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Ray Hanania Columns
www.RayHanania.com


Monday March 21, 2022


I hope you enjoy this column on why I believe defending Ukraine is essential to defending America from the return of the Communist Soviet leadership under Russia's Vladimir Putin.

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Ray Hanania
rghanania@gmail.com

 
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Monday, March 21, 2022

Special Column: Why I believe defending Ukraine is essential to protecting America

 
  • Russia's Tyrant Vladimir Putin has been carefully and meticulously rebuilding the old Soviet Union through open warfare against several nations in Crimea, Kazakhstan and Georgia, by building up his military presence in Syria and Iraq, and by building alliances creating a new Axis of Evil that includes Iran, Hezbollah, Syria, North Korea and even using ISIS. There is a new "Domino Theory" taking place that is no longer a theory at all.

 

  • Americans have become complacent. We don't want a real war. Iraq and Afghanistan were not real wars. They were easy, weak targets that we took our time to fight so that companies like Halliburton, the company owned by former Vice President Dick Cheney, and its many subsidiaries and spin-offs, could profit. Russia is a real war. The question is do we have what it takes to stand up to Putin and stop him? He's already gone too far.

 


 
By Ray Hanania


This week Thursday, March 24, will mark the 4th week of the brutal Russian military invasion of Ukraine. 

Estimates report that more than 1,500 Ukrainian civilians and as many as 4,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed in Russia's war on Ukraine and as many as 5,000 of the 150,000 Russian invasion force are dead, also.

The brutality of the Russia assault has been stepped up by Russian Tyrant Vladimir Putin because the war has gone on far longer than he had predicted (2 days was his original claim). Ukraine's military has been successful in raising the possibility that Russia's army could suffer a major defeat, not only because of the heroic resistance of Ukrainian military and civilian resistance, but because of the sanctions that have been slowly imposed by the West lef by President Joe Biden.

Putin began mercilessly and intentionally targeting civilian neighborhoods, schools, hospitals and businesses after his invasion force was stymied by the strong Ukrainian resistance. 
We've all seen the images of Putin's war crimes. The bodies of women and children being carried out of hospitals turned into rubble by the cowardly Russian forces. Apartment building collapsing on its families. People scrounging for food and water as the Ukrainian military makes a heroic and valiant effort to do what no one else is willing to do.

Civilian homes and cities have been turned into rubble by the indiscriminate Russia bombing and Putin's intentional targeting of civilians.

Putin's war hasn't being going the way he expected it to go so he upped the pressure by increasing the pain on civilians.

President Biden made a critical error of judgement when he publicly declared back in early February that neither the United States nor NATO would go to war against Russia to defend the Ukraine. It was a blunder because we know that threatening war is the most powerful way to prevent war. When Putin realized that Biden was weak and would not send troops into Ukraine to defend the people there, he ordered his assault on February 24.

Biden's sanctions have so far been unable to stop Putin. One of the reasons is that Russia has managed to take financial and economic advantage of the decision to turn to Democracy in 1989. To encourage Democracy in Russia -- a pipe dream -- we established important trade agreements with Russia and helped them expand their exports that include supplying oil and gas to many European and NATO countries like Germany and France.

But since Putin, an ex-KGB agent, took control of the Russian Republic 22 years ago, he has been slowly and methodically moved to re-establish Russia's Communist military power, stripping away the morality of Democracy while restoring the immorality that was once the hallmark of the old Soviet Union.

Putin used the new relationship to strengthen Western dependence on his export products. And he became more emboldened and aggressive towards the West as he watched us hesitate and shy away from confrontation.

The West didn't want to believe Russia would return to the criminality of the old Soviet Union. America, NATO and Europe did nothing when Putin used military force to begin to restore old Soviet Union Satellite regions that had been recognized as nations after the breakup of the USSR.

 
  • Putin invaded Georgia on August 8, 2008.
  • Putin invaded and annexed the Crimea region of Ukraine in February 2014.
  • Putin invaded Kazakhstan in January 2022 after years f destabilizing the government and using surrogates to take control.
America and the West eased its guard when Russia moved into Syria after the Syrians inspired by the so-called "Arab Spring" revolted against their dictator, Bashar Al-Assad on March 15, 2011. Putin provided military equipment to Assad's tyrannical regime but sent troops there to help suppress civilian demands for Democracy in the summer of 2015. Assad used chemical weapons to suppress the protestors killing tens of thousands of civilians and a threat from then President Obama was ignored. Obama was weak and only emboldened the Russians even more.

