, yeah, we may actually want to join NATO. But the thing is, we're never going to join NATO by ourselves. If this is going to happen, it's going to be Sweden and Finland together, joining the Alliance. So really we have to now look at Sweden as well. So now we're talking about again stochastic diplomacy, now we're moving a little bit counterclockwise on the map here. We're moving now towards Sweden.

Henri (00:21:32):

So we say, okay, well we want Finland to join the Alliance. Then they say they won't join without Sweden. And now Sweden also says we won't join without Finland. So they're lockstep together. And not only are they locked, but historically their policies have been lockstep with regards to NATO, but even more so now with the recent election of the Swedish prime minister, being a woman. I'm not trying to make like a whole gender thing about this, but there was a press event or something going on, when the two prime ministers met each other. And of course they were both female and all their aids and whatnot were, and their cabinet staff, they were all men. And there's this thing in the European news about how the two prime ministers went to the press and said, Hey, let's leave the men outside and let us, women, talk indoors. And they basically left their staff and cabinet outside and had their own private discussions. And everyone's like, oh, it's such a funny thing, because woman putting the men to the curb, and ha ha ha. That's like a funny little anecdote here, but it just further reinforces the fact that now, more than ever, Sweden and Finland are lockstep together. So any type of Ascension into the Alliance is going to be done jointly. And there we have to put the same designs on Sweden and saying like, look, see what's going on? I know you have this neutral stance, but if Russia decides to do something to Finland or to you, we're going to be staying out of it, 'cause you're not a part of the Alliance.

Henri (00:22:57):

And now of course there has been some development in recent years of Sweden breaking their neutrality and actually joining in as a coalition partner with NATO. Specifically, I remember Libya was the big example of their first foray into war, where they actually joined the coalition to protect Libyan civilians. They helped to enforce the no-fly zone. So that was a big deal in this, I think like 60-some odd year time period of Swedish neutrality, where they broke that to enforce the no-fly zone. So their are steps where Sweden is now warming up to the possibility of Alliance. And putting this diplomatic pressure, I wouldn't want to call it pressure, 'cause you don't wanna pressure them, but putting these stochastic diplomatic breadcrumbs out there, not only to the governments, but also from a media standpoint to their citizens to really hammer in the fact that, Hey, we're not helping Ukraine out, because they're not in Alliance. And the Alliance is first and foremost a defensive Alliance, and we will never break that. So you either join us or you stand on your own, and that's on you. And just let that hang there, let their public debated it. Again, the more that's in the media cycle, the more the public debates it, and the more, should Putin invade the Ukraine this time around, this is something that will be on the forefront of the public's mind. And Finland, Sweden being democracies, obviously is going to be on the government's mind as well.

Henri (00:24:22):

And should Sweden join the Alliance, particularly Sweden, but obviously it benefits Finland as well, is there, is that the Alliance now controls the Danish Straits, where it effectively closes off the Baltic Sea to the Russian Navy and also to the Russian economy, Russian fright shipping, should there be international sanctions towards an invasion.

Henri (00:24:48):

And we already have Denmark, but of course ever since the split of Denmark and Sweden, the Danish Straits are no longer unilateral straits. They're not like the Turkish straits down in the Mediterranean, where it's owned by one country. Now the Danish Straits are essentially, it's a Danish, slash, Swedish Straits and you need both sides to be able to shut down that maritime passage. So, and by having Sweden as part of the Alliance would go a long way into threatening Russia and putting the pressure on Russia from future aggressive actions, by shutting down access to international maritime trade by shutting down the Danish Straits.

Henri (00:25:28):

And at that same point, we should look at Turkey and consider that yes. Okay. There's the mantra convention where it prevents the shutting of the straits, but that's only during times of peace. During times of war Turkey could be convinced to interpret the Montreal convention loosely enough to say, Hey, just because we're not at war doesn't mean that, uh, this is not a time of war.

Henri (00:25:52):

So the way we interpret the convention is okay, Putin, if you declare war on Ukraine, now there's the stipulation of Montreux Convention, that in times of war Turkey can close the straits. And therefore, 'cause I know one of the things from the West, and you got a lot of these War Hawks saying, Oh, Turkey should close down the straits, Turkey should close down the straits. Turkey does not want to close down the straits. As much as it would seemly be beneficial for them. Because for them that is needlessly antagonistic toward Russia. And right now it's a way for Turkey to exert neutral influence on Russia without antagonizing them. So you can't just pressure Turkey into closing down the straits, because once Turkey does that and violates the convention, it opens them up to a reprisal from Russia, either militarily or economically. Because of gas, exports-imports, as well as again, a famous telecommunications troll farm of destabilizing Western governments. Now of course, Turkey is a dictatorship right now. So that's a little different, but that's a separate issue, we could talk about some other time.

Henri (00:26:56):

The point here is that now if by convincing Turkey to interpret the Montreux convention, saying in times of war you can shut the straits. Well now you shut Russia's maritime access from the Black Sea to the Med to overall maritime global shipping, as well as up north with the Danish Straits, closing them access to the Baltic Sea. So when you close the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea, essentially, you've effectively landlocked Russia. Well, North Sea doesn't really count, because of the ice. Now of course there's Pacific ocean with Vladivostok and whatnot, but that's literally the other side of the World.

Henri (00:27:35):

And oh, by the way, when we're talking about Vladivostok, if Putin's talking about, Oh, well Ukraine has been historically part of Russia, and Ukraine and Russia are inexorably linked, well then take his rhetoric and throw it right back at him. 'Cause again, he plays this propaganda and he is very good at it, and the West seems to be powerless about it, because we seem to think that every diplomatic message that we have to provide has to have some sort of purpose to it. But if Putin's doing sarcastic diplomacy, he's doing the salami tactics, we have to put the salami tactics right back at him.

Henri (00:28:12):

So you take his words right back and say, Oh, well Ukraine is inexorably linked to Russia. Well, let's look at the Kuril islands. The Kuril islands have been inexorably linked historically to Japan. And if you don't know, the Kuril islands -- those are those four islands on the long island chain, north of Japan. And Japan believes that they're part of the Hokkaido prefecture. And Japan has always had a gripe about losing the Kuril islands -- as it being a traditional Japanese territory -- after they've lost the World War II. And maybe now it's time to incite that type of fervor in Japan. Again, this doesn't have to be the purpose of having Japan reclaim the Kuril islands. No, the point here is to divert Putin's attention from looking directly at Ukraine and force him to expend energy and resources in other parts of Russia or other perceived threats.

Henri (00:29:10):

It's kind of like that scene in the "Lord of the Rings", when Aragon wanted the men of the West to assault the Black Gate and they were like, what are you crazy? We're gonna get slaughtered. He's like, no, we need to do this so that Sauron's gaze could be on us, so that Frodo and Sam can go into Mount Doom on unopposed and destroy the one ring. So, you know, we could do the same thing diplomatically here, where Biden could say: "A day may come when the courage of NATO fails, where we forsake all our bonds of friendship. But it is not this day. Where the hour of Russian armies comes and the atrial democracy comes crashing down, but it is not this day! This day, we do states craft by all that you hold dear on this good continent. I bid you stand! Nations of the West! Stand and advocate!" And then instead of Frodo, he says: "For Zelensky!"

Aragorn, The Lord of the Rings (00:30:03):

The may come, when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship. But it is not this day. An hour of wolves and shattered shields, when the age of men comes crashing down, but it is not this day! This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this good Earth, I bid you stand! Men of the West!

Aragorn, The Lord of the Rings (00:30:43):

For Frodo.

Henri (00:30:59):

Again, it doesn't have to be a tangible threat, where obviously Japan's not gonna go invade Russia and try to reclaim the Kuril islands. No, of course not. But if there's going to be social media or anything like that, where there's discussion on the internet, even if the media starts talking about, Oh, well this whole thing, you know, you can have talking heads, like legal experts on these Sunday morning talk shows, talking about, Oh, well, yeah, you know, Putin brings up a really interesting point about historical ties of Ukraine, but there's also all these historical ties of the Kuril islands to Japan. And you could do like Trump, he'd always say, Oh, some people are telling me! Talking heads can be like: there's a lot of discussion international community about now that Japan needs to reclaim its rights on the Kurils. And it forces the Russian troll farms to have their internet communication on social media to address that threat.

Henri (00:31:53):

And I mean, for us, it seems like a very ridiculous thing for me to be uttering. But if you're looking at this from the mind of a madman like Putin, where he perceives everything as a threat, then you can see that, okay, well now it looks like the Turkish straits are gonna be closed off to me, and then now with Sweden possibly entering the alliance, now the Baltic Sea is gonna be closed. And now Japan takes the Kuril islands and there goes my access out of the sea of Okhotsk. That's basically in my entire access to the international maritime community. I'm basically screwed here. And then have him panicked and spinning his own wheels. Right? So have these other threats.

