Ooobie on Everything

War Anyone?

russia usIt looks possible that Russia could invade eastern Ukraine in the near future. I’ve thought this before, and was always wrong. But I’ve never been this convinced. The rapid build-up of Russian forces at the border and the escalating violence of Kiev’s attack on the separatists, as well as the massive outflow of refugees into Russia, are combining to create an irresistible force. All the usual suspects in the West are having fainting fits over Obama’s passive approach and aversion to anything more than sanctions. He could approve the shipment of heavy weapons to Ukraine during a civil war in which many of the victims are civilians, but beyond that what? Will NATO bomb for Kiev? If so, are we all prepared for war? NATO intervention would be seen as a direct attack on Russia and would not go unanswered. So far, the average talking head seems to buy the line that the US has a right to go to war for pretty much anybody or anything we want, since if we want it, it’s good and right. And besides, we promised Ukraine we’d take care of them. That was after we promised Russia we wouldn’t expand NATO.

Bah humbug. This entire disaster has gone from bad to worse and at every step the US had its hand in the pot. Prior to the civil war, Ukraine had an unpopular but legitimate president of Ukraine, corrupt as is every other politician in the country. There was tension between the pro-Russian faction and the westerners of Kiev (a perennial occurrence between the two tribes of Russia) and there were elections coming up soon. Then the EU offered the Ukrainian president a deal he could not accept, as it essentially required Ukraine to choose between the EU and Russia as a trade partner. When the Ukrainian president balked, there was an armed and very violent putsch in Kiev, forcing Yanukovych and other government officials to flee the country. The US and EU intervened immediately in support of the resulting junta and began (or the US did) selecting the junta officials. And putting together the next government after finding the right man for the presidency. The junta began hostilities against the separatists in the east, who refused to recognize the junta or the overthrow of Yanukovych, and the violence escalated. Poroshenko, with US encouragement, upped the level of violence and ruthlessness, bombing civilian areas and even launching short-range ballistic missiles into eastern Ukraine. Donetsk is a husk, its population fled, largely to Russia. The number of refugees now must be well beyond the level of “minor annoyance.” What started as a power game has now become a genuine civil war with all the resulting casualties. And Russia may well step in to take control of the situation. Russia has more security at stake in what is happening than all the rest of Europe outside Ukraine combined. Still, I see we’ve sent a missile cruiser into the Black Sea. What? We’re going to shell Donetsk for Kiev?

All of the East Europeans who once marched for the Warsaw Pact (but were never trusted by Russia nor Russia by them) are now marching on behalf of Washington and looking for a dust-up with their old boss. If I were heading up the USG, I would look at these new allies with the same jaundiced eye the Russians used. Just as Americans have no friends, only interests, the little countries can’t afford friends — their chief interest is not being absorbed or partitioned and so they choose everything themselves with a jaundiced eye. They are demanding US troops, and US weapons, and US missiles. We are the canary in the coalmine, the tripwire. If somebody kills us as we sit on Russia’s borders, our European allies get another fifteen minutes to prepare for extermination. It doesn’t matter that Russia, I would bet, has no interest other than as mere fantasy in invading and dismembering the frequently dismembered Poland.  And I doubt they want the Baltic states back because the two sides so dislike one another and Russia doesn’t need more problems. But those with an interest in war choose to exaggerate the threat and thus provoke conflict. They will succeed in setting on fire the people on the other side of the pendulum. You watch: the sound of millions of weapons loading and locking is going to wake up that latent European pacifist tendency and you will be seeing protests for peace. Count on it.

When the first expansion of NATO took place, I argued that it was a long-term negative for global security. Instead of seeking a new security system that included Russia, NATO always kept Russia on the enemies list. NATO’s sweet words were condescending and sticky with good will, but the US at a minimum never had any intention of inviting Russia to join — no competition welcome! And now every member admitted since the collapse of the USSR has bolstered western Russophobia and aggravated simmering Cold War-itis. Russia was an enemy in the eyes of the West long before Russia caught on. It had an idea it could be one of the decision makers in the Eurasian sphere, but NATO was never going to agree without a fight. Only now is it clear to ordinary Russians that they are surrounded by a powerful  military bloc that is controlled by old foe USA, that they are under threat, and that NATO never did mean them well.

A much bigger war than Ukraine hovers in the wings. Add to Ukraine/Russia the Middle Eastern debacle and a newly aggressive US military role there that includes the impending unauthorized violation of Syrian territory in defiance of the government we are trying to overthrow by, inter alia, arming the opposition to Assad, even though Assad would agree — you can see the possibilities. The US in reality can hardly support the weight of two major war fronts in which nuclear weapons are a possibility. Because if you think Russia is going to play  a ground war on its home turf or cede an inch to NATO, I’d take a second look. Any US-Russian military confrontation could go nuclear very quickly. In the Middle East the worst atrocities are yet to come and they are waiting for the Infidel, the US, to come to them.

