Communique "Let's Go Putin" 2-23-2022
One of the side-effects of the Russian invasion of Ukraine I had not anticipated was a flood of memories from my early childhood. As it turns out, a great deal of my earliest recollections link back to black and white television images of Russian soldiers, tanks and MIGs along with reports of Soviet Cold War era aggression on the Nightly News with Walter Cronkite.
I still remember watching coverage of the Bay of Pigs in 1961. I remember hearing John F. Kennedy for the first time. He seemed very sad. It seemed this other guy, Nikita Khrushchev was being very mean and unreasonable.
I quickly got the gist of who was the good guy, on the side of liberty, democracy and freedom, under God, and who was the leader of the anti-religion, atheistic evil empire, determined to crush the hearts, dreams and souls of all who opposed them. I never did understand exactly what the problem was, but I thought the name “Bay of Pigs” was funny and I wanted to see if Mr. Kennedy would win. He didn’t. I was crushed. I was two years old.
Fortunately, I didn’t have to wait long for a rematch between JFK, the defender of all that was good and right, under God, and his communist, godless foe Nikita “Shoe-banging” Khrushchev. It was called the Cuban Missile Crisis.
I recognized “Cuba” but had no idea what an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) was and even less of a clue as to why their presence in Cuba constituted a “crisis”. Hell, I was still trying to figure out what happened to the pigs.
I remember seeing a scrawny guy with an ill-fitting suit, greasy black hair and thick glasses pointing a stick at a map of Cuba. I remember him using the word embargo. I wasn’t terribly interested until he pointed to a broken-line, somewhat circular ring around Cuba.
I perked up considerably when Mr. Skinny Tie mentioned the blockade was made of boats. Big boats. Boats he called battleships and destroyers. I knew about the you sunk my battleship game. I wondered if this was a live-action recreation with real people. Round Two: JFK vs. Funny Looking Atheist Commie Guy. I was glued to the TV. I was two and one-half years old.
I could sense there was something different. It was my parents. They were worried. When discussing the Cuban Missile Crisis, they spoke quietly. My parents never spoke quietly. In hushed tones, almost a murmur, they reiterated their ongoing support for Kennedy.
But they didn’t sound convincing or sincere. Hence, I was not convinced of their sincerity. It’s not as if I understood that “Assured Mutual Destruction” (AMD) including “complete annihilation of both the attacker and defender” was an option waiting in the wings.
What I did know was that the crisis was all tied to boats, big boats, so how bad could this international dust-up really be? Let me reiterate, when the October Crisis ended, I was one month short of three.
By the time I turned three, I was already a card-carrying member of the let’s all believe what the government tells us and be afraid of nuclear attack, mushroom clouds and “the A-Bomb”. So much for “Atoms for Peace”. I started to notice myself noticing various warnings and instructions about where to go and what to do in case a non-conventional war breaks out.
This is how I learned about radiation and fallout shelters. What the weekly nuclear alarm sirens and emergency alert systems were for. When I discovered nuclear is pronounced Nu-Clear and not Nuke-U-Lear. I was still a few years away from mandatory classroom viewings of Bert the Turtle and how when it comes to nuclear safety and avoiding radiation, the best advice is to “duck and cover” with your head between your knees, hands on top, and under your desk.
My next recollection in this line of thought does not involve the Soviet Union. It was the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Camelot was no more. I do not mean the events that transpired during the motorcade in downtown Dallas, TX. What I remember watching was the funeral proceedings carrying JFK’s body to its final resting place.
People from all walks of life came out to pay their final respects. Many waving at the train as it sped by. I remember seeing JFK Jr. and his famous final salute to his dear and departed father. I remember the American flags and the tears. As the footsteps of Viet Nam growing ever louder, I reached the conclusion that “news” was primarily bad people doing bad things to good people. I still haven’t change my mind. I was five years old.
The years came and went. We finally got a color TV. Yet, as I turned to books as my primary source of political information and analysis my views on both international and domestic issues changed dramatically with the single exception of the still ongoing confrontations and negotiations between Russia and the United States.
I still clung to my when I was five years old belief that America was good and the USSR was bad. That in the name of democracy, we were destined to win the Cold War. I remember JFK at the Berlin Wall and when the cursed wall finally fell.
I felt both pride and joy as the world witnessed the end of Stalin’s post WWII plan to create a “sphere of influence” by forming a Soviet Bloc of client-states from what were at the time, neighboring, independent, and sovereign countries.
