Echoes of Ukraine

Sam Smith, 2014 – We don’t know  just what role the CIA and other US groups played in bringing down the government in Ukraine but it has some of the marks of similar activities that have  overthrown more than 70 governments. Even though it is often an ineffective activity, and even though America’s global status is worse than when we started doing it, it is another example of how futility can become institutionalized like everything else.

Still this one hit me a little harder than I expected. It took me a while to figure out but then I realized that in 1962, we had gone through the Cuban missile crisis that Bruce W. MacDonald described thusly:

Fifty years ago this month, world attention was fixed on a U.S.-Soviet confrontation over the placement of Soviet nuclear-armed missiles in Cuba, probably the most dangerous and perhaps the most studied moment of the Cold War. What came to be known as the Cuban missile crisis raised, as never before and probably since, the specter of global nuclear war.

At the time I was a young officer in the Coast Guard, which I had joined to avoid the draft, not to fight World War III. For some months the possible consequences of the Cuban missile crisis became extremely personal.

But we got through it and I haven’t thought about it in decades. Then the Ukrainian story broke and I had the sense I was seeing it again, only with the players reversed.

And the lesson to be learned was the same: don’t play your macho games too close to the other guy’s turf.

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