Henri (00:32:28):

Okay. So then moving along there, let's go further down the map and let's look at Ireland. There's discussion that last week or whatever about these Russian exercises in the Irish economic exclusive zone. And then you have these Irish fishing boats saying like, Oh, we're not gonna be threatened by these Russian Naval exercises. And we're going to still continue fishing. And if they attack us, well, we are going to defend our right to fish in Irish waters. Right? And it's good on them. It's good on the Irish to do that. But again, having this type of threat from the Russian Navy, from Russia on Ireland, you know, Ireland say, Hey, look, we're neutral! And we're so far away from Russia, that's not a big deal, so we can afford to be neutral. Plus UKs right next to us. So we can get all the benefits of a security umbrella without actually committing ourselves to the Alliance. Well, especially now with Brexit, it could be super easy to make that commitment or to make the declaration that, Hey, we're not here to protect Ireland. Well also again, NATO has to say, look, Ireland, we respect your decision not to join the Alliance, but as you can see now with the Russian naval exercises attacking your undersea cables. 'Cause that's the big thing right now that a lot of people are suspecting that the Russian Navy's doing these Naval exercises off the coast of Ireland, because most of the trans-Atlantic undersea cables go through the Irish maritime territory. So they're trying to sabotage these undersea cables and essentially cut off the European internet from the American one and by versa.

Henri (00:34:05):

So trying to embolden Irish people to say, look, Hey Ireland, you guys matter. And you have a duty and responsibility to protect the Western internet, if you will. And also your own territorial sovereignty against the threat of Russian Navy doing increasingly menacing training exercises. And just bringing out examples of past training exercises of Russians continuously saying, Hey, we're having these Naval exercise in the international territory, but then antagonizing the, quote, "host" nation of the EEZ, the Economic Exclusive Zone, and then having middle military clashes, where loss of life was happening.

Henri (00:34:44):

So bring that up to the Irish public, bring it up in their media cycle and have them start talking about it and saying, Hey, look, this Russian Navy, there's threat here of this Russian Navy off of the coast of our waters. They're saying, Hey, look, we're not bothering you, we're just in international waters, we're not a threat to you. Well, that's exactly what Russia is saying with their buildup on the Ukrainian border, right? Hey, look, we're just moving our troops within our own border. They just happen to be right next to the border of Ukraine, but it's still our territory. We can do whatever the hell we want to do. And then Russia invades them. They get caught by surprise and get invaded because of these peaceful movements within their territory. Well the exact same thing can happen with these Russian Naval exercises in international territory. They have legitimate right to be there and they're not threatening Ireland. Well, who is to say that now that those quote, "innocent" training exercises off the coast of Ireland, don't become something not so innocent. And should something happen to Ireland? Well, sorry guys, you guys, aren't in the Alliance, you're on your own. And again, we'll provide you as much military aid as we can, but as far as defending you, no. NATO is a defensive Alliance and we will not stray away from that. So this is something to keep Ireland into the Alliance.

Henri (00:35:57):

And then there, we have a full, when you look at this from the Northern hemisphere, from Alaska to Canada, to Greenland, to Iceland, to Ireland now, UK, Scandinavia, you have an entire Western barrier of preventing Russian threats in the North. And specifically, when we're talking about Intercontinental ballistic missiles, they all fly over the North Pole.

Henri (00:36:21):

Having a whole uninterrupted wall of Alliance member states would be enormously beneficial for the peace and security of the Alliance member states. So drawing the attention of these specific things that resonate with the specific countries that we're talking out here, can go a long way, setting them on the path. Obviously I'm not trying to think of some crazy make-believe timeline here, where they're immediately gonna join NATO. Of course not, but it's like the old Chinese proverb: the best time to grow a tree is 10 years ago, and the second best time is right now. Well, I don't want us to fall into that trap of, Oh, we should have done this thing 10 years ago. Let's do it right now, plant the seeds now. And then later on the future, let it germinate while the opportunity's there with this impending threat of the Ukrainian invasion. Plant the seeds to the public of Ireland, Sweden and Finland like, Hey, you know what? We probably need to join the Alliance, because Alliance is pretty firm on not sending troops into non-Alliance members.

Henri (00:37:39):

And then we talked about, okay, well, this is all good for those states. For Sweden, Irelands, and Finland. That's all nice, but they're not currently under threat. So this doesn't exactly reverse anything. It may lead us towards a brighter path for the West, but doesn't do anything to undo the damage. These ratchets that I'm talking about, these Russian ratchets that prevent us from going back to pre-2008. So we have to use Ukraine as an excuse to remove those ratchets and bring the European security posture back to pre-2008. I've already said that should Ukraine be invaded, this is not about just putting sanctions on Russia until they leave Ukraine. It's like, no. Yes, okay, we acknowledge we fucked up with Obama and we definitely fucked up with Trump in the sense that we haven't really committed to proper or effective sanctions against Russia and allowing the annexation of Crimea to be a de facto recognized if not officially.

Henri (00:38:39):

So we fucked up during the past administrations. Now on this current administration, again, we say we use Ukrainian as excuse to basically undo the fuckups of the past administrations and then say, you can be happy with what you have in Georgia and Moldova, but should you actually go ahead through with this invasion into Ukraine, then we're not only gonna put all these hard targeted sanctions against you, but they're not gonna be removed, not just from Ukraine, but also from Georgia Moldova.

Henri (00:39:09):

And you want to make this jazzy and let it stick into the minds of the people. In military we like to make cool acronyms. The joke was if you have a project and you want it to get it funded, make a cool acronym out of it, then the colonels and the generals will fund it. For example, we had this thing at AFRL, the Air Force Research Labs, where we're using infrared wavelengths to excite the burning response, activate the pain receptors of humans under the skin to have the sensation of heat. This is basically a non lethal way to stop terrorists or combatants. The point here is, again, it's like, you're not actually burning them or hurting them. It's just that the infrared wave lengths would stimulate the pain receptors so that your brain thinks that you're on fire. So it causes the, this painful reaction purely in your mind, there's zero physical harm. But the point is that your brain thinks you're on fire, so you try to run away or move out of the way of this laser weapon, if you will. So what AFRL did, the program office called it "Personnel Halting and Stimulation Response Weapon. So that PHASR, so it's called "phaser" and, of course, remember from Star Trek, the phasers, right? So then once this project had this cool acronym, they immediately got funded. It was like, Oh yeah, this is a project phaser! Yeah, let's totally throw money at it, it sounds so cool. We're gonna make phasers!

Henri (00:40:33):

So likewise, what we could do here with this whole removing the Russian ratchet thing, is make that into an acronym. So we call it the Guam initiative. 'Cause Guam is, obviously, a US territory. So Guam, G U A M. So we have G for Georgia, U for Ukraine, A for Azerbaijan. 'Cause Azerbaijan, you had the Nagorno-Karabakh war that just ended with Russia providing the military support to Armenia, and Azerbaijan finally handed that and they regained their lost territory there. Part of this was done so that there would be territorial instability in Azerbaijan. We briefly talked about this, just a little bit to expand on that is that one of the reasons why Russia supported Armenia in this is so that it would prevent Azerbaijan from having any design on NATO Ascension.

Henri (00:41:25):

So you have G for Georgia, U for Ukraine, A for Azerbaijan. And hell, if you want, you could do a second A for Armenia, even though Armenia's firmly right now, at least right now, within the clutches of Russia, but regardless. Okay. So set Armenia aside for a second. And then M for Moldova, right? So, GUAM. To have the Guam initiative, everybody's saying these sanctions will stay until the GUAM initiative is filled, where the territorial integrity of these four nations are restored, and only then will the sanctions be lifted.

Henri (00:41:55):

And then you can also use this GUAM initiative in a way to set European politicians into the path of that, Okay, our next geopolitical focus for Europe is for the GUAM states to be part of NATO and EU. And basically once you put a name to it, it it's kind of like Voldemort:

Harry Potter, Harry Potter movie (00:42:16):


A character from Harry Potter movie (00:42:18):

We do not speak his name.

Henri (00:42:20):

Yeah. Once you put a name to it, then it's going to give it a substance, where then it's already in the lexicon. Like you don't just specifically talk about Ukraine or you don't specifically talk about Georgia. Everyone knows, that's GUAM, GUAM, Oh, yes, the GUAM states. And that would permanently alter the public discourse to the point where the natural projection of these four states would be towards joining these Western institutions.

Henri (00:42:47):

It's not just something I'm just pulling out of my ass here. We've already did something similar to this during the 2008 finance crisis, right? What was the big acronym there? That was PIIGS? You had Portugal, Ireland, you had double I there. So it was Ireland, Italy, G is Greece and S is Spain. So these were the trouble making countries that basically, when the financial crisis hit, they were the ones whose sovereign bonds were causing the biggest headache in the European union. And that's when all the austerity stuff kicked off. And basically those four or five states essentially became somewhat pariah states within the European union. And there was a lot of anti-PIIG sentiment until most of them, I mean, I think that Greece is still kind of fucked right now, but for the most part, the PIIGS have shored up their economies.

Henri (00:43:34):

So point here is that by labeling them PIIGS, you didn't just single out one specific country -- It was all of them together. And it forced those European States to shore up their budgets, shore up their economy to the point now that, generally speaking, they've done a decent job in reaffirming economic stability for their people, which is exactly what the European Union wants to do. So me saying, oh yeah, let's totally have the GUAM initiative is not just something that's never been done before. As we can see through the concept of the PIIGS acronym, putting an acronym on geopolitical initiatives is a very powerful thing to do.

