Dr. Dabbs – Why Ukraine Matters

Here’s a glimpse into the sausage factory that is my writing for GunsAmerica. I’ve been banging these columns out for years now. Crafting these things is the highlight of my week. It is indeed such a privilege. Thanks for acting interested–I literally couldn’t do it without you.

Some are pure history. Others focus on a certain gun or particular weapon system. Periodically I’ll slip in something that’s just a wee bit silly. And then some sport a thin patina of politics. It is the political columns that always stimulate the most discussion.

For me at least, the comments are the best part.

Comments Are the Best Part

I can’t wait for the commentary at the bottom. I read every word. I have had my grammar corrected, my history tweaked, my motives questioned, and my honor impugned. I do love it all.

Today we are going to explore what I hope will be a fairly controversial subject. If you have opinions I’d love to read them down below. These are mine. Fortunately for me, I am unimportant so I can speak my mind without caring about offending anybody.

The War in Ukraine Represents a Unique Opportunity

Living with these things is the only world I have ever known.

I was born in 1966. I have lived under the threat of nuclear annihilation by the Russians ever since I first drew breath. Like-minded buddies and I used to design subterranean fallout shelters in the margins of our notebooks in High School.

In 1989 the wall fell, and everything changed. For the first time in my life, we faced the possibility of a world not defined by the pervasive threat of nuclear war. Moreso than at any time since the end of WW2, there was hope and an expectation of a brighter, more peaceful future. And then Vladimir Putin happened.

Anatomy of a Monster

Vladimir Putin is 71 years old and has been the grand potentate of Russia for a quarter century. He’s not a terribly nice person.

Vladimir Putin began work as a foreign intelligence officer in 1975. He resigned from the KGB in 1991 and dove headfirst into politics. For a time he helmed the Federal Security Service (FSB, the successor to the KGB). Putin was appointed Prime Minister in the summer of 1999.

Putin has had a stranglehold on power ever since, walking away with every election in which he has participated. He suspiciously won the most recent March 2024 plebiscite with 87.97% of the popular vote. Of course, his political enemies have a curious habit of falling out of windows, blowing up in airplanes, or being inexplicably contaminated with toxic Polonium-210. That might have something to do with it.

Perhaps He’s Compensating for Something…

President Obama caught a lot of flak for this picture. It’s plenty safe and all. It just doesn’t look terribly manly.

I will admit that there was a time when I thought Putin was kind of cool. While our own President Clinton was chasing interns and President Obama didn’t get within a hundred yards of a bicycle without donning one of those lame-looking helmets, Putin was burning meat with friends, pumping iron, flying an ultralight airplane, and wrangling polar bears.

I can’t much see President Biden doing something like this.
Putin went out hunting tigers with a dart gun while he was the sitting President of Russia. Right, wrong, or otherwise, that’s a pretty studly thing to do.
Vladimir Putin has long been a martial arts enthusiast. This dates back to his days as a KGB spy.

Megalomaniacal Nutjob

That’s not hyperbole. In 2013, he took a bathyscaphe to the seabed to explore the remains of the Russian naval frigate Oleg that sank in 1869. He went on expeditions to tranquilize Siberian tigers and polar bears before fitting them with radio collars. Putin holds a black belt in Judo and has authored a book on the subject titled, Judo: History, Theory, and Practice (3.9/5 on Goodreads). But, throughout it all, Vladimir Putin was actually a megalomaniacal nutjob.

Putin first showed his true colors in 1999 when he oversaw the Second Chechen War that claimed between 50,000 and 80,000 civilian lives. In 2014, he invaded Crimea, but President Obama didn’t really take him seriously. Thusly emboldened, in February of 2022 Putin massed some 180,000 combat troops on the border with Ukraine.

Putin expected his invasion of Ukraine to be a walk in the park. It wasn’t.

His stated goals were to rid Ukraine of imaginary Nazis and create a buffer between Russia and NATO. His war plan had his triumphant forces marching victoriously through the streets of Kiev in three days. However, a certain Ukrainian television comedian had something to say about that.

Volodymyr Zelensky: The Archetypal Underdog

By all accounts, Volodymyr Zelensky loves his family and wants what’s best for them. That I can identify with.

Volodymyr Zelensky is 49 years old. He is married and has two kids. Zelensky is Jewish and had relatives who perished in the Holocaust. His grandfather was an infantry Colonel in the Red Army during WW2.

Volodymyr Zelensky’s comedy troupe, Kvartal 95, has been immensely popular in Ukraine. Some of their comedy sketches are pretty racy.

Zelensky began his show business career at age seventeen, forming a comedy troupe called Kvartal 95. Kvartal 95 was a sort-of Ukrainian Saturday Night Live. Most of the videos of Zelensky circulating on the Internet that make him look androgynous or show him in a compromising light are taken from Kvartal 95 comedy sketches. That’s why there is always laughter in the background.

Zelensky’s extensive filmography includes a voiceover as Paddington Bear in the Ukrainian dubbing of the two Paddington movies. He said the objective of Kvartal 95 was to, “Make the world a better place, a kinder and more joyful place with the help of those tools that we have, which are humor and creativity.”

A Weird Segue To President of Ukraine

Volodymyr Zelensky’s fake TV show about being President of Ukraine eventually got him elected President of Ukraine. That’s honestly pretty weird, but I did my part to help elect Donald Trump. We don’t have much room to talk.

What got seriously strange was his sitcom Servant of the People. This show runs on Netflix, and it is surreal. Zelensky plays a school teacher whose students surreptitiously get his name on the ballot for President of Ukraine. In the show, his pupils record him ranting against government corruption and oligarchs without his knowledge, post the video online, and, against all odds, get him elected President. What follows is an amusing fish-out-of-water trope wherein the humble schoolteacher tries to adapt to the trappings of power and run a country. The Ukrainian people loved it.

Zelensky is a shrewd businessman and a strategic thinker. In 2018, his television production company formed a new political party named, aptly enough, Servant of the People. In a classic example of life imitating art, Zelensky ran a low-key virtual campaign and won the presidency with 73% of the vote.

The War In Ukraine

The comedian-turned-politician has transformed into a remarkably charismatic wartime leader.

Zelensky’s political life has been defined by the Russian invasion. In the chaotic days following the initial assault, President Biden famously called Zelensky to offer safe passage for him and his family out of Ukraine on an American helicopter. Zelensky’s immortal response was, “The fight is here; I need ammunition, not a ride.”

In the subsequent two years, the United States has provided around $74 billion in total aid to Ukraine. $46.3 billion of that has been for weapons, training, and military support. That’s a pretty epic chunk of change, but let’s dissect that number for context.

Despite dumping $13.5 billion in cash into the impoverished nation of Haiti, the place remains an unlivable hellhole today. Legit, the power recently went out in Port-au-Prince because looters broke into the power stations and stole everything.

Since the 2010 earthquake, we have pumped some $13.5 billion into Haiti. That money is just gone. Haiti is a lawless failed state today. We sent $3 billion to Somalia, and I still can’t get too worked up about vacationing there.

We spent $72.7 billion in Afghanistan between 2001 and 2020. In the two decades since 911 we dumped an eye-popping $8 trillion on the Global War on Terror while directly or indirectly killing nearly a million people. That’s $24,000 for every man, woman, and child in our country. The money we have spent in Ukraine is undeniably substantial, but it pales in comparison to some of Uncle Sam’s other boondoggles. However, what do we actually get for this not-insubstantial investment?

The Devil is Always in the Details

We’ve sent thousands of military vehicles to Ukraine in support of their war effort.

$46.3 billion sounds like a lot of money, because it is a lot of money. However, that figure is misleading. Much of that cash was actually spent ages ago.

We have provided the Ukrainians with 31 M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tanks, 186 M2A2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles, 300 obsolete M113 Armored Personnel Carriers, 157 Stryker vehicles, and about 2,000 Humvees along with a variety of other trucks and tracks.

