by Robert M. Traxler
We are being told by the Russians in Ukraine that they are fighting the Nazis and fascists in Ukraine; the Ukrainians tell us that they are fighting the Nazi fascists in Russia? In the United States we are told that American conservatives and Republicans are fascists and Nazis, also racists, sexists, homophobes, Islamophobes, bigots, Neanderthals white supremacist/nationalists (even African Americans who are not properly woke).
The Nazi/fascist label has come to be the other side of the conflict, be it war or politics. It is past time we stop using the label indiscriminately and incorrectly. Fascists, as defined by the father of the theory, is a socialist nation that allows religion and nationalism. Benito Mussolini broke with the pure socialists he grew up with; his father was a national leader in the Italian socialist party and objected to religion and nationalism, as did the party.
Benito, a teacher and journalist/publisher, became nationalistic when fighting in WWI and knew that Italy, the seat of the Roman Catholic Church, would not follow an atheist movement. He developed the fascist party; most Italians approved of fascism, and it became the model for the more than a dozen nations that adopted fascism.
The late Rush Limbaugh counseled conservatives not to call the liberals communists. His point was that once you did, no one would listen to you, because it was too over the top. He was correct, and we need to see that philosophy adopted in the Nazi/fascist moniker. No form of government can function in its purest form, and all are a hybrid; traditional socialists will tell us as fascism allows God and love of country, thus it is not socialism — really?
Regardless of what the two sides in the war in Ukraine are called by the other, the Ukrainians have held off the Russians longer than the French held off the Germans in WWII. The French army was larger and better equipped than the Germans; they had the home field advantage, more tanks, aircraft, artillery, and better tanks and artillery, but lost in six weeks.
The world is in awe of the Ukrainians and we all should be. The tendency is to blame the poor execution of the invasion on the Russians, and they did make two classic mistakes, underestimating the resolve of their foes and not properly supplying their forces. However, the credit goes to the Ukrainians, who are attacking while outnumbered, and winning. The standard rule is that an attacking force must outnumber the enemy forces at the point of attack by at least four to one; Ukrainian troops are attacking larger Russian forces and winning back lost ground, a very impressive action.
A recent change of command of the Russian forces in Ukraine placed General Aleksandr Dvornikov in command, an officer NPR refers to as “the butcher of Syria.” General Dovornikov’s command of Russian forces in Syria saw a greater use of mercenaries and indirect fire weapons; he used cluster munitions and flame munitions more liberally than the general he replaced, and made war on the people, not just combatant forces.
This war will end in one of two ways. Either the Russians will occupy some of the areas of Ukraine east of the Dnipro River and call it part of Mother Russia, an act that repeats history, or the Russians cut and run from Ukraine, something very unlikely with President Putin having an 87% job approval rating in Russia and most of the world supporting him, either actively or passively.
Please keep in mind that the Chinese and Indians, the majority of the world’s population, are actively supporting the Russians (predominately economically), replacing Western Europe in the world markets. The Russian ruble hit a two-month high in April making up its post-invasion losses. At least three other nations have sent troops (Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan), token forces to be sure, but military support, making it a multinational force and giving President Putin political cover.
The outcome of the war on Ukraine will shape the world for decades to come. If the Russians and their allies win and annex a third of Ukraine, it will be step one in the ongoing re-emergence of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and a cold war.
To quote Sir Winston Churchill, “give us the tools and we will finish the job.” We need to give President Volodymyr Zelenskyy the tools he needs so that Ukraine can finish the job. My opinion.