George Santayana once said, Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Ah, if the inhabitants of Earth could learn just one thing, this would be a keeper. But we haven’t, and today, we as Americans are about to embark on the most frightening new world that I have seen in six decades.
In case you were shooting baskets, or tossing the Frisbee during your high school history class, let me give you a handful of eye-opening bullet points regarding our friends in the USSR, The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Don’t worry: This won’t put you to sleep. Let’s start with a biggie:
Cuban Missile Crisis: In 1962, the United States of America came to within a gnat’s hair of an all-out thermonuclear war. The Soviet Union had smuggled numerous ICBMs into Cuba which is only 90 miles from America.
That would have given the USSR a first strike capability of wiping out the entire country. The stakes were as high as stakes can be and John F. Kennedy created a naval blockade…American ships nose-to-nose with Russian ships with missiles. Fortunately, Nikita Krushchev blinked and we are here today, though in the United Nations, he actually removed his shoe to bang on the desk saying, “We will BURY you!”
For what it’s worth, I have not been shy in mentioning in previous articles that yours truly did, indeed, spend years manning at one time or other, all 18 Titan II missile complexes surrounding Tucson, Arizona.
And what were those Titans programmed to hit? The short answer was Moscow. But that would only take one missile. The rest were aimed at each of the major cities in the USSR, plus their missile pits, plus the Soviet oil fields…..essentially the same sort of scenario as the Russians did and continue to have pointed at us.
For those with silver in their hair, this is not a big surprise. Today, the enemy du jour is ISIS. Only a handful of years ago, it was the Taliban. Remember them? But as horrific as they are and they are horrible, evil enemies, their clout, their ability to destroy America is only in the baby pool, compared to the Soviet Union as it stands today.
Let’s pick the one which has probably raised an eyebrow even to some of the old-timers. I’m referring to the Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where we Americans were the first to test out our fledgling atomic bombs…on people, specifically Japanese people. The front page story and party line was that this was to show Emperor Hirohito our capabilities and thus end the war.
That was, indeed, a part of it, though if you dig a little deeper, you quickly learn that he was already setting up to surrender unconditionally. Sooo, what was the other reason, the big one hiding in the wings? The main reason was quite simple: To show Joseph Stalin that it would be highly unwise to attack America. And it worked, but thus began the Cold War with the Soviet Union. And, to cut to the chase, if you think the Cold War was ever over, you’re sadly mistaken.
The Cold War didn’t just take place on planet Earth, it took place in the space above us. The Race for Space. Who won the first round? I’ll give you a hint, it wasn’t us. A cosmonaut as opposed to an astronaut, by the name of Yuri Gagarin was the first person to orbit the planet. And the first satellite was a cute-sounding thing called Sputnik..
By the mid 80s, space had truly become a scary place. Ronald Reagan pushed hard to form the Star Wars Defense Initiative, (SDI), which was a multi-trillion dollar project with one goal and one goal only: to kill Soviet ICBMs streaking down on us from space, using ultra-secret LASER technology to kill them while they were still in space. Ever hear of secret project: Eighth Card? I didn’t think so.
Nuclear Winter: As it turned out, the LASERs weren’t capable of doing the job, and we began to finally realize the concept of NUCLEAR WINTER. Loosely defined: We, as well as the Soviets, finally did the math and realized we didn’t even have to launch the rockets. With the combined energy of the USSR’s and the US’s ICBMs we can shoot them anywhere or just blow them up in the silos. Our fragile planet is dead either way… That was just the 80’s. Do you think Vladimir Putin has eased the tension between Russia and America? Do you really? Time to do some homework.
With these occurrences began a multi-trillion dollar competition between the USSR and the US. And it’s still rolling along. The jet fighters I flew in the 70s were designed for battle, primarily with the USSR, though we were eyeing China then as well…plus a couple other countries. Essentially every single weapon of war constructed after WWII was made with the thought of aiming it at the USSR.
If, for the sake of younger generations, I was to make a metaphor of Star Wars, Darth Vader would have been Stalin, Krushchev, Brezhnev, Gorbachev….and now beloved Vladimir Putin. To make a further comparison, Russia has always been known for its prowess in playing chess, both the game, and the politic. Vladimir Putin is playing a very easy game of chess against an opponent highly adept at playing checkers.
To have Russia, and Vladimir Putin specifically, attempting to sway the election scares the bejeezus out of me…as it should you. Do you, for a second, think that he is doing it to make the US, his #1 enemy, stronger? ….Are you kidding?
Just yesterday, I saw the commemorative coin that Putin directed to be cast, of our new president of the United States. Printed on it is “In Trump We Trust,” where he has replaced the sacred word of God with Trump. Does anyone find that disconcerting, or perhaps…alarming?
If this were an old Looney Tunes cartoon, we would see a field of sheep on one side of the screen and a forest full of wolves on the other. In center screen one wolf has brought a bouquet of flowers to one of the sheep. Do you think the wolf loves the sheep…or is he just hungry?
God Bless America. May God help us.