Ukraine: The threat of the tit tilting towards the tat

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Ukraine: The threat of the tit tilting towards the tat

By Bala Ibrahim

The phrase Tit for tat is often used to describe the infliction of an injury or insult in return for one suffered by another.

Those with patience, don’t react mindlessly to minor or immediate irritations.

No, like Don Corleone in the God Father, they wait with careful calculations for the right time to respond.

And when they do, they retaliate in what may look gentle, but dangerous and distinctively devastating.

The result of such reaction is often referred to as, a tit for tat.

The sentiment of patience is regarded as the greatest virtue of those with the capacity to wait, because it reflects their ability for calmness, without agitation in the heat of provocation.

The Russia/Ukraine situation is one scenario that captures the authoritative accuracy of the virtue of patience, especially when viewed through the behaviours of Russia against Europe over the years.

Both sides have invested heavily over several decades in developing a framework of rules that would prevent conflict, by putting in place institutions for proper crisis management.

However, what happened in 2014, where the situation spiralled backward, from a political crisis to an armed conflict in Ukraine, occasioned by the failure of Europe to respect many agreements, showed that the agreed arrangements were inadequate with respect to the challenges at hand.

Dissatisfied with Europe’s posture, Russia was quick to incorporate Crimea into its fold without the consent of the Ukrainian authorities. And that became a major challenge to the European security order.

When everything to reconcile the sides failed, including the application of European confidence-and security-building measures and the diplomatically facilitated face-to-face contact between key parties, plus talks between Russia and Ukraine, Europe, which is backing Ukraine, thought of punishing Putin.

Using the European security institutions-the EU and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), they imposed measures to help Ukraine better provide for its security.

Also, through the coordinated use of sanctions by the Group of Seven (G7) industrialized countries and the European Union (EU), supported by countries such as Australia and Switzerland, measures were put to push Putin to pain, but he refused to palter.

Perhaps because all along, he was working on the right time to invoke the virtue of the phrase, tit for tat. On the 24 February, 2022, around 05:00 EET, Putin announced a “special military operation” in eastern Ukraine, minutes later, missiles began to hit locations across Ukraine, including the capital, Kyiv.

From that hour, that day, the world was miraculously cured of Coronavirus (COVID-19), the created virus that came to cheat some countries of comfort. Russia was particularly pained by the pandemic, which was perhaps Putin’s hardiest foe to date, because it locked down the Russian economy with great consequences that revealed the limits of his power.

Apart from the threat of changing the world order, the attack on Ukraine, and the re-direction of the attention of the world from a pandemic to a war, is similar to the infliction of an injury in return for one suffered by another. And comes quite close to the phrase, tit for tat.

But that’s not the biggest bombshell. The real thunderbolt is in the gullibility of Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Ukrainian President who taught he can comfortably fight a war, by simply transforming from a comedian to a politician, and an overnight President. It is a joke, a big joke to confront someone like Putin, the Russian polished and properly prepared politician, and former intelligence officer that did not just become the President of Russia overnight. He did so after a painstaking and near perfectionist grooming.

Putin was first the President of Russia in 2000, and was re-elected in 2018 to a six-year term. He was the country’s Prime minister from 1999 to 2000, and again from 2008 to 2012. Putin is the second-longest current serving European president.

According to the records, Putin studied law at Leningrad state university. He served for 15 years as a foreign Intelligence officer of the KGB, or the committee for State Security, where he spent six years in East Germany.

In 1990, he retired from active KGB service with the rank of lieutenant colonel and returned to Russia to become pro-rector of Leningrad State University, with responsibility for the institution’s external relations.

Soon afterward, Putin became an adviser to Sobchak, the first democratically elected Mayor of St. Petersburg.


He quickly won Sobchak’s confidence and became known for his ability to get things done. By 1994, he had risen to the post of first deputy mayor.

On the contrary, Zelinsky is not only a novice in complex captaincy, but a comedian that is completely empty in military credentials.

With the seizure of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station in Ukraine by the Russian forces, and the imminent and inevitable capture of the remaining nuclear stations soon, Europe should know that, despite the call by the United States for the establishment of a military hotline with Russia to prevent miscalculation, anything can happen.

With Ukrainian nuclear under the full control of Putin, and the pronouncement by Russia’s foreign affairs minister that the third world war would be nuclear based and destructive, the threat of the tit, is terribly tilting towards the tat.

If only the Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had borrowed a leaf from the saying of Late MKO Abiola, viz, “I don’t want to be a dead hero”, he wouldn’t be crying of being deceived or abandoned by NATO, which is now facing the fear of the threat of the tit tilting towards the tat.

Ukraine: The threat of the tit tilting towards the tat

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