SWORD vs UMBRELLA
By Karen McKay
LTC USAR (Ret.)
Something really peculiar is going on right now—or rather, it would have been peculiar ten years ago. Democrats are enthusiastically supporting a foreign war in which the US is involved. Republicans and Conservatives are divided for and against the war. The aggressor the Democrats are opposing is Vladimir Putin of Russia. Peculiar because historically, Democrats adore Russia/USSR and Marxism to the point of worship.
Democrats had an historic love affair with the Soviet Union/Russia—FDR was in a mutual admiration society with Stalin, Hitler and Mussolini until Hitler invaded Poland. The New York Times covered up the Holocaust and Stalin’s liquidation of the Ukrainian people by famine and the murder of more millions of his own subjects. FDR agreed to Stalin’s demands for the divvying up of post-war Europe. Bill Clinton suckled at the breast of the Russian Bear. His wife pandered to the new Russia with her silly “reset” button stolen from a hotel hot tub. They smiled indulgently when Russia crushed Chechnya and Georgia, seized Crimea, and occupied eastern Ukraine.
But when the Democrats convinced themselves that Putin had gotten Trump elected, well...hell hath no fury like a Democrat scorned. Now Russia is the enemy. So when Putin invaded Ukraine, it became Gog & Magog vs Zelensky the white knight, the Messianic savior of all that is pure (Democrats are usually a bit confused about theology.)
Ergo, Democrats must now be anti-Russian and pro-Ukraine. Ergo, Republicans and Conservatives—at least some of them—must be anti-Ukraine, if not pro-Russia. Newton’s Third Law of Motion in action.
Let’s consider the arguments against and for supporting Ukraine in its war of resistance against Russian aggression without the knee jerk. My mostly shorthand responses are going to require you to do some homework if you don’t know the history—and that will be good. You will learn much more than I’d have room to write with the space limits of this publication.
1. UKRAINE IS CORRUPT!
For corruption I need look no further than our own government. We need to clean up our own house before we condemn someone else—something about living in a glass house…
Communism breeds corruption wherever it’s tried. Ukraine has a legacy of Soviet occupation. Zelensky was elected on a promise to clean up the Ukrainian swamp. Biden bragged on video before the Council on Foreign Relations that as Vice-President he forced the then Ukrainian president to fire an honest prosecutor investigating his son Hunter’s criminal dealings.
I am not willing to condemn any former captive nation to slavery again because I judge them to be impure.
2. UKRAINE CAN’T WIN! RUSSIA IS TOO BIG AND POWERFUL! ITS POPULATION IS MANY TIMES BIGGER, IT’S VASTLY WEALTHIER, IT HAS A HUGER ARMY!
3. UKRAINE MUST ACCEPT A NEGOTIATED SETTLEMENT THAT GIVES THOSE PARTS OF ITS COUNTRY WITH A LARGE ETHNIC RUSSIAN POPULATIONS TO RUSSIA—THEN THERE WILL BE PEACE!
There’s a word for this: Appeasement.
Remember Sudetenland and the 1938 Munich Agreement? Remember Neville Chamberlain with his umbrella? “...peace with honour...peace for our time?”
Remember Czechoslovakia? It had treaties with France and the USSR, and expected their allies, including Great Britain, to defend them from Hitler. They did not.
Rather arrogant of us to demand that Ukraine sacrifice more parts of their country so we can feel nobly superior when they are bleeding and dying to save their nation.
We might also remember why there are large Russian populations in former captive nations. It was called forced “population exchanges.”
P.S. The same population ethnicity argument could be made about Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and California.
4. THE UNITED STATES HAS NO NATIONAL INTERESTS IN UKRAINE! IT DOESN’T CONCERN US!
That is exactly what American pacifists and isolationists said when Hitler annexed Austria and Czechoslovakia.
5. UKRAINE IS NOT A NATO COUNTRY. WE HAVE NO BUSINESS THERE.
Kosovo was not a NATO country, either. Nor were Serbia or Montenegro.
6. THERE IS NO THREAT TO US FROM THE RUSSIAN WAR AGAINST UKRAINE!
Remember Black Hawk Down? There was no threat to us from Somalia, either—and it was also not a NATO country.
7. WE’RE ALREADY 32 TRILLION DOLLARS IN DEBT! WE CAN’T AFFORD TO SUPPORT UKRAINE!
And just WHY are we $32T in debt? It’s not because of Ukraine, nor our defense budget, nor fighting just wars. Abandoning Ukraine to its fate will not pour that “saved” money back into the US treasury.
If budgetary concerns are the primary argument for Russia’s conquest of its former captive nation, allow me to point out that it is far cheaper to help Ukraine stay free than waiting to join a new world war to stop Russia’s continued expansion. Think WWII. Hitler could have been stopped before he took a single neighboring country. We waited until he had taken most of Europe, the Balkans, and most of North Africa. We could have stopped Tojo on the doorstep of China. We waited until Pearl Harbor. What did that delay ultimately cost in blood and treasure?
No cash—not a dime--should be going to Ukraine. We have no business giving Ukrainians walking-around money as Biden just promised, or paying their social security and pensions. Or cash to most countries we aid. Even without criminal intent, God knows how many millions of $US cash have disappeared, particularly in any war zone. As it is, many Third World kleptocrats steal our material aid—say, rice--sell it and pocket the money.
Provide Ukraine with all the armaments, all the weapons platforms, all the materiel they need—that they ask for, not what we think they need. They can pay us back when they are again free and prospering.