Henri (00:44:12):

Now, moving further down the map here is that when we're talking about the sanctions, I wanna specifically focus on the UK and France. In that a lot of these targeted sanctions have to go towards the oligarchs. They have to be targeted against the oligarchs and there needs to be a firm commitment by, obviously the US, but also the UK. I mean, we've already talked about this: a lot of the UK real estate, we already talked about -- English, premier league football teams and whatnot -- that there's a lot of Russian oligarch assets in the UK. And specifically in London. And obviously there's a lot of assets in the US as well. But the other thing is that there's a lot of assets in France, more specific, like the luxury assets like yachts and luxury estates in Cote d'Azur. So it's very important to have a trifecta of the US, UK, and France, really agreeing on targeted sanctions to not just Putin, but to his oligarchs, 'cause that's ultimately where the pressure's going to come into.

Henri (00:45:16):

If you don't affect the oligarchs and you just continue to shit on what I would consider the innocent Russian people, then you're not really doing anything. And all you're doing is pissing off the Russians and further making them run towards the Putin's government. This is my whole criticism of, for example, during the Trump-Clinton elections was that Hillary Clinton needlessly antagonized the Trump supporters. I mean, obviously she wasn't going to convince them to vote for her, but the point is by needlessly antagonizing them, you made them more firmly move in towards the Trump camp, but also bring along their friends and family to vote Republican as well. And of course, obviously she lost the election. So the point here is that you don't need to needlessly antagonize people that aren't necessarily your enemy. And by having these supposedly broad sanctions that are going to disproportionately affect the Russian public, but not affect the Russian oligarchs, is not really helpful.

Henri (00:46:14):

'Cause when you're rich, you can always sidestep sanctions. So having these targeted sanctions against the Russian oligarchs is going to be much more effective and also long term-wise, much more beneficial, should there be a regime change. And why I'm singling out France is that, we like to talk about buildings and real estate assets or bank accounts and whatnot, but in the eyes of the rich, you have yachts and summer homes on Cote d'Azur. So it's important to have France there to not just seize the, quote "beneficial" assets, but also the superfluous luxury assets, that I don't really mean anything to you and me, like the average Joe, but to a rich person, where their entire status comes from these luxury goods that they have, these yachts that they have, having the French authorities impound their yachts and seize their summer homes, preventing them from coming to vacation to Cannes, for example, at the next film festival, branding from doing these things that the rich people like to do. Or like go to these regatta events or whatever the hell else the rich people like to do, barring them from using their luxury resources would be enormously effective in harming these wealthy oligarchs. So there has to be a consensus amongst US, UK, and France to have this to happen.

Henri (00:47:37):

And there might be discussions about whether you can permanently take away the private property of individuals. That opens up a whole can of worms. Well, okay, sure. Yes. There's that, but targeted individual sanctions are not some newfound diplomatic tool. Predominantly it's been done to Middle Eastern dictators, to Latin American drug Lords. The freezing of assets of international terrorists or people who supported international terrorism has been done definitely since 9/11, but even prior to that, beforehand. Freezing the assets of individual, call them "bad guys" for lack of a better term, is a well-established practice. The only part that may be novel in this case is that we're not just attacking Putin, but we're attacking the oligarch surrounding them.

Henri (00:48:24):

And you know, they may say, Oh, well, you know, we have nothing to do with this, we're totally on the side of the West. Well, it's bullshit. If you're enabling Putin to do this thing by using this wealth or having him funnel his wealth through your enterprises, well, you're complicit in this. United States has the RICO laws. Those were the famous laws that we used to take down the mafia and Chicago and New York. But then now we also have the CAATSA, which is Counter America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act. And that's basically RICO on steroids. So CAATSA is basically: what RICO was to the mob bosses, CAATSA is to, well, I mean essentially to the Russian oligarchs. So we already have the legal frameworks in place to target and harm all these oligarchs.

Henri (00:49:12):

And it's not just freezing their assets, but also just as importantly is to deny them visas and entry rights into these countries, whether it's entry rights into the US, entry rights into the UK, and via France entry rights to Schengen countries, so basically Europe.

Henri (00:49:29):

'Cause this is a trap that we can constantly fall into the West is that we like to think of states like everything is run through the state. So all our actions, diplomatic actions, have to be against states. But the thing is, especially with a lot of these Middle Eastern countries dictatorships and especially with Russia, yes, of course you're dealing with a country, but what you're actually dealing with are a bunch of thugs in charge of the country. So they're essentially mafia bosses that own a country. And what hurts them is what hurts the individual. And what hurts the individual, particularly in the non-Western world, and especially with Russia, for example, is not really harming the oligarchs themselves, but their family. I'm not saying like do like a Russian thing where if someone acts out line, you kill their wife and their kids. No, no, I'm talking about more civilized action in the sense that, a lot of them are genuinely nice people, maybe not nice people, but they care about their family, let's just leave it at that. And what matters for them is yes, they're doing a lot of this accumulation of wealth, but the accumulation of wealth for their posterity. So one of the big things that they really care about is sending their children to US, UK, and European Universities. Right? 'Cause that's where higher education is. And by being able to send, you know, a Russian oligarch, Oleg Smichnaev, I like to make that made up name; so Oleg, he has his son and daughter, and he sends them to Harvard. And then from there they get an internship at Bain or McKinsey and then they have esteemed resume with the degrees and everything. And from there they can go ahead and have a really great future. And what I could have we see happening is that, should we start doing these targeted sanctions and say, okay, fine, do whatever you want to me, but just leave my family out of it. No. You don't leave their family out of it.

Henri (00:51:17):

So not only are they denied, the oligarchs are denied entry into US, UK and Schengen, but their family as well. So their wives and their kids. Oh, your kid is in the first year of Harvard? Well, tough shit, because you're supporting essentially an ethnic genocide of the Ukrainians, your kids are not going to be able to take advantage of our university system, and they're not gonna get these internships of all our prestigious Western companies. So, this has to be unequivocally done without exception.

Henri (00:51:50):

And this is one of the things that really frustrates me about, I keep going back to the politics here, but it really frustrates me about the Democrats and how shit they are with messaging. We've already went ad nauseum over the obvious fuckups of the Obama administration and trying to galvanize the support of the international community against these Russian oligarchs. And we don't need to talk about Trump, 'cause he was obviously, for the lack of a better term, a Russian stooge. But one of the things that I really loved about what George W. Bush did, or what his administration did, even though I maybe against the Iraq war, obviously it was done on a total bogus bullshit pretext, but setting that aside for a second, I realize saying that is like a weird statement, but setting that aside for a second, what did George W. Bush or what did Rumsfeld, what did George w Bush's administration do, when they went into Iraq? Remember he had the playing cards.

Henri (00:52:40):

So basically he said, this is not necessarily about Iraq and the Iraqi people it's about Saddam Husain and his thugs, for lack of a better term, the Iraqi oligarchs. Right? And they made a deck of playing cards, where Saddam Husain was the ace of spades, and then he had all the different Baathist party members, all on these deck of cards. So basically they would go down, as bad, again, as bad as the pretext of invading Iraq was, when we were there with these playing cards, everyone laughed at us, it was stupid, but there's the expression in America, "It ain't stupid if it works". Well, those playing cards worked. And it was a way for not only the military to track who we needed to target: to eliminate, or at least remove from power. But also it was a way for the media and by extension the public to track the effectiveness, or I guess at this point, I would say the presumed effectiveness of the Iraqi campaign and removing the Baathist or Saddam Husain's influence amongst the Iraqi people.

Henri (00:53:42):

So with all the things going on, we already mentioned the Navalny documentary and the Panama papers and everything that's going on to the Department of Treasury, identifying this list of Russian oligarchs. Why hasn't the messaging done there? Why hasn't the Biden administration done this cool messaging thing, where you could put Putin as the ace of spades or, shit, to really piss Putin off and do a little psychological warfare on him, make him the ace of hearts, because he's so anti-gay. Obviously for us, who cares if it's associated with the hearts, but for him, his hyper masculine image, and having him the ace of hearts. And even daring to put someone above him as the ace of spades would really set him off. Have it like that. So I having him as the ace of hearts and everyone, all the oligarchs all the way down to whatever the list is that Navalny or the Treasury Department has and have them all listed there. So it's a way for us to see how the sanctions are going, and it allows the public to see how effective the sanctions are.

