Alan Zendell, February 24, 2022
Try to imagine that far across the ocean, a large, powerful adversary has surrounded a neighboring sovereign nation with clear intent to invade and overthrow its legally elected government. No one has any illusions about whose military forces are stronger, but the smaller country is no patsy, and unlike the Afghan army we trained and paid for, these people will fight as long as they have life to defend their homeland. This nation is not a bunch of loosely connected regions ruled by warlords and religious zealots, but a country with a thousand years of history and tradition. The fight, now that it has begun, will be long and bloody, but allies along the beleaguered nation’s western flank have committed to support it with heavy equipment, and possibly even personnel.
That sounds troubling enough, but the reality is worse. Not since 1938 has one nation conducted this kind of aggression against its neighbor, and that led to the bloodiest war in our history. Overnight polls here at home imply that the vast majority of Americans view the conflict between Russia and Ukraine as someone else’s war. It’s understandable after two years of dealing with a pandemic and challenging economic problems, but as the experience of Europe in the last century proved, it’s completely wrongheaded. Because Ukraine is bordered by NATO countries, one stray Russian missile that lands in Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, or Romania could set off a Europe-wide conflict, which, because of NATO charter commitments will involve the United States directly.
NATO countries know the only way to stabilize the situation short of global conflict is through strength and unity. The NATO Charter requires unanimity on the part of all thirty member states before joint military actions, even defensive ones can occur. Unlikely as that may appear, such unity exists and appears to be holding firm. Even the four NATO countries that border Ukraine, which lived under the domination of the Russian led USSR until its dissolution thirty years ago remain firm in their defense of Ukraine. We’ve seen no pro-Russian demonstrations in those countries, no voices raised in support of Vladimir Putin’s actions.
The only country in which prominent politicians have praised Putin and his gross violations of international law is ours. No sooner did we breathe a sigh of relief, that in Joe Biden we had a president willing to stand up to Mr. Putin and take every action short of direct military engagement, and a Republican Party that has mostly fallen in line behind Mr. Biden, then the Trumpers began marching in lockstep in support of the Russian President. Their leader, of course, was Donald Trump, who will probably be indicted for his role in the January 6, 2021 insurrection. If fomenting insurrection weren’t serious enough, he has now turned to what smells very much like outright treason.
With the rest of the Free World condemning Putin’s bald-faced aggression, our mentally ill former president has instead chosen to praise and compliment him. Supported by people like Tucker Carlson, who as Russia was beginning a full-scale invasion of Ukraine and pushing toward Kyiv and its four million residents, referred to it as a border war that’s none of our business, Trump went further. He described the invading Russian army of nearly 200,000 as “the strongest peace force I’ve ever seen.” He might as well have written Putin’s speech for him, as the Russian leader proclaimed that Ukraine is rightly part of Russia, and he is obligated to cleanse and replace the “Nazis” who now control Ukraine to protect its citizens, who Putin claims are Russians being held hostage.
Describing Putin’s lies and misdirection in the past few weeks, Trump went on to say, in his barely literate style, “This is genius…Putin declares a big portion of the Ukraine — of Ukraine — Putin declares it as independent. Oh, that’s wonderful. He used the word ‘independent’ and ‘we’re going to go out and we’re going to go in and we’re going to help keep peace.’ You’ve got to say that’s pretty savvy.”
No, you don’t. We knew Putin was a brilliant tactician, but his invasion strategy is exactly what most American military commentators predicted it would be, and after the initial couple of days, Putin’s forces could find themselves bogged down with bloody insurgencies with both civilian and Russian casualties mounting rapidly. Is that savvy or the result of desperation-driven risk taking?
More to the point, Trump has proven undeniably that America First is the farthest thing from his mind. The only thing that ever matters to Trump is himself, and with his latest attempt to glorify and aid Putin, the master war criminal, it’s clear that he needs to be locked away in a secure facility that will prevent him from doing further damage to America.