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The Book of the Week is “Here, Right Matters, An American Story” by Alexander S. Vindman, published in 2021. Some construe the word “right” in the book’s title as the political Right, which implies political power. In that regard, perhaps the author made a Freudian slip, or he got bad advice on the book’s title. By “right” he obviously meant moral. The author had particular expertise on the Soviet mentality, as his family was originally from the Ukraine. He was born there, was fluent in its language, but admitted he was never trained as an interpreter.
According to the book (which appeared to be credible although it lacks Notes, Sources, References, or Bibliography and an index), in July 2019, the author heard unethical and possibly treasonous utterances issue from the mouth of a representative of then-president Donald Trump in two separate conference calls among American and Ukrainian government officials. Pursuant to the chain of command, he informed his identical twin brother, who happened to be chief ethics counsel for the National Security Council.
The nefarious portion of the “Ukraine call” (the second conference call) whose unredacted transcript that was analyzed to death by the media circus, the American government, and every “news” junkie on the planet– consisted of the president’s asking a top leader of the Ukraine to gather any data that would smear Joseph Biden– the likely 2020 American presidential candidate, and to gather any data that would make Trump and his party look bad.
Administration officials who aided the president in this endeavor included (but were probably not limited to): the attorney general, his personal attorney, the White House chief of staff and the American ambassador to the European Union. In addition, the president withheld $400 million of American aid to Ukraine as a bargaining chip in doing his bidding.
The way the Trump administration handled foreign policy with regard to the relationship between Russia and the Ukraine obviously has raucously controversial international ramifications.
Profiteers, exploiters and human right activists would argue that military, financial and humanitarian assistance should be sent to the Ukraine. Profiteers and exploiters would trot out the age-old argument that Russia could ally with China in ways that would crush the United States. But that hasn’t happened. Activists would argue that Russian leader Putin and his military have been committing atrocities and war crimes, and theoretically they could eventually occupy Eastern Europe as the Soviets did in the 1950’s.
According to the author, in the early 2000’s, in Iraq, the Stryker brigade was used to move powerful, high-tech military equipment and supplies over long distances in record time. There is a risk that Putin could show his military might partly by using a version of the “Stryker brigade” in certain countries. But the takeover would probably occur only in those places where the older generation is resistant to change, or cannot afford to, or lacks the connections to leave their homeland to seek freedom and better living standards elsewhere. And most people who realized they had been oppressed, had a chance to leave in the last twenty-five years– if they had really wanted to.
In the 1990’s, different countries threw off their communist yoke at different speeds. People in the former Soviet Union had lived under communism for decades longer than their Eastern bloc counterparts. The older ones residing in the latter had known a better quality of life prior to Soviet takeover. Jeri Laber wrote, “They looked around them and saw corrupt, repressive governments, failing economies, contaminated water, polluted air, alcoholism, and apathy.” The more things change, the more they stay the same.
When Siberians discovered freedom and consumer goods, they became like Americans. They started riding in cars instead of walking. They ate fatty foods for lunch and the men stopped exercising. The women started going to aerobics classes at the gym.
From a purely economic standpoint (a neoconservative viewpoint)– selfish, heartless and sociopathic– the United States would benefit the most by not risking the lives of its own people to fight for the freedom and security of the peoples of whichever territories Russia decides to occupy, even if oil prices rise.
By its inaction, the United States would maintain its economic dominance in the world. It is becoming wise to Russia’s “…hybrid warfare… fake news, insincere diplomacy, intervention in elections…” drones, cyberattacks and jamming of Ukraine’s communications.
Read the book to learn more information about the author’s life, career and morals.