Henri (00:54:42):

And it gives a warning to other people to say, Hey, look, don't fuck with the West, 'cause if you do, not only your personal wealth, but your family's future is going to be affected. You're maybe thinking, Oh, I'm being like cheeky here with the ace of hearts thing. Like, okay, now you're just totally in the cloud, just dreaming about some world, some crazy world that you live in. But there's prior example to this, and most notably it was when George H.W. Bush again, the first Bush, you know, during the first Gulf War, he would purposely, he would not say [Sad-'dam] Husain, right? Saddam. He would say, ['Sad-dam]. right. Remember. And everyone would be like, Oh, well, yeah, 'cause he's Texan, so he's gonna say ['Sad-dam], but actually this was something he picked up back during his CIA days, when he was working there, is that [Sad-'dam] in Arabic means "one who confronts". "One who confronts" or "one who repels outsiders". That's what [Sad-'dam] means in Arabic. But when Bush says ['sad-dam], you could excuse it as a Texan twang, but he deliberately did that, 'cause ['sad-dam] in Arabic, or at least in, I think in an Egyptian dialect of Arabic, but I don't remember the exact details of it was, but like ['sad-dam] -- ['sad-dam] actually means "a barefoot beggar". So I purposely mispronouncing Saddam Husain's name like ['Sad-dam] Husain, ['Sad-dam] Husain, and because Husain was a crazy dictator, this type of thing would constantly get under his skin. So it was a way of doing psychological warfare. And again, H.W. Bush, being a former CIA agent, I would expect nothing less from him, to employ a psychological warfare tools in his presidency. And actually George W. Bush, to his credit, followed in his father's footsteps and called him ['Sad-dam] Husain as well to constantly antagonize him.

Henri (00:56:27):

And this is not just Bush is doing this. There's the whole thing of Putin. Putin, obviously being a former KGB guy himself, he's no stranger to the psychological warfare. There's the famous, the story of when he first met Angela Merkel, he knew that she was deathly afraid of dogs, so he purposely brought his dog to the meeting, where they both met each other. And there you see, I mean, you can go on the internet right now and look at the pictures. I don't want to shit on Merkel, 'cause, I really respect her and everything like that, but still like, it's kind of funny. You could see in the pictures how nervous she is around Putin's dog and Putin's just sitting back there, Oh yeah, this is my dog! You know, so yeah.

Henri (00:57:06):

And it's not just with Merkel, he does that with a whole bunch of other world leaders. Just Merkel and her fear of dogs is the most famous example. But one of the things he likes to do is, he never comes to meetings on time. He always makes people wait. So you're a world leader, you think, Oh, world leaders are at the equals stage. Is like, no, it doesn't matter who you are. Even Obama. He would make the head of state wait for 15-30 minutes, an hour or whatever it is. And then only then have meetings to really just piss off and frustrate the other world leaders. So these type of petty things or the psychological tools are not just some new fangled thing. So my cheeky stance of having a deck of cards, but having him as the ace of hearts instead of the ace of spades would be kind of hilarious in a weird sense. But that's just the side note, the main point there is that having this deck of cards or anything other than the deck of cards, but I'm just using that as an example, because we did this with the Baathists in Iraq, but having that as a way to really crystallize the fact that, Hey, look, this is not a war against the Russian people, this is a war against Putin and his thugs, his cryptography. And it's a way for the West to take a stand and reclaim the moral high ground and say, This type of thuggery is not going to stand in the West. It's really frustrating when we have examples of us doing this in the past, not doing it right now, when we actually need to do it to counter the ridiculously effective propaganda machine of Putin.

Henri (00:58:46):

And then speaking about the people and the psychological warfare. Well, the next thing about this is in the West, we kind of don't really care about religion so much, or maybe like at least in America at least half the population really cares about religion. But religious frameworks, the religious institutions, 'cause especially in the United States, as religious as "red America" is, as we would say, there is no firm religious institution in the United States. There's no institutional church, where they direct their people to think some way. Now of course you have the evangelical churches and you have a lot of shadow money religious think tanks. Yeah, sure, there's that. But I'm talking about the hardcore religious institutions -- that doesn't exist in the United States. And of course in a secularization of Western Europe that's even doubly more so. Now of course you have like an Italy, for example, in Spain you have the Pope's influence, but even that, the Pope's influence is kind of really... If my last trip to Barcelona was any indication on the effectiveness of the popes anti-LGBT population, well I think I have my answer right there about the waning influence of the Catholic church.

Henri (00:59:57):

But on the Eastern European side among the Orthodox community these religious institutions really matter to them. And this is kind of weird thing, but the Orthodox in the church institutions are ridiculously important to the people. And one of the big efforts here was trying to remove the Russian Orthodox church influence over Ukraine. Because the Patriarch of Moscow, basically, quote, "the Pope of the Russian Orthodox church", he's obviously a Putin's crony himself as well. And there was a big push in the Orthodox church to remove the influence of this Patriarch.

Henri (01:00:36):

Because these patriarchs they're basically, you know, there's the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople, right, who's historically considered to be the mirror image of the Pope in the Roman Catholic church. Right? And I'm sure like anyone listening here who's Orthodox Christian is gonna be like, Oh no, you're totally wrong. But bear with me here, I know that I have a little bit of inaccuracies here and there, but I'm trying to not really go into another eight hours of discussing the intricacies of the Orthodox church. So broad strokes here, people, broad strokes. So the Constantinople ecumenical Patriarch, he's kind of like the grand poobah. -- he's considered the first among equals. But then there's the Greek Patriarch, there's the Polish Patriarch, there's the Russian Patriarch. So each of these countries have their own different patriarchs where they're all equal standing, but again, the one in Constantinople he's the first among equals for obvious historical reasons.

Henri (01:01:28):

One of the big things was that because the Orthodox church knew that the Russian Patriarch, I forget his name, I think his name was Kirill, I think? He's essentially a Putin's stooge. And obviously the Slavic people, Eastern Europeans are super religious, so they place an importance on these religious institutions. So not only was Putin affecting the political and military discourse of Ukraine, but the Russian Patriarch was influencing the spiritual nature of the Ukrainian people. And there was an attempt to remove the influence of the Russian Orthodox church by establishing a Ukraine Orthodox church. But this was vetoed by the Polish Patriarch, and I forget another one, I wanna say the Hungarian Patriarch, but don't quote me on that. Maybe it was the Romanian. Anyway, it doesn't matter. The point is, it was vetoed. But just, well, not last year, I think 2019, they finally convinced the Polish patriarch and whoever the other one was to drop their vetoes. And they established the Ukrainian Orthodox church with a proper Ukrainian Patriarch.

Henri (01:02:33):

And also whatever the Orthodox equivalent of excommunicate is, but they excommunicated the Russian Orthodox Patriarch. So basically all the Russian Orthodox are denied communion and salvation, all that jazz. But likewise, the Russian Patriarch did the same thing to the Eastern Patriarchs. So there's like this kind of little like mini schism going on.

Henri (01:02:53):

But the point is here, I was like, okay, fine. If we're doing a full frontal diplomatic assault on Putin and his apparatus, well, again, one of these stooges that he has is the Russian Patriarch and by extension the Russian Orthodox church. He's militarizing the Russian Orthodox church against the Ukrainians. So by providing the legitimization of the Ukrainian Orthodox church and also consequently de-legitimizing the Russian Orthodox church would go a long way to not only propping up the spiritual will of the Ukrainian people, but also since we're trying to get the Russian people to be against Putin, by putting more attention to the fact that the entire Russian people have essentially been excommunicated and denied salvation into heaven by the greater Orthodox faith, this puts more pressure on the Russian individuals. Russian villagers or whatever would normally be staunchly pro-Putin because of the propaganda apparatus. Are now starting to think, Oh my God, wait, am I not gonna go to heaven when I die, because my church is no longer legitimate?

Henri (01:03:59):

I mean, we've done this with Islam. Rather unsuccessfully, granted, but we still did it. Where we tried to counter the Salafist school of Islamic thought with the more mainstream Hanafi school of thought and delegitimize the Wahabi clerics, who are supporting Al-Qaeda.

Henri (01:04:17):

But again, it doesn't have to be effective. Just by putting these seeds of doubt in the Russian people and more really delegitimizing the religious effect of the Russian Orthodox church would go a great way into advancing our cause here. 'Cause again, this doesn't make sense to us on the West, because generally speaking, we really don't value these concrete religious institutions, but it doesn't matter what we value, it matters what they value. Again, the San Tzu: know yourself, but more importantly, know your enemy. Again, I'm not saying the Russians are our enemy, you get what I'm saying.

Henri (01:04:47):

So it's important to look at what Russia's values and have our diplomatic efforts, our salami tactics, our stochastic diplomatic efforts target those things. Again, they don't have to be effective in isolation, but combined together, even if they're not individually effective, but a combined effort of partial effectiveness of all these different efforts could overall broadly be effective in the furthering of Western liberal democratic institutions of peace and stability.

Henri (01:05:20):

Now moving further down the map here, and we kind of briefly talked about this with the talking about the Russian or the Ukrainian rail logistics network and how they're on different rail systems, well, this is not just in Ukraine. Is in most of the former Soviet publics in that not just the rail gauges, but the transit infrastructure of Eastern Europe is wanting. And that affects Eastern Europe and also the EU as a whole, because the part of economic prosperity is the efficient movement of goods. And for the efficient movement goods for trade to happen, you need to have proper roads, you need to proper rail, right? You have to have proper means of transit. And the thing is with Eastern Europe, being either former Soviet union or former Warsaw Pact, most of the roads are not between these different countries. If you look at the major roads, like for example, in Western Europe, it's kind of like a spaghetti mess, which is good, 'cause you want efficient movement of people and goods throughout the different countries. But if you look at Eastern Europe, most of their major roads are not a spaghetti mess. They're all basically rays of sunlight that focus in on Moscow and St Petersburg. And that was done by design during the Soviet Union days.

