How sad it is that HATE unites the world more than LOVE. A lazy NATO, a deeply divided Congress and a fracturing EU have finally found their super glue. All we are saying is… “Give War a chance.” War is all we’ve known since 9-11.
My baby boomer generation grew up to loathe the USSR, so it’s our 1950’s Anti-Communist brain freeze. It’s such an old story. We also know from storytelling logic that if there are arch villains, there have to be super heroes. President Zylenskyy plays himself from his TV series, going from Satirical Comedian to Supreme Commander, playing a Ukrainian Winston Churchill in his finest hour. We have never seen anything like it since Rudy Giuliani after 9-11.
Three weeks back, President Z scolded us for causing panic, and now, he accuses us for not panicking enough, but best of luck to a sincerely brave man. We need to ask what is exactly going down here? Let’s get a grip, people!
War is insane. We know this. Go to Arlington Cemetery and ask 300,000 white tombs if they agree? They won’t say yes or no because they are dead! That is finally what war achieves -no matter how high its moral purpose. If we are catching the war fever, watch out! Does Arlington have any more space?
What we are too quick to forget is our most recent folly in waging war and supporting insurgencies. Since Vietnam, with the exception of Desert Storm, we have not won a war, short or long. In Afghanistan, we lost. In Iraq, we lost. Now we cheer on a war in Ukraine all so we can punish Russia. We will fight them on the bleachers, we will fight them on twitter, so long as it is a safe distance. But the fever is catching. Russia is the aggressor clearly, but what have they done that is so unexpected or so exceptional? Precipitating a false flag event, bombing, invading, cyber-plotting, spies, overthrowing elected Governments ? Guilty as charged.
But no matter how you carve it, that is pretty much what we do? Bay of Tonkin, Iran, Argentina, Algeria, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Tunisia – not to mention operations in Libya, Somalia, Uganda, Kenya, Djibouti. Hello? Since 1945, we have invaded 23 + nations. Before you remove the splinter in my eye, should we not remove the plank in your own eye? President Biden would have learned that Jesus saying from the Catholic nuns.
We breathlessly sign on for war again, barely 6 months after the Afghanistan fiasco. The innocents we killed or deserted in Kabul were collateral damage. That 20 year war we waged on the ruins of what we left in our Mujahidin-led battle with guess who- Russia? Poor Afghanistan. We have little memory, less shame and no humility. Us liberals love to preach non-violence but those Molotov cocktails mixed by lovely Lviv Grandmas look so swell. So long it’s not Palestinians in the West Bank.
What is Russia’s beef?
Putin is determined to turn all his resentments into revenge. We know him well. Reminds us of someone we elected not so recently. But he uses our favorite buzz words too, about ‘security,’ ‘defense’ and spheres of influence. We have them too, of course. Don’t we think Russia has their own version of a Monroe doctrine and it includes neighboring Ukraine? JFK threatened World War 3 in 1962 to stop Russian missiles off shore in Cuba after we invaded and tried to assassinate Castro. Would Russia be allowed the same excuse if NATO nukes were placed in Ukraine, which is even closer than Cuba? We are allowed security concerns and no-go zones but not them? Russian claims, it appears, by definition must be illegitimate and evil. They are the evil empire. We saw it in the 007 movies. They are mad war mongers. We are the West’s virtuous defender, the indispensable nation. Can anyone hear a Crusade coming on?
The fever of war is primal. It makes us hate the enemy badly enough to make killing them easier. The classic example is The World War One posters of the Kaiser butchering babies and nuns!!! Putin knows how to do it too. Those “Nazis” running Kyiv, he says, even though Nazis killed 5 million Ukrainians, including President Z’s family ! But we are proving to ourselves we are just as adept in the lies we tell ourselves.
In 2022, after two years of Covid and threats to our nation’s health, nothing and no one could unite us. But Russia invading Ukraine seems to have done the trick. Never underestimate the power of hate in the fever of war.
When you think of it, third rate rusty Russia is no real threat to us right now, but you might say Russia is just finishing off their seizure of Donetsk and Crimea. President Obama and NATO and Europe all signed off on that. We did tell Putin we were very, very upset, at least, and we gave Ukraine BB guns to fight back, showing them we were not THAT upset. We signaled to Russia that we could or would not stop them. We told Ukraine you are on your own. That was 2014. Trump, even though he tried to bribe them, proved a better friend militarily than Obama. Putin may be acting illegally but he is not acting illogically. We have given him all the right signals that it is OK.
How come we suddenly get upset now for Putin doing what we gave Russia tacit permission to do? Ronald Reagan must roll in his grave. All his work undone.
War is a factory of lies. The “Pentagon Papers” taught us that. Why are we still so seduced? Because we so need a shared object of hate? At least it’s not black folk, or women, or gays or Jews or Muslims. Guilt free, we can hate Russia. Period. And they are not us. That is such a relief. Self-hating Americans are not healthy. Foreign-hating Americans is mainstream, and far more acceptably patriotic. And we know invading Iraq was such great therapy after 9-11. WMDs, we miss you, then and now.
