Is America Still a Serious Nation?
There is a lesson to be learned from Ukraine
It was a bit of a surprise that Russia stormed into Ukraine because as a practical matter, it didn’t necessarily make a lot of sense. There was no casus belli or threat to Russia from Ukraine. Sure, Russia didn’t potentially want another NATO member shoved up against its border down the road and may have liked the idea of turning that nation into a puppet state, but there is no compelling reason for Russia to invade right now. That’s doubly so since Russia didn’t appear to be fully prepared for the invasion. Granted, you can’t necessarily take the news you hear at the beginning of a war at face value, but the general consensus from policy experts seems to be that the invasion isn’t off to a great start. Surprisingly, Ukraine still has planes in the air, some pretty embarrassing footage of captured Russian soldiers has leaked out, the West has stood surprisingly strong, there have been significant protests in Russia, Putin and company have faced damaging sanctions, and no major Ukrainian cities have been taken… yet. It is still entirely possible that Russia will pour more resources into Ukraine, quickly crush the Ukrainian military, and settle in for years of bloody guerilla fighting fed by massive arms shipments and aid from the West as the Russian economy bleeds out because of sanctions, but that seems like a Pyrrhic victory at best.
How all of that ultimately plays out remains to be seen, but the one thing that has been noticeable since the beginning of the invasion is that it seems to have focused people’s minds on more serious issues.
The people in Ukraine have REAL problems. How much of what we fight over in American politics represents a real-world practical problem and how much of it represents self-created nonsense problems? Can we even tell the difference anymore?
For example, it seems pretty notable that at a time when the whole world is rallying against Russia and that nation is being hit with punishing sanctions that both Europe and the United States are continuing to buy their energy. Why are we in the United States doing that? Because if we cut off the supply of Russian oil, prices would spike dramatically. Would we be in an entirely different situation if the Keystone Pipeline were up and running? Absolutely, because the pipeline would have supplied us with more oil than we get from Russia. Unfortunately, Democrats have been slow-walking the pipeline since 2008 and Biden killed it. That wasn’t done because of any real or substantial objections to the pipeline, it was done as a political ploy to placate environmentalists. We’re talking about an incredibly valuable source of energy that would have produced large amounts of jobs and oil that were killed for no other reason than to appeal to people whose thinking doesn’t go any deeper than, “Oil bad! Must stop more oil.” On top of that, runaway inflation also means it’s politically difficult for Biden to make a decision that would increase the price of gas. Both parties and the Fed bear responsibility for that, but it’s worth noting that even as the inflation was cranking up, Democrats kept pumping more money into the economy without any regard to the consequences.
That’s where we are in America. We are so sure of our place in the world, so sure that the Golden Goose will keep on laying golden eggs, so sure that there’s nothing that can really threaten us, that we have allowed our government to become like two cliques of squabbling children fighting over who gets to hand out monopoly money. Do you know why they don’t have fights over things like Critical Race Theory, gender pronouns, and men in women’s bathrooms in places like Ukraine? For one thing, they’re not as degenerate as us, but the key reason is that they have REAL PROBLEMS. On the other hand, we don’t really even have “first-world problems” in America. We have spoiled brat problems that we invent to give our status-hungry academics something to do and our failing citizens something to fixate on. This is us:
We’re in a comfortable, air-conditioned house, eating delivered pizza for dinner with a couple of beers before we go to sleep in our comfortable bed thinking, “Wow, life sure is hard.” Then, we invent things to complain about online. “Oh, did you hear what that Karen did?” “Can you believe what AOC (if you’re conservative) / Marjorie Taylor Greene (if you’re liberal) said?” We get huffy over some supposedly outrageous quote about Trump or Biden – and we’re careless about the things that really matter.
It’s like that brilliant speech from one of my all-time favorite movies, Limitless, when Carl Von Loon explains to Eddie Morra that he hasn’t earned the incredible gift that he has:
“You do know you’re a freak? Your deductive powers are a gift from God, or chance, or a stray shot of sperm, or whatever or whoever the hell wrote your life script – a gift, not earned. You do not know what I know because you have not earned those powers. You’re careless with those powers and you flaunt them, and you throw them around like a brat with his trust fund. You haven’t had to climb up all the greasy little rungs, you haven’t been bored blind at the fundraisers, you haven’t done the time in that first marriage to the girl with the right father; you think you can leap over all in a single bound; you haven’t had to bribe or charm or threaten your way to a seat at that table; you don’t know how to assess your competition because you haven’t competed. Don’t make me your competition.”
Of course, Ed Morra does have a real gift in the form of a pill that gives him a four-digit IQ. Do you know what “gift” Americans have today? We were handed a nation with the world’s strongest economy, strongest military, and healthiest culture by previous generations of Americans. They won those privileges by outworking, outbuilding, outproducing, outfighting, and outsmarting the rest of the globe. It’s like the story of the tortoise and the hare. Previous generations of Americans helped us build a huge lead on the rest of the planet and now we think we have plenty of time to sleep because they can’t possibly catch up. Unfortunately, that’s just not true.
We don’t have the luxury of putting whatever empty suit that does the best job of catering to our prejudices in charge of the country. We don’t have billions to throw away on pie-in-the-sky projects or such a huge military lead over our rivals that we have time for this silliness:
According to General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, U.S. service members have spent a total of 5,889,082 man-hours on the February 5, 2021, extremism “stand-down” and on “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” training, including Critical Race Theory, since President Biden took office.
Guess what? There can be real-world consequences to putting sick weirdos like this in charge of things in our government:
You’re going to put an end to homelessness? You can’t even keep them from crapping on the streets. You don’t have any thoughts on how we’re going to balance the budget, but you have an impossible to implement, 100 billion dollar plan to fix global warming? You’re going to put an end to poverty? Then why has your district been poor for decades? We treat the very real difficulties and problems our nation has like afterthoughts or as something to be managed as part of a PR campaign instead of issues we need to deal with in a meaningful way. Guess what? We can’t pay our bills. Our border is wide open. We’re starting to fall behind China in some areas militarily and technologically. Our K-12 education system is average compared to the rest of the world. Our immigration system is inefficient and doesn’t bring in the best immigrants. We’ve vulnerable to cyber-attacks and in some respects, are falling behind in space warfare. Our power grid is old and inefficient. Our excessive regulations make it far too expensive to build here and are driving some medical innovations overseas.
Problems like these are treated as not that important until something like COVID-19 comes along and the fact that we haven’t properly planned for a pandemic and don’t trust the government or the media turns into a real dilemma that leads to a body count. It’s like that brilliant Machiavelli quote goes:
“And what physicians say about disease is applicable here: that at the beginning a disease is easy to cure but difficult to diagnose; but as time passes, not having been treated or recognized at the outset, it becomes easy to diagnose but difficult to cure. The same thing occurs in affairs of state; for by recognizing from afar the diseases that are spreading in the state (which is a gift given only to a prudent ruler), they can be cured quickly; but when they are not recognized and are left to grow to the extent that everyone recognizes them, there is no longer any cure.”
The reality is that our government along with people in both parties need to get back to addressing real problems while there’s still time to solve them. Right now, the government of Ukraine could probably tell you all about a dozen things they should have done in the years leading up to the invasion from Russia, but it’s too late now. It may be true that it’s unlikely a foreign invasion force will fight its way ashore here and start conquering territory, but it’s just as true that there are an awful lot of serious issues we’re almost certainly going to confront in the future that we’re simply not addressing. Americans have been acting as if we live in a world without consequences for far too long and it’s time to get back to reality before it’s too late.