Monday, November 12, 2018

                      U.S. troops OccupyVladivostok, 1918

Talk About Meddling 
     Exactly one hundred years ago in November 1918, invading U.S.troops were joined in combat against Russian armies—in Russia! They were part of a coalition of western powers whose mission was to meddle in the affairs of that country; more specifically to overthrow the 1917 Bolshevik revolution and reinstall the despotic Romanov dynasty. Or, as Winston Churchill more colorfully put it, “to strangle the infant in its cradle.”
    Thousands of Americans fought and hundreds died. Nearly all were from Michigan-based units. They served at Arkangel in frigid northern Russia and Vladivostok on the Pacific. The force was ill-equipped for the horrendous weather and poorly led. It returned home in 1920, leaving Russia under the domination of Russians.
     Like the U.S. invasions of Canada in 1775 and 1812 or of Cuba in 1961, it was a failure that was swiftly unremembered so we could maintain the the ever useful pretense that we are not meddlesome imperialists but the ever laudable self-styled leader of the whole world.
    Interestingly, it’s a full century later and Washington, apparently with the exception of Donald Trump, is still about the business of trying to overthrow the regime in Moscow. This even though Russia has long since abandoned communism, the evil of evils, and replaced it with a capitalist system such as ours. The problem our leaders have with capitalist Russia is that it has the economic and military wherewithal to maintain its independence in defiance of America’s oft-proclaimed prerogative to “lead” the other 95 percent of humanity. The same holds true for China, and to a lesser extent, Iran.
    A part of our leadership in Washington has been  willing to live with insubordinate nations so long as they don’t threaten our global interests. But a hard-line element, including  National Security Advisor John Bolton and Secretary of States Mike Pompeo,
seem determined to restart the Cold War and, God forbid, get us into  hot one.
      They are making our existence dependent on the intelligence and sang froid of Putin and his regime by provoking Moscow in ways we would never tolerate (see the 1962 Cuban missile crisis).  We have torn up treaties we signed limiting medium range nukes and have placed troops and nukes right on Russia’s borders.  Imagine Russky bases in Mexico and Canada!
    Back in Cold War times, Americans were aware and worried about the nuclear threat. We had a thriving peace movement.  Now, with the danger far greater, you hardly hear peace sentiments in churches let alone on the streets.  America may well disappear by way of insouciance.  Meanwhile, the Russians have not, and will not forget our brutal invasion of their county a century ago.