Dominating the World Stage

W.J. Astore

“Make love, not war!” on the helmet of Marine Corporal Billy Winn, Vietnam, 1967 (Photo by William Eggleston)

In the 1960s, in response to the Vietnam War, young Americans vowed to “make love, not war.” Ever since 9/11, if not before, America has a new vow: Make War, Not Love.

The American empire believes it must dominate the world stage. Partly this is due to hubris unleashed by the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. As Colin Powell put it that year:

“We no longer have the luxury of having a threat to plan for. What we plan for is that we’re a superpower. We are the major player on the world stage with responsibilities around the world, with interests around the world.”

When you define the world as your “stage” and define yourself as a military and economic “superpower,” as the major player, a hubristic and militaristic foreign policy almost naturally follows. And so it has.

In my latest article for TomDispatch.com, I detail five reasons why America remains addicted to hubristic war; what follows is an excerpt that focuses on America’s vision of itself as the best and purest actor on the world stage. Please read the entire article at TomDispatch.com.

***

About 15 years ago, I got involved in a heartfelt argument with a conservative friend about whether it was wise for this country to shrink its global presence, especially militarily. He saw us as a benevolent actor on the world stage.  I saw us as overly ambitious, though not necessarily malevolent, as well as often misguided and in denial when it came to our flaws. I think of his rejoinder to me as the “empty stage” argument.  Basically, he suggested that all the world’s a stage and, should this country become too timid and abandon it, other far more dangerous actors could take our place, with everyone suffering. My response was that we should, at least, try to leave that stage in some fashion and see if we were missed.  Wasn’t our own American stage ever big enough for us?  And if this country were truly missed, it could always return, perhaps even triumphantly. 

Of course, officials in Washington and the Pentagon do like to imagine themselves as leading “the indispensable nation” and are generally unwilling to test any other possibilities.  Instead, like so many ham actors, all they want is to eternally mug and try to dominate every stage in sight. 

In truth, the U.S. doesn’t really have to be involved in every war around and undoubtedly wouldn’t be if certain actors (corporate as well as individual) didn’t feel it was just so profitable. If my five answers above were ever taken seriously here, there might indeed be a wiser and more peaceful path forward for this country. But that can’t happen if the forces that profit from the status quo — where bellum (war) is never ante- or post- but simply ongoing — remain so powerful. The question is, of course, how to take the profits of every sort out of war and radically downsize our military (especially its overseas “footprint”), so that it truly becomes a force for “national security,” rather than national insecurity. 

Most of all, Americans need to resist the seductiveness of war, because endless war and preparations for more of the same have been a leading cause of national decline.  One thing I know: Waving blue-and-yellow flags in solidarity with Ukraine and supporting “our” troops may feel good but it won’t make us good.  In fact, it will only contribute to ever more gruesome versions of war. 

A striking feature of the Russian invasion of Ukraine is that, after so many increasingly dim years, it’s finally allowed America’s war party to pose as the “good guys” again. After two decades of a calamitous “war on terror” and unmitigated disasters in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, and so many other places, Americans find themselves on the side of the underdog Ukrainians against that “genocidal” “war criminal” Vladimir Putin.  That such a reading of the present situation might be uncritical and reductively one-sided should (but doesn’t) go without saying. That it’s seductive because it feeds both American nationalism and narcissism, while furthering a mythology of redemptive violence, should be scary indeed.

Yes, it’s high time to call a halt to the Pentagon’s unending ham-fisted version of a world tour.  If only it were also time to try dreaming a different dream, a more pacific one of being perhaps a first among equals. In the America of this moment, even that is undoubtedly asking too much. An Air Force buddy of mine once said to me that when you wage war long, you wage it wrong. Unfortunately, when you choose the dark path of global dominance, you also choose a path of constant warfare and troubled times marked by the cruel risk of violent blowback (a phenomenon of which historian and critic Chalmers Johnson so presciently warned us in the years before 9/11).

Washington certainly feels it’s on the right side of history in this Ukraine moment. However, persistent warfare should never be confused with strength and certainly not with righteousness, especially on a planet haunted by a growing sense of impending doom.

