The nobility commended to war is romanticized as a brave and patriotic encounter when reviewing history. Familiar to Americans, the American Revolution and World War II come to mind as noble causes. America is far from alone in the foggy-headedness of war. Michigan and Ohio once raised militias over the ownership of Toledo. Other countries have fought over a pig and a stray dog. Of course, America has Vietnam and most recently twenty years in the Middle East on our plate, and both left a rancid taste.
Russia also had its idiocies, most notably their previous failure in Afghanistan. Vladimir Putin ordered an unprovoked invasion violating the sovereignty of Ukraine in the pre-dawn hours Thursday morning. Putin, appearing unhinged and factless in his past two public appearances on Russian TV, has accused Ukraine of genocide and says he needs to achieve the “denazification” of Ukraine. Even more ridiculous, he says it is at the direction of the Jewish-born Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. In the first 24 hours of the invasion, deaths have been reported, and estimates grimly predict as many as 50,000 Ukrainians may be killed.
Should Putin continue, he is achieving the mass murder of Ukrainian soldiers, citizens, and Russian forces.
The only dispute in Ukraine is how big are Vladimir Putin’s ego and thirst for the return of the U.S.S.R. You can rest assured Mr. Putin has ruminated over a bowl of borscht with a vodka chaser, cursing the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991. His emboldened blood lust (fueled by the far right) has grown to such a point that he issued the vague threat of a retaliatory nuclear response on Wednesday: “Whoever tries to interfere with us, and even more so to create threats to our country, to our people, should know that Russia’s response will be immediate and will lead you to such consequences as you have never experienced in your history,” said Putin.
America, possibly more than any other country, created a mythology around the greatest generation who beat down fascism in WWII—ever since the U.S has lived off what is quickly becoming a misnomer: American exceptionalism. America that once saw possibilities at every turn now sees ghosts at every corner. Unfortunately, the ghosts are our fellow citizens.
America, which would awaken itself from slumbers in the past, has now fallen into unconsciousness and is resting in the comfort of impossibilities. States seceding from the Union—impossible, thank you, Mr. Lincoln. Japanese attacking Hawaii—impossible; thank you, Mr. Roosevelt. America, electing a game show host as its president—impossible, but eighty-one million of us woke up. Insurrection—impossible(Thank you, Donald Trump)? Putin has proven that he is willing to kill by using violence or poisoning his opponents. The sudden embrace of Putin by the right-wing extremists, American conservatives, and Fox News should be unnerving to us all. Starting with the phony controversy over Critical Race Theory, banning literature, removing mentions of LGBTQ+ issues in schools, the uptick in anti-Semitism, and controlling women’s reproductive rights sounds frighteningly like the beginnings of a white ethnostate. Oh, that is IMPOSSIBLE!
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