The Ukrainian War

Steve Schmidt, in his daily posting on Substack.com, wrote a moving commentary on the war in Ukraine. Since some of you may not be registered to read his entry, I’m reposting it here.

The world stands at a dangerous hour, but it didn’t seem like it in Santa Monica, where the sky was blue and the weather was perfect. There were no missile strikes from Russian forces to worry about and no freezing temperatures.

The war in Ukraine seems like old news in America judging by its lack of attention. It seems far away, and not particularly relevant. The president doesn’t talk about the stakes very often. It seems that much of the American news media has drifted past the story, and moved on from the cheers and platitudes proffered to President Zelenskyy during his historic speech in front of the United States Congress. 

The war in Ukraine is an illegal war. It is a war of criminal aggression by a larger and more powerful nation, Russia, against a smaller nation, Ukraine. The Russian army has committed countless war crimes and acts of brutality against peaceful people as they raped, murdered, tortured, and pilfered. The Russians have emptied their prisons and drafted hundreds of thousands of young men to fight in Putin’s war of conquest against a European nation in the third decade of the 21st century. That it is occurring in the twilight of the long lifespans of the men and women who landed on the beaches, and survived the camps during human civilization’s greatest crisis, is both poignant and chilling. 

The Russian army has been bloodied and humiliated by the Ukrainian army, but they have not been defeated. The Russian army is gathering, expanding and attacking. It is indifferent to human life and suffering. 

The question at hand is this: how can that Russian army be destroyed in Ukraine before it advances into the next country? This is the fundamental question, and the most important issue facing the world right now. Should the battle lines expand beyond Ukraine, and converge with one or two other conflicts, the world could be at the edge of a third world war where nine countries have nuclear weapons. It means the doomsday clock would stand at one second to midnight. 

Wars are dynamic, and unfolding events until they end. Often, they become most savage at the end when one side is on the edge of annihilation. They are unpredictable, and can spread easily. There is a bitter irony about the political calculus in war which is that the greater the casualty count, the more impossible it becomes to stop fighting because the preceding sacrifices require more to honor the previously killed and complete the mission.

The Russians lost more than 20 million people in the Second World War. The Red Army used machine gun squads behind its assault forces to keep them inspired. There was no choice, and no path forward, but through.

This is where things stand for the Russian army and Vladimir Putin right now. They are all in because Putin can’t survive without victory, and peace can’t come while Putin is in power. It’s life and death. 

It’s unfortunate, but Steve is correct when he writes, “The war in Ukraine seems like old news in America.” The events there which, at one time, grabbed our attention, became one of media’s primary talking points, and propagated multiple editorial follow-ups … have all but become second-hand news.

There are apparently ongoing talks related to actions the U.S. and other countries could take to increase Ukraine’s fighting advantage, but as such matters go, action lags behind multiple “high-level” discussions/decisions.

IMO, one of Steve’s most sobering remarks is as follows: “Should the battle lines expand beyond Ukraine, and converge with one or two other conflicts, the world could be at the edge of a third world war where nine countries have nuclear weapons.”

49 thoughts on “The Ukrainian War

    • Sorry, Arnold, but Putin willl go farther, because his ego needs it. He grew up i the Soviet Union, where the goal was to rule the world. His ambition is no less. And Trump gave him the chance to pursue it.

      Liked by 6 people

        • We see it as insanity, and that is legitimate. There is an interesting foreign policy pundit named Peter Zeihan who has been popping cup in my feeds. His argument is that Russia’s geography (flat plains) means they ALWAYS feel vulnerable to invasion. Their only solution is conquest of border areas to provide a buffer. They ruled the Ukraine for 350 years. Brutally at times, of course. But Putin’s policy is not brand new. It will ultimately fail because at this point it will be impossible for them to conquer all off the bordering countries they “need”. Scary times.

