On Christmas Eve eve, the stylist cutting my hair asked what I was doing for Christmas.
“Oh,” I said, “I’m trying to write something that’ll talk us out of war with Russia. I feel like as soon as these holidays are over, we’re going to war.”
“Hmm,” she replied, not caught as off-guard as I’d have thought. “You’re not the first person today to talk about that.”
“Really?” Now I was caught off-guard. After all, most folks (especially at Christmas) tend to have other things on their minds besides foreign policy. “Was it someone from another country?” I asked. She shook her head.
“An American?” I was puzzled. She nodded.
“Oh,” I epiphanized. “Military?” Another nod. “What did they say?” I asked.
“That there’s gonna be a war. Early in the year. He’s high up in the Air Force and told me he’s been traveling, selling/transferring weapons to the Marines; said they need it the most.”
“And this is for a war with Russia?” I double-checked.
“Yep. Don’t quote me or anything. I mean, I just met the guy, but my boyfriend has known him for 35 years and he basically said the military is preparing for war, and it’s going to be a world war.”
My blood ran cold. Everything I’ve been working to avoid, particularly these last two years through a monthly Washington Times column, was about to be actualized.
I looked at my perpetually disheveled self in the mirror, at my dog-rescuer t-shirt, and muttered, “What’s the point of saving this or that dog when we’re about to get them all nuked anyway?” I thought of Russia’s poor creatures too and of my mother’s friend Sveta, the 1969 women’s table tennis world champion, who now tends to Moscow’s strays.
The stylist brightened. “Hey, my daughter is studying to be a vet tech in college!” I could barely muster a “That’s great.”
“Your hair looks so cute now! Look how it bounced right up. Wanna see the back?”
I wasn’t even aware of the large hand-held mirror she’d thrust toward me, waiting for me to grab it. I took it limply and stared but could see only black in front of my eyes.
So a nation collapsing unto itself before all the world is about to do what all the clichés tell it to do: distract and unite the herd with war.
It’s the Clinton Yugoslavia distraction from Lewinsky-Broaddrick—on steroids. Atomic ones. Yugoslavia is a country that no longer exists. The Washingtonians and their pent-up henchmen/masters running our military seek the same status for Russia. It’s all there in Washington’s eternal godfather Zbigniew Brzezinski’s book The Grand Chessboard.
I somehow managed to drive to my mother’s house. I told her that, come the new year, we were going to war over Ukraine, the last straw for Russia of NATO’s voracious expansion.
“Over Ukraine?!” she sneered in Russian. “Listen, Russia is a crappy country, but a crappier country is Ukraine. For Ukraine to be a ‘vital ally,’ you’d have to have no friends at all.”
This comes from a woman of Ukrainian-Jewish blood who, like a lot of Soviet emigrés, has always relished Russia getting even what it doesn’t have coming. Her revulsion for the place extends to these shores—she calls immigrants with still too much Russia in them (and she can spot them a mile away) “nedoyehovshiye,” or not-fully-arrived. As if they’re still on the plane somewhere between Russia and America.
My Odessa-raised father shared her undying hatred for the Soviet Union, where at six years old he gazed out at the Black Sea and asked my grandfather, “How might one get away from this place?” The look in my parents’ eyes when American liberals would defend the USSR, often with “But you had the Hermitage!” convinced me of every human being’s potential to kill.
In other words, I was raised a bona fide Russophobe. But the anti-Russia hysteria that has engulfed our confederacy of dunces is ridiculous—and very dangerous.
An emergency NATO meeting on Russia was held January 7, ahead of last week’s European security negotiations. Could it be all for show, pageantry for a fix that’s already in? We’ve done it before, in 1999 going through the motions with Belgrade at the Rambouillet Accords before bombing it. That was the last time our government, media, military, and public were this aligned on an issue. For months, Ukrainian soldiers have been on the move with great confidence against a much stronger neighbor, as if war were a foregone conclusion. What do they know that we don’t?
Headlines from the talks have been uniformly downbeat, lowering expectations and narrowing options outside of war. Secretary of State Antony Blinken briefed the press that “We’re prepared to respond forcefully to further Russian aggression.” He promised “massive . . . economic, financial and other consequences.” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg came closest to spilling the beans, saying we needed to “be prepared for the possibility that diplomacy will fail.” According to Politico, he “was cryptic when pressed for details.”
Naturally, we’re projecting such tactics onto our target, with an ABC report characterizing Russia’s insistence on being taken seriously—after decades of eye-poking by us—as Vladimir Putin “seeking a pretext for war.” American officials’ “concern is that the Russians will emerge . . . declaring that diplomacy has failed,” a New York Times article read, “and that Mr. Putin will . . . carry out cyber [attacks on] Kyiv.” Lo and behold, the talks ended and Reuters informed us of “Ukraine suffering a massive cyberattack.”
