Russo-UkrainianWar_100h
Russo-Ukrainian War Blog

Recent Writings on the War and Related Subjects
July 14, 2022 (written for Rolla Peace Newsletter)

Addendum to Who is *REALLY* Responsible for Global Hunger?

In addition to what I wrote last month, George Monbiot points out that land that could be used to feed people is being used to grow bio-fuel to feed our machines. He also notes that there is little if any savings from the point of view of emissions of greenhouse gases. Indeed, there may even be increased costs in carbon emissions to using land in this way.

More European History: an Animation
“I've seen the nations rise and fall,
Heard their stories, heard them all,
But Love's the only engine of survival.”

—Leonard Cohen (The Future)

This 12-minute animation of 2,400 years of European history is well worth watching. You can watch nations come into existence, change their boundaries and disappear.

In the February 28 newsletter I linked to a long list of European wars and discussed a few of them briefly. Besides the ubiquitous internal European wars, Europe gave the world centuries of wars of colonial exploitation, two world wars, a 45 year long cold war, and much more. The Russo-Ukrainian War is just the latest in a long list of dumb European wars.

To be sure, the other continents have their problems with war too; but not to the extent Europe does.

Some folks, such as our good neighbors to the South in Mexico, are smartening up and refusing to take part in this latest dumb European War.

Months ago, I suggested that Afghanistan, having been invaded by every major player in the Russo-Ukrainian War, and having driven out every last one of them, would be uniquely qualified to work out a peace deal in the Ukraine. This suggestion hasn't gained much traction. Still, I renew it again today.

Here's another question: Why would anyone, after watching this animation, expect the map of Europe not to change further in the future? Anyone out there in readerland have an answer?

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June 29, 2022 (written for Rolla Peace Newsletter)

Who is *REALLY* Responsible for Global Hunger?

If you only read the Western press you might be excused for thinking that global hunger is all Russia's fault; but let's dig a little deeper, as Ralph Nader does in this article.

Why doesn't each country and each region produce locally what is necessary for its people to survive?

Answer: Global Capitalism. Corporations make a killing (Literally!) on leaving people dependent on so-called free trade. So, people in Africa are dependent on grain from Russia and the Ukraine for survival. And what happens when the supply chain is disrupted? People starve.

And why are supply chains disrupted? Many reasons: Pandemic disease, Climate change, Wars, Sanctions, or the people are just too darn poor to be bothered with and have nothing of interest to global markets. But these are proximate causes. The root cause is that global capitalism is interested only in profits. People be damned!

Obviously, a resilient system that cares about people would ensure survivability, regardless of global disruptions; but resilience eats into profits; and global capitalism runs on profit.

After reading Ralph Nader's article, think about how we had four chances to elect Ralph Nader, President of the United States, and instead opted for vastly inferior candidates: Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

Chris Hedges on the Progressive Bloc

Chris Hedges notes that every single so-called progressive in Congress voted to pour $40 Billion of oil on the fires of war in the Ukraine. Meanwhile, It was left to Marjorie Taylor Greene to state the obvious, “$40 billion [for Ukraine] but there's no baby formula for American mothers and babies.”

Europe Returns to Burning Coal and Other Environmental Disasters

As gas imports from Russia diminish, Germany and other European nations turn to coal, the dirtiest of the dirty and the most carbon intensive of the carbon intensives.

And the G7 (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America, plus the European Union) “with a view to accelerating the phase-out of our dependency on Russian energy, [stresses] the important role increased deliveries of LNG can play, and acknowledge that investment in this sector is necessary in response to the current crisis.”

And in the USA, Biden breaks campaign promises and restarts selling new drilling leases.

And across the great divide, Russia is postponing green energy projects, citing US/EU sanctions which make importing necessary technology difficult.

Seems like hurting Russia has become more important than helping planet Earth recover from centuries of unbridled human exploitation and greenhouse gas emissions.

What happened to conservation and non-polluting renewables which should be replacing disruptions in global fossil-fuels?

Boris Johnson Mocks Vladimir Putin — Threatens to Go Topless

Boris Johnson and other G7 leaders joked about competing with Vladimir Putin by taking their shirts off.

I'm not sure what their plan is here. Maybe they think Putin will die laughing, looking at Johnson's naked chest.

I know I've told you this before, Boris, but here it is again: Don't mock warriors with nuclear weapons.

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June 5, 2022 (written for Rolla Peace Newsletter)

Some Ukrainian and Russian Stories

Before the pandemic hit and they closed the schools, I used to read stories to pre-school though first grade classes at Mark Twain Elementary. Some of our favorite folk tales were from the Russo-Ukrainian area.

In truth, I'm tired of writing about War; so here are some wonderful stories. Maybe someone else will pick up the ball and read these tales to the children when school reopens in August:
The Mitten: a Ukrainian folktale adapted and illustrated by Jan Brett
Nicki asks his grandmother to knit him a pair of mittens as white as the snow. Grandma refuses, saying that he'll lose them. Nicki begs and grandma finally gives in.

Nicki loses a mitten in the snow. A mole finds it and crawls inside to get warm. Then, a rabbit, a hedgehog, an owl, a badger, a fox and a bear climb in. Finally a mouse comes along and climbs on bear's nose. Bear sneezes and all the animals go flying all over the Ukraine.

Just then, Nicki notices that he's lost a mitten. He looks up in the sky and snatches the mitten out of the air as it goes flying by. Grandma wonders what happened to stretch the mitten so.

This is a wonderful story for listener participation: Each animal says, “Move over and make room for me.” The other animals all reply, “No room, no room.” After the third animal, the class will have these lines down pat.

Clay Boy: a Russian folk tale told by Mirra Ginsburg, pictures by Jos. A. Smith
Grandma and grandpa are lonely because their children have grown up and moved away. Grandpa finds a lump of clay and fashions a little clay boy and puts it by the fire to dry, saying, “Now we have a child again. We won't be lonely anymore.” When the clay boy is dry, he jumps up and says, “I'm hungry! Give me something to eat!” He eats everything in the house and all the animals in the barnyard, and then swallows grandma and grandpa. He goes out into the village and swallows all the villagers and their animals. Each time he swallows someone he grows bigger and bigger. Finally he comes across a goat, who says, “I'm ready to be eaten. Just close your eyes and open your mouth and I'll jump in.” When the clay boy closes his eyes, the goat butts him in the stomach. The clay boy breaks into a thousand pieces and all the villagers come tumbling out.
Also a good listener participation story. Every time the clay boy eats someone he shouts,"More! I want more!" The kids get this line down almost immediately.
And some other good stories from the Ukraine and Russia:
Christmas Spider's Miracle: a Ukrainian tale written by Trinka Hakes Noble and illustrated by Stephen Costanza. How a poor widow and her three children shared Christmas with a spider family.

Baboushka: A Russian Christmas Story retold by Arthur Scholey, Illustrated by Ray and Corinne Burrows. Russia's answer to Santa Claus.

The Birds' Gift: a Ukrainian Easter Story retold by Eric Kimmel and illustrated by Katya Krenina. The villagers save the birds from freezing in an early winter storm. On Easter, the birds return with a gift of beautifully colored eggs.

Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins: by Eric Kimmel, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman. How Hershel of Ostropol tricked the goblins and saved Hanukkah. (Hershel of Ostropol lived around 1800ce. Ostropol now lies within the Ukraine.)

Maybe if we learned each others folk tales we could stop fighting and live in Peace. Here's how you write, “Peace,” in Ukrainian and Russian: мир. It's the same in both languages. Both languages use the Cyrillic alphabet. Its pronounced slightly differently in each language: mir (Russian), myr (Ukrainian). Perhaps, God willing, in the next newsletter I will be able to write that now we have мир in the Ukraine.

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May 13, 2022 (written for Rolla Peace Newsletter)

Russo-Ukrainian War: Winners and Losers

The big winners seem to be certain oil companies and weapons manufacturers. For example: from February 23 (the day before the invasion) to May 12 (closing time, yesterday), Chevron stock gained 22% and Lockheed Martin stock gained 12%. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 index fell by 7%. “Follow the Money”

The big losers are Ukrainians: Thousands have died. Over 6 million have left the Ukraine, millions more are internally displaced, and hundreds of billions of dollars of damage has been done to Ukrainian infrastructure. However, if one only listens to the mainstream Western media, one might be tempted to conclude that The Ukraine is winning the war.

Still, things could be worse. The UN, under the leadership of the United States, levied brutal comprehensive sanctions on Iraq which caused an excess of 5,000 children, no older than five, to die each month, mostly from lack of drinkable water. Sanctions continued from 1990 until the invasion in 2003 by the US and its “Coalition of the Willing.”

