Tag Archives: Ukraine war

Will Putin go MAD?

Vladimir Putin fits neatly into a number of descriptive niches. He is arrogant, egotistical, power-hungry, delusional … all those sorts of things.

I do not believe the Russian goon is stupid.

Which brings me to the fundamental question of the moment: Will the former top Soviet Union spy ignore the reasons why the USSR and the United States adhered during the Cold War to a policy of Mutually Assured Destruction in avoiding the use of nuclear weapons?

Russian forces are getting their asses kicked by Ukrainians on the battlefield as Ukraine is fighting to regain territory taken by the invaders several months ago. Putin launched an illegal, immoral and unconscionable war against Ukraine. He had presumed his forces would sashay into Kyiv in a few days, toss out Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and install a government to their liking.

It ain’t working out that way.

Now we hear reports of Putin pondering the use of chemical or (worse!) tactical nukes against Ukraine. President Biden, who has led the allied effort to resist Putin’s aggression, says, “Don’t … don’t … don’t” even think about it.

That would be an act of MADness beyond belief.

Surely, the Russian thug knows better. Surely …


Ukrainians uncover more war crimes

As the Ukrainian armed forces take back large swaths of the nation taken by invaders from Russia, the world is getting an even more graphic look at what the Russian aggressors have done to civilians caught in their initial advance.

We are seeing mass graves containing the remains of hundreds of Ukrainian civilians. Yes, women and children are included in the remains of what Ukrainian soldiers have found.

Ukrainians are collecting testimony from surviving civilians who are recounting tales of horror and torture at the hands of the soldiers who captured the territory.

It’s hard to predict how the Ukraine War will end. There might be a negotiated settlement, with Russian thug/goon/strongman Vladimir Putin seeking to save face. Although it seems difficult to imagine how Putin has any more “face” to save, given what we know about the war crimes his forces have committed on orders from the Kremlin.

That turns the discussion toward what Putin might do on the battlefield, given Ukraine’s energized counteroffensive. CBS News “60 Minutes” correspondent Scott Pelley is going to ask President Biden what he’ll do if Putin resorts to chemical weapons or tactical nukes. “Don’t. Don’t. Don’t,” Biden said, telling Pelley that such a move would “change the face of war.”

What does the president intend to do? Pelley asked. Biden responded by saying, “Do you think I’m going to tell you?”

We all are left to lament the horror of war as it is being revealed even more to us by the advancing forces seeking to reclaim the country they thought they lost to the invaders.

I have said already that Vladimir Putin has exposed himself to be a war criminal. As the Ukrainians continue their advance, the world needs to summon the courage to put Putin, a hideous tyrant, on trial for the crimes he has committed against humanity.


Equipment, training pay off for Ukraine

A little known or discussed aspect of our nation’s relationship with Ukraine is that we essentially have been training the Ukrainian army for eight years, which is about the time big, bad Russia sought to reannex the Crimean Peninsula.

Russian henchman Vladimir Putin wanted Crimea back, so he invaded it to take it from Ukraine.

It then fell to administrations led by Barack Obama, Donald Trump and then Joe Biden to continue to train the Ukrainians in using the sophisticated equipment it had shipped to them to fight the Russian aggressors.

All that training — plus President Biden’s insistence on additional equipment — is paying significant dividends as the Ukraine army is showing signs of beating back the aggressors who launched another invasion more than seven months ago.

The Russians are retreating from territory they seized.

I cannot stress this point enough, which is the amazing unity that President Biden was able to build among the nations comprising the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, an alliance formed to protect Europe against potential aggression from what once was known as the Soviet Union.

Putin, therefore, helped Biden keep NATO intact by threatening the alliance if it interferes in what the Russians call an “internal dispute.” It is nothing of the sort. Ukraine is as sovereign a nation as Russia.

That unity has buoyed the Ukraine armed forces as they have fought back hard against the Russian aggressors.

With that I intend now to give Joe Biden considerable credit as he has responded with resolve and determination in assessing what is plainly obvious … that Vladimir Putin’s criminal invasion cannot be allowed to stand.

It stands to reason, too, that Ukraine is drawing strength from the immense aid that is pouring into that country as it battles a once-fearsome military power.


Ukraine scores big on the battlefield

You may count me as one cheap-seat observer who isn’t totally surprised that Ukraine’s armed forces are repelling the advance of the illegal invaders from Russia.

