By RAY KREIG
Recently propagated by Republican members of the Alaska Legislature, there are two stories they should know better:
• First, George Soros (Open Society Foundations) helped Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy become President of Ukraine through a massive propaganda campaign and he now supports the puppet regime he installed.
• Second, that Ukrainian President Zelenskyy is linked to Klaus Schwab (World Economic Forum), Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other global elites.
According to the theory, the enemy (President Vladimir Putin) of my enemy (Soros) is my friend. Therefore, apparently, there should be hesitation in supporting Zelensky and Ukraine’s resistance to Russian invasion at this pivotal moment in history.
Conservatives are right to crucify President Joe Biden for his weakness inviting invasion itself as he continues to pander to green energy as prices soar. The outrage is also justified as Biden demands the defense of Ukraine’s borders as he opens ours to mass illegal immigration. His son Hunter Biden’s foolishness with his suspect Ukrainian gas company Burisma “no show job” is also justifiable cause for outrage.
But hammering those points, things go off the rails when the rhetoric turns to “There is no American interest in Ukraine”, “Ukraine is a corrupt and undemocratic bankrupt state”, concepts adopted by Fox News and Tucker Carlson.
It’s wrong. The United States has a vital national interest in a Russia that retreats from authoritarianism, becomes a functioning democracy, and reduces the military threat. We would save trillions of dollars and live in a better world. Ukraine’s future is essential to this much larger goal.
Some believe that the West, and America in particular, is responsible for this invasion because the continued expansion of the NATO military alliance eastward to Russia’s borders threatens Russian national security. . Is Ukraine then doomed to remain in a Russian sphere of influence as a sort of vassal state of Moscow, despite the desires of the Ukrainians themselves to look to the West, the EU for their integration into a free and democratic market? It is quite understandable that, feeling threatened by Russia, Ukraine wants to join the NATO defense alliance.
Yes, Russia and Putin have been consistent for over two decades in saying that NATO and Ukraine pose an unacceptable threat to Russia and regional security. They use missiles by analogy with Cuba. Perhaps the West pushed NATO too hard and too far east to Russia’s borders, but these expansions were popular and desired by the people of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.
Perhaps this invasion was avoidable with better and more dexterous diplomacy that sought to probe the limits of Russia’s security concerns without conceding our own principles. Perhaps Russian President Putin and his proud compatriot grieving the loss of the Soviet Empire should not have been insulted and embarrassed by a triumphant West after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
This in no way excuses what Putin unleashed. Thousands of innocent people perished. All thinking and sensitive people around the world are shocked and disgusted by the devastation and carnage unleashed on this impoverished country. The sight of rows of rocket-bombed and shelled apartment buildings, cars, factories, hospitals, schools, bridges and public buildings is disgusting and unacceptable to all civilized peoples.
Regarding NATO on its borders: Equally frightening to Putin and Russia’s powerful Kremlin elite is the West’s tug and pull for Ukraine’s 50 million people.
Since the shock of the loss of Crimea and Donbass to Russian occupation in 2014, Ukraine has turned resolutely away from Russia. Culturally, the Ukrainian-speaking regions of western Ukraine and the Russian-speaking regions of eastern Ukraine are reorienting from Moscow to the west – the European Union, the United Kingdom and the America. Russian-speaking Ukrainians are so disgusted with Putin that they even choose to reduce their native language and switch to Ukrainian.
Russia feels the pain of losing its totalitarian empire and seeing the success of its former vassals in building democratic and free societies. Putin sees the existential threat growing in a thriving Ukraine – the size of Texas with 50 million people – that is increasingly tied to the West. He will lose all the Russian people as he realizes the improvement of the situation of the Ukrainians. There are close and intimate ties between Ukrainians across Russia, from St. Petersburg to Magadan; these include family, friends and business partners. It will not be possible to hide the Ukrainian successes from them, which is why Putin is destroying Ukraine and slaughtering thousands of people.
As for the election of President Zelenskyy in 2019 with the help of George Soros, this election is generally considered a free and fair election. Soros’ help may or may not have been significant. Even if it was, everything changed after the living hell of the Russian invasion.
Zelenskyy rallied his people to fight tyranny to the death like no one since Winston Churchill and Charles de Gaulle in the darkest days of World War II.
After the defeat of the Russians, Zelenskyy can be expected to distance himself from any Soros and global elite forces incompatible with the values now etched in the souls of Ukrainians.
Case in point: Last week, the Ukrainian parliament granted its citizens the right to bear arms, hours before Putin’s invasion. Right now, we see their citizens wielding Kalashnikovs and AR-15s on their way to victory in aiding the Ukrainian Defense Forces. These citizens will not hand over these weapons and this is a lesson for the world. The Second Amendment means weapons like these. Soros and the one-worlders will make no headway against this. Certainly not with President Zelenskyy.
As for the strange bedfellows in war: remember that during World War II, the West had to ally with mass murderer Joseph Stalin in order to defeat the common enemy, Hitler. Right here in Alaska, 8,000 American planes were handed over to Soviet pilots who flew them across Siberia under the Lend-Lease program. You do what you have to do – to survive and win – then later oppose your allies, if necessary, after the defeat of the common enemy.
Ukrainians are fighting the greatest battle for freedom the world has seen in this century – perhaps since World War II. Remember these names: Irpin, Kharkiv, kyiv, Mariupol, Hostomel, Kherson, Melitopol…
The courage of Ukrainians (citizens and military) has already ensured that they will go down in history as famous battles for freedom – battles such as Normandy, Iwo Jima, the Alamo and Yorktown. Ukraine is today the first line of freedom in the world.
We may not yet be in a “world war”. For now, it’s a big bully invading a small neighbor. However, if Putin is allowed to take Ukraine independent after the abomination and war crimes he has inflicted on the world, one can expect an emboldened China to invade Taiwan. Then you have an axis of Russia, China (and others) against the free world – WWIII.
Finally, Ukrainian heroism and Russian miscalculation seem likely to bring about the failure of Putin’s reckless invasion and the end of his rule.
The media will then help Biden and the Democrats claim credit for defeating Vladimir Putin.
Conservatives who are soft on Zelensky and Putin need to get smart, be careful, and steer this narrative away from the freedom of the Democrats. At least make sure you’re on stage and not some useful idiot for this new Hitler-Putin. Don’t be on the wrong side of history – it will give President Biden and the Democrats cover to escape responsibility for the disasters they have caused in America, Alaska and around the world.
Ray Kreig is a civil engineer in Anchorage and former president of Chugach Electric. His Russian experience includes extensive Siberian terrain assessment, pipeline routing and infrastructure assessment. Kreig was in the capital of Anadyr in the province of Chukotka (contiguous with Alaska, west of Nome) during the August 1991 Soviet coup attempt against Mikhail Gorbachev. He assisted the deputy mayor in non-combat tasks opposing the coup. In 1994, Kreig informed then-Vice President Al Gore at the White House on the Russian Komi oil spill and was named its representative for the UN field fact-finding mission.