Today, Russia controls most of Syria which has been segmented into regions.

But Syria created a key opportunity for Putin's expansion plans, allowing him to strengthen ties to Iran, the single largest destabilizer in the Middle East, and with Iran's surrogate Hezbollah, the powerful but extremist Shi'a Muslim paramilitary organization in Lebanon powerful enough to confront Israel and undermine Lebanon's efforts to establish a Democracy there, too.

Sadly, Americans have a lack of understanding of the Middle East and view all of Islam as a threat. The truth is the majority of the Arab World is Sunni Muslim, moderate and fearful of Iran's efforts. The Shi'ite Muslims are the most radical. Compromise is a violation of their religious faith which continues to fuel Iran's aggressive hegemony.

The American missteps in the withdrawal from Afghanistan has only empowered Russia and this true "Axis of Evil," Russia-Iran-Hezbollah," and has set America on a collision course that will be unavoidable.

War is in our future. While Putin has been aggressive and has backed up his threats with military might and violence, America and NATO have become hesitant and soft. In fact, during the past two decades, NATO's strength has weakened significantly as a result of internal divisions. As I mentioned, many of the NATO countries have come to astonishingly rely on Russia for important products like oil, gas and many food products.

Putin was clever and strategic, using the fears of the West to invade several countries and build on his vision of a new Soviet Empire, while America under Obama, George W. Bush, Donald Trump and now Biden, have been hesitant to see the reality.

The bush invasion of Iraq only solidified the opponents of America giving them strength, not weakening them. America failed in Iraq and failed in Afghanistan. The post Al-Qaeda terrorists, ISIS have found their niche and continue to operate in Iraq and Syria and have expanded to South America and throughout Europe.

Putin's militancy has provided a cloud of distraction that allows them to survive. ISIS isn't attacking Russia. They see Russia as an ally as they do Hezbollah and Iran and the countries the Axis of Evil now dominate.

Soon Ukraine might possibly fall into that Soviet Spider Web and the Axis of Evil.

Fortunately, the Ukrainians have far more determination to defend Democracy than do Europeans, NATO and even America. It seems like America only goes into war when it is "easy to win" against weak targets like Iraq, Afghanistan.

We have defined ourselves as more of a reputation than a reality when it comes to strength. We have turned "patriotism" into a political slogan, and we have fueled the internal divide creating a polarization that has been destructive to ourselves, weakening America. The extremists on the Far Right and the extremists on the Far Left have managed to hold the rest of the country hostage.

Donald Trump was a failure who pandered to Putin, while Biden is even weaker. Neither have what it takes to stand up to the new Soviet aggression and the rise of this Axis of Evil.

Our Freedom is at stake in America. Our egos and pride refuse to allow ourselves to see the damage our missteps have caused to our nation.

Putin sees those vulnerabilities and he is exploiting them. In fact, he sees them clearer than we do. While polarized Americans bicker and snipe, weakening ourselves, Putin is preparing to pounce.

And so is China, which is playing a cautionary game believing it can prosper from this violent uncertainty regardless of who wins, Russia or the West.

The greatest fear we should have is if China, who we have also helped to empower, decides to align itself more aggressively with Russia and the new Axis of Evil. Because China can also see how weak America has become.

What someone needs to do is make it clear that America is not afraid to stand up to Russia and we need to put Russia in a position where they have to either chose war or peace. Right now, that decision is in our laps.

We should order NATO to temporarily occupy the remaining territory of Ukraine not under Russian Control and draw clear line that if Russia crosses, they will be destroyed.

There is no winning by making peace with Russia or by compromising. We should be thinking in terms of taking Putin out, fueling an insurrection in Moscow in the Kremlin, and confronting Russian forces everywhere including in Iraq and Syria. We need to drop the gauntlet on Iran and use our dwindling allies int he Arab World and Gulf to be more aggressive against Iran, including in Yemen where Iran is fueling the violence there to destabilize the Gulf Region.

This isn't about Oil, people. 

This conflict is about our survival. And until we take it seriously, the forces of Soviet Darkness are growing stronger each and every day of our weakness.

Putin isn't afraid of us and he will survive the U.S. led sanctions with the support of his network of terrorists and extremists and his new Axis of Evil.

Where is the American leader who has the equivalent courage of Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to stand up in the face of Evil and fight back with strength?



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Email Ray at rghanania@gmail.com.)

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