Some will answer, "Oh, no," but I'm not so sure.
The U.S. isn't just war-weary. It's weakened by economic woes and debt. Some say that was the plan.
That was at least part of the scenario that led to WW II: American financial-market follies (not necessarily brought about by Americans, but brought about via the American financial marketplace) causing both American and world-wide economic woes, social unrest, and militarization.
"Funny money," my dad called it. Are we seeing a repeat?
But as huge a factor as that is . . . If the Russians want to own Ukraine, who'll stop them? Even if the U.S. was economically—i.e. militarily—strong, I believe it's obvious that only our willingness to back up "sanctions" and "condemnations" with significant military action—the mobilization of entire fleets and armies—will make a difference. I mean, yeah, the U.S. has "peaceful" options; but so does Russia, and they carry weight. So if the U.S. responds "peacefully" and Russia does in kind, we should anticipate the next level: a shooting war with Russia that would inevitably involve most of the world.
Comes to mind a variation on Dirty Harry's famous incantation: seeing as the Ukraine is right next to Russia, and Russia can and demonstrably will bring its formidable military might to bear on whomever gets in its way, and seeing as Russia's formidable military might is "powerful enough to blow our heads clean off with just one shot," we have to ask ourselves: "do we feel lucky?"
Well, do we? Have we thought this through? Should we even bother, or are we comfortable with dismissing that scenario as "against the rules"?
Well, not to burst anybody's bubble, but all wars are "against the rules."
Russia isn't Afghanistan, Iraq, or even Iran. The Russian army, navy, air force and marines aren't rag-tag terrorist groups that can hurt us only by covertly infiltrating our borders, destroying a couple of big buildings, and killing 3,000 people (although they'd surely do that and much worse, too). The U.S. can't largely contain them in far-off lands, and by golly, like Secretary of State Kerry said (although he might not have meant it this way) this isn't WW II in the 1940s. This is the 21st century, and Russia, and its Caribbean, South/Central American, African, and possibly Chinese sympathizers, with military capabilities that match our own, and from which the oceans won't protect us.
How would the U.S. fair in an all-out shooting war with Russia? How easy would it be for such a formidable military power to eliminate, by attacking and destroying our extremely fragile, vulnerable, domestic infrastructure, not only our capability but our will to fight such a war? How hard would it be for the U.S. to hurt Russia the same way? At the speed today's weapons and military tactics allow, it would all be over before we even had a chance to adjust: a month, maybe two at the most. Would we "win" and, if we did, what would the domestic aftermath look like?
Think of America with its electrical grid destroyed. (If I fought a war against this country, that's what I'd do first: paralyze it.)
That's a possible scenario we're casually talking about here. Cast aside all the talk about "sanctions" and "condemnations." We're talking about the possibility of war against an opponent that can and most assuredly will destroy the lifestyle we've all come to take for granted. We cannot simply declare it does not exist. So, are we ready to embrace the possibility?
It occurs to me. I'm talking dirty: saying things in public I'm not supposed to say. Somebody's going to come to my door with a bar of soap and stern remonstrations. People wagged their fingers at Mitt Romney for using this kind of language, but I'm not Mitt Romney.
Look at the bigger, strategic picture. The U.S. has established a huge military presence in the Middle East, Southern Asia, and Northern Africa, against the will of many of those who live in those lands, and certainly without Russia's blessing.
Yeah, okay, the U.S.S.R. dissolved. But Russians aren't cowed. They're likely looking at U.S. actions and figuring they'd better make their own moves. They're big and strong, and they have the stones to make their moves, just like the U.S. Just 70 years ago, the formidable Nazi Wehrmacht sought to starve Russia. Under almost unimaginably brutal conditions, Russia responded by systematically eating the formidable Nazi Wehrmacht for breakfast. I'd say that, no, the U.S.S.R.'s dissolution hasn't cowed the Russians at all and, yes, Romney, Palin and others were absolutely right. (Maybe—for all we know—Obama and others privately hoped and are glad they were, too).
