William J. Astore: Why I’m Pro-Russia

Reprinted from Bracing Views with the author’s permission.

Comrades, it has finally happened: I’ve been accused of being pro-Russia.

I was accused because I advocate for diplomacy and a negotiated settlement to the Russia-Ukraine War. Generally, I’m pro-peace and anti-war, but that’s a bad thing to be in the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Apparently, the only way to be pro-Ukraine is to advocate for and work toward a complete Ukrainian military victory over Russian forces, meaning that all Russian forces must be expelled from Ukraine, no matter the cost. That also means that Ukraine should get every weapon system they request from the U.S. and NATO, no matter the cost and no matter how many people are killed with these weapons. Putin is evil, Russians are bad, and the only thing “they” understand is maximum violence.

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Another ‘Kill’ for America!

Reprinted from Bracing Views with the author’s permission.

Good gawd, apparently another balloon fell victim to a missile launched from an F-22, this time over Alaska.

Look, up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s a Chinese war balloon!

Details are sketchy, but what’s clear is that the Biden administration is touting decisive action against what was apparently another balloon/surveillance instrument, most likely from China.

This is all about domestic politics. About the Biden administration "looking strong" by shooting down Chinese balloons (assuming the latest UFO was indeed another balloon).

The question is: Have these balloons truly been threats to U.S. national security? To my knowledge, they are not threats.

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Winning the Great Balloon War

Reprinted from Bracing Views with the author’s permission.

OK, so America used an ultra-expensive F-22 stealth interceptor to shoot down what may prove to be a common weather balloon that was “made in China.” But, dammit, we won! It was a perfect one-shot kill! Maverick himself couldn’t have done it better. Take that, China!

A friend watches the nightly NBC News, and he tells me NBC repeatedly showed the balloon being shot down. He counted nine times on the first night and four or five times the next night. Is the U.S. military and MICIMATT so desperate for a victory that it has to show a balloon being shot down more than a dozen times over the period of 24 hours? “Yes” is the answer.

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What’s the Best Way to End a War?

Reprinted from Bracing Views with the author’s permission.

U.S. foreign policy is a place where logic goes to die.

Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, said yesterday that the quickest way to end the Russia-Ukraine War is "to give Ukraine a strong hand on the battlefield," by which he meant more and more weaponry, including Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles and Patriot missile systems together with Challenger II tanks from Great Britain. Not surprisingly, then, the White House also hinted at yet another aid package for Ukraine, which may be announced "as soon as the end of this week."

Logic suggests the quickest way to end a war is to stop fighting. Announce a cease fire, negotiate, and find acceptable terms for an armistice or peace treaty. Stop the killing – stop the war.

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Military Haves and Have-Nots

Reprinted from Bracing Views with the author’s permission.

My great nephew recently reported to the local MEPS (military entrance processing station) and took the oath of office. He’s enlisting in the Marine Corps and I wish him all the best.

In November 2021, with him in mind, I wrote an article, “Should you join the U.S. military?” For him, the answer was yes, and I respect his decision.

Enlisting in the US military is a big step for any young adult. And there are certain benefits to it like health care, money for education, some kind of housing (or pay for housing), and of course job training and an identity, e.g “Once a Marine, always a Marine.”

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History Is Un-American

Reprinted from Bracing Views with the author’s permission.

I was bantering online with an old friend and fellow historian and I hit him with my best shot: history is un-American. If you think like an historian, and especially if you think America and its future actions should be informed, or possibly even constrained, by history, you are clearly un-American. History is more or less bunk, Henry Ford famously said, and Americans can safely ignore it. We are like gods, creating our own futures out of nothing, imposing our will on everything around us.

This attitude, this hubris, explains much about the U.S. military’s woeful record since 1945. The French lost in Indochina? No matter. Americans will prevail in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia because we’re not the French. The Soviet Union lost in Afghanistan? No matter. Americans will prevail there because we’re not the Russians. Overthrowing Saddam Hussein and his minority Sunni government will unleash chaos that strengthens Shia forces in Iraq, aligning that country more closely with Iran? No matter. America will bring order and the blessings of democracy to Iraq at the point of gun or a Hellfire missile.

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