Eastern European countries with long and rich traditions and cultural identities of their own being forced to become members of the Warsaw Pact, while kept behind an impenetrable iron curtain of silence and secrecy, behind which the daily horrors and effects of authoritarianism, central-planning, corruption, demagoguery, propaganda, domination, repression, tainted further by a patina of Soviet Era Russian-style brutality carried on in full swing, maliciously hidden away and hence without recourse from the nations of Western Europe, NATO and democracy.
I felt relieved when Mikael Gorbachev continued to tear down the iron curtain through the adoption of glasnost, a policy permitting the free flow of information for purposes of open discussions of politics and social issues within the former USSR. Was it the end of the world as we knew it, with America coming out on top? Had we won the cold war?
If there was one issue you could be sure the Democrats and Republicans could agree upon was the containment of Russian imperialism and winning the Cold War. In fact, it was the GOP that generally favored a more hawkish American position in its confrontations and negotiations with
the Soviet Union.
Then came Vladimir Putin. The ex-KGB agent who looked every bit of his former role as officer and the spy who came in from the cold borscht belt of espionage and into Soviet-style politics.
Soon, the former spy master had become the strongman of Russian policy and diplomacy. Today, he remains an authoritarian dictator in a land that wanted so much more, but couldn't quite get the hang of government of, by and for the people, united in their shared pursuit of freedom.
Then, on February 20, 2014 the Russian Federation initiated the Crimean Crisis, ending on March 26, 2014 with the annexation of the former soviet territory of Crimea. At the time, it was Former POW and war hero Republican Senator John McCain, who in a series of blistering and highly visible interviews stated his assessment of the Russian threat that included calling Russia,
“A gas station run by a mafia that is masquerading as a country.”
The late Senator from Arizona also took the opportunity to reveal his disappointment
with Germany, France and the Obama Administration's Inadequate and shameful
"I'm ashamed of my country, I'm ashamed of my president and I'm ashamed of myself
that I haven't done more to help these people,
Was McCain wrong? I was ashamed too. Judging by the recent "mother of all sanctions” bill against Russia at the urging of the current administration, it would appear his message was not lost on then Vice-President Joe Biden.
So, can we chalk this one up as a bipartisan effort between Joe Biden and well, the
ghost of John McCain? I would like to think so.
Yet, as encouraging as this somewhat supernatural alliance of persons across if not the great divide, at least across the aisle, the far more dangerous aspect of the ongoing Ukraine Crisis cannot be ignored.
In what amounts to a total lack of history and fundamental understanding of international politics and affairs, the GQP, instead of rallying around our duly elected President and his policies regarding Ukraine, has chosen to stick with the party line, if you can stomach calling it that.
Straight outta the twisted what’s left of his Adderall addled mind, the Witless Orange Wonder, Blunder and Bluster of Whale Blubber Butter, who has already proven himself on many occasions, at Helsinki, and on January 6th as little more than an incompetent Russian asset.
To wit, he who would have been king, is still willing to sell out the American people for the promise of nothing more than the approval of a homicidal despot desperately trying to return a fading empire to the days of its former glory.
It is indeed regrettable that on the one issue virtually guaranteed to unite the American people, Democrats and Republicans alike, the soon to be broke, bankrupt, sold out by his own children, and consequentially in jail for what amounts to a life sentence, just the other day chose to once again, throw both America and the people of the Ukraine, under the bus while supporting the Putin line. Going so far as to characterize Putin’s latest illegal aggression as, get this, “savvy” if not, “Genius”.
Oh, and don’t forget, as if the Burnt Mango Marmalade Milk Shake Laced with Mace would ever let you, Joe Biden was not really elected.
Do his few remaining MAGA cult members love it? Sure, but their actions will lead to nothing but further division and derision between segments of the population that should be united in if nothing else their reasonable mistrust of a man growing older with little left to lose.
I’m talking about Putin and this may not end well. My advice? Beware the fool who says, “Let’s Go Brandon” with passion pride or purpose for there will be none to be found. I’m not saying everyone must like “Brandon”, but I for one am thankful for Joe Biden’s efforts in bringing together the world to once and for all end the reign of the last of the old school, bully till you just can’t bully no more strongmen who like the Neanderthals they are, before there are no more good memories left to dream. “Let’s Go Putin” I’ll leave it right there.
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