“Curioser and curioser,” cried Alice who had forgotten how to speak good English. — Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
What follows will be a fanciful tale — a fictional twist of a real and very sad drama — about how the war in Ukraine finally ends…with something of a bang and then a whimper or a collective sigh of relief. Thousands of Slavic lives will be saved and the war will come to an unpopular but practical end, according to our story line.
If all goes well, American “boots on the ground” will be limited and very little blood will be shed by our troops. All of this will be brought about by a technological show of force, followed by peace negotiations. The merchants of war and death will be displeased, of course, but members of the NATO Alliance will come to their senses and realize that war with a nuclear power such as Russia could only bring about destruction on a massive scale.
White advocates will be involved in bringing this monumental task to a satisfactory close. It will be a tortuous road from conceiving and fabricating a “secret” weapon to the conclusion of hostilities in this period of turmoil and territorial strife. This would be Western Europe’s first internecine war since 1945. On a continent known for its serial warfare, it would be quite an accomplishment.
For the American public, assessing Putin’s invasion of Ukraine was a “no-brainer:” a tyrannical eastern despot, eager to expand the limits of his former empire, chose to invade—without overt provocation—an autonomous country which, in effect, was a former member of the Soviet Union.
The current Ukrainian leader, Volodymyr Zelensky, a comic entertainer turned politician, was chosen “democratically” after the coup d’état that deposed the popularly elected president of Ukraine which had declared its independence from the Soviet Union in 1992. Under the regime of Zelensky’s predecessor, Viktor Yanukovych, the country was being devastated by corruption, bribery, and being too close politically to its former master, Russia and its leader, Vladimir Putin. After firing on and killing some 88 protestors, Yanukovych fled Ukraine to Moscow, having looted the national treasury.
Using his theatrical skills, Zelensky convinced the Ukrainian people that he would clean house and make peace — as a civil war raged in the eastern provinces. Approximately 73% of the electorate gave him thumbs up. He had become a very popular figure in Ukrainian politics.
This Slavic “house divided,” however, could not stand without foreign intervention and financial aid. The neo-cons in Washington saw this conflict as an opportunity to destabilize Putin’s regime by financing a surrogate war with no prescribed end, only the ousting of an arch-enemy and the likelihood of negotiating a truce with a more compliant successor in the Kremlin.
Corruption was a way of life in this former Soviet Republic. During his Vice-Presidency, Biden was very familiar with this tendency; he even used it to his benefit when negotiating with Zelensky — early in his presidency — to have a prosecutor fired who was probing too closely into his son’s business dealings.
Zelensky’s reign had mutated from a populous republic to a more traditional autocracy, led by a charismatic strongman. In full “diplomatic” gear, wearing military-issue T-shirts and sweat-shirts, the small Jewish entertainer used his acting skills to draw the world’s attention to his plight.
It became obvious that he excelled in public relations and the art of raising funds to carry on his war. He crafted his own persona — the feisty little man in military underwear — who gave self-serving speeches to any organization or foreign government with huge sums of money to donate to his cause. The United States responded with a generosity that exceeded even Zelensky’s expectations.
Biden and neo-con RINOs in Congress tried to portray the Russian invasion of Ukraine as a war of brutal and unjustified aggression in which civilians as well as combatants were targeted for extinction by the Russian high command. In the eyes of Western observers, Putin was little more than another Lenin or Stalin, but cleverly disguised as a modern politician. In a word, he was the Philistine giant, Goliath, challenging the armies of Saul and his diminutive, heroic David who would slay the beast and restore peace to the realm.
Fighting this surrogate war from afar was above all a moral issue for Biden and his advisors. If Putin were not stopped in Ukraine, the domino-effect would be put into action and other European states would begin to fall to the Russian war machine. The Cold War and its wide-spread disruption would be revived: this catastrophe had to be dealt with at all costs.
Our tragic commitment to Vietnam was also based on the theory of stopping the cancerous spread of communism in Indochina. Saigon has now become Ho Chi Minh City and there are tourist excursions to Vietnam for those curious souls who would like to visit the blood-soaked battlefields of the past. Just as Dwight Eisenhower in 1960 warned his fellow compatriots about the “military-industrial complex,” he also lectured his military successors about the dangers of fighting a land war in Asia. His prophetic words resonate even today.
Unless Putin were defeated in Ukraine, all of Europe would be at risk…Hitler’s duplicity in the Second World War was evoked as a historical model. Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s naiveté in accepting Hitler’s peace agreement was the primary reason why this fratricide war had to be continued–until the ultimate defeat of Russian forces had been achieved. It was regime change, à la George Bush; Putin had to be deposed…so Biden’s Pretorian Guard whispered in his ear. However, no one in Washington’s military elite had envisioned an endgame to this debacle: it would be for sure a brutal and costly means of ousting a barbarous dictator. Little thought was given to the risk of a nuclear holocaust that military action against Russia would entail.
Our involvement in the Ukrainian war was similar to the false argument adopted for attacking Saddam Hussein, a heinous butcher in his own right, whose stock of “arms of massive destruction” threatened the very existence of the Middle East. Even the esteemed Collin Powell before the United Nations, his medals resplendent and aerial photography at his command, proclaimed Saddam Hussein’s agenda to be an imminent threat to Western security. He had to be dethroned and brought to justice, so we were told. The Saudi oil fields were critical to the existence of the United States and Europe itself.
And, without a trace of physical proof, President Bush Jr. gave the order to start another war in a faraway land that few Americans knew much about. The endless fire pit of Afghanistan was still raging without an exit strategy of any sort. As usual, the endgame was the result of fatigue and skewed negotiations with an ever-patient enemy.
After years of combat and futile searching, no arms of massive destruction were ever discovered. Several hundred thousand Iraqi and American soldiers became casualties of a meaningless war. “Iraqi freedom” was an embarrassing slogan that mischaracterized a tribal, quasi-feudal country’s political aspirations. The democratic “nation state” that Bush had attempted to set up, collapsed when facing well-equipped Islamic warlords on the battle field. Obama withdrew our troops leaving the country open to Isis control. Trump restored a semblance of order in defeating the vast Isis-held territory that occupied the central part of Iraq.
And now the great wheel of history seems to have come full circle and we are faced with a former empire trying to reclaim its alleged sacred land. Ukraine’s capital city, Kiev or Kyvy, viewed by many Russians, including Putin, as the nexus of Russia’s greatness, is now the focus of hate and destruction.
“This can’t go on like this. Something needs to be done,” opined our fictional physicist who thinks he has found a way to end the tragic struggle between two Russophone neighbors.
Continued next week…
Tags: fiction, jonathan sawyer, science fiction, ukraine