Fear and Loathing, Ukraine invasion edition

Clearly, Russia’s president has commenced to attack Ukraine, in spite of Ukraine not having given him a shred of credible justification for doing so. His blatant objective of forcefully taking an independent country west of Russia’s borders has garnered condemnation, anger and anxiety, not only for Ukraine and its citizens, but also for the people of other countries worldwide. This development exists, after all, in the broader context of a potential repeat of the triggering antecedents that resulted in two world wars. Could we be on the brink of a third world war? And if so, would it culminate in the use of nuclear weapons? It defies comprehension, but recall that the last world war ended with the deployment of two atomic bombs in 1945, a not so distant past. Ever since, humanity has had to at once acknowledge the potential for nuclear annihilation while simultaneously denying such tactical insanity would ever come to pass. Geo-political cognitive dissonance, one could say.

Now, owing to Russia’s unwarranted invasion of Ukraine, and the prospects of further aggressions against other countries in Eastern Europe, the thousands of nukes created by the terrors of science, owned mostly by Russia and the U.S., require all of humanity’s attention. More than 76 years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the notion of those nukes slumbering in silos scattered over several of the world’s nations coming to life, is not an abstraction but a looming nightmare of starkly detailed potential chilling reality.

In the immortal words of Rodney King, Can’t we all just get along? Alas, poor Rodney, but history teaches all of us another stark lesson in cold reality: that it has always taught us nothing. No doubt, this apparent inability to learn from history’s grim lessons in cause and effect is what led James Joyce to invoke “History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.” The current David and Goliath encounter between Ukraine and Russia should not be happening, that’s for damn sure. But yet, there it is.

I personally feel that the West (i.e., the United States) needs to do more than blather about sanctions against Russia. Of course, I’m talking about utilizing our military directly in support of Ukraine. It might be a roll of the nuclear dice, but letting that prospect preclude any truly immediate and meaningful action in confronting Russia’s sickening attack on an innocent nation is morally and militarily wrong. Consider that, unlike Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, which were all needless deployments that essentially benefitted that notorious military-industrial complex, literally confronting Russia would be putting our post-WWII, 780 billion dollar-a-year armed forces budget to a clearly dangerous but quite practical, use once again. To those (and I’m sure it’s a vast majority of people) who would say this isn’t our fight, I’d say then why do we even have such a well financed and sophisticated military machine? It IS our fight, and the fight of all other countries that profess to be on “the right side of history”. Nuclear mutual assured destruction will forevermore be a clear and present danger. But letting Russia use that same threat to be allowed continue killing innocent people without any justification certainly is to tacitly surrender to an evil entity that doesn’t give a shit about “sanctions”. This is a turning point and a tipping point in world history, akin to the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. It’s an inevitable offshoot of ever having created the Ultimate Weapon. Confront that fear again. The way I see it, there’s really no choice to be made here. Stop Russia now. Just like in 1962, another history lesson that, unless action is taken, will again have taught us nothing.

About jharrin4

mass communication/speech instructor at College of DuPage and Triton College in suburban Chicago. Army veteran of the Viet Nam era.
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