Let’s feel that visceral thrill of being right. Let’s come together to despise, to deprecate, to denounce someone else other than our local American opponents. We can’t come together for anything much else. But it sure is a great release after Covid. Thank you Vlad for the Unity ticket. Trump did not try to bridge the divisions, and Jan 6th didn’t mend anything. Trump and Bannon and Miller all tried to make liberals the enemy. Fox News keeps trying but they are losing traction. Suddenly, from Russia with hate comes Kremlin Catharsis.
Stalin killed 4 million Ukrainians by starving them to death in the 1930s. Germany killed 5 million Ukrainians in the World War 2. Ukraine is used to being sacrificed by super powers that have to kill them to save them. They must be saying, “Here we go again.”
Can we be really honest here? Until last week, USA has never cared for Ukraine. Trump withheld his miserly 300 million in aid to bully Zelenskyy for dirt on Biden, so this epiphany seems too convenient and manufactured- because it’s Russia. Ah Russia. There is No enemy like an old enemy. We have missed you since 1993 when “history ended.” All is forgiven. Please come back into the circle of our spite.
Let’s give you 50 more years of resentment to hate us again, Russia, like the good old days. Mister Putin, Tear down this wall. Again! Putin warns us they go to war because we have humiliated Russia and our response is to humiliate them more.
If it’s innocent civilians like children being bombed that so upsets us, what about ancient Aleppo bombed to dust by Russia? Where were the Syrian flags when it was bombed by USA- Israel or Yemen by our great allies, the Saudis, or Ethiopia or Palestine and Gaza, or Afghanistan? Violence against innocence cannot be the reason for our rage. It is the mask of our sentiment, not the reason.
Even though these Ukrainians might not be us, they are victims who sure as heck could be. They are “white Europeans.” Oh I get it. This is about saving the civilized, not those Arab “savages” and other weird refugees? And that’s why even Ukraine won’t let the Afghanis and blacks to leave. There are No refugees from this war. Just nice people having to temporarily move. ‘We will send the buses and book you Air B and Bs. We are a class above Syria.’ Ukrainians, talk to the Palestinians, you might never come back.
We will support Ukraine socially distanced, masked and sanitized from afar. Zeleneskyy knows that we will not save him or them. Russia will take Ukraine. Putin does not do defeat like we do. USA fumes but does what? At least we tried, we will say, like 2014. We were deeply and officially offended. Like the Winter Olympics, we took a moral stand to boycott our officials attending but we sent the athletes. So too, we denounce the war but will not seriously join the fight. We want hard words and soft decisions. Speak loudly and carry a small stick.
Take that, you ruthless dictator, we voted in the UN to condemn you and walked out on your speech. Take that, you monster, we held press conferences calling you out. Take that, you cruel and corrupt Oligarchs, we took your super yachts. Putin knows us better than we know ourselves. We speak in bromides and boycotts. He speaks in bullets.
If history teaches anything, we fully expect Putin to be emboldened. Despite the sanctions and a few yachts less, he wins and Ukraine becomes the next Sudetenland. Our appeasement in 2014 invited the aggression in 2022, and so, he will want more. The gambler is on a run of luck at the “Decline of the West” Casino.
We can offer Estonia if Putin wants it, because otherwise, the NATO treaty will musketeer us into WW3, to defend Estonia! An attack on one is an attack on all. No insult to Estonia but what a great cause to end the world on and over; Lithuania and Estonia? Will Putin care? He keeps winning by risking everything. And we are full of sound and fury but busy playing it safe. By seeking bloodless glory, we make our own war inevitable. The Cold War power play used to be containment- by means of a strenuous match of our force to their threat. George F Kennan, the father of “containment” is also turning in his grave.
This was always a game of 5 card poker. Russia called us and we called them. They said “See you” and we offered 1 king of indignation and 1 king of survey ratings, 1 queen of outrage and 1 queen of republican polling, and our ace- sanctions. He offered Shock and Awe and Pillar of Fire. We blinked.
In barely a week, we have escalated our righteousness to cover our inherent weakness. Russia wins this war. And we do what exactly? Sulk? Wait till China calls in her loans and see how we like being treated like a pawn on a monopoly board. Two can play that game. If USA can control currency, China owns our debt. If you own a yacht, people, bring it home. We cannot protect our own oligarchs that we like to call ‘entrepreneurs’. Bezos and Musk and Gates, we warned you.
War is insane. Anyone supporting war is insane. We used to say that. We used to agree on that. We used to believe it. Afghanistan and Iraq and the sorry list of our dead prove it, but for this one, old story exception-Russia. Cold War Hots up, says the headline. Stalin-Putin rides again…Russia Revenge… How America won the Cold War and Lost the Millennial Peace because all we have known, and all we have wasted our money on these past 20 years is how to make war which, in the words of Republican Governor Mike Huckabee means, “breaking things and killing people. ” We forgot to build things. We forgot to protect life, unless it was in the wound.
And China? What do you mean China? Lets hate Russia first-OK. This is all good practice for the next hate feast, which is bound to feature China. But we have some old business to take care of. Sheriff Biden has raised a posse for declared Outlaw Putin and he wants a final shootout in the OK Corral. The world is watching. It could be a Netflix series called Zyleneskyy’s Follies. We are not sure if its a comedy or a tragedy or both, but we know how it will end up, and from that end, the world may have no second act.