Touched by War?
An ugly, barbaric and ruthless war is underway in Eastern Europe. Already there are thousands of casualties on both sides, with many of them being civilians on the side being invaded (Ukraine), and the Geneva Convention being regularly flouted by the invader (Russia). Cities are being methodically reduced to rubble, the country’s largest nuclear power plant has been bombed and occupied, and over 9 million Ukrainian refugees have already fled across borders to friendlier countries. As the country’s economy is being decimated, the aggressor has increased the already-smothering pressure on the civilian population thru the use of thermobaric and cluster munitions, in their attempt to terrorize the country into surrendering.
How long Ukraine (which is the size of Texas) can hold out is questionable. The NATO allies of Europe and the U.S. have promised large quantities of relief supplies, weapons, and ammunition, but actually delivering them to exactly where they are needed at the critical moments of need, is a logistics problem that requires coordination, stealth, firepower, timing, and luck, if the truth were told. The difference between repelling the enemy and being overrun can vary from mere hours to perhaps several weeks. Now up to its eyeballs in a deepening quagmire, The Bear must be recalling the days of the sieges of Stalingrad, Leningrad, Warsaw, and more recently their humiliation in Afghanistan, all of whom resisted the invader’s bombings, invasions and occupations by whatever means they could generate,
But at what cost, and for how long? Will Western Europe lose interest in supporting Ukraine as the burden increases? Finding replacement sources for Russian oil and gas may be an expensive process Would that country be invited to join NATO as the price of continued support?
What about the long-game plan of Russia? Can they be thwarted before Boot-Scootin’ Putin achieves his goal of reunification of the old USSR? And if his own people balk would he, like old Joe Stalin, have no compunction about killing many more millions at home? In an ominous step toward muzzling free speech, Russia has just passed a law which makes the spreading of “false information” about the Russian Federation a crime, punishable by fifteen years in prison. Of course, false information amounts to anything that even hints of disagreement with the regime’s official line. The Russian natives are increasingly restless, and are likely to become far more disruptive, much less embarrassing, as their economy continues to plunge into chaos. There is no discernible end to this march toward total internal control, and we, the free world, have been complacent to the point of near-complicity in the newest Russian increase in its ravenous political appetite.
And what about the cost to our country? We have pledged that no U.S, military forces will be employed in this war, as long as no NATO countries are attacked. One believes this policy will prevail, but we’re going to shoulder the burden in other ways. Our current inflation surge is beginning to pinch, especially in the cost of energy. As the Russian gas and oil exports cease to flow freely, our internal prices will continue to rise. To what level is anyone’s guess, but it’s sure to hurt the people who can least afford it. Also, massive numbers of Ukrainian refugees will doubtless be asking for asylum here. So far, Poland, Germany and the Baltic States have absorbed the larger share of the burden (estimates now reflect nearly 10 million refugees to date), but how much further will their compassion and generosity stretch? The least we can expect is a continued upward price spiral, as the cost of helping to underwrite the war. If our involvement ever evolves beyond financial support and the provision of arms/equipment, then all bets are off. As it is, The Bear has already threatened a nuclear response, which signals that he’s willing to be responsible for the ultimate catastrophe. Or so he says.
Because traditional ways of thinking may not be entirely conducive to survival in this century, a few words regarding globalism, vs. the traditional American way of ‘rugged independence” are appropriate to this discussion. The increasing economic linking of nations in this century can be illustrated by a simple analogy to “mobiles.” These were created by the artist Alexander Calder, and they consist of an umbrella-like hanging contraption, with dangling baubles at frequent intervals (the ribs) around its circumference. Children love them, as they hang temptingly above their little cribs, enticing them to yank on one of the suspended baubles. When one of them is pulled, each of the others reacts by jangling or moving in some fashion. If we compared world economies to these mobiles and the action-reaction of their mechanics, it becomes a handy device to illustrate that we’re all joined together by the “mobile” of our mutual need to deal with each other. How well are we, the developed world, reacting to the imperative of this necessary global interaction? The way we react to the “yanking” by a great, unruly bear on our world mobile, may determine our future as a free society.
One cannot approach an understanding about this war without making analogies to similar situations that have resulted in world war and cold war, all within the past century. The most cold-blooded and ruthless dictators of this era were, arguably, Adolph Hitler and Joseph Stalin. There were others like Franco and Mussolini, who were mere “wannabes” by comparison. They all used similar scapegoating tactics to justify their aggression,“The Jews” (plus Lebensraum), being most notable in previous wars. In this conflict, the Russian president-for-life states that
his goal is reunification of the old Soviet Union which was “stolen” from him (after the Russians stole it as booty post-WWII). He is scapegoating the Ukrainian people as being “Nazis,” which is just about the ultimate irony. It is estimated that Stalin killed up to thirty million of his own people in the 1930s, which is roughly the total of all deaths in World War II. There is little doubt in our minds that Putin would continue to follow a similar pattern to achieve his megalomaniac goals. So one of the current conundrums in the Eastern Europe situation is whether he would commit genocide on an entire nation or region, in order to “save” it, punish it, or merely to clean it out to make “lebensraum” for his own true believers. He has given us ample examples of his intentions, and so far our response has amounted to a cautious, reactionary response. The goals of sanctions are admirable, but their end results may not be either sufficient or timely. Our great Achilles heel as a nation, unfortunately, is that we have always been reactive to the impending dangers, while the enemy has been preemptive. This abundance of caution has often cost us dearly, and the tragedy of Pearl Harber is a sorrowful example. It seems that we are always fighting a defensive action.
Lest there be any remaining doubt where this biased observer stands, I believe that diplomacy should remain the standing rule of international relations, but only for as long as we have two sides that are willing to bargain in good faith. When one side only responds to the use – not the threat – of using force, the free world must act to suppress the threatener. That’s polite English for what I really think, which is that Putin needs his butt kicked clear to Siberia. Europe, and the rest of the free world, cannot live harmoniously otherwise. And then there’s China …..
George Thatcher, 2022
George is an American Bad Ass. He grew up in Jersey, flew B-52s in Vietnam, taught English, Spanish and other languages to children around the world, makes his own salsa, has been known to enjoy a beer or two and has called Lubbock home for a few years, just to entertain the locals. Welcome to Raiderland, Major. We are going to feature some of his writings going forward. Some new, some old. Some rhyme, some don’t. When it comes to George, there’s no box. So… enjoy our friend and enjoy his writings! – Hyatt