Are We Going to Go to War Over Ukraine?

By Joe Darby

Is the United States going to be fighting in Eastern Europe to repel a Russian invasion of Ukraine in the coming days?

That’s the big question surrounding the Ukraine crisis, but there are many others. The situation is escalating day by day, it seems. In spite of President Joe Biden’s incredibly inept statement that the US might tolerate a “minor incursion” into Ukraine by Russian troops, administration spokesman have quickly walked that back and claim that no border crossings at all by Russia will be accepted. “Severe” economic sanctions will be imposed, they say.

But about 8,500 US troops were placed on the highest alert Monday morning, ready to deploy and become part of the NATO forces if needed, a State Department spokesman said. Other NATO ally nations are transferring weapons to Ukraine, ranging from anti- aircraft and anti-tank missiles to jet fighters.

Among the many questions that we can expect to be answered before too much longer is whether Russian President Vladimir Putin will come to his senses and not order an invasion. He has massed more than 100,000 troops on the Ukraine border and has apparently begun plans to make it appear that Ukraine is the aggressor, as an excuse for an invasion.

The man has immense pride and a roll back would be humiliating for him. So that fact does not bode well.

If he does invade, will Ukraine be able to successfully defend itself? Although greatly outnumbered, Ukrainian troops will be fighting to defend their homeland and no one really knows just how efficient or motivated the Russian army is today. A followup to that question is, if Russian troops are more or less stopped at the border, will Putin escalate, bring in reinforcements and began a devastating bombing campaign against Ukrainian cities?.

If that happens, will the conflict widen? Will NATO and/or American troops become involved in combat? Could this then spread into a European-wide war, possibly even into World War III, with nuclear weapons? If the US does become involved in a European war, will China use the opportunity to invade Taiwan, as it has been threatening to do for years? Does the US still have the capacity to fight a two-front war if China does make a move?

Readers, we are possibly at a major turning point in Western history, whether for good or ill no one can predict now. Speaking of history, how did this situation come to pass?

As you probably know, Kiev is the capital of Ukraine. Like the Russians, Ukrainians are Slavs and in the early Middle Ages, the most powerful Eastern European state was the Kievan Rus empire (and that’s where the name Russia comes from, Rus), but that entity was pretty much destroyed by a gigantic invasion of the Mongols, all the way from China, in the 1200s.

In the coming centuries, a Russian state under the czars and centered upon Moscow began steadily expanding and eventually took over the area of Ukraine. In the 18th century, part of Ukraine came under the control of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. I don’t have the space to go into detail of the incredibly complicated history and politics of Eastern Europe, but the important point for our study today is that following the turmoil of World War I and the Communist Revolution in Russian, Ukrainians tried to fight for their independence but lost and were made part of the new Soviet Union.

In the 1930s, millions died in Ukraine of a famine purposefully created by Soviet Dictator Joseph Stalin. Ukrainians were so mistreated, in fact, that they welcomed the invasion of the Soviet Union by Germany in 1941 but quickly learned that, if anything, life under the Nazis was worse than that under the Communists.

When the Soviet Union broke up in 1991, Ukraine, like the rest of the so-called Soviet ‘”republics,” became an independent nation. But Russia invaded the Crimea in 2015, although that area was part of the Ukraine at the time, so there is certainly precedent for Russian aggression against the Ukrainians.

Putin maintains that the Russian and Ukrainian people are one and that they should be united. But Ukrainians are proud of their own unique history and the great majority of them want nothing to do with Russian domination. So, history is about to play out and will answer all of our questions soon enough. We can only hope and pray that the process is a peaceful one.