How crazy does America feel right now? Fighting two wars concurrently will do that to a nation. For starters, one of our two political parties doesn’t want to play “Democracy” anymore. That is, they don’t want to play American Democracy if it means losing elections. And they definitely want no part of a diversified America being democratic. The rest of America didn’t declare culture war on Republicans. Ask Newt Gingrich. He/They declared culture war on US. The end of Roe was a neutron bomb exploding. We’re still experiencing the massive fallout. If only that was the only war. Meanwhile Vlad Putin. Putin has the whole world at war now.
Does it really matter what we call our own time? Our perspective’s so limited. Besides, History, ultimately, will judge everything. It always does. And History will name everything, too. For the record, no one even thought of WWI as “WWI” until the eve of WWII – when a journalist called the impending war in Europe “World War Two”. Only then did World War I become “World War One”.
Just as the end of WWII led directly to the start of the Cold War, the end of the Cold War brought us to today where a Russian leader is desperately trying to reinvent Greater Russia at the whole world’s expense. In America, the Civil War’s end brought Reconstruction. But, as we know, Andrew Johnson, Lincoln’s successor, killed Reconstruction dead. He and his racism destroyed any chance America had to confront and possibly even heal its original sin.
Though the Confederacy lost the Civil War on the battleground, it won the peace that followed. It did that by hijacking the narrative. Why did the South secede? One reason: slavery. Each of the Confederate states wrote a document saying why they were seceding. Each state insisted they were seceding over slavery. Not a single one even mentioned “States’ Rights” (let alone used states’ rights to justify seceding). But, in re-telling the Civil War’s story, the war’s losers revised their justification on the fly. The question of slavery was a question of “states’ rights”. If a state wanted slavery to be legal, that was their “right”!
What’s worse, the Confederacy managed to turn their flag – a symbol of treason and treachery, of racism and slavery – into an everyday decoration. They turned traitors – every Confederate officer there ever was – into heroes. Hell, they even put up statues of them!
Putin and China… and Iran… and North Korea… and India. He’s desperately seeking an axis of powers. Alas, Putin’s Russia has always been big on military ambition but very short on capacity to realize any of it. How ironic that the nation – Russia – that won two great wars by allowing invaders (Napoleon and Hitler) to militarily over-extend themselves across Russia has lost a war where Russia militarily over-extended itself.
Russia and Putin have lost already. They can’t gain anything no matter how long this drags on. Even if they managed to hold onto parts of Ukraine, Russia will never have peace there. Being isolated will make defending such territory harder and harder. But, Ukraine is merely part of the war Putin’s waging. Putin was trying to retake Ukraine even before he helped make Trump president.
For Putin, the whole point of helping make Trump president was to stop America from stopping him. When we allowed Putin to retake the Crimea, we told him it’d be okay when he came back later (now) to reclaim the rest of Ukraine. But, for Putin, building Greater Russia would always take a back seat to revenge. Putin cut his teeth as a KGB agent. He’s a spy through and through. He’s never forgiven America for destroying the Soviet Union. Putting Trump in the White House was only the beginning of Putin’s intended payback.
Party Of Lincoln No More
The modern GOP is not the Party of Lincoln. They stopped being that eons ago. Now, they’re Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” – the Dixiecrats and Know-Nothings – come horrifyingly to life in the worst way possible. Atop the Republican food chain of course is the money – entrenched and determined to keep every penny it’s got.
Here’s the kicker: these two wars we’re fighting concurrently? They’re related!
The glue holding them together in a perverse kiss? Donald Trump. He facilitated Putin’s assault on Ukraine. And, as we know because we’re living in it, Trump made racism acceptable to racists. No wonder we all feel at the outer edges of control.
We really are fighting two wars on two very different fronts. One’s the continuation of a global struggle for power. The other’s entirely internal and goes back to mistakes our founders made at our founding. Yeah, our founders made mistakes.
You can’t claim “All men are created equal” while also justifying the enslavement of them. Or some of them. That contradiction has always riled us. Always made us nuts – and rightfully so.