23 thoughts on “Dominating the World Stage

  1. Like i said yesterday, Colonel: Once again, You nailed it on all cylinders; this time five.

    And i got a big chuckle reading: “Despite the evidence of decline and dysfunction all around us, many Americans continue to take pride and comfort in the idea that the U.S. military remains the finest fighting force in all of history — a claim advanced by presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Joe Biden, among so many other boosters.”

    This is the military that has not won a war ~ or even come close ~ in 77 years today, since “V-E Day” for Oceania and “Victory Day” for Eurasia.

    One can only wonder what the source of that “pride and comfort” could be, eh?

    Over this past three-quarter of a century, the American military has proven itself to be as effective ~ in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia, and so forth ~ as the Russian military is today in Ukraine [and was in Afghanistan in the 80s].

    If it all wasn’t so ugly and insane, it would be a sad, sick joke.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. In Your Tom Dispatch post, Colonel, You wrote: “THE QUESTION IS, OF COURSE, HOW TO TAKE THE PROFITS OF EVERY SORT OUT OF WAR and radically downsize our military (especially its overseas “footprint”), so that it truly becomes a force for “national security,” rather than national insecurity.” [EMPHASIS added.]

    Consider this:

    Let’s Take the Profit Out of Wars by Sam Pizzigati
    https://www.counterpunch.org/2021/08/30/lets-take-the-profit-out-of-wars/

    In the 21st century, many of us are used to the murderous mass violence of modern warfare.

    After all, we grew up living it or hearing about it. The 20th century rates as the deadliest in human history — 75 million people died in World War II alone. Millions have died since, including a quarter-million during the 20-year U.S. war in Afghanistan.

    But for our forebears, the incredible deadliness of modern warfare came as a shock.

    The carnage of World War I — with its 40 million dead — left people scrambling to prevent another horror. In 1928, the world’s top nations even signed an agreement renouncing war as an instrument of national policy.

    Still, by the mid-1930s the world was swimming in weapons, and people wanted to know why.

    In the United States, peace-seekers followed the money to find out. Many of America’s moguls, they learned, were getting rich off prepping for war. These “merchants of death” had a vested interest in the arms races that make wars more likely.

    So a campaign was launched to take the profit out of war.

    On Capitol Hill, Senate Democrats set up a committee to investigate the munitions industry and named a progressive Republican, North Dakota’s Gerald Nye, to chair it. “WAR AND PREPARATION FOR WAR,” NYE NOTED IN 1934, HAD PRECIOUS LITTLE TO DO WITH “NATIONAL DEFENSE.” INSTEAD, WAR HAD BECOME “A MATTER OF PROFIT FOR THE FEW.” [EMPHASIS added.]

    The war in Afghanistan offers but the latest example.

    We won’t know for some time the total corporate haul from the Afghan war’s 20 years. But Institute for Policy Studies analysts Brian Wakamo and Sarah Anderson have come up with some initial calculations for three of the top military contractors active in Afghanistan from 2016-2020.

    They found that total compensation for the CEOs alone at these three corporate giants — Fluor, Raytheon, and Boeing — amounted to $236 million.

    A modern-day, high-profile panel on war profiteering might not be a bad idea. Members could start by reviewing the 1936 conclusions of the original committee.

    Munitions companies, it found, ignited and exacerbated arms races by constantly striving to “scare nations into a continued frantic expenditure for the latest improvements in devices of warfare.”

    “Wars,” the Senate panel summed up, “rarely have one single cause,” but it runs “against the peace of the world for selfishly interested organizations to be left free to goad and frighten nations into military activity.”

    Do these conclusions still hold water for us today? Yes — and in fact, today’s military-industrial complex dwarfs that of the early 20th century.

    Military spending, Lindsay Koshgarian of the IPS National Priorities Project points out, currently “takes up more than half of the discretionary federal budget each year,” and over half that spending goes to military contractors — who use that largesse to lobby for more war spending.

    In 2020, executives at the five biggest contractors spent $60 million on lobbying to keep their gravy train going. Over the past two decades, the defense industry has spent $2.5 billion on lobbying and directed another $285 million to political candidates.

    How can we upset that business as usual? Reducing the size of the military budget can get us started. Reforming the contracting process will also be essential. And executive pay needs to be right at the heart of that reform. No executives dealing in military matters should have a huge personal stake in ballooning federal spending for war.

