Friday, June 14, 2024

Want to give living in Russia a trial run?

by Jim Elliott
| August 17, 2023 12:00 AM

President Biden is asking Congress for $24 billion to support Ukraine. There will be a fight over this request, I am sure, and the reasons will be we are spending too much money, period, and if we are going to spend too much money let’s spend it on America.

I offer one reason for supporting Ukraine: Putin. Like most despots, Putin has some – to be polite – mental health issues. OK, he’s nuts, but he’s a nut with nuclear weapons and needs to be dealt with in the strongest way possible, short of starting WW III.

Putin comes from a long line of paranoid, totalitarian, and ruthless leaders whose major efforts, other than greater glory for themselves and Russia was the subjugation of the very people they claimed to be saving from whatever they needed saving from. To control the people, they used secret police who spied on the public.

This was nothing new in Russia. Tzar Nickolas created the Okhrana to infiltrate anti-imperialists, and when the ant-imperialists won, Lenin created the Cheka to do the spying for the Bolsheviks. Over the years the names changed, OGPU, NKVD, and then KGB where a younger Vladimir Putin got his training before he was appointed head of the successor agency FSB before his jump to the presidency of Russia.

Don’t be confused by the initials of the agencies, they all stood for the same thing – spying on Russian citizens and instilling loyalty through fear and instilling fear through terrorism. “… During the Great Terror (1936-1937) about 650,000 Soviet citizens are thought to have been shot with millions sent to the Gulag” [Source; “Spies” by Calder Walton, Simon and Schuster, 2023. The same book describes tortures too gruesome to describe here.]

This is Putin’s background.

But the major reason to support Ukraine is that they are fighting for freedom and democracy, not only for themselves but for other former Soviet and Soviet-allied states. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, 14 nations, formerly allied with the Soviet Union in the Warsaw Pact, became NATO members. NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance, was formed in 1949 by the United States, Canada and European nations to provide a defense against the Soviet Union and their allies.

Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, along with American leadership, has strengthened NATO both in resolve and in membership. Finland has now been accepted as a member and Sweden is on the path to becoming one. The point that nations under the Soviet sphere of influence are now allied against Russia cannot be made strongly enough. These former communist countries have chosen capitalism and individual freedom over what they had under the Soviet Union, which admittedly, was not much. As members of NATO, they are America’s allies, pledged to defend each other – including America – if any one of them is attacked by non-NATO forces.

Ukraine has asked to join but has been told to wait for membership for fear that in joining a chain of events would be unleashed that would escalate the conflict world-wide.

So, this is not money just to support Ukraine in its struggle against Putin’s aggression; it is money to secure and to continue to secure the freedom of America’s allies in Europe, and the freedom of America.

Some Americans want to believe that America can go its own way without allies to help us. Some Americans seem to think that Putin’s not a bad guy and that we should be supporting him, not Ukraine. I shudder at their innocence, if that’s what they have, because they are courting big trouble for future Americans.

I would remind readers that Montana Congressman Matt Rosendale was one of only three votes against a resolution supporting Ukraine in March of 2022.

Putin may be nuts, but he is not dumb. He will take advantage of anything he sees as weakness on our part. Some of us admire dictators because they can accomplish things quickly and completely. I invite them to give living in Russia a trial run.

Montana Viewpoint has appeared in weekly and online newspapers across Montana for over 25 years. Jim Elliott served 16 years in the Montana Legislature as a state representative and state senator. He lives on his ranch in Trout Creek.