War with Russia: Now or Later but…

War with Russia: Now or Later but It will Happen

Stepan Bandera, leader of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and spiritual mentor of Ukrainian nationalism who was assassinated by a Moscow agent in October 1959, was right.

Ukraine and Ukrainians will never be free of Russian aggression, threats and intimidations, and its mission to subjugate and then re-subjugate Ukraine. Russia will always be primed to ignite hot or cold wars with Ukraine in hopes of finally subduing the nation and capturing the country and its natural resources. Perpetual attentiveness by Ukrainians and the free world to Russian intentions will be required to safeguard Ukraine from Russian invasions and assaults.

As long as Ukraine and Russia will exist, Moscow will always intermittently raise the specter of invasion and captivity as it has for a thousand years regardless of who occupies The Kremlin. So it was under the tsars and commissars, so it is under Putin. The ideology and color of the flag are irrelevant. This is a national mindset.

Russia’s historical mission, as enunciated in every annual iteration of its defense and security policy that is available for all to read just as Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” was, is to create or restore depending on the situation the glory of Mother Russia, to build a mighty Holy Russian Empire, armed with the latest weapons to defend itself or expand its territory, and to keep at bay all real or imaginary enemies.

And the lynchpin of its mission and reincarnated glory is Ukraine. Without it, everyone in The Kremlin knows Russia isn’t worth a plugged nickel. That is the crux of the issue in Moscow’s mind, and that is the root of the impending war that everyone is awaiting with trepidation. Restoration of the lost empire with an encrusted Ukrainian Easter egg in the center would be a monumental accomplishment for Vladimir Putin.

Sadly, the problem with the well-intentioned but shallow analyses of the Russo-Ukraine war of 2014-22, the appeals for diplomatic efforts and ruminations about whether or not Moscow will again invade Ukraine now or in the near future is that the pundits and advisors lack historical knowledge and insight about the genesis and provenance of Russia’s antipathy toward Ukraine. It’s not about today. This deficiency sets the free world on a misguided path of focusing on absurd comments about the necessity of diplomacy and negotiations with an enemy who has your nation by the throat. Diplomacy and negotiations lead to compromises and, as Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meirpointed out, “To be or not to be is not a question of compromise. Either you be or you don’t be.” There can be no negotiations with an aggressor whose bloodied boots are on your land.

Free world leaders and pundits alike view events on the border between Ukraine and Russia like they do Russia’s invasion of Donbas and Crimea: They regard them as disjointed, distinct snippets of current events that don’t have a basis in history.

The Kremlin convinced President Biden and other free world leaders that the issue pertains exclusively to Russia’s security. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, NATO has been inching closer to Russia’s border, and now independent Ukraine, Russia’s arch-enemy, is an ally of NATO and the free world.

Yes, Russia would rather not have Ukraine and NATO firmly ensconced on its border. However, the key point is that Russia would rather have Ukraine be a malleable province like Belarus that in time will be fully absorbed by Moscow into its revived empire thus fulfilling its 1,000-year-old mission.

Regrettably, analyzing current events based on one thousand years is beyond the scope of contemporary pundits and national leaders.

Putin, himself, cites his desire for Ukraine’s future just like Hitler did about Germans in foreign countries – Volksdeutsche. He has frequently spoken about the singularity of the Ukrainian and Russian peoples, their common language, culture, history, past and destiny.

Putin has condemned efforts by outsiders to undermine what he considers the national unity of the Russian and Ukrainian peoples. When Russia attacked and annexed Crimea from Ukraine, Putin declared that Russians and Ukrainians are “one people” thus setting the stage for the ultimate absorption of Ukraine and its people by Russia. Hitler also had this idea in mind when he declared his intention to swallow Germans everywhere into a greater Germany – an “Anschluss” as it was called.

“People who have their own views on history and the history of our country may argue with me, but it seems to me that the Russian and Ukrainian peoples are practically one people,” Putin recently told a youth camp outside of Moscow. Unfortunately, President Biden, expressed this lapsus linguae as he reiterated this false and offensive line of thinking in his televised speech about Ukraine on February 16, when he said: “To the citizens of Russia: You are not our enemy. And I do not believe you want a bloody, destructive war against Ukraine — a country and a people with whom you share such deep ties of family, history, and culture.”

To some, Russia’s ominous plans for Ukraine have been well known. In an editorial in the Autumn 1945 edition of The Ukrainian Quarterly, the editors pointed out that to the captive nations of Eastern Europe, “Russian nationalism is an even greater menace than it is to the outside world. For them, it spells denationalization and destruction of their national identity. Taking advantage of the victory over the Nazis and their prowess in international relations, the Soviet rulers have now inaugurated a policy of denationalization of the non-Russian peoples of the USSR. They have as their pattern the similar policy of Peter I to make ‘Russia’ peopled by one homogenous Russian Orthodox people.”

The editors also noted that “The chief victim here is Ukraine, which Russia is determined at all costs to russify and gradually transform into a mere Russian province. It is far from an easy task, however, for Ukrainian national consciousness is very high and offers vigorous opposition to the resurgent Russian nationalism. Thus, in western Ukraine, the opposition has developed into open warfare, conducted by Ukrainian underground forces. Thus now it is really a struggle of Moscow against Kyiv.

Indeed this latest looming fateful war between Ukraine and Russia will reaffirm that for 10 centuries it was always a matter of Moscow against Kyiv.

History has taught us that Moscow’s war against Ukraine will continue for decades or until Russia ultimately meets the same fate as Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. This latest invasion of Ukraine will happen now or in the near future while the United States and other free world countries will be left standing on the sidelines threatening or warning that they would rain Armageddon on Moscow and its leaders if and when Russian soldiers cross Ukraine’s border though never revealing what that would look like.

However, Moscow and the free world should appreciate that with every passing week, even teenagers and grandmothers are becoming skilled in the art of national self-defense and are ready to fill trenches on the border or in Kyiv together with soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Indeed, there will be blood again thanks to Moscow.