One Russia

One Russia


Leonard Zwelling

If I understand President Putin’s argument for all this invading he is doing it is to reconstitute the true Russia. We in the west call that the Soviet Union plus the Warsaw Pact countries, but Putin may have different notions of what “Russia” ought to look like. The problem is that those other countries like Ukraine, no longer want to be part of Russia, if they ever did. They see themselves as independent, sovereign entities with no wish at all to be realigned with Putin’s Russia. In other words, Putin looks at all of this land mass, that in the current Russia and that in what used to be the Soviet Union, as one Russia. He views this one Russia as the bulwark against western aggression, but these independent countries want to be part of NATO and the European Union, and more importantly the populations of the countries want that, too. They want freedom, autonomy and self-determination. Putin wants them to heel to his desires and cow to his weapons. The Ukrainians have basically said no to that and look like they will fight to the death to prevent there from becoming one greater Russia again.

In essence, one force, Putin, thinks that everyone in his one Russia should obey him and support him and his mission to restore Russian greatness. The people in these independent states disagree.

Then Putin launched the war in Ukraine and he has already lost. Putin has managed to do what no American President has been able to do—get NATO to act as a bloc. Even Switzerland is not remaining neutral and it’s not even in NATO. President Biden has warned China to stay out of the conflict and my guess is that China will because the last thing you want to do is anger your best customers and that would be the EU and the US for China.

No matter if Putin destroys every building in Ukraine and has Russian soldiers directing traffic in Kyiv, Putin’s army has been shown to be both merciless and second rate. Putin is destroying civilians for the purposes of terrifying them and it has succeeded in causing many to run, but not causing any Ukrainians to stop fighting. The Ukrainians want no part of being part of one Russia.

This is very interesting because I think this is also true of most of the faculty of MD Anderson not wanting to be part of one MD Anderson if it means it lessens their status as the drivers of the institutional mission and the earners of the institutional revenue.

It is very hard to subdue a determined minority that does not want to be absorbed into a faceless whole. Like the Ukrainians, the faculty of MD Anderson must resist all attempts to blend them into some uniform identity that is the essence of the “One MD Anderson” concept. I am fine with treating everyone fairly and as an individual, BUT, the faculty must remain apart and special.

As this blog has written before, MD Anderson’s true assets are its name and its faculty. The outsourcing of the MD Anderson name throughout Houston and the country may or may not prove to be a good idea. I have seen MD Anderson sites outside of Houston that are first rate because first-rate faculty are running them. I hope all of the non-TMC MD Anderson sites are as blessed with leadership as is the site in Jacksonville.

However, in no way can the faculty of any MD Anderson site be assumed to be part of the furniture as is implied by the “One MD Anderson” slogan. This must be resisted with all the fervor of a Ukrainian patriot. There will not be a reconstitution of the Russian Empire now or in the future. NATO will see to that. There cannot be some sort of uniformity among all those who work at MD Anderson no matter which site it is. The faculty are not the same as everyone else. Now the faculty just has to make that clear to the president of MD Anderson.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *