Why Ukraine will endure

In this classic David vs. Goliath fight, Ukraine will endure against the powerful Russian bear…as long as they keep fighting.

In the early morning of 24 February, Moscow time, Russian land, air, and sea forces from Byelorussia, Crimea, and Donetsk attacked the Ukraine. Russia and the Ukraine were united with Kazakhstan other states in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Existing since the Bolsheviks overthrew Czar Nicholas II in 1917, the USSR defeated Germany on the eastern front in World War II, invaded Hungary and Czechoslovakia, and stood against the Western World in the Cold War. The fall of the USSR in 1991 splintered the former allies and ushered in a political disaster for Russia.

In the war between Russia and the Ukraine, Russia possesses major advantages. Russia is the largest country in the world at 6.6 million square miles, about 1/8th of the world’s land mass, and has a population of 146 million. According to the 2022 military strength ranking from Global Firepower, Russia is behind only the United States in military power, having 1.35 million personnel, 4100 aircraft, and 605 naval vessels.[1] Its per capita gross domestic product is $11,300. Ukraine, by contrast, extends over 233,000 square miles and has a population of 44 million. According to the 2022 military strength ranking from Global Firepower, Ukraine ranks 23 out of 140 nations surveyed. It has 500,000 total military personnel, 318 aircraft, and 38 naval vessels.[2] Its per capita gross domestic product is $3,727.

If Russia has so many advantages, why will Ukraine endure?

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Greco-Turkish War 1919-1922

Blue Mosque - Istanbul (9)

The carnage and crucible of WW1 didn’t end in 1918, but the gruesome genocide continued. The Greeks and Turks fought for centuries before then, and have continued since. No wonder. 

World War I had been a catastrophe for the Ottoman Empire. Siding with the Central Powers, including Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Bulgaria, Sultan Mehmed V Rashād (The True Path Follower) fought the Serbians, Rumanians, Russians, British, French, Arabs, and others. The Turks enjoyed some early successes, notably at Gallipoli (1915) and Kut (1916). Such victories emboldened radicals in the government to attack their traditional enemies, the Armenians, and in this genocide 1.5 million Armenian Christians perished. The tide of war turned against the Ottomans, as it did against all of the Central Powers, and ultimately the strategically encircled Turks lost their empire and their political system. An estimated 5 million Turks died, the sultanate ceased to exist, and Mustafa Kemal, later known as the Father of the Turks (Ataturk), rose to prominence.

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The War of 1812

In many ways a forgotten war, the War of 1812 was America’s first test as a nation. Had it ended differently, we might have been colonies again. 

Reenactors and Living Historians in 2013 reveled in the 150th anniversary of Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and Vicksburg, some of the most monumental battles of the American Civil War. Thousands of participants, tens of thousands of spectators, and merchants of all kinds have gathered to relive these events that shaped our nation and its people forever.

2013 and 2014 have seen anniversaries of other battles from an earlier war which has also shaped American History, the War of 1812. Though overshadowed by its later, longer and bloodier cousin, the War of 1812 was the first major military test of new United States, the only conflict in our history in which a foreign power invaded our states, and the only one in which our capital, Washington DC, was captured. The War of 1812 is famous for Fort McHenry’s valiant stand against the British fleet, the setting of Francis Scott Key’s Star Spangled Banner, and for Andrew Jackson’s (Old Hickory) decimation of the British forces at the Battle of New Orleans.

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Gettysburg Sesquicentennial 2013

Photographs of the re-enactment of the Battle of Gettysburg, Civil War, Sesquicentennial June

2013

Useful Quotations on World War 2

Pithy Prose for Politicians, Preachers, Professors, Pundits, and Public Speakers.

Many Japanese believed the United States to be a hollow shell, it’s people divided politically, softened by luxurious living and decadent morals, no match for the tough, disciplined men of Japan. Gordon Prange, author of At Dawn We Slept

Japan has faced many worthy opponents in her glorious history – Mongols, Chinese, Russians – but in this operation we will meet the strongest and most resourceful opponent of all. Isoroku Yamamoto, CINC of Japanese combined fleet prior to Pearl Harbor

It is the custom of bushido to select an equal or stronger opponent.  On this score you have nothing to complain about – the American navy is a good match for the Japanese navy. Isoroku Yamamoto, CINC of Japanese combined fleet prior to Pearl Harbor

What a strange position I find myself in – having to pursue with full determination a course of action which is diametrically opposed to my best judgement and firmest conviction. That too, perhaps, is fate.  Isoroku Yamamoto, CINC of Japanese combined fleet prior to Pearl Harbor

Since even one or two reshuffles in the high ranking posts would influence the morale of the whole fleet, I do not want to see any change at this moment.  Isoroku Yamamoto, CINC of Japanese combined fleet prior to Pearl Harbor

Too many steersmen will send the ship climbing the mountain. Japanese proverb

Even a rabbit will bite if it is fooled three times. Japanese proverb

Living History at Gettysburg on the Sesquicentennial

A once-in-a-lifetime chance to revisit one of the most important battles in American history. 

Some families enjoy history. Mine has reconnoitered the fields at Saratoga, examined the batteries at Fort McHenry, walked the decks of the USS Wisconsin, and explored the beaches at Normandy.  On Independence Day weekend my oldest son David, my oldest daughter Anna, and I enjoyed another famous battlefield, Gettysburg.

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The British Campaign in Afghanistan 1839-1842

The British campaign against Afghanistan was prompted by fear, began with hubris, squandered advantages, decayed into folly, and ended with tragedy. Many other military campaigns, and endeavors in life, are the same. 

India was the crown jewel of the British Empire, providing raw materials such as cotton for the growing British economy. Queen Victoria had just taken the throne (20 June 1837) of “this vast empire on which the sun never sets, and whose bounds nature has not yet ascertained.” The British East India Company was in de facto control of much of modern India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, except for in the United States, British arms had prevailed for a century, and the Industrial Revolution (mid 1700s to mid 1800s) was transforming the British Lion into the first European superpower since Rome.

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