Admittedly the situation in Ukraine is complicated. 

The country is historically important to Russia, but Ukraine is a country with its own language, culture and history beyond and preceding it being folded into the Soviet Union.

Both countries share a common heritage. Many in Ukraine have family in Russia and vice versa. 

Russia is a great country as are its people. I’ve been several times, including to the last World Cup in Moscow. I have friends on both sides. 

The one thing they all share in common is a sadness for what is happening.

Ukraine is (was) free and independent after the young took to the streets in a bloody revolution of dignity in 2014 to oust a Russian-backed thug and puppet, Yanukovych. 

Kyiv has a thriving tech start up scene, and Ukrainian citizens have enjoyed free travel into Europe with an aim to join the EU. However, this ride is over for now. 

Ukraine has experienced freedom and democracy, and that genie is out of the bottle. If Putin does occupy it he’ll have a young and healthy revolutionary baby on his hands. 

Kyiv trending towards the EU is a problem for Putin and his legacy. He’s at that age where he has more money than he can spend in 100 lifetimes. So what next? Legacy and his name carved into Russian stone? 

A good friend of mine Andriy Fedoriv and I spoke about moving his family out of the country over a month ago as we were closely monitoring the situation at SOFREP. He was worried that once things start it would be too late. He was right and wise to prepare for the worst because once the invasion starts travel halts, rifles are handed out to fighting-aged men and if you are a fighting age male, you cannot leave the country.

Most people I know are fleeing by foot and car to the western border near Lviv. 

America, if ever we step up for Democracy, it should be now.

This is one of the times when the US can really shine and show strength.

However, we are like a beat-down punch drunk boxer getting counted out late in the round. 

The EU will not commit to meaningful help without US or UK leadership, this much is clear and all eyes have turned to America and Biden can barely string together a coherent sentence on National television. 

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We are coming off an embarrassing Afghanistan pull-out (if you can call it that) and our GWOT (Global War on Terror) score is 1 win and 3 losses in favor of Radical Islam. 

This is the brutal truth of America’s record the last 20 years of endless conflict and Trillions of US taxpayer dollars spent. On what exactly? 

Exactly. 

Afghanistan we abandoned and left the Taliban in power and heavily armed with US weapons. 

Benghazi we bungled and destabilized, and I personally lost one of my very best friends, Glen Doherty. 

Iraq we lost, pulled out, destabilized the region, kicked off civil war in Syria, and pushed massive refugees into Europe which nudged BREXIT into existence. 

UBL, yeah we got him. Hat tip McRaven, Obama, and DEVGRU (AKA SEAL TEAM 6). 

1-3 and America is hardly in a position to take the moral high ground when it comes to global warfare because we’ve let our politicians speak out of their asses for the last two decades leading around a dog with no head. 

My visit to downtown Kyiv.

What about NATO?  The organization can barely hand out food in Africa without inciting riots and doing more harm than good. It’s a clunky slow-moving machine and not well organized. Who reading this even knows who’s in charge of NATO? What are their capabilities beyond retreats at expensive resorts and lavish cocktail parties for the brass hats? Let the crickets chirp. 

America is a great country but wars are waged by politicians in America and politicians are elected by popularity, not necessarily do they make decisions based on right and wrong. Usually, moves are made based on how the voting base will react. FDR knew the right thing was to help the Allies in WWII against Germany, but his own party was isolationist and didn’t want to get involved.  If it’s not popular, and war is not popular right now in the States, no weak-kneed politico is going to raise their (he/she/they/them) hand in support, unless we make it popular.

America has been too short-sighted for too long. We let our politicians play three-card monte while Russia and China play chess. 

For those reading abroad wondering why America and the UN haven’t done anything this is largely why. 

Putin knows this. He also knows that think tanks in America have war-gamed Russia invading western Europe over and over with one result. 

Russia wins, every time. 

It’s a legacy play for Putin. 

There’s a big grin on Xi’s face as Communist China pushes more pawns towards Taiwan. 

It’s a complicated world and America is at the Y in the ground. 

I hope we choose wisely and support Ukraine because freedom and Democracy are at stake for many, including us, and it’s the right thing to do.

 

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