by Randolph T. Holhut
Chief of American Reporter Correspondents
February 5, 2015
U.S. FLIRTS WITH WORLD WAR III BY JUMPING INTO UKRAINIAN CIVIL WAR
DUMMERSTON, Vt. -- The current civil war in Ukraine that began in the fall of 2013 could get a lot worse if the Obama Administration goes through with a proposal to send about $3 billion in weapons and military equipment to the Ukrainian Army.
The U.S. and NATO-backed Ukrainian Army have been battling Russian-based rebels in the east of the country ever since last year's U.S--engineered ouster of Viktor Yanukovych, the democratically-elected president of a divided Ukraine.
The western half of Ukraine wouldn't mind closer ties with the European Union. The eastern half would rather be linked to Russia, the nation to which it has longstanding ties. This disagreement is at the center of the current conflict.
President Obama is being egged on by the neocons who have been itching for a fight with Russia - many of them the same fools that lied our nation into an illegal and immoral invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Never mind that the United States still has its hands full with military engagements of varying sizes in the Middle East, Central America, Africa, the Philippines, South Korea and Pakistan, to go with full-fledged wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Who in their right mind thinks that trying to pick a fight with a nuclear-armed country is a good idea? Especially a nation that vanquished two conquering armies - Napoleon's in 1812 and Hitler's in 1941 - in the very spot that the U.S. military blithely thinks it can prevail again.
And the nuclear spectre is not a far-fetched fantasy. The use of "tactical" nuclear weapons if conventional warfare got too heavy was long been part of the battle strategies of both NATO and the Warsaw Pact during the Cold War.
Whomever fires first could set off a chain reaction that could escalate into a nuclear war no one wins. And if you think the Russians wouldn't use nuclear weapons of any type, don't forget that 40 million Russian soldiers and civilians died in World War II in defense of their motherland.
Last February, the United States backed a bunch of far-right thugs to overthrow Yanukovych because he refused to accept having a closer relationship with the European Union in exchange for harsh structural economic "reforms" that went along with the deal. By contrast, Russia offered a $15 billion loan and discounted natural gas.
The unpopular and deeply corrupt Yanukovych was no prize, but he paid the price for defying the West as "regime change" took place with the help of the United States - except dressed up to look like a spontaneous democratic uprising.
Those who have been actively vilifying Russian President Vladimir Putin forget that the Ukrainian conflict is the direct result of the United States reneging on the deal that then-U.S. President George H.W. Bush made with his Soviet counterpart, Mikhail Gobachev: If the Soviet Union would let go of the Warsaw Pact and supported the reunification of Germany, the Soviets would not have to worry about NATO moving into the former Warsaw Pact nations of Eastern Europe.
NATO is now at Russia's doorstep, and Russia is not pleased about it.
As I wrote last year at about this time, when you hear someone saying we need to be "tough" against Russia, remember these points: neither the EU nor the United States is in a position to take over for Russia in providing economic aid to Ukraine; the government that is now in control of Ukraine has zero legitimacy; and, most Americans do not want a war with Russia.
It is well to remember that it is a lot easier to start a war than it is is to end one, and that once a war begins, no matter its size, it's hard to control the tide of battle. That is the great unlearned lesson from the 20th Century. Will it come back to haunt us in Ukraine?
AR's Chief of Correspondents, Randolph T. Holhut, holds an M.P.A. from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and has been an award-winning journalist in New England for more than 30 years. He edited "The George Seldes Reader" (Barricade Books). He can be reached at email@example.com.