Henri (01:06:37):

The Soviets, and this case the Russians, the people in power wanted to control and subjugate these cadet Soviet republics and Warsaw Pact allies. So the only infrastructure that they invested in were roads and rail from Russia into these countries. So obviously if they needed to put down any revolution or uprisings, they had the roads and the rail infrastructure there to go in and put down these uprisings. So you have all these roads going West to East, but very few roads going north to south, 'cause why would you need a road North to South, right? The whole point is for Russia to control these countries, you don't need to have infrastructure between them. You don't need them to interact with each other. All you cared about is Russia interacting with them. Fast forward now to the collapse of the Soviet Union, these are independent states, but these roads, it's not like you declare your independence, and all of a sudden you have like a brand new road transit infrastructure. These old ancient roads, ancient rail systems are still there, and they still to this day predominantly go East to West and more importantly go to towards Russia.

Henri (01:07:40):

So if you're talking about trying to integrate your trade system, your physical trade network with the West and broadly within the European union, very little of it is there. And to the Eastern Europe's credit, they're starting to wise up to this fact that, Hey look, part of the reason why our economies are so shit is because we are very limited in our ability to trade with our neighboring nations. 'Cause we simply don't have the roads and rail there, 'cause the Soviets never bothered to put that infrastructure there. So now like there's this thing called the Three Seas Initiative, three seas being Baltic, Adriatic, and Black Sea. So you have all these Baltic states, Poland, Croatia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Romania, they're coming together and having this broad, kinda like a mini, like China's One Belt One Road initiative, but just for them, where they're trying to revamp their infrastructure. And part of this is put those non-existing North to South roads and North to South rails and connect themselves not only to the West, but to themselves as well, so that physical trade can actually occur and presumably economic prosperity would then follow.

Henri (01:08:50):

Well, one of the things that we should be doing then in this stochastic diplomacy paradigm is to include Ukraine in the Three Seas Initiative. 'Cause okay, yes, NATO and EU may be antagonistic towards Russia, but even with this propaganda network, there really isn't a way to really spin the threat of infrastructure development within Ukraine. Including Ukraine in the Three Seas Initiative and having them start building roads and rail networks, that connects them North to South to these other EU states, it plants those seeds, again like in that Chinese proverb about the planting the seed 10 years ago. Do that now, plant those seeds now, so then in the future when Ukraine is actually ready to join the West, they have that transit network, that physical trade network existing to the point where they can immediately contribute to the economic prosperity of the European Union. 'Cause right now they can't do that.

Henri (01:09:47):

And again, you also have the side effect of that is that by having a different rail network than what they currently have, it prevents future Russian army incursions. So that's just the side bent of fit of that. But just from a broad economic standpoint for economic stability and economic growth, having Ukraine be a part of this Three Seas Initiative would be a very good and more importantly, a noble act for the West to carry out.

Henri (01:10:11):

And the reason why I'm saying these things now is, 'cause we're gonna talk about this later, but I'll briefly touch on this right now, before I get into it later on, is that this provides a blueprint for what our aims are in the Southeast Asian countries and shoring up their trade within themselves as a counterbalance to China. I'll get to that, but let's finish up our little tour of Europe here and talk about Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Poland.

Henri (01:10:39):

These are the places that Putin feels threatened by our placing of anti-ballistic missiles to counter the Iranian ballistic missile threat, right? And kind of like dancing around the point there. And obviously we know, putting these anti-ballistic missile systems in Poland and Romania has zero threat to Russia. 'Cause a) These're to engage ballistic missiles at a medium range. So obviously they're too close to Russia. But more importantly, even if you said, Oh well you could always retool it for short range, the point is that any missiles that Russia is going to launch, they're gonna launch over the Poles, 'cause the world is not flat. So that threat to Russian ballistic missiles are, if we put them in the North. Remember in this salami tactic diplomacy we're talking about Finland, Sweden, and Ireland and getting that Northern edge there fully secure? Well, part of that is to shore up our defense against ballistic missile threats by Russia.

Henri (01:11:36):

But to the point is that we specifically put these anti ballistic missile systems in Eastern Europe to show Russia, Hey, look, we're not threatening your ability to attack us with nuclear weapons, 'cause we're not putting them up in the North. The only thing that these could possibly intercept are going to be Iranian missiles, because any Russian missiles that are gonna be launched, they're not gonna go over Eastern Europe, they're gonna go over the Arctic ocean. But again, Russia and Putin, more importantly, conveniently ignore the science to really drum up these fears about NATO's designs of attacking Russia with nuclear weapons.

Henri (01:12:09):

But anyway, so the point here is that we use this, this looming invasion of Ukraine, as another ratchet removal against Putin. Say, should you invade Ukraine, you've effectively violated the Budapest memorandum. And that's the memorandum that in '94 it said: territorial integrity of Ukraine is paramount for the condition of them removing their nuclear weapons. Well, I mean, of course obviously the Budapest memorandum was already violated back during the Obama administration. But again, like I said, the Obama administration fucked up and they didn't really wave that around to really hammer that fact home and punish Russia. But now we have our second chance here to not screw this up and say, should the invasion happen, you've definitively shred the Budapest memorandum and violated the Helsinki Accords, and the Vienna treaty, all these council's treaties. So Russia is no longer a reliable partner in the international community for international norms and international treaties. So therefore our treaty on anti-ballistic missiles is now forfeit. We, the West, are now free to implement and deploy anti-ballistic missile systems. And we can especially do this if he starts threatening the use of nuclear weapons against the West.

Henri (01:13:26):

I mean, 'cause he's already starting to say that, Oh, should you do something here, should the West go into Ukraine and interfere with Russia, well, we have nuclear weapons. So he is kind of coily saying it. So I wouldn't be surprised if he really starts amping up the nuclear rhetoric, should he feel threatened. Well, we need to use this in the West as our pretense to abandon the ABM treaty and say, Look, Russia has clearly violated international norms and has broken all these international treaties, so now it's clear that the only way to protect us, us being the West, is for us to consider the ABM treaty null and void after your countless breaches of these other treaties. And what this will do, not right now, but in the future is allow us in the West, and Biden can even make this like his moonshot. I mean, it's not as sexy as landing a man on the moon and returning him to safely to earth, but putting in into the defense budget a focused research and development and deployment of anti-ballistic missile system, not only would, should the moonshot actually be effective, eliminate the nuclear threat from Russia, but by having this technology, now you also eliminate the nuclear threat from Iran, North Korea, and most importantly China. Because at this point I think the public now understands is that in a conventional war nobody can withstand the might of a Western of the NATO military Alliance. And the only reason why we have instability threats in the world are because of these antagonistic kleptocracies of specifically Russia, Iran, China, North Korea. And the reason why they still exist is because they threaten us with nuclear weapons. And we can't of course obviously do anything with it other than threaten them back with nuclear weapons. You know, this is the MAD: Mutual Assured Destruction doctrine Ron Reagan was talking about. But this is our chance to say, Look, we can make nuclear weapons, a footnote in history.

Henri (01:15:34):

I mean, obviously nuclear weapons in our lifetime is obviously a big and looming threat, but what was a big and looming threat during World War I? It was chemical warfare: the mustard gas and everything that was going on during the trench warfare there. But now no one really talks about chemical weapons anymore. We've effectively eliminated that as a viable means for warfare. So it's difficult for us to say, because we are living in the current timeline and it doesn't seem feasible for us, but who's to say hundred, two hundred years down the road in the history of humanity, that there was this, Oh yeah, there was this time in the late 20th century, that nuclear weapons was a big thing, but they are no longer viable, and we, humanity, have effectively skipped over the threat to the human race by making nuclear weapons irrelevant. So by really going in on the development and the deployment of a global ABM system could go a long way to removing that, basically the only viable threat that Russia and these other bad state actors have against the West in the form of nuclear weapons.

Henri (01:16:43):

And not only that. Just like with the Space Race: Space Race brought about countless benefits to the civilian market. Well, the technology required to have a fully functioning anti-ballistic missile system, I mean, I don't wanna get into the weeds of the science in here, but the algorithms, the physics, the metallurgy, the different sub-components needed for a global anti-ballistic missile system have enormous benefits for the civilian sector in the semiconductor industry, the digital algorithmic sector.

Henri (01:17:16):

So all the stuff about ABM treaty closing the Danish or Turk straits, or seizing private property from civilians -- Russian oligarchs, but civilians -- these are all things like, Come On, Don't Bullshit Me! -- you're thinking -- It's just things that you're just like imagining pie in the sky in your mind. And I'm like, well, not exactly the reason why this you're thinking, "Come On, Don't Bullshit Me!, this is, these are ridiculous things that you're talking about" is, because in the West we lack what I would call the new stage of warfare in the 21st century. People like to say, Oh, well the last war was fought with nuclear missiles and, and armies. Well now the new war is in the cyber domain: it's with troll farms and hackers and whatnot. And there, I do agree with that, that the new warfare is not done in the physical space and with kinetic attacks, but more so with propaganda, weaponizing internet troll farms, psychological warfare -- from that perspective. But I would also go further in that, in that that may be one aspect of the current warfare. But the other aspect of this warfare is that your enemy no longer other nations. The entities that wish to do us, the West, harm are not the nations, but the kleptocratic gang members in power of these countries. So again, it's like the Russian people are not our enemy. It's purely Putin and his circle of oligarchs that are causing all this discord. So it's important that any quote, "war" or "opposing action", I should say, that should be done against Russia, should not be against Russia the state proper, but Putin and his oligarchs. For lack of a better term, his gang.

