During the 70 years of existence of the Soviet Union, Ukraine was an integral part of the nation.
Yet this geographic and political reality posed no threat to the United States. A Russia and Ukraine, both inside the USSR, were an accepted reality that was not seen as a threat during the seven decades they were united.
Yet today, because of a month-old war between Russia and Ukraine over who will control Crimea, Donbass and Ukraine’s Black Sea and Azov coasts, America seems closer to nuclear war than at any time since the Cuban Missile Crisis. from 1962.
Why? It’s time to step back and reflect on what’s at stake.
What exactly does Russia’s invasion of Ukraine pose to us that is so serious that we would consider military action that could lead to World War III and Russia’s use of nuclear weapons on the battlefield against us?
Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly hinted at the use of such weapons, should NATO intervene in the war in Ukraine and Russia should face defeat, or if there is an “existential” threat to the Russian nation.
We hear from our moral elites that morality commands us to intervene to save the Ukrainian people from the ravages of a war that has already claimed the lives of thousands of Ukrainians.
But what would be the justification for a US military intervention in Ukraine, in the absence of congressional authorization or a declaration of war?
Consider. The year the liberal hour arrived in America with the New Deal, 1933, a newly inaugurated Franklin D. Roosevelt officially recognized Joseph Stalin’s murderous regime as the legitimate government of a Russian-led USSR.
FDR personally met Soviet Foreign Minister Maxim Litvinov even as the Holodomor, the forced starvation of Ukrainian peasants and small farmers, kulaks and their families, was well advanced.
Walter Duranty, the New York Times reporter in Moscow, won a Pulitzer for covering up this crime of the century with its estimated 4 million deaths.
The question remains: When did Russia-Ukraine relations become a matter of such vital interest to the United States that we would risk war, a possible nuclear war, with Russia over it?
How did we come here?
We got there by exploiting our Cold War victory as an opportunity to move NATO, our Cold War alliance, into a dozen countries in Central and Eastern Europe, all the way to the borders of Russia. Then we started bringing Ukraine into NATO, the constituent republic of the former Soviet Union with the longest and deepest history with Mother Russia.
So while Putin started this war, the United States set the stage for this one.
We pushed our military alliance, NATO, created in 1949 to contain and, if necessary, fight Russia, 1,000 miles east, right in Russia’s face.
In the 1930s, when Britain’s Lady Astor was asked if she knew where Hitler was born, she replied: “Versailles.”
At the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, which produced the Treaty of Versailles, millions of Germanic peoples and the lands they had inhabited were severed from German rule and distributed to half a dozen nations across Europe.
When we get back on our feet, we will take back everything we have lost, said General Hans von Seeckt of the German General Staff.
We hear warnings that if Russia uses chemical weapons in Ukraine, NATO will respond militarily. But if no NATO ally is attacked, why would NATO respond to a Russian attack on Ukraine?
Although banned today, chemical weapons were used by all major participants in World War I, including the Americans.
As for atomic weapons, only the Americans used them.
And while we didn’t introduce city bombing – the British and Germans did – we’ve perfected carpet bombing of cities like Cologne, Hamburg, Berlin, Dresden and Tokyo.
The war in Ukraine, now a month old, demonstrated the usefulness of nuclear weapons. Putin’s credible threat to use them prompted the US and NATO to flatly deny kyiv’s request to establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine.
And since Russia’s threat to use nuclear weapons has deterred NATO from intervening on Ukraine’s side in this war, other nations will not miss the message: possession of nuclear weapons can deter even major nuclear powers.
The longer this war lasts, the greater the suffering and loss on all sides. Thousands of Ukrainian soldiers and civilians have already died, 10 million of them uprooted from their homes, with a third of that number fleeing to neighboring states in Eastern Europe.
The longer the war lasts, the more likely Putin will resort to indiscriminate shelling and shelling to kill the resistance, and the greater the possibility that the war will spread to NATO Europe.
Meanwhile, in America’s secure homeland, 5,000 miles from kyiv, there is no shortage of foreign policy scholars for a ‘victory’ over Putin’s Russia and ready to fight for that victory – until last Ukrainian.