We sent them 180 M777 towed 155mm howitzers, 18 M109A6 Paladin self-propelled howitzers, and 20 of the famed 227mm HIMARS launchers. Ukraine has also received more than 2,000 Stinger missiles and a single Patriot battery which they have wielded as deftly as a surgeon’s scalpel.

Tactical Relativity for Ukraine

This is an aerial photo of M1 tanks in storage at the Sierra Army Depot. Trust me, we’ve got more than we need, and they’re already paid for.

There’s a lot of other stuff on the list, but most of the big-ticket items were surplus left over from the Cold War. We sent the Ukrainians those 31 Abrams tanks, but we still have roughly 3,000 more sitting idle in the desert over and above the 2,000 or so we maintain in active inventory. The same goes for Bradleys, Humvees, and dozens of other combat vehicle types. While those numbers sound astronomical, in a manner of speaking what we are really doing is cleaning out our basement.

And that brings me to my main point. The United States spent enough on defense between the end of WW2 and the fall of the Iron Curtain to raze and rebuild every manmade structure in North America. We built all this stuff to fight the Russians in the first place. Thankfully we eventually just parked most of it in the desert waiting for a rainy day. Well, this is that rainy day.

Big Picture

Historically speaking, Ukraine has had a longstanding corruption problem. However, I’m not convinced this guy is just squeaky clean, either.

Yes, Ukraine has a corruption problem. However, that’s nothing compared to Afghanistan, Somalia, and dozens of other tinpot fiefdoms we have propped up in recent times. Heck, our own political leaders are hardly paragons of altruistic virtue themselves.

Money is tight in America, tighter than it has been in ages. I agree that it seems insane to pump billions into countries overseas while our own infrastructure crumbles and our countrymen live homeless on the streets. However, this is the chance we have been waiting for ever since 1945. We now have a once-in-a-century opportunity to drive a knife into the heart of the Russian bear without spilling a drop of American blood. We would actually be insane not to take advantage of it.

Putin did this all by his lonesome. His invasion of Ukraine will go down in history as the greatest geopolitical blunder of the modern age. And all because he underestimated a Ukrainian comedian and the people who voted him into office.

The fight in Ukraine could indeed theoretically precipitate nuclear war. I certainly acknowledge that. However, the Russians have been threatening to nuke us every day for the last 75 years. I’m ready to get this done.

Ruminations On the War in Ukraine

Russia is paying in blood for every inch of stolen Ukrainian soil.

Depending upon what you read, Russia has already lost 3,000 tanks, 20 naval vessels, and 294 combat aircraft. US government sources say the Russians have suffered a mindboggling 315,000 troops killed or wounded. The Ukrainians purportedly killed 10,000 Russians in February 2024 alone.

Now is not the time to falter. The Russian military was and is formidable, but the Ukrainians are currently bleeding them white. Zelensky is no saint, but I think we should give him absolutely anything he asks for. We didn’t start this war, but we may never get another opportunity like this.

2 replies on “Dr. Dabbs – Why Ukraine Matters”

I don’t like putin but this isn’t our war zelinski is not the underdog, a lot of gear we Gave them is ending up on the blackmarket. Between the stuff abandoned in Afghanistan and this we have put a lot of gear into the black markets and its showing up in mexico and in the hands of hamas.

The people in our government most pushing for more aid have financial ties to ukraine, making the justifications they give suspect.

The only reason i see as justifiable is we promised the ukraine to defend them if they gave up their nukes. Of course we promised russia not to bring the ex bloc nations in nato and we broke that one.

Zelinsky is a crook, i don’t trust him and i think his end goals are not what is best for the people of ukraine. I also believe that his election success is about as legitimate as putins, turdeaus or biden’s.

This whole war is because of Putin who won his position illegally got his nose out of joint when ukraine kicked out his lap dog in a rigged election and put in Zelenski. Putin knew the US was weak because Biden won a rigged election, so he assumed he had a free hand.

All good points in my opinion. I just wanted to present both sides on this issue. I myself think that its time that a truce be signed as this war has stalemated.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *