Category Archives: International news

Can he declare victory?

The late U.S. Sen. George Aiken, a great Republican from Vermont, once lamented that the nation could conclude the Vietnam War simply by saying: “Let’s just declare victory and go home.”

The war was going badly, even though American forces were winning on the battlefield. Our victories were overshadowed by protests at home as Americans grieved over the casualties we suffered for a mission that no one at the Pentagon was able to articulate.

Russians are facing possibly the same the dilemma. Their forces invaded Ukraine months ago. The idea was to subdue Ukraine quickly, tossing out the government led by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and installing a pro-Moscow puppet to dance to the tune called by Russian despot Vladimir Putin.

It didn’t happen.

The Ukrainians are fighting for their survival against Russians who are fighting to soothe the ego of a dictator.

Can the Russians now just “declare victory” the way Sen. Aiken saw many decades ago? It’s all right with me.

I want the bloodshed to end. I am sickened by the destruction brought to Ukraine. I am heartened, though, by the courage that Ukrainians are demonstrating — under Zelenskyy’s leadership — in fending off the invaders.

As for Putin’s possible victory declaration, I want to stipulate that none of that would preclude an international trial on charges of war crimes being leveled against this monstrous tyrant. By any measure one can make that charge against Putin, given that his forces have struck soft targets — schools, hospitals and apartment complexes — in direct violation of the Geneva Accords meant to govern the rules of war.

Let the bastard declare victory and then then commence a trial to convict him of crimes against humanity.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Putin’s big aim? Pffftt!

Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine those many weeks ago to prevent an expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Hah! What happened then? Oh, Sweden and Finland have applied for NATO membership. Indeed, if Finland is accepted as a NATO member, the Russian tyrant will watch his country’s border with NATO expand by roughly double what it is at the moment.

So, this begs the question: How is it working out for you … Vlad?

It ain’t!

Russian troops are getting their butts kicked on the battlefield by dedicated Ukrainian soldiers and militia. Putin sought to conquer Kyiv and Kharkiv — Ukraine’s two largest cities — only to watch those efforts literally go up in flames.

Russian soldiers are suffering from low morale, lack of ammunition, faltering equipment, resupply crises and are showing signs of insubordination on the field of battle.

None of this is likely to stem the assault that Putin launched against a sovereign nation. He now is threatening Finland with reprisal if NATO accepts the Finns and the Swedes.

I must point out, too, that NATO — thanks to the diplomatic efforts led by President Biden — is more united than ever in its mission to stand as one against any threats from Russia.

If I were advising Putin, I would consider offering a suggestion for a way to declare victory and just get the hell out of Ukraine.

Johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

How does Ukraine persist?

When the Russians invaded Ukraine I was skeptical that the Ukrainians would be able to declare victory on the battlefield. The Russian army was numerically and technically superior to Ukraine.

Then the Russians discovered something in real time on the field of battle. The first thing, apparently, was that they weren’t as fearsome a fighting force as they — or many of the rest of us — thought they were. The second thing is that they likely underestimated the Ukrainians’ will to fight to protect their homeland against a foreign invader.

What astounds me is that the Russians’ misjudgment of Ukraine’s will to fight would exist at all, given their own country’s military history.

In June 1941, Adolf Hitler launched the invasion of the Soviet Union. He likely didn’t think the Russians would fight to the death in the manner that they did. The Red Army then turned the tide against Hitler’s forces in a city once known as Stalingrad. Let us not forget that Ukrainians were fighting alongside Russians in their struggle against the Nazi invaders. Oh … the irony.

This is what happens when a nation invades another sovereign state. They learn that their adversary is committed to the struggle to survive and their commitment well could carry them forward against a supposedly superior military force.

We hear now several things are going badly for the Russians. They have lost several field generals in the battle; the Russian troops are suffering from low morale; Russian soldiers aren’t obeying officers’ orders; Ukraine is getting plenty of help from allied nations — such as the United States; the Ukrainians are putting their military hardware to good use.

Don’t get me wrong here. I am not about to declare that Ukraine will declare victory and that Russia is going to skulk off the battlefield. There likely will be much more struggle to take place.

