I can’t keep my vow and be silent any longer
Despite my silent vow to avoid politics and anything that could be seen as divisive in the Teakster, I nevertheless offer you this time-honored wisdom…
Those who will not learn from history are doomed to repeat it
The people of a peaceful country, who spoke the same language, shared the same culture in territories adjacent to an increasingly aggressive and belligerent world power…
These people were brutally conquered by this despicable world power.
Because the enlightened West, to avoid a wider war—in a blatant and cowardly act of appeasement—allowed that belligerent world power to seize and subjugate the population in those adjacent territories—territories of an independent and sovereign nation.
Yet, this world power’s appetite for regional dominance was not so easily satisfied by slivers of territory.
Its tanks soon rolled in and seized that entire neighboring country.
It wasn’t Ukraine.
In 1936, Adolf Hitler’s appetite for conquest was indisputable when his forces seized the demilitarized Rhineland.
Two years later, in March 1938, he annexed Austria.
Then he set his eyes on Czechoslovakia, the next step in his maniacal desire for world domination.
Cowed by his aggressiveness, and to avert a wider war, the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Neville Chamberlain, agreed to allow Germany to occupy the Sudetenland, the German-speaking part of Czechoslovakia.
But Hitler would not be deterred, much less satisfied, by this act of appeasement.
In March 1939, he seized the rest of Czechoslovakia.
Six months later, in September 1939, Hitler invaded and conquered Poland.
And so, World War II began
The similarities between Hitler and Germany and Vladimir Putin and Russia are unavoidable.
And we ignore these similarities and the lessons of history at our peril.
I will not compare President Biden to Neville Chamberlain
To Biden's credit, our decades long penchant of placing American soldiers on foreign soil—in futile attempts to make the world safe for democracy by attempting regime change, is mercifully over.
From Vietnam to Afghanistan, our military adventurism has consistently lacked a clearly elucidated, concrete and achievable end-game—and therefore achieved nothing but unnecessary death and destruction.
However, Russia’s naked aggression—and its wholesale slaughter of innocent civilians in Ukraine—in its attempt to affect regime change—must be stopped quickly.
And stopping it quickly is an achievable end-game.
Who can deny that Putin is a brutal dictator?
The proof of his relentless suppression of his own people, who disagree and oppose him, has been endlessly cataloged.
He has called the dissolution of the Soviet Union, a union of conquered nations, the greatest catastrophe of the 20th century.
In his mind, not World War ll, not even the Nazi-era holocaust can compare.
Hence, his feverish and relentless goal to resurrect the discredited and collapsed Soviet Union has brought us to where we are now.
We stand at a precipice
Why certain American politicians can support and even applaud him, is not a testament to anything other than delusional ignorance.
They are the misguided descendants of those American politicians who were Nazi-sympathizers during WW ll.
In this, our era of political discord and devisiveness, many view Biden as a tottering old fool.
Yet, his calculus of how to confront Putin, has so far been masterful.
Rather than withdrawing into wrong-headed isolationism, just like many populist American politicians advocated prior to WW ll, we, the world’s only superpower have chosen instead to once again lead the world.
We have marshalled the always recalcitrant Europeans to pick a side, and act.
Though the Europeans are war-weary, as we are, we and the rest of the world’s democracies, always a slow to act constituency, united to confront Putin’s unprovoked and demonstrably evil aggression.
Not with overt military force, but with another currency of power—economic sanctions.
Economic sanctions are hobbling Russia
However, they will not defeat Russia, or more accurately Putin.
The effects of economic sanctions are neither immediate, or inescapable.
For one, economic sanctions take time to reach critical mass, and even when they do, there is no victory—no routing of the enemy.
Iran and North Korea, among others, have been subject to longstanding and withering sanctions.
And though their people are suffering under the weight of economic sanctions, their ruling despots survive unscathed.
Similarly, it will be the people of Russia who will pay the price, undeservedly and unavoidably.
Whether they will eventually and successfully rise up, maybe with the help of the Russian military, and depose Putin is a long shot at best.
In the meantime, Ukraine is dying
Can a no-fly zone be Ukraine’s saving grace?
Secretary of State Blinken, among others, have repeatedly stated that enforcing a no-fly zone, if it’s to be effective, will force us to shoot at or shoot down Russian aircraft.
Which could precipitate a Russian-American war.
Underscoring that point, Putin has already threatened the world with nuclear war if we and western powers become militarily involved.
So we and Europe meekly send Ukraine limited military armaments rather than risk war with Russia.
In other words, and how could it be construed otherwise, we are scared of the big, bad Russian wolf.
Afraid of a war with Russia we may, nonetheless, need to fight in the not too distant future
Ukraine clearly cannot defeat Russia militarily.
Yet, Ukraine will continue to fight and resist until there is no one left alive to fight.
And because Putin has no compunction against slaughtering innocent civilians his war will continue.
Putin hopes to so brutalize and decimate the civilian Ukrainian population, Ukraine will be forced in tears and horror to surrender.
Putin is a war criminal.
As if calling him names will bother him, or assuage the West’s passivity.
And then…after he subjugates Ukraine, then what?
Did Hitler stop after he conquered Czechoslovakia?
No, he attacked and conquered Poland.
Will Putin do the same?
Poland, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Romania and more than 15 other East European and now independent countries were either part of the Soviet Union proper, or client subservient states.
So why will Ukraine be the only and the last country Putin will attack if wants to rebuild the USSR.
Yes, many East European countries, former parts and parcels of the former USSR, are now part of NATO.
Article 5 of the NATO treaty states an attack on one member is an attack on all members. Collective defense by any other name.
Putin is already nearing the border of Poland, shelling towns on the Ukrainian side.
What if Putin doesn’t stop at the border?
What if Poland transfers, as is being discussed, its jet fighters to Ukraine, or if any country near Russia provides overt and sophisticate military assistance in whatever form to Ukraine?
Putin has warned that this will be a provocation—an escalation—and a justifiable excuse for him lob Russian missiles into Poland and elsewhere.
Will NATO hold?
More to the point, what will Biden—what will America—do?
And what should we do right now?
How many more days can we sit and watch videos of civilians being intentionally bombarded.
Mothers, sons and daughters dead in the streets.
Why are we allowing Putin to continue to do this?
Why are we allowing Putin to wage his war of annihilation?
Is it because he is crazy enough to start a nuclear war?
And if he is, his ambitions in Ukraine could prove to be just one of many future demands, and aggressions he could commit—and get away with.
Because he knows we, the West, by our pronouncements are not willing to risk an escalation, and ultimately nuclear war.
And if that’s true—nuclear blackmail has exposed our true weakness. Fear.
But I believe Putin is bluffing. I don’t think he’s so crazy to commit to mutually assured destruction—to be irradiated and die under a nuclear cloud.
What if we call Putin’s bluff?
What if we engage his military in Ukraine, not by attacking Russia itself but Russian troops in Ukraine from the air?
Then the ball is in his court.
Does he retreat, engage in asymmetric or cyberwarfare, or does he press the button?
If he retreats, diplomacy can then put the Russian evil genie back in the bottle.
As for asymmetric and cyberwarfare, we are already engaged in that war, and have been for years.
If he presses the button, he would have done it anyway—on another day for another reason
If ever there was a time and a place for our military to flex its muscles for the sake of humanity and the defeat of evil—now is the time, and Ukraine is the place.
What are your thoughts?
Leave them below.