By contrast, Ukraine is reported to have lost no more than a few hundred children in 11 weeks of fighting. However, the most important difference between Ukraine today and Iraq in the 1990s may be that Ukraine has the backing of some of the world's most powerful states, Iraq had no significant backing at all. One need only look at the ongoing devastation in Yemen (from Saudi atrocities) and Palestine (from Israeli atrocities) to see what can happen to a small country that lacks backing from a powerful state.

How about Russia? I think they have accomplished their main goal: To punish Ukraine so brutally that others will think twice before allowing themselves to be used as proxies for a NATO that doesn't care to risk itself in a war with Russia. This, however, is a double-edged sword. Rather than risking being hung out to dry like the Ukraine, Finland and Sweden appear ready to give up on neutrality and join NATO.

According to The Economist, the much touted Western sanctions seem to have hurt Russia little, if at all. Sure, Russia has sustained losses; but Russia is a huge country; they can probably handle their losses. And on the reverse side of the ledger, they appear to have gained some valuable real estate in the South and East of the Ukraine.

However, gains won through excessive brutality tend to be short lived. No one likes a bully. And no one likes to be subject to the whims of a bully. I suspect that Russia's gains will prove unsustainable. (Keep in mind that the Soviet Empire lasted a mere 70 years, 28% of the average lifespan of empires, according to John Glubb.)

And how about NATO? The NATO countries have risked little, letting Ukrainians do their fighting for them. While they certainly are hoping for a weakened Russia, to date, that has not happened. Russia does not appear to be running out of weapons, or hurting economically, no matter what the Western media might say.

And the rest of the world seems to have smartened up. As Jeffrey Sachs points out, except for close allies of NATO, other states aren't buying into the anti-Russian trope. The majority of the world's population remains pro-peace, pro-diplomacy and pro-neutrality. The majority of countries have not sanctioned Russia.

Do not lose sight of the fact that if the Ukraine had remained neutral, this war would have been avoided. But, wars are easy to start — and difficult to stop.

There's a moral here: If you are a small country, stay out of big-power rivalries. (Note: It helps to have nuclear weapons, like North Korea, to avoid the necessity of seeking the protection of one big power against another.)

And the future? Here's a video of Russia threatening to annihilate the British Isles with one thermo-nuclear bomb. Could they do it? Of course they could. Would it lead to all-out nuclear war? Very likely. Will they do it? The Western media says, “No;” but I wouldn't place any bets.

Indeed, as war spreads and formerly neutral states get involved, the chances of nuclear war increase dramatically. The doomsday clock is set at 100 seconds to midnight. But, if I controlled the hands of the clock, I would set them at a few seconds to midnight, maybe even a few nanoseconds to midnight. In any case, I think Boris Johnson and Ben Wallace would be wise to stop goading Russia.

Perhaps, the most horrific aspect of the Russo-Ukrainian War is that it has become an excuse for governments to renege on their inadequate climate commitments and burn more fossil fuels. As the warming climate makes the world more and more hostile to human “civilization,” victory in the Ukraine would be the most Pyrrhic of victories.

Again, what is so sad is that this could have been avoided so easily. But wars are easy to start — and difficult to stop.

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April 18, 2022 (written for Rolla Peace Newsletter)

Another Eastern European History Lesson

 
Disclaimer: I am NOT an “expert” on European history. Most of the historical references in this article come from a couple of days reading, mostly on Wikipedia. I encourage readers to do their own research and, as always, I welcome comments from readers. I found the mainstream media singularly unhelpful in digging out the historical information below.
 
“History does not repeat itself, but it delights in patterns and symmetries.” —Stephen Kinzer

“Men can scarcely be blamed for not learning from the history they are taught. There is nothing to learn from it, because it is not true.” —John Glubb (The Fate of Empires)

“History teaches that Empires always devour themselves.” —Ralph Nader

“One of the dirty little ironies of war is that it matters less who wins the war than where it was fought.” —Ron David (Arabs & Israel for Beginners)

Two months ago I briefly discussed some Russo-Ukrainian history starting around World War I. Now, let's go back to around the 9th Century CE: It is fairly well-known in the United States that the Vikings came out of Scandinavia and raided the coasts of Western Europe and offshore islands. Less well known is that they also followed inland rivers into the heart of Eastern Europe and built the Kievan-Rus' Empire that included much of what is now European Russia, Belarus and the Ukraine.