          Liked by 1 person

        • One thing Russia does not need more is oil. They are a major exporter. A nother thing they do not need more is plains, or forests, but they do have a history for buffer zones. Those are all about inner politics. Russians have an authoritarian culture, that demands the leader to demonstrate their strenght. Nothing more or less is going on in Ukraine. It may appear as insanity, but that is how their minds work. I have known a few… Decades of secular Soviet rule would not make them abandon the great authoritarian of their god and Communism, that in it’s core demands equality and democracy was twisted into dictatorship, just like Liberal Democracy now.

          Liked by 3 people

      • Poland, being a NATO allied country, seems like an unlikely choice to me, as this would almost certainly lead the activation of Article 5. Not saying it won’t happen, as Putin may think that NATO won’t invoke World War 3, but it seems like a really high risk, low reward, gamble.

        I’m curious why anyone would think that Poland would be his next choice?

        Liked by 2 people

  1. This is why I ranted about Putin’s Pet Project the other day. It needs to be brought back into the spotlight. Innocent people are being maimed and slaughtered! Why, because the world is using Ukraine as the sacrificial lamb. We can talk anout the “poor Ukrainians” all we want, but that does nothing for them. We can send them all the weapons of war we want, but as long as they, and Russians, are the only ones dieing, who really cares!
    These are human beings we are talk8ng about, real people trying to lead real lives, just like the rest of ust. They are not puppets used for our own purposes. VLADIMIR PUTIN IS A REAL LIVE MASS MURDERER! And we allow the war to drag on. While we sit safe in our safe homes.
    I CALL BULLSHIT!

    Liked by 4 people

    • there are multiple brutal wars going on in the world right now. Congo is still in chaos. Ethiopia is facing famine. Somalia and South Sudan remains governed. And then there is Haiti, ever suffering Haiti. And these are but some of the conflicts.

      Your passionate plea leads me to ask: why are we not intervening there as well? Where does it stop? Heck, we provide ammo and weapons to the Head Chopin’ House of Saud,a brutal monarch and theocracy worthy of Game of Thrones, i their brutal ongoing intervention in Yemen.
      Too many of the interventions promoted byCruise Missile Liberals turn out awful. Haiti is the prime example, but Afghanistan and Iraq are terrors. Kadaffi was indeed awful, but the decades long chaos enabled by his fall has engulfed all of the Sahel. (Which is why when-people of the left call for W to be brought before the Hague…my response is always “If Obama and Hillary join him”)

      Liked by 1 person

      • No conflict is good, and I would love to see them all ended peacefully. But the war in Ukraine is larger than life, right now. Billions of dollars in aid are being directed there because people are guilty about sacrificing Ukrainian lives to keep Putin busy so they don’t get hurt.
        And the only ones profiting are the weapons manufacturers. How much does a one-shot missile cost? How many such missiles are launched in a day? This money could be used much more efficiently in places like the Congo and Haiti. Or helping with reugee camps and such. You are right to question me about my priorities, and maybe it’s because one set of great-grandpatents were Ukrainian. But it goes way beyond that. The whole point of ranting is not picking and choosing something to write about, but just writing because something hits me between the eyes. That day it was the War in Ukraine. Today it was about climate change and the end of the human race. Other days, who knows. I seldom choose what I write about in advance. I just let the feelings take me where they will.

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        • no worries. I support the Western worlds attempt to fight Putin. It’s just that an emotional appeal to save this country and that country leads so often to worse results. The United States occupied Haiti for decades, for example.

          I am…amused…that our brave right wing defenders of liberty, our brave warriors against the Red Menace, are now supporting a KGB officer’s dictatorship. Was watching a video featuring a craven Australian family who begged Putin for help and have relocated to Russia, the last bastion of conservative christian values (gag). they publish Z propaganda videos. Hitchens was right…Christianity is the religion of slaves. It is profoundly anti democratic. Hey, but these Aussie hero’s can’t bash gays anymore or forcibly kidnap and reeducate Aborigines, so Move her zeus is here they come!,

          Liked by 1 person

        • Christianity is also the “religion” of the wealthy, insofar as they use it to keep the masses enslaved. Whether or not they believe in it is immaterial. They sound like they believe in it because it makes the suckers feel good about their suffering. No real God would want people to suffer. It makes no sense.

          Liked by 1 person

        • 🙂 My typing is worse than yours. I have to proofread 3 or 4 times, and still I miss some things. My eyes see what I know I typed, which is not always the same as what is appearing on the screen.

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  2. A good summing up. It makes you wonder if Evil always wins because they have the advantage of not heeding any laws or morals. In Europe we certainly haven’t forgotten Ukraine , but the fear of starting another world war makes all leaders hesitate as to how much they can help.

    Liked by 7 people

    • I think it is not in their advantage. Short term thinking creates evil. When people as individuals, or as nations try to take advantage of others, they create new problems and enemies. Napoleon and Hitler appeared as successes when they conquered nations one by one, but sooner, rather than later it created coalitions against them and their victories turned to ashes. When the US was hit by terrorists almost all nations showed support, but after attacking Iraq on false pretenses, Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib torture, there was very little of that sentiment left and terrorism stronger than ever. There is strenght in holding to ethical principles. They are the glue, that holds communities, societies and coalitions together.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. The European countries would be best remeembering whaqt hppened last time they let a psychopath havee a free hand and how mnuch it cost in lives that time. Someone must deal with Putin and then the European countries must warn whoever takes power that this can only end badly for them unless there is a fair peace, which does not include russian occupation of the Ukraine.

    Liked by 6 people

  4. Right. The shock of aggression now passed, we in America will just get on with it. A lot of the problem here (USA) is DT’s relationship with Russia and Putin. Europe, on the other hand, is seeing reality and NATO is threatened by it.
    I see those on the right supporting Putin (cuz Trump) and the Russian Orthodox Church (cuz Christians and their leader supports Putin).
    Far lefties (here and world-wide) tend to be anti-war, if not passivists, and may feel that if Ukraine would just stop fighting, everything would be okay.
    It is still in the news every day. Government briefings are probably more than once a day. Long ago Putin make his opinion clear regarding the demise of the USSR and that it was a mistake.

    Poland? Germany (East)? Others? I don’t know. But my opinion and support has not changed.
    How many of us realize what this would mean had had Ukraine been in NATO?

    Volodymyr Palahniuk (aka, actor Jack Palance), a life long Republican, is probably rolling over in his grave.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. An intelligent assessment, and like you, that one sentence stood out for me. Putin has made no secret of his intention to establish a Soviet-style coalition under his own rule. Had things gone as he initially expected in Ukraine, he would have taken over there by last March/April, and by now would have invaded another nation, possibly Poland. Humans have very short attention spans, and the people in the U.S. have had other things to pull their attention away from Ukraine in the past year, but we really do need to keep our focus on this and continue to provide as much assistance to Ukraine as possible.

    Liked by 2 people

    • There is only so much bad news people can take, I guess. Were Ukraine to fall, the next in line would most likely be Moldova. Then possibly my country, because we are not yet part of NATO, and not likely to be in a very long time, if it is up to your allies the Turks. One Swedish right-wing moron burned the Quran in a demonstration and even if Erdogan had managed to negotiate the US to sell him the age old F-16 planes and the F-35 prototype fighters for his expensive, but useless without them, new aircraft carrier, he could not go against the religious indignation of his people to ratify the membership of either Sweden, or Finland to NATO.

      If Putler (or any successor of his) ever decides to invade an actual NATO country, it will most likely be the Baltic states first. Their armies and NATO troops there are more like speed bumps and they, like Finland, used to be part of the old Russian Empire.

      Now, Poland has been part of it too, but worse still, they have once conquered Russia. Today they have one of the mightiest land armies in Nato. Only the US and Turkey have more men and equipment. The Polish wartime army is almost as big as the Finnish equivalent and they have over a thousand tanks. Their weakness, is typical for NATO countries, that it consists only of professional career soldiers, wich means the fixed size is very hard and helplessly slow to increase.

      If the Russians ever invade here again though, they will get a fight that will be hard to forget. Our country has no other enemies and our military exist almost only one purpose.

      Liked by 2 people

      • My hope, and I hope I’m not being obtuse, is that Putin will be soundly defeated in Ukraine and it will take him years to rebuild his military and his economy. Am I living in a dream world? Possibly, but the alternative is … deeply troubling, to say the least.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Not necessarily. If Russians are humiliatingly defeated, then Putler will be toppled and propably by someone near him. Perhaps Medvedev, but all too likely by one of the nationalist loonies he has been keeping on a leash. That spells ill on the future. But just maybe, who ever wins that powergame shall be a little bit more cautious on attacking foreign countries.

          Liked by 2 people

  6. Putin has to be defeated to send a message to the rest of the aggressive nations on the borders with another country. They will see NATO as a military supplier of training and high tech equipment to the defending nation. I do think that NATO needs to start a more aggressive stance towards Putin and maybe call his bluff now that the war has lasted so long.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Here in Finland it is in the daily news.
    Especially because we are vulnerable now, that our NATO application has not been ratified and is Stalled by two European allies of “Putler”, namely Orban and Erdogan.

    One thing people in the west seem to have a hard time understanding is that altough Russia seems to be struggling to keep it together, we have not seen their true potential for war. Theirs is not one of the tiny professional armies of the West, but a cadre of millions and millions of men and a fairly self sufficient industry to back it up. This IS a peacetime “special operation” for them. They have had to dig in to old Soviet storages for material and prisons for troops (cannon fodder), but they have not fully engaged their air might, their military reserve, or gone into war economy. The Western leaders are balancing in helping Ukraine and at all costs awoiding escalation. This is the game the Kreml is now playing. They wage war for inner political goals trusting, that no sane Western leader would force their hand into an escalation process, that would inevitably lead into WWIII.

    The Russians have been incredibly sloppy, but I think mostly out of arrogance. At present they are fighting like they did in Chechenya – and they won there after devastating the country totally. The Ukranians fight desperately, but they lack weapons, ammo and abowe all training. A Finnish officer serving as a volunteer for Ukraine said, that they are just like the Russians, all guts and balls, but with pity little skill and discipline in comparrison to the Finnish conscript, who has just finished their basic training.

    Russia is by no means the first empire to think they can take some smaller and corrupt country easily and attacked it to satisfy their inner politics, with some obscure made up reasons (like WMD’s, for example), is it?

    Liked by 3 people

    • I so appreciate you sharing your perspective. And I agree with you that the average U.S. citizen does not have a TRUE picture of the capabilities of Russia. Nor do we recognize that, for them, this is simply a “war exercise.” And, yes, I tend to agree this is most likely the reason why our military leaders and those in other countries are moving with caution.

      In any event, I regret that the U.S. news media seems to have “moved on.” And while we are upset that another mass shooting has occurred, that certain Republican “leaders” are determined to be the “big-shots-in-charge,” and that Biden is swallowing down bile related to more discovered documents … NONE of it compares to the potential of a Third World War.

      Liked by 2 people

      • If this is not much of news there beyond the Atlantic, Germany finally announced they are sending Leopard-2 MBT’s to Ukraine and are not going to prevent others from doing so. The first patch is only 14 tanks, but more will follow. Finland and Poland have promised to join in at least. It is a top knotch vehicle, but only large numbers will count.

        The Pentagon said they will not be handing any Abrams MBT’s to Ukraine beacause, well various reasons, but they all basicly come to one thing, that the US tank is a logistical nightmare and would strain Ukraine more than benefited it. Now that the Leopards are moving (and are operational in about six months) there may appear political pressure for US to give Abrams tanks, but the reasons listed by Pentagon, not to give any are valid, so what good may come of it remains to be seen.

        Funny thing is, that Ukraine is a big tank producer. Only, they export theirs. They inherited the Harkov plant, that makes the T-80 MBT, the very first 3rd generation tank, that scared the west and prompted the design of both the Leopard-2 and Abrams leading into conflict between the manufacturers and abandoning a joint venture, instead to build these separate tanks as the US military wanted to have a gass turbine engine (the main cause of the Abrams being ill suited for this war) like in the new Soviet tank and the germans wanted a more reliable diesel engine, like in the older model Soviet tanks had. Anyway, I am rambling now, sorry…

        Liked by 1 person

        • Your rambling is excused in that you’re offering information that I doubt many of my readers know about. Expanding one’s knowledge is always good. 😊

          Like

        • Thanks, but the one time I thought I could provide you with news, my sources were already late. Apparently Germany was stalling their descision to release the Leopards, to persuade the US to send in some 31 Abrams tanks (and recovery vehicles) just to share the responsibility, so that the Russian reaction could not be pointed at Germany alone. But this must be newsworthy in the US too, so… The Germans have some ill experiences of German tanks in Ukraine. Namely the biggest tank battle in history at Kursk. It did not go well for the Gerries. And Stolz is working hard to prevent an escalation of the war, especially because it has caught Germany with it’s pants down, as their military is in shambless.

          Liked by 1 person

        • The Brits don’t care about what Putin thinks and sent their tanks. The hatred between the Russians and the UK goes back a long way to the Crimean war and I think the British may be the first target for Putin if he launches his nuclear weapons

          Liked by 2 people

        • Haha! During the Crimean war we Finns were on the Russian side and a British fleet came to bombard our cities. They lost a gunboat and it is still held as booty here, though the Brits have tried to buy it back over the years. Finland is not a likely target for a nuclear strike by the Russians because that would amount to “pissing on your own toes”, since their second biggest city lies right in our neighbour. We have been attacked by the Russians for the past 1000 years since the very advent of Russia almost regularly once or twice a century. To be fair, we have attacked them with equal enthusiasm and frequency.

          The use of nuclear weapons is a terrible threat, but even if it never came to that, the escalation of this war would be devastating. Already Russians have played Russian roulette with both Tshernobyl and Zaporizia plants. Any number of things with them could have gone terribly wrong and could any day. The prevaling winds are to the nort and east, wich is a small condolation, but I think this has been discussed far too little. As Ukraine proves, if the energy infrastructure of a country is built on nuclear energy, they can not bring it down even if the enemy is as careless as the Russians. Not to mention, if the enemy decides to inflict damage on nuclear plants on purpose.

          Liked by 2 people

  8. And Putin seems to receive no bad marks for targeting schools, hospitals, apartment buildings, etc. It used to be the case that armies fought each other. WW2 introduced “total war” which includes war on civilian populations and now that has become “normal” for us. I’d rather it were not.

    Liked by 3 people

    • It is truly awful. But total war is not limited to Russia or, in the past, the Nazis and Japanese. I am thinking about the fire bombing campaigns in Japan and Germany.

      Even more recently, it sure seemed like the United States kept hitting wedding parties and hospitals in Afghanistan.

      Humanity can be so inhumane.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. –EDITED–

    This is bigger than the existing world order; indeed, I have argued Putin has changed the world order, but we’re too distracted with shiny things to notice. It’s a crusade, on Putin and the Russia Lovers’ part, but it’s also the confluence of a whole bunch of other stuff bubbling in the background waiting for the catalyst to bring it to a boil.

    They won’t enjoy it for much longer. They may have played a long game, quite possibly a thousand years, but they never accounted, never planned, for a changing atmosphere that doesn’t give a flying fig about mice and the best laid plans of men.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I don’t mean to sound bossy here; I’m just in a hurry. ☮

    Please be careful with Steve Schmidt. He seems to be saying all the right things, but he’s also framing this as a Ukrainian thing. (It is Russian aggression and war crimes, and should always be referred to as such. Ukraine is on the defensive.) Making this sound “Ukrainian” is greasing the wheels to allow the US to do less for Ukraine, which is a Republican goal and also helps Russia, which of course is no one’s goal. 😉

    Steve Schmidt’s been around a long time. 😃 He has established a pattern.

    Liked by 1 person

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