Tag Archives: USSR

Russians are repeating their mistakes

You’ve heard it said about those who do not learn from their mistakes, correct?

The leading aphorism comes from the Spanish philosopher George Santayana, who said: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

It looks to me as though the Russians are learning that lesson the hard way, in real time.

What we once knew as the Soviet Union decided in 1980 to invade Afghanistan, attempting to install a Kremlin-friendly regime in Kabul. The Afghans were fighting for their lives and for the future of their country and then proceeded to kick the Soviets’ backsides out of Afghanistan eight years later.

They had help from sources, such as the U.S. Congress, which appropriated money to supply the Afghan fighters with anti-aircraft missiles, which they used with stunning efficiency.

Fast-forward to early 2022. Russia decided to invade Ukraine, again to install a regime friendly to autocrats who run the Kremlin. The Ukrainians, like the Afghans before them, are fighting for their sovereignty … and are actually winning the war on the battlefield. Once again, the Ukrainians are being helped by arms coming from multiple allied nations that also are appalled at the Russians’ illegal and immoral effort to subdue a sovereign nation.

Can it possibly be that Russian strongman Vladimir Putin is too stupid to understand the wisdom of a learned Spanish thinker?

Stupid? It’s possible … along with too arrogant.


Vlad keeps blustering

Vladimir Putin has laid down the law to “any nation” that decides to use nuclear weapons against Russians, which is that they would be “wiped off the face of the Earth.”

Check. Got it, Mr. Russian Goon.

The world knows that Russia is armed to the teeth with nuclear weapons. Putin keeps threatening to use them to put down the resistance he has encountered in his illegal invasion of Ukraine.

Is anyone on Earth at all surprised that the Ukrainians would mount such a stern resistance against the Russian invaders? Not me, man!

So, for Putin to threaten to use nuclear weapons to obliterate any nation that does the same is just empty rhetoric.

The Russian tyrant knows as well as anyone why the United States and the Soviet Union stood nose-to-nose while operating under a nuclear policy of “mutually assured destruction.”


Ukrainians expose Russian myth

Many of us outsiders never really saw this coming, that the Ukrainian armed forces would expose Russia’s once-vaunted military machine to be a third-rate fighting force.

It has occurred.

Now, to be sure, I did once assert as war loomed more likely between Ukraine and Russia that the Ukrainians weren’t “defenseless.” The now-sovereign nation once was part of the Soviet Union and, thus, benefited somewhat from its exposure to the Red Army’s legendary battlefield prowess.

The USSR is gone. What is left is a country, the Russian Federation, that comprises roughly half of its former population. It does maintain a significant nuclear force.

What we’re seeing played out on the field of battle in Ukraine is a case of a nation fighting desperately — and effectively — to preserve its independence while its opponent is suffering from a lack of morale, incompetent battlefield leadership and a national leader who has become a pariah among world leaders because he launched an illegal and immoral war.

What’s more, the Russians have committed war crimes with their indiscriminate attacks on women, children and other “soft targets.”

I don’t expect Russia to surrender to Ukraine. I am now beginning to believe the reports that Russian goon Vladimir Putin might be exploring a possible face-saving way to end this conflict.

Do I believe he will use tactical nukes on Ukraine? No. He knows the consequences would be catastrophic. Indeed, President Biden has dropped broad hints that the allied response to any such act of madness could produce even more economic pain on the Russians than they ever imagined.

The course of this war has simply blown my mind. It has produced at least a glimmer of hope that battlefield incompetence will succumb to a nation’s will to survive.


Architect of Cold War end dies

Americans have spent a lot of emotional capital over the past 30 years congratulating two U.S. presidents over their role in the demise of the Cold War and of the Soviet Union.

Yes, Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush deserve credit for their roles in ending the “original” Cold War.

However, I want to offer a tribute to a third world leader who today passed from the scene. Mikhail Gorbachev, the final premier of what we used to know as the Soviet Union, died at age 91.

He, at least as much as the two U.S. presidents, is responsible for ending the age of duck-and-cover drills and worries about nuclear-missile strikes from the Evil Empire.

Gorbachev surrendered his office when the Soviet Union evaporated. He turned it over the Boris Yeltsin, who then had the unenviable task of trying to turn an ironclad dictatorship into something that resembled a democratic society. It hasn’t worked out … yet!

The United States was able to win the Cold War of attrition by forcing the Soviets to build weapons they couldn’t afford. The Soviets bankrupted their economy by building nukes and all manner of military hardware they still like to put on parade in Red Square.

Gorbachev recognized what so many of his communist predecessors ignored.

So, when President Reagan stood at the Hindenberg Gate in Berlin and declared, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall,” the Soviet leader well might have actually listened on that day.

The Berlin Wall came down in 1989, thanks to Gorbachev’s acknowledging he was on the wrong side of history. Two years after that? He said goodbye to the Soviet Union.

Hey, don’t misunderstand me. I stand with those who applaud Presidents Reagan and Bush for the strength they showed in waging the Cold War with the Soviet Union. I also want to applaud Gorbachev for acting on the realization that the communist experiment in his country was a monumental failure.


And I cannot pay tribute to Gorbachev’s wisdom without mentioning one of his descendants’ idiotic view that the Soviet demise was a “dark day” in the history of his country. Vladimir Putin is as wrong to want a return to that hideous system as he was wrong to presume that he could take over Ukraine in a matter of days.


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.


Politics turned on its ear

Our crazy, nutty political world has become a topsy-turvy mix that bears little resemblance to the world many of us once knew.

There once was a time when Democrats were seen as being “soft” on Russia, which once was known as the Soviet Union, an empire cobbled together by the communists who took over the Russian government after World War I. Republicans became known as the anti-communist party. The nation was divided along a line that defined the two major political parties over their relative antipathy toward Russia/Soviet Union.