    One good approach: Rep. Jan Schakowsky’s Patriotic Corporations Act.

    Among other things, that proposed law would give extra points in contract bidding to firms that pay their top executives no more than 100 times what they pay their most typical workers. Few defense giants come anywhere close to that ratio.

    War is complicated, but greed isn’t. Let’s take the profit out of war.

    ###

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    A NO WAR-FOR-PROFIT Amendment to the Constitution of The United States

    1. Any and/or All organizations or individuals doing business with the Military-Industrial-FatherLand Security Complex (MIFLS-C) will and thus must be publicly-held NON-PROFIT enterprises.

    2. No individual, bank, and/ or any other financial or other institution (including foreign nations’ and their money-lenders) doing business with the MIFLS-C may earn any interest or other profit from loans, bonds, or any other fiduciary instruments used by the Government of The United States to finance or otherwise “pay for” this nation’s Wars-by-Credit Card of the 21st century.

    3. No print, electronic, and/or internet-based news or otherwise info-entertainment media organization may be owned and/or operated by any organization or individual doing business with the MIFLS-C.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. In my opinion, a CEO and similar “higher life forms” should make no more than 10X what a typical/average worker makes. So, if a CEO wants to make more, he or she will have to pay workers more. Want to make $1 million a year? Pay your workers $100K a year. Seems fair to me.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. “…Americans need to resist the seductiveness of war,…”

    There’s obviously a sizable contingent of corporate America that favors war, anytime, anywhere, and which finds its patrons at the Pentagon. This combined hawkish faction is joined by some MAGA types, who see war as America’s destiny, a test of national “manhood.”

    Then there’s a relatively small but vocal segment of the general population that opposes war, period.

    I’d submit, however, that the vast majority of citizens, rather than being “seduced,” simply doesn’t care one way or the other, and pays little or no attention, as long as the bombs aren’t dropping on U.S. soil.

    The war in Ukraine, yes, has stirred up hawkish tendencies, especially after the deluge of photos and video coverage that has blanketed the country. At this moment, many people are engaged and rooting for the underdog.

    However, I still think that, in general, the seduction encompasses the Beltway and the profiteers almost exclusively. Joe and Jane Average are much more concerned about making ends meet and avoiding personal calamity. And that’s how the warmongers are able to operate as they do—almost no one is scrutinizing them.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Well said, Denise. Altho there have been and are many, many Clintonesque/Obomber/Bidenite Democrats as there are MAGA-types who embrace America as an Imperialist Warfare State. That 20-year “Forever War” could not have happened without them.

      But Your point about Joe and Jane Average ~ and how the WarMongers and Makers are able to operate is spot on.

      The only things that will inspire the American People to resist and revolt against the WarFare State is as follows:

      1. If they ~ or their Kids ~ have to worry about getting Drafted.
      2. If Everybody has to actually PAY for the War with a national, federal War Sales Tax on Everything that Everybody buys, at the production, wholesale, and retail levels. That, as opposed to putting it on Uncle Sam’s tab, and adding to the national, sovereign Debt.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes, indeed. But the draft isn’t coming back because the AVF is allegedly a huge success: the finest fighting force in history, Jeff!

        Would love to see a “WAT” or war-added tax (like the VAT, or value-added tax). Perhaps the WAT could apply to every trade on Wall Street, rather than to sales.

        And, if the draft ever does come back, let’s ensure the sons and daughters of Congress and all the MIC CEOs and lobbyists are drafted first. I see nothing discriminatory about this. The families that profit most from war should be required to send their progeny off to fight. It’ll never happen, of course, but a man can dream.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. Yes. NO Exemptions like Clinton, Cheney, Limbaugh, Biden, and Corporal Bonespurs got because, as Cheney put it. he had “better things to do.”

          Liked by 2 people

  4. Common sense here from Dan Froomkin:

    “And just like 20 years ago, the U.S. media is cheerleading for war, marginalizing voices of restraint and peace, while amplifying those of the armchair warriors.

    I call attention to this not to encourage media whataboutism. Iraq is no excuse for Ukraine. But Iraq is a reminder of how we are not always the good guys; that what seems like a good idea at the time can end up making things much worse; and that the press’s role should be to aggressively question every act that leads to death and destruction, even if the intent seems noble.