Are there any somber and level-headed US officials these days? Everywhere I look it is swagger and braggadocio. Meanwhile our soldiers are dying in brutal countries where we aren’t wanted for people who aren’t fighting for themselves. I would say the same of Europe, where the only two countries who have shared in any significant way in the fighting burden are the US and the UK — our guys are keeping the world safe for everybody else. I for one am fed up with it. Go Rand Paul. Let’s really transform something when we have the White House, going for a foreign policy based on actual proven US vital national interests.  Wouldn’t it be nice not to be plotting another regime change?

Dismal outlook

bad-2dweather-2d19-resizeI usually get a spark for writing something when I’m browsing the news. This morning’s spark was provided by a news bit that Ukrainian President Poroshenko has now called the legislative opposition in Kiev “fifth columnists” for refusing to back his effort to have the Donetsk and Lugansk Peoples Republics declared terrorist organizations. He wants “snap” elections to get rid of the pests, which sounds like he has these elections all sewn up in advance.

What this set me to thinking was, all these two-bit “democracies” we’re creating use the same kinds of schemes, always. Doesn’t Poroshenko’s “we can’t wait,” and the very Leninist attitude that “he who is not with us is against us” remind you of somebody we all know or don’t know to be more precise? Poroshenko is waging exactly the same kind of disproportional warfare that many claim Israel is, and the USG is giving Israel a verbal whuppin’ for daring to defend itself, but Poroshenko hears no such censure from the lips of a US official. The different approaches just underscore how varied US standards are, so much so that the government looks increasingly hypocritical, both at home and abroad.

In the old days we had far less engagement in the world than today. We didn’t consider it the fate of our nation to be a policeman and air force around the globe. When we got involved, we were able to do so in ways compatible with our national character. The bottom line was stopping the advance of communism. We believed in that goal. The Vietnam War was a sobering experience. It was so brutal that ordinary people couldn’t escape images that did not comport with our national identity. There was dissonance and dissidence.

But today? Today is unlike anything I would ever have imagined. The US government is putting US sovereignty at risk to defend an incredible range of countries, from the democratic to the autocratic, through an endless network of agreements. Our weapons are being used to carry out atrocities because we just had to give them to our “friends.” Now we are arming and training Ukrainian national guard troops even as Ukraine lobs short-range ballistic missiles into populated areas. We are doing it as he tries to silence dissent in the Parliament. Where are the standards for democracy? They don’t exist outside our minds.

Poroshenko would not be quite so desperate about killing off his own opposition if he didn’t have pressure from those in the West to “get it done.” As long as Ukraine is immersed in civil war, it cannot join NATO. EU’s interests are affected, too, with this new Associate Member. It’s always about interests.

Meanwhile to our south the pot is on full boil. The peasantry of Latin America sniffs a chance at some unbelievably good luck if only they violate US sovereignty, openly and in full view of the press. (Well, not actually. It’s a war zone down there and the US isn’t providing cover.) This is happening because the US president and the Ruling Party don’t like borders and want lots of indentured slaves to vote on the Democrat Plantation, while our President has certainly encouraged the violation of our borders through his words and policies. This inundation is igniting ordinary Americans, and while most feel compassion they almost all want them gone back home, wherever home is.

And of course, it is now being reported that some very suspicious characters are slipping into the US posing as Guatemalans, and their dark skin and inability to speak English are a good disguise. But that doesn’t surprise any of us, does it? We will be surprised, of course, when the first bridge blows up at rush-hour or the first poisoning of a water system takes place. And what is being done about all this or to round up these suspicious characters? Well, the President is going to issue a decree that will encourage many many thousands more of these aliens to violate our border. And our Congress had a hard time deciding whether to pass a bill to give the President more money so he can provide for these illegal aliens and violators of our sovereignty.

All of this — the multiple standards of behavior, the insouciance with which we resort to violence in other people’s countries, and the destruction of our Constitutional liberties — combine to make me despair. We’re on some path toward cataclysm at home and abroad. We can’t seem to veer one iota from it. We’re involved in so many countries that every separatist group on earth (except the East Ukrainians) want the US to fight their wars for them. The latest petitioners are the Iranians. It is as though we who oppose this interventionism are being silenced by the very separatists that our policies have encouraged. Who can stop this? More importantly, who will?