The War in Ukraine
I find myself, often, mentioning stuff I never thought I’d live to see. Sometimes, the observations seem gratuitous and pithy. Many reference how rapidly we have moved from what satisfied Traditional Norms to Live YOUR Life (although, as I write, legislatures across the country focus on passing laws which prevent people from living lives that make certain people uncomfortable.)
Not so much, on any of this, the war in Europe. I am 64. I know I’m missing many wars, but I have lived through American military battles in Vietnam (and neighboring countries), the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Iraq (2X), and Afghanistan. Obviously, my home-focused view ignores the suffering around the globe that hasn’t involved American boots on the ground.
Plenty of war during my life, including the as yet unmentioned civil war in the Balkans about 30 years ago. Still, I never thought I’d live long enough to see yet another full-fledged war in Europe. (There will always be war in Europe someday, for Europe has seen wars for at least a millennium. I just thought it’d be a long way away.)
I find my mind wandering back to the 1930s. Grandparents Lilyan and Adrian Rabau and Pearl and Max Rubin must have watched the events in Europe with fear and wonder. Did they see themselves as a part of the modern era? Focus on the notion that WWI was the war to end all wars? They were all gone by 1964, but it’s hard not to wonder what they thought about WWII.
The fact that our nation does not send troops to Ukraine leaves me struggling. If we want to turn this all into something much worse, we should show up. Engage. Kill Russians. Doing so would give Vladimir Putin a justification for more awfulness, including using nuclear weapons. (Hell, as of this morning there’s reporting that he’s got his nuclear defense system on alert … without anything resembling a basis. So maybe … never mind!)
Doing very little means more Ukrainians will die, and maybe engaging more fully saves some lives. Still, the West will sit. Why? Iraq and Afghanistan. Or Vietnam. Or the many opportunities we – the United States and Europe – passed on, without any direct consequences for the lives we live. Who knows!
Death befalls Ukrainians – and, by the way, Russian soldiers who surely didn’t ask for this particular fight – without us. What will the verdict be, long after many of us are gone, about doing so little right now? That a leader of a powerful nation – a nation that still holds, and used, a veto at the UN Security Council – starts a war in 2022 that leaves more powerful nations sending money and some guns should concern us all.
I must note the fact that the Ukraine War gets out-sized attention because we live in a West-based world. Wars in several African nations and in Syria and Yemen do not get the same level of attention. Maybe it’s the photo of cars leaving Kyiv, which looks just like a photo we might see in Texas or Florida, just before a hurricane. Or the fact that many of us surely share a family tree with Ukrainians we likely don’t know about. Who knows!
Many find fault with Joe Biden and the Ds here. Why? No particular reason, other than the fact that they’re compelled to open their pieholes and move their tongues. When they do, the id controls the neurons that operate it, and in those instances no one should expect intelligent expressions.
We learn, every day, that our advancements do not matter very much. Homes. Cars. An Internet that lets us think we know everything about anything. In fact, the last few decades prove just how much we don’t know, and how able we are to ignore inconvenient truths. That a substantial minority of our population believes utter claptrap about the 2020 election should tell us much. The fact that autocracy rules, increasingly and even in nations where people know from and did not cotton to dictatorial regimes, ought to matter. That Mr. Putin can, with a straight face, claim his efforts in Ukraine involve de-nazifying the country – a country which elected a Jewish president three years ago – says a lot, too.
G-d bless Volodymyr Oleksandrovych Zelensky and the Ukrainian people!