    Thinking back to Iraq also provides an opportunity to consider how things look to the other side. How would we have felt if Russia was overtly and generously arming the Iraqis who were killing our soldiers? How would we have reacted if Russian intelligence had tracked our generals and told Iraqi artillery battalions exactly where they were? Or if they helped them sink one of our ships?”
    https://presswatchers.org/2022/05/has-the-american-press-corps-entirely-forgotten-about-iraq/

    Liked by 2 people

      1. More war, abortion battles again, more and more fossil fuel production and consumption, rising inflation, rich getting richer, climate change intensifying (fires in the west, major droughts, etc.), no debt relief, more and more spending on weapons and for the Pentagon: the list goes on, and doom isn’t out of the question, whether stemming from the new Cold War or the slower global war on the environment.

        Have a nice day! 🙂

        Liked by 3 people

        1. Exactly so!

          I’ve read several commentaries lately to the effect of, “The economy is doing well, but people say it isn’t.
          Why?” And I just laugh.

          The economy is better for a small segment of the population, but all too many workers don’t have healthcare, are underpaid, are living from paycheck to paycheck. That mass of people, to quote Freddie Mercury, are, “waiting for the hammer to fall.” Add in all the other ills you mention, Bill, and no wonder so many people feel doomed. AND powerless.

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  5. i would say that this nation could very definitely use another “NYE COMMITTEE.” And soon…. :

    THE NYE COMMITTEE, officially known as the “Special Committee on Investigation of the Munitions Industry,” was a United States Senate committee (April 12, 1934 – February 24, 1936), chaired by U.S. Senator Gerald Nye (R-ND).

    The committee investigated the financial and banking interests that underlay the United States’ involvement in World War I and the operations and profits of the industrial and commercial firms supplying munitions to the Allies and to the United States.

    It was a significant factor in public and political support for American neutrality in the early stages of World War II.

    During the 1920s and 1930s, dozens of books and articles appeared about the high cost of war, and some argued that financiers and arms manufacturers had maneuvered the United States into entering World War I.

    One of the best-known was Smedley D. Butler, a retired Marine Corps general who had become a spokesman for left-wing anti-war elements.

    Historian Charles Callan Tansill’s AMERICA GOES TO WAR (1938) exploited the Nye Committee’s voluminous report of testimony and evidence to develop and confirm the heavy influence exercised by Wall Street finance (notably J.P. Morgan) and the armaments industry (notably Du Pont) in the process that led to American intervention.

    Continued at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nye_Committee

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Here’s some more on the NYE COMMITTEE: “Merchants of Death”
    https://www.senate.gov/about/powers-procedures/investigations/merchants-of-death.htm

    September 4, 1934. On a hot Tuesday morning following Labor Day in 1934, several hundred people crowded into the Caucus Room of the Senate Office Building to witness the opening of an investigation that journalists were already calling “historic.” Although World War I had been over for 16 years, the inquiry promised to reopen an intense debate about whether the nation should ever have gotten involved in that costly conflict.

    The so-called Senate Munitions Committee came into being because of widespread reports that manufacturers of armaments had unduly influenced the American decision to enter the war in 1917. These weapons suppliers had reaped enormous profits at the cost of more than 53,000 American battle deaths. As local conflicts reignited in Europe through the early 1930s, suggesting the possibility of a second world war, concern spread that these “merchants of death” would again drag the United States into a struggle that was none of its business. The time had come for a full congressional inquiry.

    To lead the seven-member special committee, the Senate’s Democratic majority chose a Republican—42-year-old North Dakota senator Gerald P. Nye. Typical of western agrarian progressives, Nye energetically opposed U.S. involvement in foreign wars. He promised, “When the Senate investigation is over, we shall see that war and preparation for war is not a matter of national honor and national defense, but a matter of profit for the few.”

    Over the next 18 months, the Nye Committee held 93 hearings, questioning more than 200 witnesses, including J. P. Morgan, Jr., and Pierre du Pont. Committee members found little hard evidence of an active conspiracy among arms makers, yet the panel’s reports did little to weaken the popular prejudice against “greedy munitions interests.”

