Will Ukraine Become Russia’s Afghanistan of the 1980’s?

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UkraineRussia waged war in Afghanistan between Dec 24, 1979 and Feb 15, 1989. After being badly beaten by the Taliban, led by Osama Bin Laden, they left in defeat and shame.

America’s military was twice as dumb. Our government and military began the war in Afghanistan on October 7, 2001, and remained until August 30, 2021. Twenty years of lives lost and a monetary cost of trillions of dollars, and nothing but negative results.

I once considered Vladimir Putin an intelligent man. His invasion of Ukraine without provocation proves me wrong. He is an egotistical tyrant whose need to display his ultimate power has replaced intelligent thought. It is very possible that he is just another 69-year-old man who is battling failing mental health.

“The truth lives here,” and what is undeniable is that Putin underestimated the abilities of the Ukraine military and the weaknesses of his own. This brings to question, “how long will this war last? Will this become Putin’s ‘Afghanistan?’”

A prominent Russian professor recently assessed the conflict.

“Russia probably does not have sufficient manpower to mount offensives against large cities,” says Nikolai Topornin, an international relations professor at a major Moscow university and a reservist officer in an artillery corps. “Maybe Russia can take some of the smaller towns in the Donetsk and Lugansk region — Kramatorsk, Severodonetsk, Sloviansk — but the idea that it will be possible to occupy regional centers like Dnipro or Zaporizhia is unrealistic given the current balance of forces.”

Most opinions offered by military strategists and experts in the region share similar opinions. As our own military learned with our failures in Afghanistan and Iraq, war is the easy part, occupation is a far greater challenge. I believe that if Russia has learned anything from the invasion, which has lasted for nearly three months, it is that buildings and other manmade structures can easily be destroyed, but the indomitable spirit of people will never be conquered. A successful occupation requires the people’s acquiescence to become a complete victory.

Volodymyr Yermolenko, editor-in-chief of independent media outlet UkraineWorld, said “nothing short of a total defeat can stop the Russian leadership from continuing to prosecute this war.”

“Russia is a wounded empire, much like Nazi Germany and fascist Italy were, and Ukrainians understand that any deal to lay down our arms would only lead to further massacres like the one we saw in Bucha,” he said. “We should be prepared for a very long struggle.”

Once again, one egomaniac has proven that wars are ignorant and never produce the desired or expected results. Men in power wage wars, people do not. There has never been a war that did not result in enormous cost. Millions of deaths and trillions of dollars have been lost throughout recorded history. Neither side can claim victory, only a cessation of the deadly conflicts. In every war the innocent suffer, while the wealthy experience an increase in their personal wealth.

Putin is now responsible for thousands of deaths and tens-of-thousands of injuries suffered by men, women, and children of democracy-loving Ukraine’s. He is also responsible for the deaths of thousands of his own people whose families are forced to suffer unimagined agony because of one dictator’s selfish and foolhardy decision.

I leave you with an axiom which is undeniable.

“Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Op-ed by James Turnage

My nine novels are available on Amazon’s Kindle

Sources:

Daily Kos: Ukraine update: Russia’s advance stalls again, and a new Ukrainian tank brigade enters the fight

News Week: https://www.newsweek.com/2022/05/27/vladimir-putins-forever-war-ukraine-1706550.html

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Howard Duncan’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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