Tag Archives: Russia

All is quiet … for now!

NUREMBERG, Germany — I cannot help but feeling somewhat vulnerable as I visit with friends and travel around the lush countryside of this beautiful region of Europe.

Why? Because of the war that rages just two countries to the east of Bavaria in southern Germany.

Ukraine continues to fight for its life against Russian invaders. Someone will have to explain to me why Russian thug Vladimir Putin launched the invasion of Ukraine more than a year ago. It was thought Kyiv would fall in four days. It’s still standing. Ukraine is going to get more U.S. aid.

Meanwhile, Germany — the nation the world fought eight decades ago — stands on the precipice of armed conflict. As someone told me the other day, “If Russia invades any NATO country, we’re all in the fight.”

I’m here visiting friends and relaxing. It’s been a joyful time for me and for my friends as we have gotten reacquainted.

But if I get way up on my tippy toes and cast my gaze to the east, I see the signs of potential trouble for Germany … and, indeed, the rest of the world.

This just makes it imperative that we stick with Ukraine as it fights for its very life.

Where’s the outrage?

The 45th POTUS has remained stunningly silent on the “rigged election” that occurred the other day in Russia, which elected his pal Vladimir Putin to another term as president/strongman/despot/thug/goon.

And yet the former Moron in Chief continues to rail against the phony allegation that the 2020 election in this country was “stolen” from him. It wasn’t.

Putin is despot for life in Russia, a title to which his American pal aspires, or so it appears.

He “won” the election in Russia against virtually zero opposition, which is how they do things in the formerly democratic Russian Federation. It is reverting to the ways of old, to the ways of the evil empire it replaced in 1991.

Are we hearing anything in protest from the presumed Republican presidential nominee or from his shrinking gaggle of cult followers?

Hah! Not even …

The impossible is now — gulp! — possible

What once was deemed in my own mind to be an impossible occurrence has dramatically become possible … even remotely so.

I mention this only because what I once thought would never occur very well could happen in about 10 months, when we have our 2024 presidential election.

The idiot whom President Biden defeated in 2020 just might reverse that outcome when they count the ballots at the end of this year’s campaign.

All of this begs a question that has been tearing at my gut for the past little bit: How in the world is the president of the United States going to respond to the formalities associated with handing over the keys to the White House to the president-elect?

Joe Biden is steeped in tradition. He knows what he’s supposed to do, in that he knows to extend an invitation to the man that defeated him to meet in the White House. Again, though, how does the president do so when the invitee is an individual who:

  • Never acknowledged losing the 2020 election.
  • Savaged the current president during his entire term in office.
  • Has vowed to run the country like a dictatorship if only for a day.
  • Cozies up to the very dictator against whom this nation has been aiding Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression.
  • Has told Russia he would bless any effort for that rogue nation to do “whatever the hell they want” against any NATO nation that doesn’t pay its fair share of dues?

Joe Biden vowed to seek to save the “soul of this nation” when he declared his 2020 presidential candidacy. By my reckoning, he has largely succeeded in that mission. Now, though, he just might have to surrender to the nitwit who preceded him as our commander in chief and head of state.

So help me, it pains me to acknowledge what might occur when they count the ballots on Nov. 5. Just try for a moment to put yourself in Joe Biden’s shoes as he ponders what well could be stirring in his own mind.

Put Putin on trial!

Vladimir Putin needs to be tried for war crimes against civilians in Ukraine … of that I am utterly certain.

The Russian goon/thug/strongman/despot/tyrant has stooped to even lower lows than I thought possible.

His military is now targeting heating infrastructure in Ukraine as the temperatures start to plummet to below-zero temperatures. Who suffers from such hideous attacks? Women, children, elderly people.

Russian propagandists insist they are targeting military operations. Bullsh**! Their aim is to bring the civilian population to its knees. It’s the only target left, given that the Ukrainian military machine is making mincemeat on the battlefield of what once was considered an invincible Russian army.

Putin is now turning his weaponry on civilians. Thus, he needs to stand trial. In absentia if need be.

There is plenty of precedent for putting war criminals on trial in absentia. The International Court needs to step in –and step up — to do its job by holding this Russian despot accountable for his obvious crimes against humanity.


Pulling hard for Ukraine

I am beginning to think of myself as a spectator at a boxing match, rooting for one of the fighters to knock the other guy out … cold!

So it is with the fight between Ukraine and the Russian aggressors who launched an illegal and immoral invasion of Ukraine.

It has been a remarkable thing to witness as Ukraine gave up territory to the Russian invaders, only to launch a “counter-offensive” and seized back much of the land taken by the aggressors.

The Ukrainians have shown courage and competence while facing down what is supposed to be a superior military power. It is turning out to be rout, only with the underdog Ukrainians emerging as potential victors in a fight for their country’s very survival.

