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FROM MY CORNER: America’s Contradictions

Howell Hurst Putin, Ukraine

The newly emerging argument between the Republicans and the Democrats about Ukraine is troubling. Billions of dollars to fight Jihadist guerilla war fanatics in Afghanistan was enthusiastically supported (or at least tolerated) by both parties.

Now, at least the most influential Republicans support this war because they see it for what it is: a battle to hold Putin’s world ambitions in check. Strange is the disconnected Republicans who don’t have the intellectual acuity to recognize its strategic necessity.

I would bet money that there might not be a single Republican who has read any of the several fine books that document the details of how Putin became Russia’s leader. (There might, also, not be a single Democrat who has done so either.)

Nonetheless, the Democrats currently find themselves totally in the position of being the Hawks while the Republicans are juggling a mixed membership – some Hawks, some Putin Appeasers. Some even thinking we can negotiate with him.

Friends of mine whom I tried to influence to read the brilliant book Putin’s People found it too detailed. Too many words, they said. That response describes the contradictory condition of Americans today: too busy watching TV or surfing the Net to educate themselves about Putin’s zealous dreams of glory.

The inability of American politicians (and the public) to educate themselves about Russia’s leader, even when his intentions have been clearly exposed in well-researched and well-written books, and draw rational conclusions from them, is discouraging.

It is as if American politicians and the public, immersed in the digital world, have actually lost their cognitive ability: their capacity to think rationally, logically. Cognition is the life-saving capacity of making decisions based on available facts to produce sensible solutions to problems. We seem to have misplaced a lot of that.

Putin’s war is not simply Ukraine’s war. It is the free world’s war. The reason for America to help fight it is to attempt to forestall Putin’s expanded world designs.

Unfortunately, the all too concrete symbolism of Ukraine to the free world’s leaders eludes the mental capacity of some to grasp it.

Allegedly Conservative Republicans seem to have become knee-jerk semi liberals. After agreeing to spend many billions of dollars against fanatic Guerilla Jihadists, they are now reluctant to spend a few billions against Putin. The Jihadists deserved the expenditure. They still deserve it.

But the relevant point about Putin is that his worldwide ambitions (unlike the Jihadists) attract the collaborative interest of both China and Iran, plus all international authoritarian leaders.

That is the conclusion those wandering Republicans need to recognize.

We don’t need a Left versus Right political civil war right now. If we can’t all recognize a Hitler-sized ambition by an admittedly militarily ill-prepared and egocentric Putin, we and the free world are all in trouble.

True, Putin’s ambitions are clearly bigger than his talent. He is neither a Hitler nor a Stalin. He is little more than a light-weight Kim Jung-Un: but with a larger country and, of course, his ace in the hole – too many nuclear weapons.

Any American politicians or citizens who do not recognize that Putin is an immensely dangerous character and seriously threatens the free world are delusional. America was complicit in creating the international political concept that nuclear weapons would prevent wars.

Putin is attacking the U.S. in Ukraine, threatening nuclear conflict. Ukraine is an issue where we must be united. That includes Republicans and Democrats. Liberals and Conservatives. Anyone who can’t figure that out has loose brain cogs.

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