“There are known knowns, things we know that we know;
and there are known unknowns, things that we know we don’t know.
But there are also unknown unknowns, things we do not know we don’t know.”
– Donald Rumsfeld
So last week’s post regarding the paucity of lefty anti-war protesters regarding the Ukrainian war is still going strong with comments, reminding me once again of the great sage, Donald Rumsfeld, regarding what we know, and what we know that we don’t know … and what we really don’t know that we don’t know.
What do I know for sure about the war? I know that both sides are … parsimonious with the truth about everything that is happening in the zone of conflict, to the point where a truckload of salt is necessary when reading the headlines, no matter if it’s the established print media, or blogs. What to believe? Practically nothing, save that yes, indeed, there is a war and a pretty hot one, too.
I am pretty certain that Ukraine served basically as the Biden family’s ATM. Corrupt government – yeah, that I do believe. But as corrupt than Russia itself, Nigeria, Pakistan, Belarus, South Sudan, Somalia, Burundi, Venezuela, and other frequent fliers on ‘most corrupt evah!’ list?
I do believe that Putin’s Russia apparently went into the Ukraine believing that it would be a one-two punch and settled to the advantage of Russia within a fortnight. That the war has been going on without a resolution since February of this year argues that Putin and his generals did indeed bite off more than they could chew, seriously overestimating their own capabilities and the Ukrainian will to resist.
The modern Ukrainians are descended from the Cossacks, in culture if not in blood, who had for centuries a tradition of making war … enthusiastically. They also, if I read my history right, still hold a grudge for being subjected to the Holodomor, the mass starvation under Stalin’s harsh rule in the 1930s. And that has to cast a very long shadow, among survivors of that state-instituted horror and their descendants.
I still wonder at the absence of serious peace protestors. Why, one might even hazard a supposition that the Biden administration really and truly wants a nuclear war, as an excuse to crush any of this insurrection talk. Wartime measures, for the good of the nation – that’s always been a fine pretext for crushing domestic opposition. And our current American ruling class certainly wouldn’t shed any tears over the deaths of flyover country, conservative middle- or working-class Americans – their open contempt for ordinary citizens can’t even be hidden any more.
Was the blowing up of the Nordstream pipelines deliberate or accidental? That’s one of those elements which falls into the category of known unknowns. The blogger Lawdog (whose Africa tales of his youth, growing up as the dependent of an oil industry manager are freaking hilarious) postulated an industrial accident. Now if we had a national news media worth anything, reporters would be taking Lawdog’s suggestion to as many oil and gas industry experts as they could get ahold of, asking them for their opinions. Alas, too many reporters for the national media who aren’t Salena Zito, are instead expensively educated twenty-somethings who don’t know anyone who drives a pickup truck … and very likely many of those experienced oil industry experts do drive a pickup truck and live way outside of the Acela Corridor. Just too infra dig to talk to one of those icky people, y’know.
Another known unknown – that retention and recruiting in our own military is collapsing. That last withdrawal from Afghanistan was a debacle, and the current fixation on DEI initiatives, dodgy Covid vaccinations and general incompetence among generals is doing a number on morale and effectiveness among the troops. Exactly how deep morale among our own armed forces has collapsed, right along with retention and recruiting is a deep dark secret. Probably one would have to take pliers to the fingernails of our current Secretary of Defense to get any straight answers at all … but the sense that my daughter and I get through our various veteran networks does not give any cause for reassurance.
And then there are the unknown unknowns… comment as you wish.