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The Russian Terror Attacks

I want to talk about the Russian terror attacks that happened yesterday.

So, I want to start off with a disclaimer:  I don’t like Russia (particularly its government).  I also don’t like terror attacks.  So my feelings are pretty mixed up and conflicted.  So let’s just stipulate that terror attacks are bad and civilians shouldn’t have to suffer because people are stupid.  Let’s also stipulate that Russia is a messed up country and stuff like this happens in a messed up country. (and mine’s not a whole lot better, but messed up in wholly different ways).

I’m not really interested in talking about the human toll, though.  I’m interested in the impact that might have on the broader geopolitical situation.  So enough disclaimers.

I find the art of prognostication to be, to put it mildly, inexact.  And events like this are the reason why.  It’s very common, when thinking about the future, to extrapolate based upon how things currently are, but there just being more of it.  For example, in 2019, who would have thought the world would have had that significant (and mostly unnecessary) gutpunch that was the COVID-19 pandemic?  The idea of standing outside grocery stories in a line wearing mask while they made sure only a few people were inside the store at any one time was liminal.  And even though that’s mostly receded now, it affected the world in ways that are still resounding and reverberating, aftershocks hitting one after another, that may never have happened if the pandemic hadn’t happened.  For example, I don’t think Biden would have been elected, and he’s proven to be one of the worst things for the world stage in quite a while.

And that terror attack is another one of those “apocalyptic” scenarios.

I don’t use “apocalyptic” in the “end of the world” sense.  I mean in the sense of “something, itself impossible to predict, that happens that makes the future entirely impossible to predict”.

The scape of Russian politics just changed.  How and to what degree, we won’t know for a while.  But as the death toll increases, and if (God forbid) more of these events occur, it may be that the war in Ukraine just became of secondary importance to Russia.  Who could predict that?  It could lead to the deposition of Putin, but will most likely lead to at least a certain amount of destabilization of the political situation in Russia.  Especially given that Putin was warned well in advance, and mocked the west.

It could also lead to the deployment of nukes against the middle east, which would very much destabilize things, but not directly with the west.

We live in interesting times.  I think the best thing to come out of this terrible situation, though, is that it gives Russia something internal to focus on that’s not grievances with the west, and maybe that’s the best outcome we could hope for, considering.

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