We used to say that history repeats itself. Today, we tend to think it may be more like rhyming than repeating.
In 2014 and 2015, Ukraine’s computer-controlled utilities began to go on and offline unexpectedly. This has been generally attributed to Russia. Not coincidentally, forces began amassing on the Ukraine border. In February they attacked and by March, the Crimea was annexed by Russia.
The forces, generally referred to at the time as “little green men” did not wear identification on their uniforms but were believed to be Russian Spetsnaz—special forces. This was later confirmed by Retired Russian Admiral Igor Kasayonov. In Russia, the mysterious soldiers were referred to as “polite people.” How quaint.
Today, the Ukraine cyber-system is under attack. Military forces are marshalling on the Russian side of the Ukraine border.
There are a few differences. Putin has shut down REvil, one of Russia’s most notorious cyber hacking organizations and recently destroyed an obsolete satellite, which has resulted in thousands of pieces of debris in low earth orbit, at least 1,500 large enough to be tracked. Each piece, regardless of size, is traveling at nearly 18,000 mph. For comparison, a bullet on earth travels somewhere about 1,700 mph, or less than one-tenth the speed of every single piece of debris.
In the midst of all this, I have two questions and no answers, just guesses. If anyone can answer these, please do so:
- Why destroy the satellite and why now?
The United States, Russia, and China all are known to have this ability, so it didn’t prove a capability. On the other hand, it may make a huge swath of space unusable for orbiting satellites. Or there may be a totally different reason. In any case, the timing is suspect.
- Why would Putin be making all these moves now?
While only Putin knows the answer, there are some suspicions.
- The West is in chaos.
- The United States is in the most serious chaos—a house divided against itself. There is even talk—frequent talk—of another civil war.
- Trump would never tell his devotees to follow Putin. However, so much propaganda that the Oath Keepers, Three-Percenters, etc. believe information that could (and at times did) originate with RT (Russia Today). A proponent could just point to the ideology without crediting the source.
Prior to President Biden, people in the United States responded to, repeated and created disinformation consistent with Russian efforts to confuse and divide us. Biden’s predecessor, and Putin’s number-one-fan, has been out of office for one year—long enough for plausible deniability. Long enough for the apprentice to not have to worry about hearing “You’re fired!” from Putin.
America has never been so weak and so tempting a target.
I hope—I Pray—that I’m totally, completely, and entirely wrong. Unfortunately, I fear that I might be facing the truth.