The Kievan-Rus' empire lasted into the 13th Century when the Mongol Horde swept out of Central Asia and established the largest land empire ever created that stretched from the Pacific Ocean to Eastern Europe. When the Mongols arrived in Eastern Europe they sent an envoy to Kiev proposing that the Kievan-Rus' surrender in exchange for their lives. The Kieven-Rus' killed the Mongol Envoy.

When the Golden Horde arrived at the gates of Kiev, they sent another envoy demanding surrender. He was also killed. The Mongols laid siege to Kiev and killed all but 2,000 of its 50,000 inhabitants.

Moscow was also burned to the ground by the Mongols but ended up faring better than Kiev. By paying high tribute to the Mongols, they won concessions and later turned on the Mongols and drove them out of Russia.

The Mongols generally offered their victims the choice of surrendering and living or dying in battle. Vladimir Putin, who is certainly familiar with this history, offered The Ukraine a much better deal. The Ukraine could have avoided the current war by simply declaring neutrality. Instead they listened to false promises from the United States and Western Europe, and ended up at war. Even if Russia were to withdraw from The Ukraine today, Ukraine would certainly be left far worse off than if they had accepted neutrality.

There is little solace in the fact that empires always end up devouring themselves, typically, within a few centuries. Due to climate change, today's empires are likely to fall a whole lot quicker than the historic empires discussed above.

Sadly, neither Helen nor I knew of the Kievan-Rus' Empire until recently; but you can bet that every child in The Ukraine learns this history and more.

There is a story about Genghis Khan that he personally killed 1.75 million people in an hour in revenge for the killing of his favorite son-in-law. While clearly an exaggeration, we should note that science and technology has given Vladimir Putin, Joe Biden and others the wherewithal to kill far more than 1.75 million people in an hour.

Joke of the Year

Joe Biden has recently called for the trial of Vladimir Putin for “War Crimes.” Ok, where? The International Criminal Court (ICC)? Neither The Ukraine, Russia nor the United States are members; so the ICC lacks jurisdiction. In fact, the United States has done far more than any other country to hamstring the ICC.

In 2002, the Hague Invasion Act which authorized the use of “all means necessary and appropriate to bring about the release of any U.S. or allied personnel being detained or imprisoned by, on behalf of, or at the request of the International Criminal Court” was signed into law by then president George W. Bush.

In 1986, Nicaragua won a judgment against the United States for “unlawful use of force,” in the International Court of Justice (different from the ICC). The required reparations were never paid.

Actually, I'd love to see Vladimir Putin in the dock at The Hague, along with numerous US presidents who have committed War Crimes in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. Does the theft of billions of dollars [by Joe Biden] from a nation facing famine and starvation [Afghanistan] rise to the level of a Crime Against Humanity? Perhaps we should let the ICC rule on that one too.

Interview with Noam Chomsky

At 93, Noam Chomsky remains as sharp as a tack. Don't miss Jeremy Scahill discussing the Russo-Ukranian War and other matters with Noam Chomsky.

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March 15, 2022 (written for Rolla Peace Newsletter)

From Our Readers: Russo-Ukrainian War

In reference to snippets I have written about the Russo-Ukrainian War a reader writes:
“You're quite outspoken in your condemnation of Biden. Putin who has actually started a war and threatened to use nukes doesn't get anything near that condemnation. Very strange.”
My response: If you want condemnation of Mr. Putin, try the New York Times, CNN or any one of a number of other mainstream media “war cheerleaders.” I am not responsible for Vladimir Putin. I am responsible for Joe Biden. I voted for him, which in hindsight was a great mistake.

Russia has a strong anti-war movement. Thousands have risked arrest and beatings to protest against the Russo-Ukrainian War. I suspect if we, too, had such a strong, vibrant anti-war movement here in the United States, the Russo-Ukrainian War might never have happened.

And, incidentally, last week I wrote: “I don't think anyone will trust Russia either after their brutal assault on the Ukraine and the cavalier way they threatened the whole world with nuclear war. Russia's major ally, China, also seemed shocked by Russia's behavior.”

