L.E. Kesselman
2 min readAug 25, 2022


Laeeth, you do not have perfect foresight, but you were close enough, as you wrote this in May 2017. You weren’t concerned about the nexus of geopolitical instability being Indochine, Japan/Taiwan/China, nor the Middle East. You were worried about Russia, and thus much closer to the reality of 2022. I am impressed! But not too surprised, as your intuition and persipacity are rather fine.

You didn't mention Belarus or Ukraine, but that was not part of the question asked. I think that you should keep this answer close at hand, though. I will explain why.

My tiny but erstwhile network of Dutch and Polish Twitter friends (and even a recent emigre from Minsk to a 'stealth tech startup' in Los Angeles), worry about the vast amount of sophisticated armaments that have been sent to Ukraine over the past 6 months. I realize that all of Biden's funding is not for weapons, but much is. The US has provided 95% of total aid to Ukraine to-date; I have citations for that! Poland and Romania have been incredibly generous to refugees, but in less quantifiable terms.

I am distressed that US aide in the form of cash is not being adequately tracked. Some will be diverted to opulent pied a terre in traditional locations; some will go to more discrete non-western European locales.

I am also distressed by the profusion of HIMARS, MANPADS, and other weapon systems being sent en masse and delivered to Ukraine with the good grace of nearby NATO nations, particularly the Baltic nations.

Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia are not the poorest countries in Europe, nor are they identical in character. (I confess to having forgotten which of them is the most economically successful and politically stable. I do recall variation.) My Dutch and Polish data scientists by day, twilight-to-darknet denizens by night have observed a thriving black market in HIMARS and missiles intended for Ukrainian defense. While much of it DOES get transported to Ukraine as intended, some is received upon delivery by distinctly NON-Ukrainians. There is something of a high tech arms Djemaa el-Fna somewhere or in multiple somewheres in Ukraine now. I think the nearly unprecedented American military weapons-for-cash exchange by all comers has the potential to destabilize Europe, both east and west, and maybe farther afield, for decades to come.

I hope I am wrong.