“You always hurt the one you love
The one you shouldn’t hurt at all.
You always take the sweetest rose
And crush it ‘til the petals fall.”
Allan Roberts, lyrics – Doris Fisher, music – made famous by the Mills Brothers, 1944
The world is now witnessing the Russia-Ukraine War – another senseless bloodletting in Central Europe, a region that has experienced more than its share of human misery. Even when 100,000 troops and armor were amassed at its border, Ukrainians did not panic. After all, Russians and Ukrainians have become inter-related – why would Russia want to hurt – the one you shouldn’t hurt at all?
The United States is but a fraction away from world war as we have guaranteed protection to countries that border both Russia and Ukraine, as a part of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization that implements the North Atlantic Treaty signed after WWII). Pundits are scrambling to explain. “Has Putin gone mad?” “What if a Russian missile lands in a neighboring NATO country?”
Events have created a particularly shrill wake-up call for America, which is in a senseless internal bloodletting of its own called Woke Totalitarianism. We have been forced to look up from the sophomoric to figure out what to do. In addition, many retired military officers are on TV with something to say.
In a Constitutional Republic, where the opinion of the citizen-Sovereign is supposed to matter, how does one begin to untangle this deeply troubling new war?
The politics of it seem suspicious. Incomprehensible domestic policies are now blamed on a Russian president. Life and death decisions have the feel of the haphazard – slapped together without a hint of deep knowledge. No American Russian-speaking diplomat from the State Department is filling the Sovereign in on facts and recommendations.
We might begin to untangle, then, by starting with history.
Take a look at a map of Europe. There is the huge Russian Federation to the East and a host of smaller countries to the West, all the way to the Atlantic Ocean. In the middle and to the East are the Slavic countries, including Russia, who experienced Mongol invasions of the mid-13th century by the heirs of Genghis Khan. These invasions and the intermingling of these peoples created unique societies.
German peoples were spared these Mongol invasions and developed a view of Slavs as inferior. This explains, to some extent, the intense animosity between Germany and Russia that has caused so much war, and also German animosity to Poland, a Slavic country right next door. Poland became a European punching bag in the 18th century and the Polish Republic ceased to exist in 1795, as Prussia (think Germany), Austria, and Russia carved it up.
America was just beginning its experiment as a Constitutional Republic in 1795. George Washington was President. We were far removed from very troubled Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries and stayed out of entangling alliances as Washington recommended.
Unfortunately, Woodrow Wilson, at the beginning of the 20th century, decided (was pushed) into WWI and the United States naively embroiled itself in extremely complex world politics with the wishful hope we could “make the world safe for democracy.” The opposite happened. Communism began its deadly rampage with the Bolshevik Revolution that we helped make happen. Ukraine became part of the USSR in 1922.
Think, then, of this Russia-Ukraine War as beginning after WWI. Poland came back into existence as the 2nd Republic of Poland. She immediately commenced an eight-month Polish-Ukraine War in 1919 to recover lost territory in what is now western Ukraine. Ugly atrocities on both sides followed.
Both Poland and Ukraine have experienced untold horrors through most of the 20th century. The USSR and Nazi Germany agreed to divide Poland between them and both attacked in 1939, starting WWII. Millions of Poles and Ukrainians were exterminated over time by both nations. Sadly, Poland was given to the USSR after the war.
Poland came out from under the Communist yoke in 1989, Ukraine in 1991. Poland today, welcoming Ukrainian refugees, is remarkable given this history, but the endless wars emanating from WWI continue into a new century. America’s involvement, whether by design or naivete, is still wrapped in intellectual denial.
We now find ourselves behind the eight-ball of over one hundred years of questionable foreign policy. Both political parties are responsible. To the world’s bloodthirsty, America’s leadership is now so inept, compromised, and conflicted that predatory historic revenge moves can be made without fear of consequence.
The Sovereign, We the People, might still be able to fix this mess over time with accurate facts, but the genocide in Ukraine must stop first. There will be time enough to unravel the international Rubik’s cube the United States is partially responsible for if honest journalists and historians will engage. For now, here are simple first steps American citizens might take that will help:
First, we must come to grips with reality. We are blessed to have been spared what Poland and Ukraine have been through. We need a first-rate military and the best Navy in the world, whatever it costs.
Second, the infantile self-loathing that is part of Woke Totalitarianism is dangerous. It crushes the proper functioning of the Sovereign in our Constitutional system and weakens our military.
Third, we might want to get straight who we, as citizens, are to love and who we, as citizens, are to stop hurting. God, our country, humanity – are who we are to love and who we shouldn’t hurt at all. This Russia-Ukraine War has produced for us a shrill but perhaps necessary wake-up call. The Sovereign needs to seriously engage and it needs to seriously engage now.