The Ukraine Mess

I suspect that I’m not in favor of war anywhere.  Ukraine probably isn’t a bad spot for a war – it is a long way from my home.  Still, I keep remembering a comment that “Peace is an unusual state of affairs that we assume exists because there are times when the fighting is somewhere else.”  Don’t know who said it.

In a weird sort of way, I think I understand what motivates Putin.  He’s not quite three years younger than I, and he hails from a time when the planet had two first-rate powers – the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.  At the end of 1991, the USSR had fallen apart.  Eight years later, Putin was in charge of Russia . . . but Russia wasn’t even a second or third rate power.  Putin leads Russia with a memory of when Russia led the USSR and was a first rate power.  Now Russia is pretty much a fourth rate operation . . . but bringing the best parts of the Ukraine into Russia would, at the least, move his nation into a little more power – legitimately claiming at least a third-rate status.  Add in the leftover nukes and he’d be solidly up to second rate.

Iran is another fourth-rate power with memories of being first-rate long ago.  I suspect if the ayatollahs watched the 300, they’d be rooting for the Persians. 

And yet, I recall reading of the major presentation of the thirties – Smedley Butler, and his book/lecture War is a Racket.  There’s a Youtube video on Butler and his message, and I’m not sure that all of us shouldn’t listen to it once a year.  You can download his book at, you can hear the book read on youtube, and there is a youtube video.

Smedley Butler – Major General United States Marine Corps – two Medals of Honor – looked back at his career

“War, like any other racket, pays high dividends to the very few. The cost of operations is always transferred to the people who do not profit.”

“I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in.”

“A few profit – and the many pay. But there is a way to stop it. You can’t end it by disarmament conferences. You can’t eliminate it by peace parleys at Geneva. Well-meaning but impractical groups can’t wipe it out by resolutions. It can be smashed effectively only by taking the profit out of war.”

Smedley Butler

Someone – someone in our country – or maybe a group of someones – is making a lot of money supplying munitions and arms to Ukraine.

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