Occasionally I peruse columns I’ve written to see whether I have changed my mind. For instance, I have not changed my opinion that too many Big Media reporters cloak their reporting with an emperor’s robe of non-information as they all seem to read from the same press release, and turn phrases of one into clichés of the other.
Repeatedly, for instance, we heard emphasized how much gasoline prices had increased “from the previous year,” with no mention that the “previous year” had sent gas prices plummeting when people stopped vacationing and commuting during the early years of the pandemic.
In 2013, there were questions asking whether we should attack Syria, how would it profit the U.S. of A., and would not entering that fray make us appear weak.
The answers were, in order: No; employment for our arms manufacturers; and what is this, junior high?
President Obama set a “Red Line” beyond which, if Syrian President Assad placed a toe, the U.S. would act. The trouble with Red Lines is that as soon as you draw them, a bully will step over just to see whether you will really do what you said you would.
Too often, the bully wins the public relations war. A high school student who has taken enough abuse and finally breaks the bully’s nose – whereupon the bully complains to the principle that he was attacked without provocation. No one actually saw the fight, only that one antagonist had a busted nose.
Vladimir Putin is a bully, and we can see on our television the damage he is wreaking on a sovereign nation. He has arrayed his army in the destruction of a nation he had previously acknowledged was free and independent. Unlike Assad, Putin did not attack his own people. Instead, he has been trying to erase a neighbor.
Our record of participating in other nations’ internal troubles is not confidence building. In my own lifetime, I can remember when we supported a rebel named Fidel Castro in his effort to oust his country’s dictator, General Fulgencio Batista. It would add a democratic nation to the western hemisphere, we were told. Instead, it provided a base for Russia to move missiles within 90 miles of the U.S.
We went to Vietnam in the 1940s, first only with money, but that escalated over the ensuing decades, with the only winners in our nation being Lockheed, McDonnell-Douglas, Chrysler and other military suppliers. We buried too many of our children in that conflict.
Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, and we volunteered to evict him.
Then we attacked Iraq, believing the promise from our leaders that Iraqis would welcome us as liberators, the way French citizens welcomed us in WW II.
But Ukraine is neither France nor Cuba. It is an independent democracy. It has elected its president and lower legislators and other officers. And it is only the latest in a series of moves Putin has made to extend his borders, as did Adolph Hitler in a previous era.
We must not commit our youth and our treasure merely to join the killing spree we humans seem bent on applying to each other. But we also cannot sit back and allow Putin to push, pummeling one weak victim at a time into submission, until the only opposition he faces are huddled behind the Stars and Stripes having proved itself unable, or unwilling, to help its victimized neighbors. War is abhorrent. We must not enter it lightly. But there comes a time to draw a Red Line, to stop the bully. We are getting very close to that time.
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