It does make me wonder how much more humiliation Russian despot Vladimir Putin can take. Moreover, I will stand on my belief that Putin is not stupid enough to launch a nuclear strike, given his knowledge of how “mutually assured destruction” would play out.

If there is an exit to be found, my strongest hope is that Putin can look for it and get the hell out of Ukraine. I wouldn’t even mind if he decides to declare victory. Let him crow all he wants. The world will know better.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Not a ‘mistake,’ Greg

“Take ownership no matter what it is. Look, we’ve all made mistakes, and you just want to learn from those mistakes and how you can correct them going forward.”

So said Greg Norman, the one-time top-flight pro golfer from Australia. What was the “mistake” to which Norman refers?

Oh, just the gruesome murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who in October 2018 was sliced up and dismembered by Saudi killers in the Saudi consulate building in Istanbul.

I guess I should mention that Norman is now taking part in an international golf league run by — get ready for it — Saudi Arabia interests.

Thus, when Greg Norman calls a ghastly crime against a journalist a “mistake,” he only demonstrates his (a) ignorance of historical fact and (b) his own conflict of interest in even commenting on the dastardly act.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Ukrainians winning grassroots support

I am trying to remember a time when a nation involved in a war in a far-off land has earned the kind of support on American soil that we are seeing demonstrated for Ukraine in its struggle against Russia.

I am 72 years of age and have seen quite a bit during my time on this Earth. I went to war once myself while wearing my own country’s uniform and I have watched many conflicts erupt all over the world.

This one is so vastly different in terms of the response coming from rank-and-file Americans. I see it constantly.

Vehicles flying Ukrainian flags; they are adorned with bumper stickers proclaiming support for Ukraine; business owners are plastering Ukraine-flag posters on their windows.

My wife and I recently returned from a brief trip to the Texas Hill Country and when we parked our travel trailer at an RV park in Johnson City, we noticed a propane gas dealer flying a full-sized Ukraine flag on the lot next to Old Glory in Dripping Springs.

Judging by that overwhelming show of support for Ukraine over the butchery bring brought to that country by Russians, the only conclusion I can draw is that our politicians — who represent our needs and wishes — had better do what the folks back home are demanding of them.

Which is to give Ukraine all the help it seeks to beat back the Russian invaders.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Yep, Biden took the call

Franklin Foer has smashed a myth about President Biden, that the president is too weak and not up to the myriad tasks that befall a POTUS at any hour of the day … or night.

Foer, writing an essay in The Atlantic, points out quite vividly that Joe Biden “answered the call” that came to him around 3 a.m.

He writes about the time Hillary Clinton sought to exploit 2008 presidential campaign rival Barack Obama’s inexperience with an ad that wondered whether the future president would be able to “answer the call.” Well, he did answer the call, just as Joe Biden is doing now.

Biden Answered the 3 a.m. Call – The Atlantic

As his article in The Atlantic noted about Biden’s response to the Ukraine War: Joe Biden hasn’t received the full credit he deserves for his statecraft during this crisis, because he has pursued a policy of self-effacement. Rather than touting his accomplishments in mobilizing a unified global response to the invasion, he has portrayed the stringent sanctions as the triumph of an alliance. By carefully limiting his own public role—and letting France’s Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s Olaf Scholz take turns as the lead faces of NATO—he has left Vladimir Putin with little opportunity to portray the conflict as a standoff with the United States, a narrative that the Russian leader would clearly prefer. He’s shown how to wield American leadership in the face of deep European ambivalence about its exercise.

The Trumpkins among us keep telling us that Putin wouldn’t have invaded Ukraine were The Donald still in the White House. Hmm. Probably not. Likely because The Donald would have looked the other way while Putin sought to bring neighboring states to heel.

Joe Biden has performed masterfully in applying his diplomatic skill and experience to produce a united front throughout Europe against the unprovoked, illegal, immoral invasion of Ukraine.

