Ukraine: Winter advantages and perils
This newspaper column started out to be about the moral dilemma faced by the GOP should the GOP ever want to win another election. To wit: Does the GOP have to destroy honest elections by replicating the largely illegal ballot harvesting methods used by the Democrat Party in the previous two elections?
But recent events in Ukraine demand attention. So, for now, the excellent suggested readings shown below centering on the voting irregularities and campaign finance issues we face will more than suffice. Reading of them is highly recommended.
Ukraine in winter: As always, and as Hitler learned to his dismay, winter weather favors the defense. Defenders can hunker down in somewhat warm bunkers. Attackers must move across the frozen open ground without the benefit of concealing vegetation. Sitting ducks.
While tracked vehicles work fairly well on top of ice and snow, a streak of warm weather can fill tracks, sprockets, and road wheels with mud, stopping tanks and armored personnel carriers literally in their tracks. In late October 1941, unexpected frozen mud stopped Hitlers tanks 18 miles short of the Kremlin. The rest is history.
But of more concern right now is the use of drones by Ukrainian forces to attack targets well inside Russia. Although certainly justified by Russian use of cruise missiles and drones inside Ukraine, Drone usage, by either side, could easily get out of hand and the entire world could slide, as it did in 1914, into another World War. But, this time, a nuclear war that could snuff out life as we know it.
Should the war drums increase in tempo, what, if any, vital interest does the United States have at stake in Ukraine? Feeling sympathy for the Ukrainian masses is natural; however, sympathy does not rise to the level of a vital interest.
Yet the United States does have a general vital interest in freedom-of-the-seas and freedom-of-navigation. The USA is a maritime trading nation and such freedoms are essential to our economy.
Including the Sea of Azov, Ukraine owns 2181 kilometers of Black Sea coastline. Russia, including the Sea of Azov, owns only 800 kilometers of Black Sea coastline. Even so, the Russian Navy can and does control the Black Sea and has stolen freedom of navigation from Ukraine.
In winter, Russias Baltic Sea ports are frozen as are Russias sea ports n the Far East. If the U.S. and NATO have the intestinal fortitude to do so, they can upend Russias Black Sea blockade by forcing NATO-member Turkey to close the Dardanelles to all Russian shipping; thereby, depriving Russia of access to the warm Mediterranean, to the Russian naval bases on the coast of Syria, and to access to the Atlantic Ocean via the Strait of Gibraltar.
The eight-mile-wide Strait of Gibraltar could be closed to Russian shipping by NATO-member Great Britain. And, if the Royal Navy cannot do the job; hopefully, the U.S. submarine fleet is still "non-woke" enough to be able to function.
Meanwhile, here is every best wish for a Happy Hanukah and a Merry Christmas.
Suggested readings: Against the Grain by Kelly D. Johnston at substack.com: "Cleaning up the Right," Dec. 8, 2022; "Another Meaningless Virtue Signal," Dec. 7, 2022; "Meet the Ballot Harvesting Capital of America, Dec. 6, 2022.
©2022. William Hamilton.