Yet they call it “Russian paranoia” when Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu asks what the United States was smuggling into Donetsk the week before—apparently “containers with unknown chemical components.” As if convenient and sudden chemical attacks by our designated enemies haven’t been the M.O. when United States protégés are involved. Should we brace ourselves for some sort of “incident” that could scuttle all diplomatic and economic approaches, and “necessitate” war? No, thanks to our media dutifully citing Ukrainian military intelligence, we’re to expect only provocations being prepared by Russian special services. “Russia may try to fabricate a pretext for an invasion of Ukraine,” reports Reuters citing our own trusty intelligence agencies.
So even if Joe Biden was “hopeful” last month and ruled out U.S. military action over Ukraine, some things are as out of his hands as they were out of President Trump’s. Meanwhile, any attempt to avert World War III is pounced on by Republicans as Biden caving to Putin. Witness Senator Ted Cruz’s (R-Texas) reaction last week to an NBC headline (called inaccurate anyway by NSC spokeswoman Emily Horne) that read, “Biden admin weighs proposing cuts to U.S. troops in Eastern Europe.” Cruz tweeted, “If Biden was trying to signal weakness & surrender to Putin, what would he be doing differently?”
We’re supposed to believe that the current crisis started with Russia’s troop buildup and draft treaty demanding security guarantees, such as no staging of weaponry in the newer NATO states (states we had promised Mikhail Gorbachev would never become NATO states). In fact, these are a response not only to NATO advancing on Russia over the last two decades, but as the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs outlined last month in a protest letter, “The US military and its NATO allies have gone from attempts to test the strength of our border protection system to provocations against civilian aircraft . . . US and NATO military aircraft [have been] flying without radio communication or flight plans and failing to obtain air traffic control clearances . . . which violates basic principles of international air navigation.”
Russia’s military buildup is an attempt to be heard, to underscore the seriousness of what we’ve been doing there. Russia has been trying to tell us it has nowhere to which it can retreat. “We are not deploying our missiles over at the border of the US,” a Sky News report quoted Putin as saying. “The US is deploying its missiles . . . on the doorstep of our house. . . . And you keep demanding some guarantees from us. You must give us the guarantees.” The Russian leader recalled that in the 1990s Russia did much to build good relations with the United States. “He added that CIA advisers were able to visit Russian military nuclear sites . . . ‘What else did you need? Why did you have to support the terrorists in the North Caucasus . . . to reach your goals and break down the Russian federation?’”
But we don’t talk to prey. That’s why, days later, there was still no response from the State Department to the letter about our illegal air maneuvers. And it’s why our political class scoffs at the idea of giving any heed to Putin’s terms, practically everyone calling his proposal a “nonstarter,” despite his conditions essentially being an opportunity for us to unbreak our promises and show some integrity as the good-guy winner of the Cold War.
“Not gonna happen,” former CIA Director Leon Panetta recently swaggered on “Meet the Press.” Then Representative Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), as if we haven’t been encircling Russia, deaf-toned with “If they do invade . . . we will move more NATO assets closer to Russia.” How much closer can we get? Russia is damned if it does, and damned if it doesn’t.
As with Bosnia, our politicians are being egged on by the press. Reporters goaded Biden during his June summit with Putin, and last month Chuck Todd told former Ukraine ambassador Bill Taylor, “I worry that we have not given [Putin] consequences. He messed with Georgia, not a lot of consequences. He took Crimea, not a lot of consequences.”
Oh yes, the Putin of our imaginations just “messes with” neighbors. He invaded Georgia just because he wanted to, and not because we gave Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili the nod to invade South Ossetia; then Putin up and “took” Crimea, surely not because our Soros-sponsored operatives helped stage a Ukrainian coup against the Moscow-friendly government of Viktor Yanukovych, spurring a Crimean referendum that chose Russia. These events facilely enter the American lexicon as “Russian aggression,” such that right now Putin is about to “invade Ukraine” just because and not because we’ve been amping up Ukraine’s war preparations, practically buzzing Russian planes, or going on fly-alongs with trespassing British ships (see the HMS “Defender” incident). That’s without mentioning our performing military exercises on Putin’s borders, stoking his neighbors’ alienation of him, or liquidating nearby Yugoslavia, where America’s second-largest from-scratch military base promptly went up..
