As I was reading an article about Ukraine in the New York Times a few days ago, I could not help but grimace. It detailed how very elderly people in towns on the front lines in the Russia-Ukraine war are insisting on staying put. At their ages, they would rather face the prospect of death than vacate the homes in which they have expected to Iive the rest of their lives. As the article describes it:
Ukraine’s elderly are often the only people who remain along the country’s hundreds of miles of front line. Some waited their entire lives to enjoy their twilight years, only to have been left in a purgatory of loneliness. Homes built with their own hands are now crumbling walls and blown-out windows, with framed photographs of loved ones living far away. Some people have already buried their children, and their only wish is to stay close so they can be buried next to them.
This comes on the heels of another article I read from the Wall Street Journal that details how Ukraine’s front-line troops are getting older, given the fact that so many young men have been killed in the war or escaped the country to avoid the war. As a 47-year-old rifleman named Dubok, who was grabbed off the streets and conscripted into military service, put it, “Physically, I can’t handle this. I’m deeply disappointed that I’m no longer 20.”
There is an important thing to keep in mind about this war and all of its death, suffering, and destruction: It is the U.S. government, and specifically the national-security branch of the government (i.e., the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA), that is at the root of it.
Remember: This war is not about freedom, as U.S. and Ukrainian officials have maintained from the beginning. It’s about Ukraine’s right to join NATO, an old Cold War dinosaur that should have gone out of existence at the end of the Cold War.
At the end of the Cold War, U.S. officials promised Russia that NATO would stay where it was and not move eastward. Once Russian troops vacated Eastern Europe, U.S. officials broke their promise. The Pentagon began using NATO to move eastward toward Russia’s borders, absorbing former members of the Warsaw Pact in the process.
U.S. officials knew exactly how Russia would react to their NATO scheme. Every time that a new Eastern country was absorbed into NATO, Russia would object because it meant that NATO’s missiles, forces, and tanks could be based ever closer to Russia’s borders. Keep in mind, after all, that NATO includes Germany, the nation that invaded Russia in World War II, where it unleashed an unimaginable campaign of massive death and destruction.
It was with Ukraine that Russia set its “red line.” While Russia did nothing to prevent the absorption of other nations except object, it made it clear that if NATO threatened to absorb Ukraine, Russia would invade to prevent the absorption. That’s how U.S. officials knew that Russia would invade Ukraine once NATO threatened to absorb the country. It’s wasn’t because of some much-vaunted Pentagon/CIA intelligence operation. It was because that’s what Russia had said it would do.
So, why did the Pentagon and the CIA pull a trigger that they knew would launch a vicious, deadly, and destructive war between Russia and Ukraine? Because they wanted such a war, just like when they provoked the Soviets into invading Afghanistan in 1979. They figured that they could “degrade” Russia — and possibly even secure regime change in Russia — by getting tens of thousands of Russian troops killed, maimed, or injured, which, of course, brought unfathomable grief to countless Russian families. No one can deny that they have succeeded in this endeavor. The death, suffering, destruction, and grief, however, has also extended to the Ukrainian people.
None of this was necessary. If NATO had been dismantled at the end of the Cold War, the Pentagon and the CIA would have had no means to provoke the Russia-Ukraine war. All those dead and injured people, both Russian and Ukrainian, would be alive today. All those elderly Ukrainian people on the front lines would not be wondering if today will be the day that the Pentagon-CIA-induced war will snuff out their lives.