Henri (01:18:59):

And in the same sense, when you look at Iran, that's another thing like the Iranian people are actually one of the most pro-Western pro-American people out there throughout recent history. There's been constant polls done in how the Iranian people love American culture, for example. It's just that the Ayatollah and this Islamic revolutionary guard are the ones who are antagonistic against the United States. So there: it's this group of people, not Iran-the State, that is our enemy. Likewise, with China: the Chinese people, aren't our enemy. It's the CCP, the Chinese Communist Party, that is our enemy. This is this kleptocratic gang of thugs, if you will, who control the Chinese state, who are our antagonists, not the Chinese people themselves. I mean, any indication from these Hong Kong riots, the Beijing protests, I mean you can even go back to the Tiananmen square. There's a constant history of the Chinese people not wanting to be oppressed by the Chinese state. And the only reason why the Chinese state has been able to galvanize the Chinese population against us is through their intensive propaganda arm.

Henri (01:20:07):

And this is all done, again, there's a reason why this distinction is important and it's because this warfare, this new concept of warfare, is what's called "lawfare", which is using the law, using international law as a means of warfare. And this is what Russia excels at by using international norms or international existing laws as pretense for his antagonistic actions. And the reason why Ukraine is so important, again, is not specifically because of Ukraine itself.

Henri (01:20:37):

Everyone say, Oh, why should we invest all this time and effort into Ukraine? Well, like we already discussed about, by going through this tour of Europe, if you will, of why this Ukrainian situation matters for galvanizing the rest of these European countries into doing things that are positive for the future prosperity of the West and by extension to human race. But it's also to signal to our allies and to other areas what we stand for. Because I mean, let's be frank about it, the last two decades with the bullshit Iraq war and the floundering that we've done in Afghanistan, has not given us much credibility in the eyes of the world. And even despite that with the amount of Goodwill that we've built up, most nations are still allies with the United States and the West. And particularly when we're talking about the United States is that, if one thing has been consistent since the Obama administration, which includes the Trump administration, is that since Obama announced his pivot to Asia, the United States has been firmly committed to the act of leaving Europe behind, or I shouldn't say leaving Europe behind, but letting Europe maintain the peace and stability of the European regime and allowing ourselves to focus our efforts on the into-Pacific region, which is the next area of conflict of strife. And that's where our focus and attention is needed.

Henri (01:22:01):

I mean say what you will about Trump and as misguided as it is, even he had a whole thing is about his whole speeches like China, China this, China that. So whether it's Obama or Trump or now Biden, we now have had essentially 14 years of uninterrupted foreign policy direction towards the pivot to Asia. And it's important for the United States to be able to free up our resources from Europe to the Indo-Pacific region. And this is why it's important to show our resolve in Ukraine, to signal to our allies in the Indo-Pacific region on what we're prepared to do for the upcoming century.

Henri (01:22:52):

It really aggravates me when I hear all this constant talk about, Oh, United States is such a young country and it fails to think strategically, 'cause it's always the youngest country, and we have all the time in the world. You hear this from like Russia has, you know, Russia, we have all the time in the world and we're a long proud state with full of history. And of course you doubly hear this so from China: all this Chinese mythos of Confucius and everything like that: United States thinks in election cycles, we think in millennia, you know, we've been thinking about all this stuff since days of Confucius. And it's like, you know, you guys are such full of shit.

Henri (01:23:28):

United States is actually, if you think about it, is actually one of the oldest countries in the world right now, because the United States has essentially been an uninterrupted Federal Republic since 1789. Whereas most of the European states haven't really inherited their form of government until post World War II. So most European states from a government standpoint, I mean, yeah, sure, culturally, you may be thousands of years old, but in the form of international politics in the form of governance is concern, most of you, guys, are barely 50-60 years old. And even more so in the case with China. You know, like China's all, Oh, you know, we're thousands of years old -- that's such horseshit. And it just really aggravates me, because American talking heads like to bring it up to show like how they're so profound, introducing this profound concept. It's like, oh yeah, China, you know, with the days of Confucius and Sun Tzu, and they're 6,000 year old civilization, blah blah blah. So they're thinking about this stuff in the long term, and there are such an old people. It's all full of shit, because the Chinese state is barely 70 years old. The existing Chinese state exists from the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949, when the Chinese nationalists escaped to Taiwan. And even that is not completely accurate: the modern Chinese state exists after Nixon opened up and allowed the PRC, the People's Republic of China, communist China to enter the world stage and get the UN security council seat, and assume its roles and responsibilities of international governance for what little governance that they do.

Henri (01:25:06):

So, okay, yes, from a cultural historical standpoint it may be 6,000 or whatever number everyone likes to throw out -- 2,000, 3,00, 6,000 year old civilization. They may be. But the actual Chinese state, the government that exists today, is barely seventy years old. They are a young country ,and we need to counteract this "I'm smarter than thou" attitude from talking heads, saying that United States doesn't know what we're talking about, because in effect the United States, being one of the oldest governments on the planet really has the long-term credibility and a track record of moving progress steadily along.

Henri (01:25:46):

So all of our actions, even the whole concept of being the international world policeman is about the United States' commitment for the self-determination of the people of other countries. Yes, of course, has the United States had a pristine track record? Of course not. Have we done a lot of boneheaded, in some sense you can even accuse us of conducting war crimes or legal actions. You can point to Iraq. You can point to Afghanistan. You can talk about Nicaragua or Panama. Yes, we have constant missteps and misfires and definitely egregious acts, that we should definitely be called out on upon. But overall, generally speaking, the entire history of the United States, this whole concept of American exceptionalism comes from the fact that we believe in the supremacy of liberal democratic institutions throughout the world and in our commitment to peace in the sense of the free flow of trade and ideals, and having a just and open society throughout the world.

Henri (01:26:44):

It's something that not we invented, but we are the ones who put it forth on the international stage. The concept of League of Nations, the concept of United Nations. Even the concept of NATO Alliance, the defensive Alliance, is something we implemented on our own. The fact that we made commitments to South Korea, to Taiwan, which we have in essence no business of doing, you know, what is it to us? That we're doing it in our commitment to risk American lives and American treasure for the benefit of those societies. That's something very few countries have done. And if they have done it, it's only after the footsteps of us in the United States.

Henri (01:27:24):

And you can make criticism about United States being a World's policeman and sticking its nose into places that it doesn't belong. And sure those could be valid, genuinely valid critiques. But the distinction here is that the United States didn't do this on its own because it wanted to expand its influence. The United States did this, because this responsibility was thrusted upon her. I already mentioned this before: it started with World War I -- if you remember, we were neutral, we didn't want anything to do with it. But war and destruction happened, and then we were dragged into it. And then we had to come in there, bleed our lives and treasure into Europe's shenanigans to bring about peace. And we said, okay, let's have the League of Nations and have some sort of international peace, right? The whole thing. This was World War I, this was supposed to be the war to end all wars. But of course that didn't last, and World War II happened. And once again, the United States didn't want to have anything to do with it. But again, through Europe's shenanigans we were forced back into cleaning up Europe's mess. And then there we tried to get out again. But of course we couldn't, because at this point now, immediately after the end of World War II, even before the end of World War II at the Yalta conference, the lines were drawn between Stalin and the West, that there was not going to be any lasting piece after World War II. It was preordained at the Yalta conference, that even though we may have destroyed the Nazi, there was not going to be peace in Europe. There was going to be a permanent antagonistic status through now instead of Nazi Germany, but through the Soviet union.

Henri (01:28:55):

So, and because Europe was war-torn and didn't have the ability to defend itself, United States was forced to stay in Europe and we set the, this is important, that we set the international legal institutions there to ensure stability within Europe. And those international legal institutions would then spread from Europe to the rest of, of the world. Sure. A lot of it was self-served in the sense of going against communism and that's a valid critique, but you can't deny the fact that this is how history was set forth in motion. And say what you will again about the United States, but these institutional frameworks that we established post World War II directly led to the end of the decolonization of the rest of the world: of Africa and Asian.

Henri (01:29:41):

And yes, we went in there into Vietnam and we lost lives and treasure there. And there's plenty of critiques to go around about United States involvement with Vietnam. But let's not forget, the only reason why we went to Vietnam was because of the effect of the decolonization of French Indo-China and France losing its grip on its colonies, and the instability that soon followed. We had to go in there. Now, sure, we went in there mostly from the pretense of the containment of communism, but that doesn't change the fact that we went in there due to the effect of the instability, caused from the decolonization of the European states. And that colonization happened at the behest of the international institutions that the United States brought forth, once the responsibility of the Guardian of Peace was thrust upon her.