The world full of spectators is watching this drama play out. I am one of those who wants the Ukrainians to deliver a knockout punch to the Russian invaders who — as the Ukrainians are revealing as they retake their territory — have acted as war criminals. The world is watching the Ukrainians discover mass graves containing the bodies of women, children and old men.

The Ukrainians are the good guys in this fight. I am going to keep cheering them on.


I apologize, Mitt

Mitt Romney appears to have earned a worldwide apology from those of us who once scoffed at a notion he put forth while he was running for president of the United States in 2012.

A decade ago, the junior U.S. senator from Utah said Russia posed the “greatest geopolitical threat” to the United States. President Barack Obama led the snickering and tittering — and the ridicule — of the Republican presidential nominee’s assertion. I joined in the laughter.

Well, guess what. It turns out Romney was correct.

Russia has launched an unprovoked war with Ukraine, helping plunge the world into utter chaos.

To be clear, I don’t recall that Romney foresaw what the world is witnessing when he made those Russia remarks during the heat of a presidential campaign. He offered a statement that has borne much more truth than we imagined in the moment a decade ago.

Now the senator is saying that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization ought to consider responding militarily if Russia uses tactical nuclear weapons against Ukraine. A full-throated NATO response would pulverize Russia, Romney said.

Am I going to laugh now at such a suggestion coming from Sen. Mitt Romney? Hardly.


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.


Handle prisoner swaps carefully

Trevor Reed’s release from a Russian prison cell thrills me greatly. The young Texan, a former Marine, is now home after spending 900-plus days in prison for a crime he denies committing.

The Biden administration and members of the Texas congressional delegation worked hard to secure Reed’s release. He’s now home. I wish the young man well as he recovers his health and his emotional well-being.

Now, though, comes a word of caution.

President Biden agreed to swap Reed for a Russian who was held in our prison system. The exchange took place the way it’s done in the movies; the two men walked past each other without saying a word.

I will not dispute the need to do whatever it takes to Americans freed from wrongful imprisonment. I just hope we don’t get too carried away with this idea of releasing foreign bad guys who well could be released to do harm to us.

We still need to get two more Americans out of prison in Russia. Paul Whelan has been held for a couple of years on spying charges; Brittany Griner, a woman’s basketball star, was arrested by airport security agents for trying to board an airplane carrying cannabis products in her baggage.

We need to get these Americans home, too. I just want the administration to be careful about sending Russian lawbreakers back to where they could do harm to this country or our allies.

Do the ends justify the means? In this case, yes … but not every single time.


Rules of war have changed … or have they?

Those of us who can recall earlier conflicts between nations can remember a time when civilians lost their lives when military machines attacked unarmed targets indiscriminately.

Then the rules changed — supposedly — when the Geneva Convention adopted prohibitions against hitting “soft” targets. Nations would (more or less) follow those restrictions.

Now we have the horror unfolding in Ukraine. The carnage and destruction brought by Russian missiles, artillery shells and bombs on apartment complexes, schools, hospitals, houses of worship is beyond the pale.

The scenes being televised around the world of entire neighborhoods in Mariupol leveled by Russian ordnance should fill any of with rage.

Ukrainian forces repelled Russian invaders in their effort to take the capital city of Kyiv. The Russians pulled back, reorganized and have begun an all-out assault on the eastern and southern portions of Ukraine. The armed forces under Vladimir Putin’s command have acted in a throw-back fashion, reminding many of us of the brutality inflicted throughout Europe and Asia during World War II.

In this era of “smart bombs” and precise targeting of military installations, seeing the images from Ukraine should serve as a graphic reminder that Russia is governed by a monster masquerading as a world leader.


Trying to understand Putin

I am acutely aware of the difficulty involved with analyzing what goes through the mind of a tyrant, a killer and a despot particularly when this individual is committing war crimes while invading a sovereign nation.

That won’t stop me from seeking to understand what Russian dictator Vladimir Putin is thinking as he wages war against Ukraine.

The Ukraine War has gone badly for Russia, at least in terms of the expected “quick conquest” Putin surely expected when he launched the invasion two months ago. Russian armed forces have suffered tremendous casualties, making me wonder: Does Putin send letters of condolence to parents, siblings and spouses of fallen Russian soldiers, the way U.S. presidents have done? Does he thank them for their sacrifice and for the service of their deceased warriors?

Putin is widely considered a war criminal. President Biden has accused him of committing genocide against Ukrainians. Russian athletes are being banned from international competition. World leaders are walking out of global meetings when Russian government officials stand to speak.

How does someone such as Vladimir Putin justify his actions? How does he explain to the people he governs (with an iron fist) the nature of what is transpiring in Ukraine?

We hear via leaks that Russian oligarchs are rebelling against Putin. They oppose the war, too.

It’s troubling in the extreme for me to assess what must be passing through this individual’s mind and for what tugs at what passes for his heart. I realize it’s an exercise in futility. However, it illustrates the complicated path over which Putin’s adversaries must travel as they deal with the machinations of a madman.