To suggest that the president of the United States has failed in responding to an urgent world crisis is to talk utter trash.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Wow! We did learn this guy’s name

Eleven years ago, I posted an item about a seminal event in our ongoing war against international terrorism.

I wrote: I would pay serious money to shake the hand of the young man who took out bin Laden. But we’ll never know his name or see his face. Wow! What a turn of events.

Man, was I ever wrong about that, about not knowing “his name” or seeing “his face.”

Would I shake his hand now? No! Why? Because the special forces operator who claims to have fired the shot that killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden on May 2, 2011 violated what I always have understood be part of the Navy SEAL ethos, which is that no one should take individual credit for a mission that was executed by an entire team.

I won’t write this guy’s name here. He’s written a book about what he did and, I presume, made a ton of cash on his role on that mission.

I certainly want to offer a salute to our national security team for finding bin Laden, for working out the immense detail needed to accomplish the mission, for the incredible work that occurred during two presidential administrations since 9/11 to find this demon and for ridding the world of an existential menace.

Meanwhile, I will continue to scorn the nimrod who decided to make a spectacle of himself.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

War with NATO? Seriously?

Now we are hearing reports that Russian madman Vladimir Putin is telling his people they should prepare for war against the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which makes me believe more than ever that Vlad has a screw loose in that spook’s brain.

I cannot think of a worse outcome for Putin’s illegal, unprovoked invasion of Ukraine than for him to send missiles into NATO countries bordering the Russian frontier.

We have this “thing” called Article V, which states that an attack against one NATO nation is an attack on all of them. All of them includes the United States of America.

To be clear, President Biden has said he will do everything within his immense power as U.S. commander in chief to keep our fighting men and women off the battlefield against Russia. I believe the president.

Putin, though, has far more to worry about than just the U.S. presence among NATO’s alliance of nations. The combined NATO military force constitutes an overpowering adversary. Does the Russian madman really intend to wage war against NATO? I want to believe the answer is no.

These chilling reports from Moscow, though, give me cause to think Putin really is mad.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

NATO stands as one

It is impossible to overstate the diplomatic victory that President Biden has scored as he seeks to get Russia to stand down in its military invasion of Ukraine.

The victory involves the unanimous support for Ukraine by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which leads me to hope — if not yet believe — that Russian goon Vladimir Putin will resist launching an attack on any of the NATO nations that border Ukraine.

NATO has this document called Article V, which declares that an attack on a single NATO nation is an attack on all of them. It reminds me of the warning President Kennedy issued in October 1962 when the USSR was erecting missile launch sites in Cuba; JFK told the Soviet leadership that an attack against any nation in the Western Hemisphere would bring a “full retaliatory response” from the United States.

President Biden has made essentially the same declaration, as has NATO, which is that the organization formed to protect Western Europe against the Soviet threat would respond collectively if the  Russians attacked any NATO state.

Think of where U.S.-NATO relations have gone since the Donald Trump administration. Trump castigated NATO over whether European members were paying their fair share of the cost. Yes, many of the nations have stepped up their financial load, but they did not trust the U.S. president to be there if a crisis exploded.

President Biden has helped restore that trust and in the process well might have acquired some leverage to keep the Russians from committing an act of utter foolishness.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Devastation eclipses motive

Our world is aghast at the depravity, depredation and destruction brought to Ukraine by invading Russian armed forces, so much so that we seem to have lost sight of the motive for the unprovoked attack on a sovereign nation.

Whatever the hell it was …

That brings me to my point, which is that the result of the Russians’ cruelty toward Ukrainians has eclipsed whatever motive the Russian tyrant Vladimir Putin might have concocted to “justify” this illegal and inhumane attack.

He said something about protecting Russian “security.” Against what? Or whom? What threat did Ukraine pose to a nation many times larger geographically than itself?

Putin sent his troops into battle. They have retreated from some sites, leaving behind evidence of the abject destruction he has brought to entire cities. He has killed entire families. Putin has subjected people to untold and unthinkable horror.

And for what reason?

President Joe Biden is correct in expressing his moral outrage. There can be no way on God’s good Earth that “this man,” Putin, can “remain in power.”

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com