Henri (01:30:34):

And it really frustrates me that during peace time, everyone likes to shit on the United States saying, Oh, you're the world's policeman, you always stick your head into everything. Military industrial complex this, military industrial complex that, you guys love war, and the oil jokes and everything like that. But when push comes to the shove, when something happens in the world, what's the first thing people do? Where's United States, why is the United States not helping us? And obviously this is right now, it's happening again with Ukraine. Everyone's like to bitch, why isn't the US sending troops to Ukraine? Well, excuse me, weren't you guys just saying that we shouldn't be the world's policeman and we should let Europe do its own thing and not stick our nose into everything? Why is the United States always budding in to everything? But then now as soon as Russia starts saber rattling, the first thing you guys do is cry home to mama and go, Oh, United States, please come in, send troops. Everyone likes to shit on us, but once shit hits the fan, the first thing people do is run to the United States, the supposedly youngest country in the world. It's pure and utter bullshit, and this type of, this diatribe of United States being a young naive, inexperienced country really needs to end. And to show that in fact, the United States is one of the oldest, again, maybe not countries, but it's the oldest governments on this planet. And it's these supposedly old civilizations to include Europe and China are the ones that are taking lessons from us.

Henri (01:31:56):

And this is what's important because these international legal frameworks that we've so diligently prepared are being used against us in this concept that I've already brought up before: lawfare. And this lawfare is important, because the lawfare is weaponizing these international legal frameworks against us. Putin was using these international legal works to provide the pretext for this invasion against Ukraine. And also China has been doing that in the south China sea. And now let's finally put to bed Ukraine and move to the real point of what this podcast was all about is our pivot Asia.

Henri (01:32:42):

The reason why we have to do what we need to do in Ukraine is because we need to show to the Indo-Pacific region, our allies in the Indo-Pacific region, that United States is ready, willing, and able to protect its allies in a defensive Alliance and an against an aggressor state. Particularly an aggressor state that uses these international legal frameworks to weaponize these international legal frameworks against your territorial integrity and future prosperity of your citizens. That's why we need to be involved with Ukraine.

Henri (01:33:15):

And with China, the best example I could show about China conducting lawfare is all these artificial islands in the South China sea and claiming not only these artificial islands, but claiming all the maritime territory of that, violating the treaty protocols of the reintegration of Hong Kong into China, and all the protests, and let's just plainly call it state sponsored murder of Hong Kong citizens flying directly in the face of international law.

Henri (01:33:46):

I shouldn't say China, but the Chinese communist party, the CCP has been doing this to sow the seeds and the grains of instability in the Indo-Pacific region. And not only we need to stop this, but with our commitment to the Pivot to Asia, we need to establish the framework for the Indo-Pacific version of the NATO Alliance. NATO was for the 20th century. For the 21st century a new Alliance needs to be made.

Henri (01:34:13):

And we're already behind eight-ball in here. A lot of this came from the fact that Obama tried with his pivot to Asia to move the United States into the direction of the Indo-Pacific. But with the four years of Trump, and Trump himself admitting this, is that his goal was to dismantle all these meaningful initiatives of the Obama administration. One of them would include the Trans-Pacific partnership. And that is an important thing, because again, the United States, historically, again, that's being one of the oldest governments in the world, our prosperity, our future, our strength has always been sourced from our ability to conduct international free trade. That is the supreme source of power of our country. I've mentioned this in previous podcasts. This is the reason why constitutionally the United States' Navy is required, where the US army is an entity that needs to constantly be reauthorized by law. It's not constitutionally mandated that we have an army. Having an army is not within the ethos of Americanism, but a Navy and the protection that it offers for the international merchant trade is enshrined in our ethos.

Henri (01:35:26):

And with the dismantling of the trans-Pacific partnership, the TTP, well, the TPP wasn't actually dismantle the TPP has been activated, this is this Asia-specific NAFTA, if you will, this free trade area, we already talked about this whole thing with Ukraine started because of free trade association between the EU versus the Eurasian Union. The similar situation with the TPP in that the TPP is this free trade treaty that facilitates international trade in the Pacific region. It is currently is implemented. The only thing that has changed is that by Trump pulling out of the TPP, now the only ones who get to benefit from this are Canada and the rest of these Asian countries. And the United States is locked out of it.

Henri (01:36:10):

And this is not just a simple question of Joe Biden going to the Asian countries and Canada, saying, Hey, yeah, so about those four years of Trump. Yeah. We're sorry. That was a crazy time. But anyway -- you know, rolling up his sleeves and saying -- Yeah, all right, so about that TPP, can we, uh, go in and redo that? No, of course not. It's not going to happen. If there's going to be any new free trade agreement with that it's going to include the United States, it has to be renegotiate and redone. That's a long time process. That's going to take the span of multiple presidential administrations.

Henri (01:36:45):

And with the way things are going, the United States, the Democrats are basically legislating themselves into extinction. The side note about this, the crazy thing is the Republican party has always been the one, quote, the most "pro-business party". Yet they're the ones who are the authors of the destruction of the most major pro-business international treaty in recent history. The irony is just the, is insane.

Henri (01:37:12):

So now, as we've already established, the United States' source of strength is it's, uh, economic might. And by being shot out from the economic trade of the Indo-Pacific region, it has permanently put us on a back foot. Where for at least in the foreseeable future, I don't see how the United States can reinsert ourselves into that Pacific region. So we're already starting behind here.

Henri (01:37:37):

So we have to look at other areas specifically we have to look at the military aspect here. So we have a previous episode about the AUKUS situation and the submarine deal and how yeah, we shit on France, but overall for United States, this is actually pretty good. And yes, and that is true from a military standpoint, the United States needs to insert itself in Indo-Pacific region to counter the looming Chinese threat, the looming CCP threat. And the reason why this is so important, so crucial, not only the Ukrainian situation is important, but this concept of lawfare is important is that our might in the Indo-Pacific region comes from the might of the US Navy. And the US Navy's might is derived from its ability to travel in the open seas.

Henri (01:38:23):

So what can China do against such a looming power of the United States Navy? Well, the conventional theory states that it needs to build up its own Chinese Navy, the People's Liberation Army's Navy to counteract the United States Navy, but obviously that's gonna be prohibitively expensive. And also chances are probably in our lifetimes and our children's lifetimes that's not going to happen, because it's one thing to build an army, but the capital intensive nature of Navy's -- that takes a ridiculously long time. The supremacy of the US Navy is unparalleled.

Henri (01:38:59):

That being said, what else can China do to counteract the US Navy? Well, if the US Navy sources the free access to the open waters, one thing you can do is close the access to those open waters. And you can either do this through the military or, what China is doing right now, is using these international frameworks against the United States. And with the international frameworks, specifically what I'm talking about are these artificial islands. These are this point here is that they've been putting artificial islands in the South China sea, putting airs strips on them and claiming this is Chinese territory, and saying like, these waters are no longer open waters open to international transit. These are now Chinese territorial waters.

Henri (01:39:40):

Now of course you can say, yes, but these are artificial islands, so they don't carry the rights of that 12 nautical mile border. And yes, you're absolutely true, but those international norms of that 12 nautical mile borders and not being applied to artificial islands are only effective if you directly challenge it, which means that you need to have United States Navy vessels go within 12 nautical miles of these islands, which obviously is a dangerous thing, particularly because of their militarized nature. So this is way that the CCP has weaponized our international frameworks that we have implemented in the 20th century and is using against us in this concept of lawfare against us in the 21st century.

Henri (01:40:26):

Not only that they're also using, we talked about the Irish fishing boats, well, this is a classic playbook from the Chinese. The, the CCP uses Chinese fishing boats to antagonize US Navy and Japanese Navy ships against contested islands. The most prominent example, being the Senkaku islands.

Henri (01:40:47):

And it's not just Japan or Korea. You have these other Pacific nations: Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, even India, obviously, where they're seeing what's happening in the South China sea on how China is trying to use lawfare. These salami tactics that we talked about, that Putin's doing to erode the credibility of the United States as a guarantor of a stability in the Pacific region. And they're wondering: is the United States going to be a reliable partner right now? This is the whole issue during the Trump administration, where Europe, Macron, pretty much said after he got elected against Trump is that Europe can no longer rely on United States as a credible partner and ally. Right? He was specifically talking about Trump there, but again, the fact that he said "United States" and obviously United States didn't do anything to counter it, because Trump was in charge and our Congress was inept and impotent, it didn't help the matters, but it directly questioned. For the first time in probably our entire existence of American history was the credibility of the United States directly threatened or directly attacked by its own allies.

Henri (01:42:00):

And you can bet your ass now, that our Asian allies in the Indo-Pacific region are also asking that question. 'Cause Biden, one of his statements was that once I come in and become president, I'm going to remove the ills of Trump and reestablishing, Hey, United States is back. And of course everyone said, yeah, okay. And everyone clapped. It was all great. But in the European circles and the European news agencies, which, you know, the US media didn't cover, was that the European talking heads were saying, Okay, well it's nice and great that Biden is saying, Hey, we're back, but what is by Biden doing domestically to ensure that Trump doesn't come back? Or someone even worse than Trump comes and replace it? Can we really take Biden at his word? Can we really take America at her word, that she's going to be reliable ally to Europe? And this question is still going on today.

