Why Ukraine Matters to America

by | Jan 20, 2022 |

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For nearly fifty years, from the end of World War II until 1992, millions of people in Eastern Europe endured the oppression and brutality of Communism, courtesy of the former Soviet Union.

For decades Soviet Russia maintained control over Poland, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Hungary, East Germany, Romania, the Baltic and Balkan countries, and all of the ‘Stans’ with an iron fist. Tolerating no dissent in those countries, and responding brutally if it occurred. Ask the Hungarians in 1956 and the Czechs in 1968.

In 1956 the Soviet Union sent troops and tanks to crush the Hungarian popular uprising, killing and wounding thousands of Hungarians. Roughly twelve years later, when Czechoslovakia’s ‘Prague Spring’ offered reforms and a liberalization of government policies and control, the Warsaw Pact, under the direction of the Soviet Union, once again asserted their control. And once again crushed a freedom movement taking place in Czechoslovakia, killing and wounding hundreds of Czechs.

The United States and the West vocally protested these actions, but did little else. NATO basically stood idly by and watched both the Hungarian and the Czech freedom movements collapse under the might of Soviet Russia.

In 1992 the brutal communist regime in the Soviet Union finally collapsed. The Russian people, as well as the former Soviet Bloc countries, had simply had enough. Following the Soviet collapse, the former Eastern European countries who had lived under Soviet control for decades chose freedom and the West over maintaining a strategic relationship with the ‘new’ Russia.

In the years since the fall of the Soviet Union, most of those former Soviet Satellites have strengthened their ties with the West, including a number of them joining NATO as member nations.

Ukraine, which shares a border with Russia, also began to assert its independence from its former masters in Moscow, and reached out more and more to the West—openly discussing the possibility of joining the European Union and even NATO membership.

To understand what is going on right now with the Russian threats to invade Ukraine, one must understand Vladimir Putin. Putin’s former association with the KGB, the brutal Soviet secret police and intelligence agency, is well known. But above all, Putin considers himself a Russian Patriot. He was severely stung by the collapse of the Soviet Union and what he perceived as gloating on the part of American politicians and others in the West. Putin set it as his primary goal to get payback for what he viewed as the insults that were levied against Mother Russia.

I recall at the time commenting that we needed to tone it down, and even extend a welcoming hand to Russia and help them modernize and become a valued ally. Helping Russia transition from communism to freedom and a market-based economy wasn’t just in Russia’s best interest, it was also in our best interest.

But we didn’t. We bragged about how we defeated the Soviet Union without firing a single shot—ignoring the fact that tens of thousands of Americans died fighting in proxy wars in other parts of the world against the Soviets.

So why does it matter to Americans what happens in Ukraine?

It matters to me because, as Americans, we have always tried to portray ourselves as the beacon of freedom in the world. We’ve been willing to go to war to protect and preserve our own liberties, and have fought to spread the message of freedom around the planet.

Ukraine was listening. Do we turn our backs on Ukraine, just as we did Czechoslovakia and Hungary in years past? Do we stand up for freedom, whenever and wherever it tries to break away and rise up from oppression? Or do we simply throw away the decades and lives we invested in defeating the Soviet Union, only to see it rise once again?

While I am certainly not advocating sending our young men and women in the military off to fight in another foreign war, I believe it’s important that we show Ukraine, the rest of the world, and especially Vladimir Putin that as a nation, America is still strong. Still determined to promote freedom. And still willing to stand up to Russian aggression.

There should be no limit to the support we give Ukraine with intelligence and military equipment. Whatever it takes short of boots on the ground to help them defend themselves against Russia, and to make Vladimir Putin feel the pain of any invasion.

Why? Because Ukraine matters. If for no other reason than they stand alone against Russia, and they shouldn’t be standing alone.

Del Wilber

Del is a former under cover employee of the Central Intelligence Agency serving overseas in Eastern and Western Europe, and the Middle East. He currently does consulting work in counterterrorism and writes columns, as well as appears as a guest on a number of programs.

