One Man’s Opinion: There Are NO Chickens in Kyiv

As we celebrate this 246th anniversary of the birth of our nation, a bunch of plucky colonists breaking away from at the time the world’s largest and strongest military empire, it is easy to draw parallels with the struggle underway in Ukraine with its neighbor and older sibling, Mother Russia.  Watching regularly but from afar, I have come to the decided conclusion that there are no chickens in Kyiv.

And though American history books do not focus on this aspect of that conflict, we were in that battle far from alone.  The French provided funding, some weapons, and the occasional shipping blockade to tie up strategic supply lines, and certain French peers joined the front lines, like Lieutenant General Lafayette.   German Hessian troops, which we might in more modern times refer to as mercenaries or even “black ops” were brought in to complement our rag-tag Colonial forces.  Baron Von DeKalb for which my home county and others are named was German-born and French-trained military.  Even many of the native American tribes, whose land we had plundered and whose people we would later both relocate and massacre, supplied braves to lend a hand to the young colonies.  Eventually winning this war for Independence, as King George II and the British Empire decided to focus their fire on other fronts,  at least until 1812, Americans took to heart and began to believe and to bleed their own stories of great valor.

What would become the vast American continent, after 1812, would avoid invasion or attacks on American soil from another sovereign nation for nearly two centuries, while a bloody Civil War would claim more lives than any other American military conflict, before or since.  A seminal film in my own youth, Red Dawn (1984)told the story of a modern America invaded by Russian, Cuban, and Nicaraguan forces.  Our nation becomes divided into regions, many operating as police states, with our civilian population largely cooperating with the occupying forces.  A small guerilla force of 10 high school students and former football athletes, the Wolverines, becomes among the bright spots of American resistance.  That patriotic film was a summer release that became a then blockbuster, and thoughts of scenes from that film, particularly the many successful ambushes of invading forces make me smile even today.

Dozens of millions of Ukrainian women and children, along with the elderly and medically fragile, have fled their homeland.  It is a reality that millions will never be able to return.  Yet, back home young women and even teenagers are being trained and deployed to defend their sovereign nation from ‘re-sorption’ back into the once-fabled Russian empire.

You may already note that legacy American media outlets are shifting their agenda and coverage focus to the U.S. Supreme Court, and coming domestic fall elections.  Almost every day we will hear and see less about a deepening conflict half a world away.  This past week, G-7 leaders met again in the German Alps to hear pleas from Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to do and give more.

I am more than inclined to say that we should do that.  Yes, there are domestic challenges that also need addressing, but there are in effect three remaining world powers, China, a limping Russia with older and sometimes non-performing weaponry, and the United States which in many ways looks and feels past our prime.  I am in no way impugning the American military, who I strongly believe remain the best trained and armed fighting force on the planet, but for now, the plan remains NOT to deploy American forces on Ukrainian soil.

The brutal winters of Ukraine and Russia will be here in but a blink.  Re-supplying forces in more remote parts of Ukraine will be nearly impossible, some almost 1,200 miles from the capital city of Kyiv.  If the U.S. is to remain the bastion and standard of liberty for this world, which also includes several economic benefits (direct and indirect), as with the Wolverines in Red Dawn, we need to make a stand.  Despots like Vladimir Putin must be stopped before they select their next target.  Poland?  Warsaw and that country were once part of Prussia and the former Russian Empire as well.

As we celebrate this Fourth of July, remember that freedom is a concept that has to be real for the rest of this world, for America to maintain its rightful leadership among this league of western nations.  Happy Fourth.

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