Provoke a reaction from the strawman, then start the clock for the public at the point of the reaction. It’s our Yugoslavia M.O. again. Watch for acts of self-defense in the early days of the war to be used as retroactive proof of hostility, where it had been missing in “hacking”; “bounties on Americans in Afghanistan”; “election meddling”; “electric-grid tampering,” and every other concoction against Russia that’s fallen apart.
“Look what Russia is doing!” we’ll scream as we continue on with our gushing, unifying, politically correct hatred of Vlad the Paler and consume a glut of Russian-villain TV and film, instead of understanding that it’s our government that’s brought us to the brink of Armageddon. After all, if they can do to us what they’ve been doing these past two years, why would we think they wouldn’t subject us to potential thermonuclear war? Our expendability is now a known quantity.
Is this where anyone thought we’d be 15 years after Putin was on hand in Bayonne, New Jersey at the groundbreaking of the 100-foot September 11 monument that Russia gave us? “It is not every day that the president of Russia comes to visit a blue collar New Jersey town,” the New York Times coverage read, “but here he was, Vladimir Putin . . . clasping hands with the mayor, and speaking of Russia’s ‘unity’ with the United States.”
Even conservatives, usually more immune to propaganda, don’t recognize they’ve been conditioned by a protracted, skewed presentation of events. So Putin doesn’t even get points for warning against Wokeism, nor for vocalizing that January 6 prisoners are victims of political persecution and reeducation? In case some do give him points, trusted luminaries such as National Review editor Rich Lowry are there to keep us on track to war. “Vladimir Putin Shouldn’t Be a Right-Wing Hero,” read his headline in Politico last month. Russian-born libertarian columnist Cathy Young beat him to it in 2013 with the Boston Globe column “Vladimir Putin is no Ally for the Right.” At the same time, the Right’s taunts that our effeminate military can’t win wars have likely gotten under the skin of our military brass and given them something to prove. “And what better way to do that than to kill people,” Tucker Carlson recently quipped. Add our “dangerously angry” American public, and the pressure cooker needs a release. Russia is the proverbial It.
So will the by-now anti-Russian Right unite behind Biden’s America at war? Sure. They’ll be glad to fit in for a moment with the lobotomized, left-molded mainstream, and show they can eschew partisanship when it’s “truly important” (watch for those op-eds), not stopping to question whether an administration that has all but dehumanized them is fighting a war for us, or for itself.
Indeed, a war with Russia would fix everything: show strength, distract, and unite. Russia makes for the perfect target: the public is already primed against it; there are no ethnic tripwires; and we’re not economically dependent on it as with China. Which is why, as former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe complained to Maria Bartiromo in late 2020, when he would brief Congress on election security threats posed by China, Russia and others, lawmakers would immediately start leaking just the Russia parts. And it’s why Joint Chiefs Chairman General Mark Milley said in a 2015 interview, “I consider Russia the number-one threat to the United States . . . Russia is the only country on earth that has the capability to destroy the United States of America. . . . China is not an enemy. They are . . . developing themselves into a great power.”
As we know, in 2020 Milley phoned China behind President Trump’s back, to reassure his counterpart that we weren’t planning an attack. “If we’re going to attack,” he said, “It’s not going to be a surprise.” But China may have a surprise for him. The memory of China’s NATO-bombed embassy in our last Eastern European war of convenience isn’t so distant, so no doubt President Xi Jinping and Putin have gamed out what happens in the event of a NATO attack on Russia. Ironically, our inability to forgive Russia’s abandonment of communism and return to Christianity has pushed it into an alliance with today’s most powerful communist regime, one that we do fear jabbing.
Only Russia can destroy America, say America’s destroyers. Have they missed 2020-21? And yet, these past two years of COVID that we complain so bitterly about may turn out to have been a reprieve, a comparative quiet before the storm. We naively ask for a better 2022, when things really could get even darker. The overgrown boys with four stars on their lapels are eager to play with their explosive toys and there’s nothing we can do about it.
But the powerful are prone to forgetting who’s actually in control. They consistently forget that they live in a diorama and are themselves mere figurines who, along with their high-tech death machinery, can be folded like paper at the Creator’s whim. They don’t have the right to destroy His diorama, and He may have sent emissaries to prevent it. Last year, the all-mighty Pentagon formally admitted to the existence of UFOs, to their constant presence since the dawn of the nuclear age, and to their recent crescendo. Early last month, TMZ and others broadcast footage from above Chino Hills, California, of what has been called a “swarm” of UFOs. One senses that such a display at this time isn’t mere coincidence. Nukes have gone offline mysteriously before. For now, however, we can only plead futilely, like victims to their killers, “Washington, you don’t have to do this.”