And further: I find the behavior of the United States and the European NATO countries nothing short of perfidious and cowardly. While I would hate to see NATO and Russia get into a nuclear war, the way NATO has hung The Ukraine out to dry disgusts me. NATO has encouraged The Ukraine to challenge Russia at every turn. Now that Russia has responded with overwhelming force, NATO limits its support for The Ukraine to ineffectual economic sanctions and some feeble attempts to provide inadequate military and humanitarian aid. God forbid that Europeans should park their cars, turn down their thermostats and do without Russian oil and gas. God forbid that NATO should challenge Russian aircrafts in the skies over Ukraine. And God forbid that the United States should ever agree to a neutral Ukraine at peace with all its neighbors. Absolutely nauseating!

And I think the ferocity of the Russian invasion has taken some “expert” war planners in the West by surprise. And I think the tough resolute defense of the Ukranians has taken some “expert” war planners in Russia by surprise. War seldom unfolds the way that “experts” predict.

From Our Readers: Russia’s Horrific Past Could Become Our Future Under Putin

A reader recommends the article, Now we know: Russia’s horrific past could become our future under Putin by Russian author, Dmitry Glukhovsky. The title summarizes the article well.

Some Further Reading on the Russo-Ukrainian War: Environment

Modern warfare is extremely harsh on the environment. Even if the Russo-Ukrainian War were to end today, The Ukraine, like Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Syria and many other places, would be dealing with toxic pollution for decades into the future. As Ron David sagely noted in Arabs & Israel for Beginners: “One of the dirty little ironies of war is that it matters less who wins the war than where it was fought.”

I still have not seen any estimates of how much CO2 the Russo-Ukrainian War has added to our already overburdened atmosphere; but I suspect it is considerable.

Some Further Reading on the Russo-Ukrainian War: Displaced Peoples

To the 84 million people, already forcibly displaced by war, persecution and violence, many of whom are victims of the so-called “War on Terror,” we can now add at least 3 million Ukrainians. Up until now, the vast majority of the displaced came from Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and parts of Asia. It looks like Europe is beginning to catch up. “What goes around, comes around.”

Some Further Reading on the Russo-Ukrainian War: Children

And while we hear much about the Ukrainian children killed in the Russo-Ukrainian War, we hear very little about how over 10,000 Yemeni children have been killed by Saudi Arabia and allies, largely with made-in-USA bombs and other military hardware. The killing goes on, but then again, as many have noted, Yemeni children are not light-skinned Europeans like Ukrainian children.

Some Further Reading on the Russo-Ukrainian War: Bio-labs

The US military has been running multiple biological laboratories in the Ukraine. Russia says the US was developing bio-weapons. The US says that is “preposterous” and “laughable.” But is it?

While I do not know whether the accusation is true or not, it is certainly neither preposterous nor laughable. Read about the history of bio-warfare in Bionoia, and then ask yourself whether or not this accusation is preposterous.

Not so long ago, I suggested that it is likely that SARS-CoV-2 was engineered in a laboratory, and advocated that all bio-labs be open to international inspection. Neither the United States nor China appeared open to this very sensible suggestion. Perhaps, the idea of international inspection of bio-labs will gain traction now.

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March 8, 2022 (written for Rolla Peace Newsletter)

Has The Ukraine Become the New Afghanistan?
“I have the means to make myself deadly, but that by itself, you understand, is absolutely nothing in the way of protection. What is effective is the belief those people have in my will to use the means. That’s their impression. It is absolute. Therefore I am deadly.”
—Joseph Conrad (The Secret Agent)

I think The Ukraine was meant to be the new Afghanistan — the Russian neighbor that, like Afghanistan in the 1980s, would bleed Russia dry.
Step 1: Create an anti-Russian force on Russia's border.

Step 2: Suck Russia into invading.

Step 3: Create an international alliance to support anti-Russian fighters with arms, money, mercenaries, and propaganda.

Step 4: Sit back and watch both sides slaughter each other.

But, what went wrong? Everything seemed to be working out so perfectly.

Putin is no Brezhnev, and Zelensky no bin Laden. Russia doesn't appear to be attempting to occupy The Ukraine. Rather, the purpose of the invasion seems to be to inflict maximum pain upon it's neighbor, while sustaining minimal loses. Russia also has effectively neutralized many countries that would like to support The Ukraine, by issuing credible threats (in the eyes of it's foreign enemies, see Joseph Conrad quote above) to escalate, even unto a nuclear World War III.

