The Cost Of War And The Benefits Of Peace

All the horrors of World War II, including a Nazi attempt to take over the world and the murder of six million Jews, along with countless episodes of genocide in Eastern Europe and in Africa have not yet convinced leaders of certain countries that peace is the answer.

As I think backwards of so many incidents of crimes against humanity and consider what is happening right now in Ukraine, I conclude that there is something dramatically faulty with humans. Without war and associated expenses to defend ourselves, or to retaliate, humans could prosper, and billions of people under duress could have security and not need to struggle to survive every day.

Tyrants and megalomaniacs pop up across the globe frequently. Generally, these individuals have warped perspectives about their own country, tribe or other social and political associations. They believe their compatriots deserve more than others. They believe it is righteous to take by force what is not theirs. This nationalistic and ethnocentric attitude usually results in the death of many soldiers, and the slaughter of innocent women and children. Peaceful nations must protect themselves against bellicose, belligerent and entitled regimes.

The US defense budget is about 750 billion dollars per year. At this rate, 7.5 trillion dollars will be spent over a decade assuming no increases. If this insurance were not needed, the money could be used to eradicate disease and enable most of the world to live in comfort with ample food and clean water.

What is happening in Ukraine is a perfect case in point. For incomprehensible reasons, Russia attacked a sovereign country. The facts are that Ukraine is very much influenced by Russian culture. It borders Russia. It is a democracy. It has a valuable access to the ocean. Putin says Russia is threatened by Ukraine’s way of life because it is friendly with European democracies. Also, Putin believes that nations should reflect the ethnic demographics of their population. From Putin’s vantage point, all Russian people should be a part of a larger homogenous community. Most experts refer to the America’s melting pot and say this perspective, which calls for despotic leadership and no democratic rights, is a thing of the past. Hitler said the same things about countries situated near Germany nearly a century ago. For these reasons, Putin wants to reconstruct Eastern Europe and rebuild the Soviet Union. This strategy gives no credence into the fact that most former SSR’s want more freedom, more democracy and greater affiliation with the West, in particular Europe and the US.

Brave foreign correspondents report on the courage of the Ukrainian people, and the carnage inflicted by Putin and his army. Unlike World War II, when most Americans had no idea about the savage German war machine, now we know of every residence, school and hospital that the Russians are firing missiles and bombs at. They are also chronicling the pathetic movement of several million refugees and homeless people.

I am ashamed of the human race for allowing this catastrophe to destroy a nation and a peaceful group of people. When I watch the news, it breaks my heart to see how many innocents are suffering. And when I ask myself what Putin’s justification is, I draw a blank. He will be classified as a mass murderer just like Hitler was when this all ends.

To make matters worse is the possibility of a nuclear encounter.  This is an existential cloud that hangs over the world.

Why would peaceful Russians allow a man like Putin to represent them?

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