    The investigation came to an abrupt end early in 1936. The Senate cut off committee funding after Chairman Nye blundered into an attack on the late Democratic president Woodrow Wilson. Nye suggested that Wilson had withheld essential information from Congress as it considered a declaration of war. Democratic leaders, including Appropriations Committee chairman Carter Glass of Virginia, unleashed a furious response against Nye for “dirt-daubing the sepulcher of Woodrow Wilson.” Standing before cheering colleagues in a packed Senate Chamber, Glass slammed his fist onto his desk until blood dripped from his knuckles.

    Although the Nye Committee failed to achieve its goal of nationalizing the arms industry, it inspired three congressional neutrality acts in the mid-1930s that signaled profound American opposition to overseas involvement.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Scott Ritter’s “An Open Letter to the American people, as Russia celebrates its WW2 victory over the Nazis; To those who have forgotten the sacrifices the ‘Greatest Generation’ made to defeat Hitler” concludes as follows, and is well worth a look in full:

    There will be no Victory in Europe celebration in the United States this year, just as there hasn’t been for years past. We have forgotten our “Greatest Generation” and the sacrifices they made for our future. There is no American “Immortal Regiment” of family members marching proudly down the main streets of US towns and cities honoring the cause for which these young men and women served.

    We have forgotten what they even fought for.

    There was a time when the United States and Soviet Union fought together to overcome the scourge of Nazi Germany and the ideology it espoused. Today, when Russia is locked in a struggle with the progeny of Hitler’s Germany, in the form of the ideological descendants of the Ukrainian nationalist, Stepan Bandera – one would logically expect that the United States to be on Moscow’s side.

    Bander’s followers fought alongside German Nazis as members of the Waffen SS, slaughtering tens of thousands of innocent civilians, many of them Jewish. By rights, Washington should be ensuring that the hateful cause so many had given their lives and livelihoods to eradicate from Europe never again raised its evil banners on European soil.

    Instead, the United States is providing succor to the present-day adherents of Bandera, and by extension, Hitler; their hateful ideology disguised as Ukrainian nationalism. American military personnel, whose traditions are born from the heroic sacrifices made by hundreds of thousands of their fellow soldiers, sailors, and airmen who gave their lives to defeat Nazi Germany, are today providing weapons and training to Ukrainians whose bodies and banners bear the markings of Hitler’s Third Reich.

    On May 9, Russia will celebrate Victory Day, marking the 77th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany. Unfortunately, the struggle against Nazi ideology continues to this day and, sadly, the United States finds itself on the wrong side of history, supporting those whom we once were sworn to defeat, while fighting against those whom we once called allies.

    I can’t help but think that Tom Brokow’s “Greatest Generation” would be ashamed by the actions of those for whom they sacrificed everything, and who have still proven insufficient for the task of honoring their memory in action and in deed.

    https://www.rt.com/russia/555114-victory-day-america-nazis/

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  8. It will be interesting to hear the reaction and response of the White House, Congress, and the Media to this. eh?

    Transcript of President of Russia Vladimir Putin’s Victory Day 2022 Speech:
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-09/full-transcript-here-s-russian-president-vladimir-putin-s-victory-day-speech

    Fellow Russian citizens,

    Dear veterans,

    Comrade soldiers and seamen, sergeants and sergeant majors, midshipmen and warrant officers,

    Comrade officers, generals and admirals,

    I congratulate you on the Day of Great Victory!

    The defence of our Motherland when its destiny was at stake has always been sacred. It was the feeling of true patriotism that Minin and Pozharsky’s militia stood up for the Fatherland, soldiers went on the offensive at the Borodino Field and fought the enemy outside Moscow and Leningrad, Kiev and Minsk, Stalingrad and Kursk, Sevastopol and Kharkov.

    Today, as in the past, you are fighting for our people in Donbass, for the security of our Motherland, for Russia.

    May 9, 1945 has been enshrined in world history forever as a triumph of the united Soviet people, its cohesion and spiritual power, an unparalleled feat on the front lines and on the home front.

    Victory Day is intimately dear to all of us. There is no family in Russia that was not burnt by the Great Patriotic War. Its memory never fades. On this day, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the heroes march in an endless flow of the Immortal Regiment. They carry photos of their family members, the fallen soldiers who remained young forever, and the veterans who are already gone.

