You Say Revanchist, I Say Irredentist

Image by John Pritchett.

I’ve been watching the coverage of the Russia-Ukraine crisis with considerable puzzlement and vexation. Reporters and pundits keep asking, “Why is Putin doing this? What does he want?”

To anyone who knows Russian history the answer is obvious: Ukraine was annexed by the Russian Empire in 1793 and took advantage of the collapse of the Soviet Union to secede in 1991. Shorter Putin: “Ukraine is ours and we want it back.”

Cue musical interlude:

Julia Ioffe, one of the savviest observers of the Russia-Ukraine mishigas, tweeted this out this morning:

Ioffe is following developments in the Russian language media. She knows her shit. She was born in Moscow and was seven years old when her family emigrated to America. She quite correctly believes that Team Biden is playing Russian-style psy-ops. They’re messing with the Kremlin. Why not? The Kremlin is messing with the world.

I’m not an expert on Russian history and their current intentions, but I *am* an informed bystander if such a thing exists; as is anyone who took Russian history from Tom Owen at LSU or Harvard. There’s a strong possibility that Putin is bluffing in the hopes of getting what he wants without an invasion. Dictators lie and bluff all the time. It’s how Hitler rolled until 1939. Even then there was a false flag operation as a fig leaf for Germany invading Poland.

Team Biden is calling Putin’s bluff. Despite the wily Russian’s attempts to divide NATO, the alliance is behind the American approach. French President Macron wasn’t acting on his own but as a sort of international good cop to President Biden’s bad cop. Joe Biden: Bad Cop? The world really is topsy-turvy. Hit it, Rodney:

I retired my crystal ball long ago so I’m not making any predictions, but I am surprised that the MSM doesn’t consider the weather a factor. Winters in that part of the world are severe, which tends to mess with military offenses. Take a trip to hell and ask Napoleon or Hitler about that.

All it takes is a blizzard to freeze the crisis in place. In the immortal words of Chrissie Hynde, the world needs a “chill factor to the bone.”

It’s time to circle back to the post title. When I was a kid, the MSM were all we had but they did a better job of covering international crises. They treated them as stories to be reported, not opportunities for amateur theatrics. I think they were better educated because they would have used the words revanchist and irredentist to describe what the former KGB colonel who runs Russia is up to.

I’m fond of quoting the Merriam-Webster dictionary so let’s do it again, do it again:

Definition of revanchist

 (Entry 1 of 2)

of or relating to a policy designed to recover lost territory or status of or relating to a revanche.

(Entry 2 of 2)

one who advocates or fights for the recovery of lost territory or status one who advocates a policy of revanche.

Definition of irredentism

a political principle or policy directed toward the incorporation of irredentas within the boundaries of their historically or ethnically related political unit.

Vladimir Putin is both a revanchist and an irredentist. I wish he’d call the whole thing off.

The last word goes to Louis and Ella followed by Louis and Keely: