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.”

Scorched Earth

scorched-earthImage from Wikipedia

Some have said that the “Scorched Earth” policy is Putin’s goal for Ukraine. Thoughts?

From Wikipedia:

A scorched-earth policy is a military strategy that aims to destroy anything that might be useful to the enemy. Any assets that could be used by the enemy may be targeted, which usually includes obvious weapons, transport vehicles, communication sites, and industrial resources. However, anything useful to the advancing enemy may be targeted, including food stores and agricultural areas, water sources, and even the local people themselves.

“Things Worth Fighting For”

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Today, in a direct email message to me from “tildeb,” was a link to an article that he encouraged me to read. Knowing that I don’t always agree with tildeb’s outlook on things, I was hesitant and approached it (I admit) with a bit of (well, maybe more than a bit) preconception.

I was (more than) pleasantly surprised.

The article is about Ukraine … yet even more so, it is about US, as in the U.S.

It is VERY long — much longer than I ordinarily care to read — but I found myself reading every word and being drawn into the next thought offered by the writer.

I hope and trust each of you will have this same experience.

I want to acknowledge one line in the article that, to me, speaks volumes. And if we — as in all of us — can ever bring these words to bear upon each of our lives, I think we will all be the better for it.

We are bound together not by clan or tribe but by a commitment to rights and principles. 

HERE IS THE LINK TO THE ARTICLE

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Image by David Englund from Pixabay

A Former Ukrainian Speaks

On the front page of our newspaper was an article about a local woman who was born in Lviv (western Ukraine) and who has a son still living there with his family. She talked about how she watched in horror as Russia started their advance … and that she is terrified for her loved ones.

But she is also angry.

Watching Putin give his speech made her furious. She says he is “sick” and is like a “monkey with a grenade.” She sees him as worse than Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Ladin put together. “Every sentence is a lie.”

She’s also unhappy with Biden and places some of the blame on him. Although he announced new sanctions and that he would send troops to nearby NATO countries, in her opinion, that’s not enough.

She believes the U.S. should stop buying oil from Russia every day. “We can use our own oil. We don’t need to spend even one dollar for Russian oil and gas. We have plenty of resources here.”

She also says that the U.S. should block Russian communications and cut off Putin’s intelligence.

Of course there was more in the article, but I wondered what readers think about her suggestions. Is she speaking strictly from emotion … or is there some validity to her suggestions?

As I mentioned in my last post on this subject, I’m a neophyte when it comes to “world affairs,” so I’m depending on those of you who are knowledgeable in such matters to provide information, studied opinions, and valid evidence.

The Ukraine Crisis

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In her latest newsletter, Heather asks a question related to the Ukraine crisis that I thought would be interesting to ask as a standalone to see how my readers would respond.

Prior to her question, she wrote about how in 2019, Trump tried to skew the 2020 election by withholding congressionally appropriated funding for Ukraine to support its defense against Russia — and how Republican senators declined to convict him of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

With this background in mind, she mused about how the Republican Party will respond to the Ukraine crisis.

She then went on to ask this question …

And how will America as a whole respond?

What are your thoughts? IF Putin does carry forward his plans to invade Ukraine, what do you think America should do? Biden talks about sanctions, but will this be enough? Many feel it will be. Or should the U.S. demonstrate its military power?

Let me add that I’m a neophyte when it comes to world crises … and can only sit back and watch what happens. Sure, I might have an opinion (like I tend to agree with some others that Russia is bluffing), but I definitely have no background, knowledge, education, or training to offer an informed opinion.

But I think some of YOU can. I think some of you have followed this crisis from the start and have some strong opinions on how it will play out.

So here’s your chance. Share your thoughts.

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Image by Amber Clay from Pixabay