Letter 2 America for April 10, 2022

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Dear America,

Let me preface what I am about to write by pointing out that I am a conscientious objector, not just by self-proclamation, but by designation by Local Board 1 during the Vietnam War.  I continue to subscribe to my beliefs in that regard, but the longer the Russo-Ukraine war goes on, the more apprehension I feel about our country's and NATO's abstention from entering the conflict.  My consternation isn't a function just of what is going on in Ukraine, but rather is the product of what went on in Georgia, Chechnya and in other Russian invasive behavior as well.  A pattern has developed with regard to Russian foreign policy, and its worrisome nature is only exacerbated by the leadership in those endeavors of Vladimir Putin; he is the 21st century version of Adolf Hitler in this respect.  He does not necessarily evince racism or anti-Semitism, though plumbing the mind of an autocrat, I fear soon to be totalitarian, who seems to feel that he enjoys some kind of impunity, which he exercises it in the most brutal, senseless, aberrant and abhorrent atrocities that we have seen since the last world war is plumbing an enigma.  I understand imperialism as a motivation, deplorable as it is whether pursued by Russia, Israel or the United States.  There is wealth in occupation of other nations...wealth and power.  But in Putin's case, it seems that his motivation is paranoia, fear of his own and his nation's inadequacies, and most perplexing of all, pride.  I sometimes feel alone in recognizing pride as the foremost and most damnable of sins.  As a nation we deride those without pride, whereas in terms of religious doctrine, the station of pride among sins is millennia old.  St. Augustine said it unequivocally: "it was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels." It is a rampage of pride that the world is witnessing in Ukraine, and it has turned Russians into devils.

Consider the origins of the feelings that have precipitated Putin's and apparently 70% of Russians' animus toward Ukraine,  and its parallel in the late 1930's that motivated Hitler and Nazi Germany.  Sudetenland, Hitler told Neville chamberlain and the rest of diplomatic Europe, was the extent of his aspirations in Europe.  After all, it was populated by autochthonous German speakers, many of whom were amenable to incorporation into Germany despite the fact that the area had been part of Czechoslovakia for a thousand years or so.  Similarly, Ukraine has many citizens who's mother tongue is Russian, especially in it eastern reaches now known as the Donbas region.  After the putatively autochthonous Russian speaking constituency in the Donbas, and following the annexation of the similarly populated Crimean peninsula in 2014, the war in Ukraine was initiated with pretextual claims of Nazi influence in Ukraine that Putin claimed must be extirpated by replacing the extant government despite the fact that it was led by a Jewish president who's parents were persecuted by the Nazi's when they invaded the area during World War II.  But that regime change turned out to be overreaching on Putin's part, leading to massive casualties and abject strategic failure leading in turn to withdrawal from the region of Ukraine's capital, Kyiv, after infliction of vast, mindless destruction on the people of the city.  Those troops have now been redeployed to Donbas, and the mindless, savage, troglodyte brutality of Russian soldiers is now being redirected toward the Ukrainian resistance to the Donbas rebellion.  Hitler was ceded Sudetenland, as Crimea was to Putin, which makes the Donbas the parallel to Hitler first salvo against the rest of Europe a couple of years later, all of which raises a question.  Is the outbreak of war against Russia carried out by NATO, Britain and the United States an ineluctable eventuality?  And if so, why shouldn't we spare the people of Ukraine more suffering and just intervene.

The injury to German pride by the draconian Treaty of Versailles that ended World War I seems to be analogous in Putin's mind to the aftermath of the Soviet Union--pride again.  And in consequence of Hitler's and Germany's injured pride, World War II became inescapable as Hitler's lie that Sudetenland was the extent of his ambition was belied by his subsequent invasions of Poland, Austria, etcetera.  Is the 1935 debacle of Hitler's ally, Mussolini, in Ethiopia the equivalent of Putin's failures in Ukraine?  Is Ukraine's abject failure in Ukraine a parallel to Ethiopia? Are Putin's adventures in Georgia, Chechnya, Crimea and now Ukraine just preludes to what Hitler wreaked on the world?  It makes me despondent to confront the real question: is war with Russia just as inevitable as war with Germany was?  And then, if we can't escape the carnage, should we just get it over with in the hope of minimizing it?  I am as torn by the horns of this dilemma as we all are.  What shall we do?

Your friend,


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This page contains a single entry by Michael Wolf published on April 10, 2022 3:10 PM.

Letter 2 America for April 8, 2022 was the previous entry in this blog.

Letter 2 America for May 3, 2022 is the next entry in this blog.

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