We believe we're "the good guys," and maybe we are but—as Romney, Palin and others have observed—Russians likely don't agree; they're our adversaries, and we're theirs. Russians are not warmly supportive of and happy about U.S. activities in the last 20 years.
Consider: the U.S. president is using drones to pick off foreign and even American citizens—both guilty and innocent—like it's a video game. (He has a $7 million, heavily armored, heavily guarded "car" in which to ride, and vast, heavily supplied, reinforced subterranean bunkers in which to hide, and to live, by the way.) How does that sit with Russians? Do we care?
Obviously, we'd better care. Disbelieve little old me, if you'd like, but Romney, Palin and others have said as much, too.
Beyond that, Russia has its own energy supply and could cut off a large part of the European Union's energy supply. As well, as the climate warms (for whatever reason), Siberia's vast mineral deposits become more and more available. Russian citizens are already used to the lower standard of living that war's sacrifices require, while U.S. citizens do not accept such sacrifices so readily. Moreover, Obama has choked U.S. domestic energy, dramatically increased debt to crippling levels, stymied economic growth, and left Canadian oil for the Chinese. He's even been changing the U.S. military: replacing commanders, cutting its budget, and changing its policies.
He even has an "army"—that's the word—of poor people to fight and die for . . . well, for whatever. (It's happened before. In the early 1900s, the U.S. got an "army" of desperately poor immigrants, my grandparents among them. Simultaneously, we had Russia's revolution and expansion, communism's rise here and in Europe, and WW I. Then came China's revolution and expansion, the Great Depression, Nationally Socialist Germany, Imperial Japan, WW II, and global realignment.)
An aside: I have to qualify this. I don't think our current events are all "Obama's agenda." I'd not give him the credit. But if such an agenda exists—if some "vast conspiracy" is engineering war, which is what I'm at least suggesting here, whether I originally intended to or not—I'd say Obama's part of it. He's faithfully playing his role, part of which is speaking to an entirely different perspective.
This isn't a game. Whether we believe it or not, we're talking about the genuine likelihood of a shooting war with Russia over its occupation of the Ukraine and, yes, barring U.S. military action, maybe other countries, too, until we're forced to act militarily. Maybe it will come to that: a veritable WW III which, unlike WW II, would likely take place at least partly on U.S. soil. Maybe it starts now.
Pardon me for raining on this scintillating discussion's parade, if that's what I'm doing, but I think we should be aware of that as we discuss how the U.S. responds to Russia's actions in Ukraine. We should be aware that the days when the U.S. can wage war against the likes of Russia and its allies—some no doubt on our soil—from within the security of its own borders are gone. If we confront Russia, Russia will respond, and its "options" go far beyond "sanctions" and "condemnations."
If we're willing to risk our lifestyles, well fine then; let's go for it. But we should at least be aware that, when we talk about confronting Russia, that's what we're talking about: proverbially "betting" the proverbial "farm."
I don't know; maybe such a conflict is necessary, as fatalistic as that sounds. This world has a lot of "bad blood" in it; various factions that've been picking at each other, bickering, and trying to control each other via peaceful—or at least relatively blood-shed free—means for several decades. Maybe—as Limbaugh kept crowing yesterday on the AM radio—the world is controlled by the aggressive use of force, and nothing short of an overt, widespread military conflict will settle things.
Maybe it's time we all had a John-Wayne-movie, barroom free-for-all, and just wrecked everything, to settle things. Arrrr . . .
But after it was over, we wouldn't just turn off our televisions and sleep comfortably and securely in our nice, warm beds. Such a conflict would likely bring about "the end of the world as we know it," dramatically rearrange international borders, and likely bring about a controlling global authority. It might reside in U.S. banks and financial markets, but it wouldn't be American.
Now that I think of it, a massive shooting war—"WW III,"—would probably suit some people just fine, and relatively recent history suggests that the ingredients for it are aligning themselves now.