I think Zelensky has finally figured out that as far as NATO is concerned, Ukrainians are nothing but sacrificial lambs. Zelensky's call for a Nato imposed “no fly zone” over The Ukraine was met with the NATO response: “If we did that, we’ll end up with something that could end in a full-fledged war in Europe, involving many more countries and causing much more human suffering.” In other words, you Ukrainians can suffer and die; but not us; not here in the United States, the UK, France or Germany. Zelensky responded, “All the people who die from this day forward will also die because of you, because of your weakness, because of your lack of unity.” How true!

In fact, Russia, being in full control of six Ukrainian nuclear power reactors at Zaporizhzhya, has yet another option: Wait for a day of strong easterly winds; create a false-flag attack on Zaporizhzhya, releasing deadly radiation which will blow over Western Europe.

So what is next? Wars are easy to start; hard to stop. I think, at this point, almost everyone is ready for this war to end (except, of course the war profiteers at Raytheon, Lockheed, General Electric, etc.) Perhaps, the world's best bet for avoiding disaster is to ask Afghanistan to mediate a Peace agreement. Afghanistan has so much experience with foreign invasions and was still able to successfully negotiate a Peace agreement with the United States. The World could benefit from their wisdom.

          And here is some of the likely fallout from the Russo-Ukranian War:

Whatever happens from here on out, I suspect most will agree that the whole world, including The Ukraine, would have been far better off with a neutral Ukraine at Peace with all its neighbors.

NATO has, indeed, shown itself to be untrustworthy and ineffectual. I don't think anyone will ever trust NATO again.

I don't think anyone will trust Russia either after their brutal assault on the Ukraine and the cavalier way they threatened the whole world with nuclear war. Russia's major ally, China, also seemed shocked by Russia's behavior.

The absolute hypocrisy of the West has been exposed beyond redemption. All this talk about Russia violating Human Rights in Ukraine. Hey, what about Afghanistan where children are starving while the West steals what little money they have; What about Palestine where occupation, bombings and apartheid have been going on for over half a century with Western support; what about Yemen, where the Saudi coalition with Western arms has created one of the world's worst humanitarian disasters.

The Ukraine and Russia are both major exporters of grain to the world. Disruption of Ukainian exports due to War and Russian exports due to sanctions will increase the already considerable global hunger, particularly in the poorest nations that rely on food imports.

Western Sanctions against Russia will likely hasten the move, which is already underway, toward replacing the US dollar as the currency of choice in international commercial transactions.

Nuclear non-proliferation, which has been on life-support, may soon be dead. Who is going to trust any of these nuclear powers now?

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February 28, 2022 (written for Rolla Peace Newsletter)

Some Observations on the Russo-Ukrainian War
“War, children,
It's just a shot away,
It's just a shot away.”
—Mic Jagger, Keith Richards
(Gimme Shelter)

 
Disclaimer: I am NOT an “expert” on European history. Most of the historical references in this article come from a week of reading, mostly on Wikipedia. I encourage readers to do their own research and, as always, I welcome comments from readers. I found the mainstream media singularly unhelpful in digging out the historical information below.
 

Well, were you surprised when War broke out in the Ukraine? You really shouldn't have been. Europe has a long history of fighting wars. If there was ever a time when Europe wasn't at war, it was because Europeans were too busy preparing for future wars.

Here is a very very looooooong list of European Wars, starting thousands of years ago and continuing until today. I won't ask you to read about them all. (I haven't.) But take a look at these few:

Napoleon's invasion of Russia in 1812, in which Russia won a decisive victory over Napoleon at the expense of an estimated 200,000 Russian deaths.

The Crimean War (1853-56) which stood out for its “notoriously incompetent international butchery.”

(I include this one for the benefit of UK Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, who bragged that the Brits had “kicked the backside” of the Russians in the Crimean War and could “always do it again.” Mr. Wallace seems to be missing from action. Talk is cheap. Maybe he could go to the Ukraine with 600 mounted cavalry and execute a frontal charge into heavy Russian artillery.)

Franklin Pierce was President of the United States during the Crimean War. His major claim to fame may be that he kept the United States out of the Crimean War. He even expelled a British minister and three consuls over trying to recruit for the Crimean War on US soil. Sadly, later US presidents seem to have lacked Mr. Pierce's wisdom.

The Russian Civil War (1917-1921) After Russia's withdrawal from World War I, civil war broke out between the Bolsheviks and the White Army which was made up of various monarchists, capitalists and social democrats. 13 foreign countries, including the UK, US and France, intervened on the side of the White Army.