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Jack Bergeron
Jack Bergeron
3 months ago

Over a million Americans have sacrificed and died not only to obtain our own independence and freedom, but also the independence and freedom of strangers to us in foreign lands. Today our nation, our God given rights and freedoms are under grave assault from within. Sadly our elected political leaders have run roughshod over our Constitution by vastly overstepping the limited enumerated powers granted to the federal government by the Constitution. In addition many are pursuing an agenda of globalization at the expense of our rights and freedom. In so doing they have dishonored and disgraced the sacrifices made by those many Americans. We no longer have statesmen, patriots loyal to our founding principals, but rather leaders intent on securing power, self-aggrandizement and unrealistic Utopian dreams. While I sympathize with the people of Ukraine I do not believe we can realistically support their struggle when we are trashing ourselves here.

LysanderS
LysanderS
3 months ago

Since the Democrats, operating from their power base in the US Deep State (of which the CIA has always been the hub), employed massive and blatant electoral fraud to usurp power from President Trump in 2020, disenfranchising the vast American majority who voted for him, and have since followed that up by the through corruption of all US agencies, including the medical profession and the military, and imposing draconian censorship on all mainstream media outlets, including social media, it is in our country that the final extinction of human freedom is most gravely threatened.

Furthermore, the author of this article seems never to have read the Constitution and studied the history of its formation and adoption, or he would know that it is a document by which the sovereign individuals of America, through their state governments, delegate certain specified powers to a federal agency, among which is the duty to provide for the national DEFENSE, and provides no warrant whatsoever for the foreign military adventurism and neo-imperialism that has driven American foreign policy since outgoing President (and General of the Armies) Eisenhower warned us to keep a tight rein on the military-industrial complex.

Unfortunately, our meddling in the Ukraine, the Middle East, and assorted other shithole countries, has instead become the chief threat to our national security, but antagonizing potential allies (like post-Soviet Russia) and stirring up and emboldening natural enemies (like the Muslim fanatics that also threaten Russia), and China, which is bent on world conquest and is now our deadly enemy.

There is no more basic task of national defense than the defense of our borders, but the present illegitimate Biden regime has been admitting and subsidizing illegal aliens by the hundreds of thousands and seeding them in heartland areas where they will augment the tallies of unqualified and non-existent Democrat voters.

Most worrisome of all is that Russia not only still has the capacity to incinerate us through retained nuclear weapons, but can now deliver them via hypersonic missiles that our corrupt, incompetently run, but all too woke, military establishment has no answer for.

The very last thing any patriotic American should be doing now is supporting further meddling in the Ukraine or anywhere else. We are going to need all of our energies and resources, and all of our courage just to fight tyranny at home.

wyomingkid
wyomingkid
Reply to  LysanderS
3 months ago

A fair number of the founders, thoughtful men all, signed on to a document which stated the purpose of their new nation with the words “…in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity”. They were not such egotistical fools as to think it the purpose of this nation to reform or perfect the world. And as you know, a certain Mr. Franklin of Pennsylvania expressed some doubt we could even live up to the limited goals stated in the famous document to which he was a signatory.

wyomingkid
wyomingkid
Reply to  LysanderS
3 months ago

One last point. Using the term ‘the Ukraine’ is like using the term ‘the Russia’, or ‘the Italy’. It was a usage much favored by the Russians since Czarist times and even more so after the coming of the Bolshis. Ukraine is not a region.It is the homeland of people nominally Christianized and civilized hundreds of years prior to the Muskovites and with a language and culture distinct, though related to their northwestern neighbors. It is a peasant language and culture and survives in spite of centuries of violent oppression the Russians and betrayal by the high and mighty of Kiev.

Of mild curiosity is that the BBC always used ‘the Ukraine’ in their lying broadcasts and only grudgingly changed after 1991. And I suggest Lysander, you never want to be like the BBC.

wyomingkid
wyomingkid
Reply to  wyomingkid
3 months ago

*northeastern neighbors*

Jack Bergeron
Jack Bergeron
3 months ago

A few more thoughts on this subject.

As a nation the United States presently cannot defend it’s own southern border from foreign invaders. If we can’t do it here on our soil, then we shouldn’t be doing it elsewhere.

I admire Putin for his patriotism. We desperately need patriotic leaders here; men and women who believe in our founding principles of God given individual rights, freedom and limited government and are willing to sacrifice their fortunes and lives to defend and uphold these principles.

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