By William Haupt III
The author is a Center Square contributor
“The young very seldom lead anything in our country today. It’s been quite some time since a younger generation pushed an older one to a higher standard.”
– Wynton Marsalis
Millennials and Generation X have enjoyed the fruits of cheap technology, near zero interest rates, the internet doing their homework and not worrying about being drafted. They live in a society that shows little concern for national security. They are coddled by a government rich with entitlements if they need help.
Most importantly, they have never lived under the constant fear of being nuked.
Boomers grew up during the Cold War under a cloud of worry and fear, in a world rebuilding from World War II. As off-springs of returning love-hungry heroes, we wore hand-me-downs, walked to school with a brown-bag lunch and a nickel for a carton of milk. If we had a TV, it got four channels off of tin foil and rabbit ears. Our lives depended on the intimidating sounds of nuclear air raid siren tests.
Life during the Cold War behind the Eastern Bloc was living hell. Life in the free world was waiting for “all hell to break loose” when those sirens told us it really was a Red attack. Where would we go? What would we do? Where would we be safe? Will God protect us from the bomb if we are nuked?
“The Cold War is thawing, but it will always burn under the heat of communism.”
– Richard Nixon
The Cold War defined the lives of boomers. It embellished disdain for communism in our DNA. Our parents, priests and teachers taught us communism isn’t a government but a godless religion. We learned it thrives on a dogma of deliverance, but it delivers despair. We learned communism is self-serving to propagate communism. The Cold War made us patriots eager to defend our democracy!
When President Ronald Reagan and Pope St. John Paul helped end communism in the Eastern Bloc, it marked the end of the Cold War. While Russia imbibed in “Comi-nocracy,” communism flourished in Asia and autocratic regimes took hold in the East. The day the Cold War ended, the war on terrorism began.
During the Cold War, America had one visible enemy: the U.S.S.R. But since the end of the Cold War, America’s enemies are both visible and invisible. Instead of one common foe, America is fighting to protect freedom on many fronts around the globe; against autocratic nations and terrorists.
“People today don’t know about the Cold War or fear of a nuclear holocaust from the U.S.S.R.”
– Hideo Osaka
On Election Eve 2016, Donald Trump received more congratulatory phone calls from rogue nations than any U.S. president in history. The world listened when Mr. Trump pledged he was “going to make America great again.” They knew he was a patriot, not a politician, and he would work for the people and not the party. And that terrified them. And that fear lasted his entire term in office.
President Joe Biden inherited a foreign policy that had significantly lowered bilateral tensions between major nuclear states. President Trump “quelled the storms of aggression” with North Korea, Russia and Iran. He brought China to its knees with his “phase-one” trade agreement and protected the theft of U.S. intellectual property. Since President Biden took office, that fear has been replaced with disrespect.
For a guy who was Senate Foreign Relations Committee chair during the Cold War, Joe Biden is showing his critics they are right. His mind is locked in the “Cold War past.” After he took office, in a “60 Minutes” interview he said, “The biggest threat to American security is not China but Russia.”
A few weeks into the Russian Ukraine War, President Biden convinced NATO to escalate its support for Ukraine. This was an effort to humiliate and destabilize Russia, undermining support for Russian President Vladimir Putin within his own country. President Biden’s goal is to reduce the power and influence Russia has in Europe.
“Our goal is to not only help Ukraine defend itself, but to discredit Putin with Europe.”
– Joe Biden
After meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the U.S. objective now is to limit Russia’s power over the long term. “We want to see Russia weakened to the degree that it can’t do the kinds of things that it has done by invading Ukraine.”
While President Biden is hell-bent on inflicting a humiliating defeat on Russia, European nations don’t agree. They feel if Russia loses the war they will lash out even more aggressively. Matthew Karnitschnig of Politico said, “European leaders are worried about what will happen if Ukraine actually wins. A destabilized Russia would be very unpredictable and normalization would be totally out of reach.”
President Putin is a bad actor and an egotistical strongman dead set to show Europe he is the boss. President Biden’s sanctions did not stop his missiles and bombs. So Mr. Biden doubled down, financing his war with U.S. dollars, giving Mr. Putin no way to negotiate a copacetic way out and save face at home and the world.
”Sometimes it is necessary to be the aggressor in order to prove that you are right.”
– Vladimir Putin
In a recent U.N. vote to remove Russia from the Human Rights Council, only 93 nations voted yes, 58 abstained, and 24 voted against the resolution. The axis of evil — Iran, Cuba, China, North Korea, Syria, Vietnam and Russia — voted against. The remaining U.N. members didn’t even show up. This is a clear indication that 100 out of the 193 U.N. member nations either fear or support Russia or both.
The Chinese–Russian border is 2,615.5 miles long. There are over 160 border crossings between the nations, and all are open 24 hours. They include railway, highway and river crossings. Although neither nation trusts each other, China has already stepped up and allied with Mr. Putin in the war with Ukraine. China views Russia as a nuclear ally against the U.S. — which doesn’t concern Biden at all?
Author Helen Thomas wrote, “War makes strange bedfellows.” During World War II, Russia allied with the U.S. and other democracies for their own survival. The allied forces could not have defeated Nazi Germany without the Russians. But in 1947, with the signing of the Paris Peace Treaties that ended WWII, Joseph Stalin broke with the allies and confiscated all of Eastern Europe and half of Berlin.
Mr. Putin said, “If the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will use all means to protect Russia.” Mr. Putin’s military has an arsenal of nuclear weapons and will use them if necessary. Is it worth risking a nuclear conflict over the most corrupt nation in Europe and its powerful neighbor?
When the Cold War began in 1948, only the U.S. and Soviets had nuclear weapons. By mid-1980, all global players had deadly power.
President Biden is fighting a personal battle for a corrupt nation. A cold war now would unite Russia, China, North Korea and terrorists against all democracies with China and the U.S. financing global conflicts until one got out of hand. One nuclear bomb in the hands of a terrorist could end the world. Mr. Biden’s love affair with Ukraine is a dangerous personal crusade for his ego and nothing more.
“The difference between a policy and a crusade is that a policy is judged by its results, while a crusade is judged by how good it makes its crusaders feel.”
– Thomas Sowell