World War II (Eastern Front, 1941-1945) The Soviet Union suffered tens of millions of deaths, including millions of children, in the Nazi invasion. Russia's victory on the Eastern Front is thought to be the primary event leading to the defeat of Nazism and the allied victory in Europe.

After reading about these four European wars, you may understand why Russia is a little bit touchy about aggressive foreign troops on its western border, especially when they are supported by great powers that wish Russia ill.

Some less recent and less well-known European wars may have been equally horrendous. For example:

The 30 Years' War (1618-1648) started out as a religious war: Catholics v. Protestants. Satan soon got the upper hand and the 30 Years' War morphed into a giant free-for-all with everybody slaughtering everybody else. Some locations were decimated with those who didn't flee being put to death. It has been estimated that 4.5 to 8 million died in the 30 Years' War, probably setting a record at the time.

We can only hope and pray that the current Russo-Ukrainian War won't morph into yet another horrendous European war.

And, I would be remiss, if I didn't offer a solution. I propose that Afghanistan be asked to mediate a peace agreement between Russia and The Ukraine. Having been invaded by the British in the 19th Century, the Soviet Union (including The Ukraine, but mainly Russia) in the 20th, and NATO (and other allies, but mainly the United States) in the 21st, and having defeated all three invasions, Afghans would likely have a unique perspective on making Peace in the midst of a foreign invasion. In exchange, those who have stolen money from Afghanistan could show their appreciation by giving Afghanistan back what they have stolen.

          Some notes on The Ukraine and Crimea

Prior to the First World War, the area we know today as The Ukraine was partitioned among three empires: The Ottoman Empire (Turkey), The Hapsburg Empire (Austria) and the Tsarist Empire (Russia). Following World War I and the demise of the above three empires, The Ukraine declared itself a Soviet Socialist Republic and in 1922 became a founding member of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. It only became an independent country in the modern sense with the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Crimea was part of the Russian Soviet until 1954 when it was transferred to the Ukrainian Soviet in an administrative action.

The breakup of the Soviet Union was extremely messy. While The Ukraine retained administrative control over Crimea, many Crimeans were unhappy with this arrangement. The Black Sea Fleet, stationed in Crimea, was split between Russia and The Ukraine. Russia was given possession of all Nuclear Weapons. This arrangement was clearly untenable after 2014, when an anti-Russian government came to power in The Ukraine in what has been described as a western-backed coup.

Russian troops entered Crimea and Crimea, which is, ethnically, majority Russian, voted to secede from The Ukraine and join with Russia.

In the wake of the 2014 regime change, other Russian majority regions (Donbass) also seceded from the Ukraine.

          And in case you missed it:

Not wishing to get involved in a (possibly nuclear) war with Russia, the United States instead bombs Somalia. Somalia is one of world's poorest countries and lacks nuclear weapons or other means to retaliate.

NATO has threatened to deploy nuclear weapons on Russia's border in Poland.

Belarus says it intends to give up its status as a non-nuclear nation and has asked Russia to return its nuclear weapons which it gave up when the Soviet Union broke up.

Switzerland has given up its historic neutral status joining in sanctions against Russia. Finland, also has given up neutrality by supplying arms to the Ukraine.

Ukraine is home to the radioactive remains of the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown. Ukraine is also home to a purported 15 functioning nuclear power plants. War could lead to world-wide catastrophe at any of these locations.

The Ukraine seems to be putting up a much stronger than expected resistance to the Russian invasion. The Russian invasion seems to have been stalemated; Russia seems to have forgotten its Afghan fiasco of 40 years ago, when the United States and its allies enticed the Soviet Union to invade Afghanistan by creating, arming and training an insurrectionist force.

It's a shame that our memories are so short and we refuse to learn from history. As Stephen Kinzer sagely remarked: “History does not repeat itself, but it delights in patterns and symmetries.”

Peace talks between Russia and The Ukraine today were unsuccessful. (Unless you consider it a success that they even spoke to one another.) I'm not sure if and when a further round will be scheduled; but pray for successful Peace negotiations. Meanwhile, military operations continue.

We move closer and closer to nuclear confrontation each day, with each side blaming the other (in spite of what President Biden might say).

I haven't seen any estimates of how much carbon this war is adding to our already overburdened atmosphere, but I'm sure it is considerable.

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