Do you remember when Ronald W. Reagan defined the Soviets as the Evil Empire?

Reagan is gone. So is the Soviet Union. Russia emerged from the rubble of the Cold War. These days Russia is governed by a tyrant — Vladimir Putin — who two months ago decided to invade Ukraine, one of the former Soviet republics that has functioned nicely as a sovereign state since USSR collapsed in 1991.

Who among the American political movement is now lined up (more or less) in Russia’s camp? It’s those Republican descendants of Ronald Reagan, but whose allegiance now rests with the Russian tyrant’s pal who once served as president of the United States.

We hear Democrats, for crying out loud, now speaking of Russia with language that Republicans used to speak when condemning the Russians. We hear occasional rants from right-wingers — the former commie haters — wondering about why Americans are all worked up over what the Russians have done.

We also hear from the occasional Republican politician uttering outrageous statements about who’s to blame for the atrocities we see revealed as Russians retreat from captured territory.

I’m confused beyond my ability to comprehend matters over the flip-flop we are witnessing. Someone will have to explain it to me.

But … wait! I think I know. It’s that former POTUS, Putin’s pal, who continues to call the tune to which Republican pols and their media pals are marching.


‘Bravery and honor,’ indeed

You know, some things do not need to be embellished with prose and platitudes.

This social media meme is one of those things.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy has stood tall against the Russian onslaught against his nation. Think for just a moment what this young man was doing before he became the leader of a sovereign nation that once was part of the Soviet empire.

He was a comedian and an actor. He pranced around movie sets acting like some sort of goofball. Then he got elected president of Ukraine. He became the focus of an impeachment trial of a former U.S. president.

Now he is facing down the military force of Russia launched against his country for reasons that defy explanation.

Yep. The young man is a hero.


Russians project false power

If I had a ruble for every instance I have heard that Russia is a “great power” … I would have a lot of rubles, but they wouldn’t be worth more than the cost of a cheap shot of vodka.

Russia is not a great power, even though it is trying to flex its military muscle in Ukraine. Yes, Russia possesses a lot of nuclear weapons left over from the days it existed as the Soviet Union and the Soviets tried to bully the United States during the Cold War.

Russia’s conventional force is being revealed to be something of a feckless machine, with command and control not knowing how to find its backside with both hands. How else can one explain how that vaunted and powerful convoy of military equipment got bogged down on its way the Ukraine capital city of Kyiv.

Granted, the convoy got unstuck and is now moving on the capital city. Once it arrives, we are likely to see how adept the Russians are at fighting street to street, house to house, room to room against Ukrainians who are highly motivated to fight like hell to keep the invaders from taking over their homeland.

I realize fully that the war likely won’t end with a Ukrainian victory, with Ukraine being able to declare it has defeated Russia. However, the performance on the field of battle by the Russians has disproven to my satisfaction that the former Evil Empire isn’t quite as formidable as its propaganda machine would have us believe.


Putin has gone MAD

There needs to be a universal understanding of what is transpiring in Ukraine. Stay with me, as I will say this slowly and clearly: Vladimir Putin has attacked a sovereign country on Russia’s western border and is seeking to bring Ukrainians under Russian control; therefore, Vladimir Putin is the aggressor in this conflict.

OK. Are we clear on that?

What, then, in this world of ours is preventing some Americans — and some others around the world — from recognizing what is plainly obvious?

Some right-wing media nut jobs in the U.S.A. are suggesting out loud and in plain English that Ukraine has invited this naked aggression. By doing what, precisely? By, um, cozying up to its European neighbors? By suggesting it might want to join another treaty organization, such as, NATO?

Vladimir Putin’s flagrant assault on Ukraine is without a shred of merit.

The Russian dictator has lamented the end of the Soviet Union, calling it a dark day in history. He wants the USSR restored. I fear greatly he has re-started the Cold War with the United States and the rest of the “free world.”

He blusters about possessing those nukes and his top aides have threatened to use them if anyone interferes in this fight with Ukraine.

I now will remind Putin of the term with which I am certain he is familiar. That term is MAD, an acronym for “mutually assured destruction.” The United States has nukes, too, and the superpowers’ possession of those massive weapons kept them from destroying themselves and the rest of the world.

Putin’s aggression has brought us all — perhaps — to the brink of MADness once again.


Putin’s launches frightening power quest

Vladimir Putin’s lust for power is an astonishing sight to behold as the world awaits what appears to be coming: a violent invasion of a sovereign nation.

The Russian dictator is concocting excuses to invade Ukraine, a nation that once belonged to the Soviet Union’s empire of states, but which has established itself as an important independent nation on the western border of what is now the Russian Federation.

Putin wants it back. He appears set to send in the armed forces on a beeline to Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital city. He believes he will take control of the city of 2.8 million residents in short order. What happens next is anyone’s guess.

President Biden has done a good job of gathering allied support in leveling stern and damaging economic sanctions against Putin and the Russian economy. Germany has announced plans to shut down a natural gas pipeline from Russia, which is going to inflict serious harm to Putin’s nation. Biden is set to lower the economic boom on Russia as well, now that the window for a diplomatic solution appears to be closing rapidly.

Through it all, though, we have Vladimir Putin not giving a damn about what all this means to his people, to his standing among world leaders or to his legacy. He’s a bad dude to be sure.

Putin’s history of evil intent is clear, as he once led the Soviet spy agency, the KGB, during the Cold War. Thus, reports that he plans to enact some sort of “ethnic cleansing” in Ukraine if his troops take over the country should not surprise anyone.

I know there isn’t a damn thing on Earth I can do about any of this, other than to express my extreme displeasure over the danger that this tinhorn despot is able to place on the world we all inhabit.