Congress needs to do a forensic audit of the billions of dollars in cash that Biden is sending to Ukraine—follow money trails going back to Biden’s vice-presidency and his Congressional career, see if and how it is being laundered right back to the Biden Crime Family Syndicate, and who is facilitating it along the way. And then there should be hell to pay.
8. WE’RE DEPLETING OUR ARMAMENTS BY GIVING THEM TO UKRAINE!
This is on the Biden Administration and Putin, not Ukraine. Why aren’t we replacing—and upgrading--our war inventory?
Why is Biden draining our Strategic Oil Reserve? It’s not to support Ukraine.
FDR put America on a war footing by starting the Lend-Lease program in 1940 to supply Great Britain and the USSR with armaments. Ramping up industry to build tanks, war planes, ships and guns ended the Depression by putting millions to work and kept our two primary allies-to-be alive until America entered the war. It also ensured that our own war machine hit the ground running when we did join in. To further prepare for war, US military personnel were permitted to join the Canadian, UK and Chinese air forces until the US got in.
When the Lend-Lease Act was passed by Congress in March 1941, it was largely down party lines—the majority of Democrats voted for it, the majority of Republicans against. It appears that Republicans have not always been the “warmongers.”
Unlike Roosevelt, Biden is pissing away our assets and reserves with no plans for replenishment. He is depleting our armaments inventory and weakening the US. General Omar Bradley complained after Truman’s catastrophic drawdown of the military at the end of WWII that we “could not fight our way out of a paper bag.” We’re about there now. In my Cold Warrior days, our doctrine was to be prepared to fight a 2.5 front war—we’re at the 0.5 front readiness status now and declining. Machiavelli warned about a nation allowing its swords to become dull. We will soon find ourselves holding a hilt without a blade. The solution is not to let Putin have resource-rich Ukraine —it’s to restore and maintain our own military readiness.
9. RUSSIA NEEDS A SECURITY BUFFER BETWEEN ITSELF AND NATO!
Russia’s need for secure borders is like the universe—ever-expanding. Putin has just canceled Russian recognition of the sovereignty of another captive nation, Moldova.
If the objection to Ukraine joining NATO is that Russia does not want a NATO country on its border, then Russia has a problem now. There are already five NATO countries bordering Russia. If Ukraine loses, then Russia will have even more NATO countries on its border.
10. PUTIN IS THREATENING TO USE NUKES!
Blackmail. Either he will or he won’t. Cowering in fear, self-flagellation, appeasement—not gong to help one way or the other. Bullies only fear and respect strength, and the courage to use it.
In the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, the US, UK and Russia guaranteed Ukrainian security if it disarmed. It did. As 1945 should have taught us, the Soviets/Russians have different definitions of honor and security from ours. The United States put our occupied half of Europe back on its feet and grew it as free societies after WWII. Stalin enslaved his half and then kept expanding his empire.
Following the collapse of the USSR, captive nations seized their independence and began to thrive as free, capitalistic democracies. Putin is trying to rebuild the empire built by the czars and then the Communists. He’s already invaded Georgia, Crimea, Chechnya, and taken eastern parts of Ukraine—Belarus is for all practical purposes a vassal state on the chopping block.
Now the Ukrainians are demonstrating that they are willing to fight and sacrifice for their freedom. We are obligated by the Budapest Memorandum to protect Ukraine's independence-- we failed that guarantee when Russia took Crimea and the eastern part of Ukraine.
Thomas Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Lyndon Baines Johnson all campaigned on the promise that they were “not going to send your boys to war.” Ukraine asks only for the tools of war—they do not want US troops. This was the Reagan doctrine—give people the tools and training they need to secure their own freedom.
Ukraine is fighting the war that we old Cold Warriors spent our lives preparing for. Russia is not a rotting corpse. It is not without resources and design. The United States has been paying Russia to take our Astronauts to the Space Station, after all—thank you, Barack Obama. Russia is threatening Israel over Iran. Russia, thanks to Hillary Clinton, is mining American uranium. Russian military aircraft and vessels still violate our and other countries’ territory. Russia still throws its weight around at the UN. Russia still spies on the US. Russian cyber attacks threaten our critical infrastructure. Russia meddles in our elections.
NATO is at least slowly waking up to the threat. Trump was absolutely right in pressuring NATO countries to meet their obligations according to the Charter. They ought to be carrying the load of supporting Ukraine, but then, they ought to have been carrying the load for their own defense readiness since the end of WWII. The United States has foolishly allowed most of the world to panhandle the American taxpayer, draining our coffers through the UN and countless aid programs all over the globe.
Ukraine is the battle laboratory that the Spanish Civil War and the little known but bloody Second Nagorno-Karabakh War were--a field test of weapons and tactics. More, the war in Ukraine exposing and bleeding Putin’s Russia, which is good. Colonel R.D. Hooker in his February 2023 ARMY magazine article “Glimpse Future in Ukraine” lays it all out: “The Russian invasion of Ukraine represents large-scale, multidomain, high-intensity warfare unlike any ever seen before.”
Ronald Reagan brought the Soviet Union to its knees. Subsequent US presidents helped the Russian bear get back up again.
...When he stands up like a tired man, tottering near and near;
When he stands up as pleading, in wavering, man-brute guise,
When he veils the hate and cunning of his little, swinish eyes;
"When he shows as seeking quarter, with paws like hands in prayer
That is the time of peril -- the time of the Truce of the Bear!"
..."There is no truce with Adam-zad, the Bear that looks like a Man!"
(Kipling, "The Truce of the Bear”)