Henri (01:42:51):

And right now the news cycles are obviously dominated by Ukraine, but towards the end of this year, we're going to start coming up to the midterm elections. And then inevitably, because the Democrats are so inept, they're going to lose their power. And then Republicans are gonna be in power. And with Republicans being obstructionists and also the cult personality of Trump, there's gonna be more of this issue about, especially if the Ukraine thing dies down, the European are once again going to say, Hey, is the United States really going to be a reliable partner? Or do we really need to go on on our own?

Henri (01:43:22):

And it's important, because these exact sentiments that are being expressed in the European media, are the same exact sentiments being now addressed in the Indo-Pacific. Where we don't even have... At least in Europe, we have this NATO Alliance structure. We don't even have that in Asia. The one thing that we could have had with TPP is gone. It's vanished. And at least in the near future, we're never gonna get it back.

Henri (01:43:49):

Yes, we have individual bilateral agreements with Japan and, being their defensive guarantor, South Korea, defensive guarantors of Taiwan. But those are just bilateral agreements between these specific countries. And there's no multi-lateral institutional framework in the Indo-Pacific region. And a lot of these countries are asking themselves, can we really rely on the United States? If Europe is asking, and especially, race is a sensitive topic in Asia and they're saying, Oh, there's a lot of discussion in Asian media be like, Oh, well of course United States in the West is close, because of this whole like "white race" concept, which I'm not a really big fan of, but anyway, this is what's being discussed. They're saying, Oh, well, of course they're all the same group of people. If the United States won't even help out these, quote, "white nations", are they going to help us out in Asia? If they can't even be reliable for Europe, what makes us think they're gonna be a reliable partners in Asia? And this is a very troubling development going on in general political discussion in the Asia nations. And you bet your ass, that they're looking at what is United States doing. Like, okay, it's nice that Europe is galvanizing for the benefit of Ukraine, but Asia doesn't really care about what Europe is doing. Asia is caring about what the United States is doing, because they're hoping to rely on United being fully committed to the peace and security of the Indo-Pacific region. So that's why we can't really afford any more further screw ups and wishy washiness of our actions in Ukraine, because we need to show a strong, definitive indication to our Asian allies and Asian partners that we are committed.

Henri (01:45:31):

Once we actually fall formalize this pivot to Asia and establish ourselves as the peace and security guarantors of the region, we need to be able to point to our most recent actions. You know, because of the recency bias, that's in human nature, you can't really fight it. And we have to show, look, we did it in Ukraine. You can see that yes, United States is back, and we are ready to not just do individual bilateral agreements between you guys, but to establish an international regional framework of peace and stability, just like we do with NATO. One for ASEAN. The Association of South-Eastern Asian Nations.

Henri (01:46:10):

Now, yes, like we've already discussed, we can't send military troops into the Ukraine, because they're not in the Alliance. And we have to maintain that fact for the reasons we've already discussed about the importance of the NATO Alliance. But that again, that's the point. It's to show the importance of the NATO Alliance, because the importance of the NATO Alliance is now directly translated to the importance of the future, ASEAN Alliance for lack of a better term.

Henri (01:46:37):

And not just that is that the aid that we're providing Ukraine is not just the military aid, but the economic and diplomatic aid as well. Especially when we're talking about the concept of lawfare, because these diplomatic and economic efforts, that I would hope the Biden administration, or just broadly that the United States would carry out, need to effectively demonstrate for our Asian allies to see, Ah, yes, okay, we see now that we can do that as well. We can rely on the United States for such assistance and cooperation, once the Pivot to Asia commences. And it also shows by again, not having direct military aid in Ukraine, but really emphasizing the supremacy of the defensive Alliance of NATO, it galvanizes our Asian partners into realizing that if we really want the United States to counter the looming Chinese threat, we need to establish our own defensive Alliance so that we also have this moral high ground that is being used in Europe. Not only as a defensive Alliance for the prosperity of the individual nations, but as we can see from the actions that while Putin's doing whatever he can, within Ukraine, he dares not touch any NATO member to include the Baltic states and Poland, which has historically been the Russia's prime target. That shows our Asian allies that, Hey, look, we need to convince the United States to have our own Pacific version of NATO. So that, uh, we can have that moral high ground against this looming Chinese threat.

Henri (01:48:12):

The thing is when push comes to shove and if China, or rather when China acts on their aggressive threats and starts invading their neighbors, who are they going to call out for help? Of course the United States. And of course the United States is going to want to help. But where is the international legal framework there that allows the United States to counteract the impending Chinese aggression? Yes, we may have loose bilateral agreements with Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, for example. But do we have those same things with Indonesia? Do we have them with Vietnam? Do we have that with Malaysia? Do we have that with Singapore? Go down the list of all the different countries there that legal framework doesn't exist.

Henri (01:48:57):

Just like it doesn't exist in the Ukraine. And what is happening right now with Ukraine? The United States wants to help Ukraine. Of course we do. But because we don't have the international right or legal framework to protect their sovereignty, to protect her citizens, we have to come up with interesting inventive ways to try to help them out in a roundabout way. And our message here about Ukraine for Asia is: listen, don't put us, the United States, in a situation where we have to find roundabout indirect ways to help you against the Chinese threat. Let's establish these international frameworks now, before China does invade your territorial sovereignty. So we have the international framework in place that allows us to help you. That's the importance of Ukraine: it's for the establishments, for planting that tree now and not saying, Oh, we should have planted the seeds for that tree 10 years ago.

Henri (01:49:52):

Let's not learn from history -- let's learn from current events. Let's take these lessons. And again, remember we talked about lessons documented versus lessons learned? Let's learn these lessons now so that we are not coming back to this in the future and say, Oh, if only had we have done this beforehand, things could have been different.

Henri (01:50:09):

And this is why, I mean, one of the themes of this podcast is about, yes, I come from a military background and obviously I feel the importance of American military might. But our power is not directly sourced from our military might. In fact, if you look throughout American history, again, one of the oldest governments in the world, the American might comes from our diplomatic relationships with our allies, our adversaries. And it's a troubling trend that I see in recent American history is our over-reliance on the military and forcing the military to do the jobs of diplomats, which the military is, quite frankly, ill-equipped to do.

Henri (01:50:51):

And the hollowing out of our diplomatic core, we had all these discussions, particularly in the Trump administration about ambassadors and department of state officials resigning and saying, Oh, we can't do this. And the liberal media would tell this as, Oh, look at all these heroes resigning from the Trump administration and protesting the policies. Well, okay. Yeah, maybe that's nice. And that might be great from a political standpoint, but from an existence standpoint, it's alarming and troubling. We've lost that institutional knowledge of our diplomatic core. And we see that right now with Ukraine about the inept response of the Biden administration against the Russian threat on Ukraine. And one of these things is that, you know, you look at the way our diplomatic core is organized is that our diplomats constantly rotate around to different countries to gain a broad experience and use that broad experience to bring about an international order that's conducive for peace and prosperity.

Henri (01:51:48):

I mean, that's the way we, but Russia, for example, doesn't do that. Their diplomats don't rotate. They go to a specific location, specific country and become ridiculously good experts in that specific region. So in any diplomatic battle of wits, where American diplomats have to counter Russian diplomats, the Russian diplomats are running circles around us. And it's painfully evident here in Ukraine.

Henri (01:52:11):

But the point is Russia is not the only one that has a diplomatic core that acts like this, that's firmly fixed into a specific region and regional experts. China is the exact same way. And right now from a diplomatic standpoint, China is eating our lunch. And it's only further exacerbated by the fact that all of our institutional knowledge of our senior diplomats has been hallowed out through these mass resignations of the Trump administration . Am I happy and glad that they decided not to go along with the disastrous diplomatic efforts? Absolutely. But I'm worrying and I'm scared for the future of the United States, because we've lost that knowledge. And how are we gonna gain that back? This new generation of American diplomats are effectively leaderless. And you can see this is painfully evident in Ukraine by the way, the senior staff of our diplomatic mission, the senior leaders in the Вepartment of Ыtate have been floundering and bungling our response to Ukraine. And Ukraine should be a layup. It's a clearly an aggressive militaristic state about to conduct an impending kinetic operation against a territorial sovereignty of a country, which Oh, by the way, we've personally guaranteed their territorial integrity through the Budapest memorandum. From the diplomatic standpoint, this is a layup. Yet we're we're bungling it.

Henri (01:53:29):

So how do you expect the American diplomatic core to be able to handle the ambiguous and fluid diplomatic nature of the Indo-Pacific region, particularly here against the, the diplomatic prowess of the Chinese communist state? So in a sense, it's not just the future of the Ukrainians that I fear it's the future of our own.

Henri (01:54:31):

If you would like to comment on this podcast or on the topics covered within it, or you'd like us to raise a new topic in our next episode, please feel free to leave us a message or voicemail on That's Charlie, Oscar, Delta, Bravo, Sierra, Thank you for listening and see you at the party, Richter!