As a Connecticut resident, a Fifth Congressional District constituent, and a registered Democratic, I must call for a more earnest discussion concerning the rapidly growing American involvement in the year old Ukraine war.
My own inquiries to my U.S. representative and senators on the matter, so far, have been met by polite indifference and/or irrelevant talking points. Considering the magnitude and inherent stakes in our involvement in this distant European conflict, there has been shockingly little forthright discourse on policy, so far, either among politicians or between politicians and their constituents.
From the get go, the all-important framing of this conflict, now a year old, has been disingenuous at best. While Russia’s invasion has been undeniably aggressive and illegal, it did not occur in a vacuum, but sprang out of the 2014 civil war in Ukraine-where the U.S. is , and has been, deeply involved politically and economically, publicly and on the down low, since WW2. Indeed, the opposition groups that prevailed in 2014 were partially funded by U.S. funded non-profits –an often insidious but highly effective M.O. which our nation, justified or not, promulgates ruthlessly around the world when it is not comfortable with the local states of affairs.
Vladimir Putin is certainly not a nice guy, but Russia is more than Putin, and there are certain geopolitical realities, well known to our erudite senators, that can necessitate great powers, like the U.S. and Russia to preemptively posture aggressively and/or attack militarily if the need is felt.
The U.S has not hesitated to do so many times in the past: the Philippines, Central America, Vietnam, Cuba, Iraq, to name some big ones. Right up to the very start of the current Ukraine war, Russia was seeking dialogue, through third party European organizations, on the military security on its borders-which have been subject to pretty serious invasions in the recent past.
There has been, in recent years, relentless encroachment by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), a proven aggressive military alliance that has operated, under questionable pretexts far outside the “North Atlantic.” The NATO expansion abrogates explicit promises to Russia, not to do so, made in the early 90s, by the U.S. and its allies, when the Soviet Union was breaking up. New NATO member Lithuania is for Russia, geographically, like us having massive, secretive Russian military base in New Brunswick.
Against this complex background, the U.S., in regard to the Ukraine, has incongruently almost taken on the obtuse persona of the professional gunfighter/bully character, portrayed by Jack Palance, in the movie “Shane”, who famously goads his victim to “Pick up the gun!” laying at the latter’s feet, effectively giving the guy a choice between public humiliation or certain death (credit to the late comedian Bill Hicks.)
The difference is that, for us, unlike Palance’s character, this proxy war is unwinnable and possibly lethal to us too, if it escalates to a nuclear exchange. This very real threat, inexplicably labeled “unrealistic” by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, and the staggering amounts (around $60 billion so far) of taxpayer money being funneled to U.S. arms manufacturers (many Connecticut-based admittedly) making weapons for the Kiev government, is not warranted by the foggy origins and tenuous relevance, to most Americans, of the war.
I ask our federal senators and reps (and our state pols, also, to the extent they are able) to, at least, in parallel with this massive wartime level of resource mobilization, to be also seeking, through third parties if necessary (European Organization for Cooperation and Security?), a framework for a ceasefire in the Ukraine War.
The current American policy is dangerously, and unaccountably, open ended and someone needs to step outside of the group think, up top, long enough to turn this dangerous conflict into a more manageable situation for the American people. I love my country and know being a superpower has its moral hazards, but can’t we be a little smarter here?
Let me end on another pop culture note with a quote from Generation X, Georgia-based rock group Drivin’ and Cryin’’s Gulf War era song “Fly Me Courageous:” Mother America is brandishing her weapons/She keeps me safe and warm with threats and misconceptions/….Take it easy lady!” [Italics added.]
James Root lives in Danbury.