After all, when the Russians invaded Ukraine six months ago, I noted that the Ukrainians are far from “defenseless.”

However, I am stunned at the level of success that Ukraine has scored. We hear from the battlefield that Russian forces are in full retreat and that Ukraine intends to take back territory captured by the Russians.

Does any or all of this mean that Russia’s dictator Vladimir Putin is going to surrender? Hardly. It does open the door, though, for Putin to look for some sort of way to negotiate his way back to the Kremlin and get his forces out of danger.

We had heard from a number of key U.S. military geniuses who said at the outset of war that Russia’s conventional military force was overrated, that Russia was little more than a third-rate conventional military power. The Russians, though, do possess a substantial nuclear arsenal and there have been concerns expressed that Putin could deploy some of it to put down the Ukrainians.

He’s already a war criminal, given the casualties his forces have inflicted on civilians in Ukraine. I am not going to buy into the notion that he is utterly stupid enough to use nukes and prompt a response from Ukraine, which has a hefty nuclear arsenal of its own.

I am astounded, though, to see that U.S. and allied response in the form of military aid is paying huge dividends for the heroic Ukrainians who, after all, are fighting for the survival of their country.


Are we better off … ?

The Republican leader of the U.S. House of Representatives sought to make some political hay by asking if we are “better off today than we were two years ago.”

Well, Kevin McCarthy of California, your effort to denigrate Joe Biden’s presidency deserves a look. So … here goes:

  • On Biden’s watch, Congress approved a bipartisan bill — the first in 30-something years — that seeks to stem gun violence.
  • When Russia invaded Ukraine this past February, President Biden was able to present a unified NATO and European Union front in response to the illegal and criminal act of war.
  • The president was able to shepherd through Congress a massive infrastructure improvement bill that seeks to repair our nation’s roads, bridges and airports.
  • Joe Biden nominated and then welcomed the nation’s first Black woman to the U.S. Supreme Court — Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson.
  • We have turned the corner on the international pandemic.
  • Fuel prices, which skyrocketed and led the inflationary surge of recent months, have retreated dramatically.
  • The United States has created more private-sector jobs in the first two years of President Biden’s term than at any similar time in its history.
  • Unemployment currently stands at 3.5%.
  • Congressional Democrats — fighting unanimous Republican opposition — managed to pass the nation’s first-ever meaningful law dealing with climate change; it also seeks to curb health costs and reduce inflation.
  • We have cut by roughly half the nation’s annual budget deficit.

So, taken together, I think I have an answer to Leader McCarthy’s question.

Yes. We are better off than we were when President Joseph R. Biden Jr. took office.


Failed presidency? Hardly!

I have no clue whether President Biden is going to seek a second term in the White House. I hope he does because I now intend to seek to dispel the myth being kicked around that he stands over a “failed presidency.”

Whether he steps away after a single term or manages to win re-election in 2024, I believe Joe Biden can — and will — look at his current term as a successful venture.

One of the more remarkable aspects of Biden’s success has been his ability to achieve it without the kind of bipartisan support many of us — including yours truly — expected he would be able to generate.

The just-enacted Inflation Reduction Act is heading to his desk without a single Republican vote in either congressional chamber. No GOP senators or House members joined Democrats in endorsing a bill that seeks to slow inflation, makes a huge investment in clean/green energy and reduces the cost of prescription drugs.

That the president was able to resurrect a version of Build Back Better — which had been given up for dead — is itself a political miracle.

That was just the president’s latest success. He also was able — with a smattering of GOP help — push through a modest gun control bill in the wake of the Uvalde school and Buffalo supermarket massacres. He had help from GOP Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, who worked with Democratic Sen. Patrick Murphy of Connecticut in coming up with a legislative compromise that ends a decades-long stalemate on stemming gun violence.

Biden’s presidential success also must include his ability to muster international support for sanctions against Russia over its lawless, immoral and criminal invasion of Ukraine. NATO and the European Union have stood foursquare with us as Biden has taken measures to punish Russian goon/strongman Vladimir Putin for his criminal behavior.

Has the Biden term been flawless? No, it hasn’t. The most significant policy setback, in my view, has been along our southern border. Then again, the administration has not — as critics have suggested — created an “open-border” policy.

