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.”