    We take pride in the unconquered courageous generation of the victors, we are proud of being their successors, and it is our duty to preserve the memory of those who defeated Nazism and entrusted us with being vigilant and doing everything to thwart the horror of another global war.

    Therefore, despite all controversies in international relations, Russia has always advocated the establishment of an equal and indivisible security system which is critically needed for the entire international community.

    Last December we proposed signing a treaty on security guarantees. Russia urged the West to hold an honest dialogue in search for meaningful and compromising solutions, and to take account of each other’s interests. All in vain. NATO countries did not want to heed us, which means they had totally different plans. And we saw it.

    Another punitive operation in Donbass, an invasion of our historic lands, including Crimea, was openly in the making. Kiev declared that it could attain nuclear weapons. The NATO bloc launched an active military build-up on the territories adjacent to us.

    THUS, AN ABSOLUTELY UNACCEPTABLE THREAT TO US WAS STEADILY BEING CREATED RIGHT ON OUR BORDERS. THERE WAS EVERY INDICATION THAT A CLASH WITH NEO-NAZIS AND BANDERITES BACKED BY THE UNITED STATES AND THEIR MINIONS WAS UNAVOIDABLE.

    LET ME REPEAT, WE SAW THE MILITARY INFRASTRUCTURE BEING BUILT UP, HUNDREDS OF FOREIGN ADVISORS STARTING WORK, AND REGULAR SUPPLIES OF CUTTING-EDGE WEAPONRY BEING DELIVERED FROM NATO COUNTRIES. THE THREAT GREW EVERY DAY.

    RUSSIA LAUNCHED A PRE-EMPTIVE STRIKE AT THE AGGRESSION. IT WAS A FORCED, TIMELY AND THE ONLY CORRECT DECISION. A DECISION BY A SOVEREIGN, STRONG AND INDEPENDENT COUNTRY.

    THE UNITED STATES BEGAN CLAIMING THEIR EXCEPTIONALISM, PARTICULARLY AFTER THE COLLAPSE OF THE SOVIET UNION, THUS DENIGRATING NOT JUST THE ENTIRE WORLD BUT ALSO THEIR SATELLITES, WHO HAVE TO PRETEND NOT TO SEE ANYTHING, AND TO OBEDIENTLY PUT UP WITH IT. {EMPHASIS added.]

    But we are a different country. Russia has a different character. We will never give up our love for our Motherland, our faith and traditional values, our ancestors’ customs and respect for all peoples and cultures.

    Meanwhile, the West seems to be set to cancel these millennia-old values. Such moral degradation underlies the cynical falsifications of World War II history, escalating Russophobia, praising traitors, mocking their victims’ memory and crossing out the courage of those who won the Victory through suffering.

    We are aware that US veterans who wanted to come to the parade in Moscow were actually forbidden to do so. But I want them to know: We are proud of your deeds and your contribution to our common Victory.

    We honour all soldiers of the allied armies – the Americans, the English, the French, Resistance fighters, brave soldiers and partisans in China – all those who defeated Nazism and militarism.

    Comrades,

    Donbass militia alongside with the Russian Army are fighting on their land today, where princes Svyatoslav and Vladimir Monomakh’s retainers, solders under the command of Rumyantsev and Potemkin, Suvorov and Brusilov crushed their enemies, where Great Patriotic War heroes Nikolai Vatutin, Sidor Kovpak and Lyudmila Pavlichenko stood to the end.

    I am addressing our Armed Forces and Donbass militia. You are fighting for our Motherland, its future, so that nobody forgets the lessons of World War II, so that there is no place in the world for torturers, death squads and Nazis.

    Today, we bow our heads to the sacred memory of all those who lost their lives in the Great Patriotic War, the memories of the sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, grandfathers, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, relatives and friends.

    We bow our heads to the memory of the Odessa martyrs who were burned alive in the House of Trade Unions in May 2014, to the memory of the old people, women and children of Donbass who were killed in atrocious and barbaric shelling by neo-Nazis. We bow our heads to our fighting comrades who died a brave death in the righteous battle – for Russia.

    I declare a minute of silence.