However, I will not accept any argument that Joe Biden has failed in the job to which he was elected.


War is shoved aside

I so hate to acknowledge the obvious, but the Ukraine War — once the talk among Americans from coast to coast — has been shoved aside, away from the top of our collective minds.

I suppose we can lay blame on an array of domestic issues: inflation, threats of an economic recession, legislative wheeling and dealing, and — oh, yeah! — the congressional probe into the insurrection of 1/6.

Meanwhile, in that faraway land, Russian tinhorn Vladimir Putin is committing war crimes daily. He is bombing civilian targets, killing women and children with impunity. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy vows to not negotiate an end to the fighting by giving up territory taken by Russians.

If only we could get the International Court to actually charge Putin with war crimes against humanity. My goodness, the evidence is plastered all over our TV screens.

The one-time Soviet spymaster is as bad a dude as there is on the world stage. President Biden wants to punish Russia greatly and by many accounts, the sanctions are having the desired effect.

Our attention span, though, seems limited. Remember the kidnapping of Nigerian women and girls by Boko Haram? Wasn’t that once at the top of the world’s list of outrages? Or the Saudi human rights record in light of the hideous slaying of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi? President Biden has fist-bumped the Saudi crown price responsible for Khashoggi’s murder.

I am not willing to let Putin get away with his crimes against humanity. Neither should anyone else.


Putin: international terrorist

Vladimir Putin’s evil intent has been placed on full display for the entire world to make a simple determination, which is that he is a state sponsor of international terror.

The Russian goon today launched a missile into a crowded Ukrainian shopping mall. I haven’t yet heard the casualty count, although I understand that several civilians lost their lives in the terrorist attack.

Yes, that is what it was: a terrorist attack. Putin now intends to terrorize Ukrainian civilians. He is no better than Osama bin Laden, Pol Pot, Adolf Hitler, Saddam Hussein.

Putin’s conduct of the Ukraine War tells me that he needs to stand trial for his crimes against humanity.

Did the Russians blast the shopping mall to smithereens by mistake? Were they actually aiming the missile at a military target? Did the Russian intelligence network mistake a shopping mall for a weapons depot?

Oh, no. Putin intends to terrorize Ukrainians into pressuring their heroic president to sue for peace at any cost.

That he would kill civilians on purpose tells me he is as untrustworthy as any human being on Earth.

This individual must pay for the crimes he is committing against humanity.


And the war slogs on

We have been fixated – and rightly so – on gun violence and ways to reduce it, if not end it altogether. I just want to remind everyone that we have a war underway on another continent that deserves our attention as well.

Those damn Russians continue to bombard Ukrainian targets and they continue to kill Ukrainian civilians in their attempt to further the aims of the dictator who sent them into battle illegally. That would be Vladimir Putin, the despot about whom Donald J. Trump used to speak so glowingly in his effort to make nice with a known killer.

Joe Biden has all but declared Putin to be a pariah among world leaders. Which is an apt description. He has called Putin a war criminal. By my reckoning, war criminals need to be prosecuted for crimes against humanity and, if convicted, they deserve to be punished.

Does that mean Putin needs to go to prison for his crimes against Ukraine? For his targeting of hospitals, schools, churches and apartment complexes?

Well, uh, yeah! Do you think?

The Ukraine War slogs on. It continues to break my heart, which already is shattered by tragedy here at home.


What about that war?

Now we know what it takes to push an illegal, immoral and unjustified war off the front page and off the air.

It takes a madman who walks into an elementary school and slaughters 19 third- and fourth-grade children and two of their teachers. Yes, the Uvalde, Texas, massacre has dominated the news and yanked our attention away from that war in a faraway place called Ukraine.

To be candid, I don’t yet know which story depresses me more.

The Ukraine War was doing a nice of job of sending me into prolonged periods of funk. The Russians invaded Ukraine intending to drive out the government and installing a puppet regime to do Moscow’s bidding; it hasn’t worked. Indeed, the chatter now is beginning to telegraph a different sort of message, that Ukraine actually might win the battle on the field.

Weird, man.

Meanwhile, a grieving United States of America is coming to grips with the Uvalde tragedy and our citizens are now asking pertinent and legitimate questions about whether the police responded properly to prevent further carnage.

All of this is enough to tax anyone’s emotional strength.

We all need to remain strong.