    (A minute of silence.)

    The loss of each officer and soldier is painful for all of us and an irretrievable loss for the families and friends. The government, regional authorities, enterprises and public organisations will do everything to wrap such families in care and help them. Special support will be given to the children of the killed and wounded comrades-in-arms. The Presidential Executive Order to this effect was signed today.

    I wish a speedy recovery to the wounded soldiers and officers, and I thank doctors, paramedics, nurses and staff of military hospitals for their selfless work. Our deepest gratitude goes to you for saving each life, oftentimes sparing no thought for yourselves under shelling on the frontlines.

    Comrades,

    Soldiers and officers from many regions of our enormous Motherland, including those who arrived straight from Donbass, from the combat area, are standing now shoulder-to-shoulder here, on Red Square.

    We remember how Russia’s enemies tried to use international terrorist gangs against us, how they tried to seed inter-ethnic and religious strife so as to weaken us from within and divide us. They failed completely.

    Today, our warriors of different ethnicities are fighting together, shielding each other from bullets and shrapnel like brothers.

    This is where the power of Russia lies, a great invincible power of our united multi-ethnic nation.

    You are defending today what your fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers fought for. The wellbeing and security of their Motherland was their top priority in life. Loyalty to our Fatherland is the main value and a reliable foundation of Russia’s independence for us, their successors, too.

    Those who crushed Nazism during the Great Patriotic War showed us an example of heroism for all ages. This is the generation of victors, and we will always look up to them.

    Glory to our heroic Armed Forces!

    For Russia! For Victory!

    Hooray!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The pre-emptive strike. Israel has done it for many, many years, the US has now done it most famously in Iraq and now Putin puts it to use.

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  9. “About 15 years ago, I got involved in a heartfelt argument with a conservative friend about whether it was wise for this country to shrink its global presence, especially militarily. He saw us as a benevolent actor on the world stage. I saw us as overly ambitious, though not necessarily malevolent, as well as often misguided and in denial when it came to our flaws.”
    ____

    Surely Putin must realize that the West, including NATO, would never initiate a nuclear-weapons exchange. … But then, again, while Ronald Reagan postulated that “Of the four wars in my lifetime none came about because the U.S. was too strong,” who can know what may have historically come to fruition had the U.S. remained the sole possessor of atomic weaponry.

    There’s a presumptive, and perhaps even arrogant, concept of American leadership as somehow, unless directly militarily provoked, being morally/ethically above using nuclear weapons internationally. Cannot absolute power corrupt absolutely?

    After President Harry S. Truman relieved General Douglas MacArthur as commander of the forces warring with North Korea — for the latter’s remarks about using many atomic bombs to promptly end the war — Americans’ approval-rating of the president dropped to 23 percent. It was still a record-breaking low, even lower than the worst approval-rating points of the presidencies of Richard Nixon and Lyndon Johnson.

    Had it not been for the formidable international pressure on Truman (and perhaps his personal morality) to relieve MacArthur as commander, could/would Truman eventually have succumbed to domestic political pressure to allow MacArthur’s command to continue?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think Truman “the buck stops here” wouldn’t have succumbed to pressure. I also believe if we had allowed the 5 Star MacArthur to use tactical Nukes in Korea. We’d probably be speaking Russian, or Chinese right now imho. A good read is: Truman by David Mccullough

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  10. If we had NOT engaged in wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, etc., I wonder if our defense of Ukraine now might be more palatable?

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  11. I watched a very good 2 hour talk by Vladimir Posner, (not Putin) titled How the United States Created Vladimir Putin. Within this talk, Posner quoted from a book by Arthur Schlesinger Jr. that shows American hubris is nothing new.

    The quote is of Senator John Parker Hale (NH) said in 1850, after the European revolutions of 1848 had all been crushed. Hale envisioned a scenario as follows…

    “”The future historian might start off his chapter on the year 1850 in this manner: At the commencement of this year, the American Senate, the highest legislative body of the world, the wisest, greatest and most magnanimous people that ever lived or ever will live, forgetting and neglecting the trifling local affairs which concerned their own limits, constituted themselves into a high court and proceeded to try the nations of the earth for atrocious act of despotism.”

    Liked by 1 person

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