The United States has been, of late, a reactive society. There are a hundred reasons for this, of which these are a few.

Faulty intelligence.

Living only for the moment, without a thought – as the ads say – for planning our retirement.

Believing no country but this one is right all the time.

Being in love with our own self-image as the greatest power in the world…and yet unwilling to make this situation a reality. Which is to say, no boots on the ground no matter what. This may, in the main, be a result of doing away with the draft.

As a society, we want what we want when we want it, and if we don’t get it, we forget about whatever it was as insignificant anyway.

So we are imploring the Congress, the President, the movers and shakers of industry and the military to please, just one time, only this time perhaps, look ahead and prepare us for the future.

It is ISIS that forces us to make this plea. But it is not ISIS in the future, or even of today. It is what will follow ISIS that matters now.

We believe that within a fairly short time, say three years, ISIS will have been defeated. The countries of the Mid-East who have so long taken shelter under our military wings will have awakened and rather than joining a coalition of the willing – which is not and never has been a willing coalition — will realize their lives, their dynasties face extinction unless they put their own country’s boots on the ground to expunge the rabid Islamists. These nations have been armed by us – and we have prospered mightily. Now they are teenagers who want new cars but whose parents will not let them drive for fear of a dint or damage. That stand-off will end.

With the wave of recent murders, bombings, and horrible tortuous deaths, the media naturally is focused on the sensational. As the press goes, so do its followers. Nothing is bigger than ISIS now, despite vanishing passenger airplanes.

But for the real worriers (ourselves included), it’s not the Mid-East that’s riveting our attention but instead the Crimea.

For centuries the Crimea has been ruled and ruined by civilizations both nearby and distant. Apart from its recent inclusion (1994) into the Ukraine, the Crimea was a jewel of the Greeks, Turks, Germans, Russians, and off-shoots of indigenous Tatars from the Russian steppes.

Now, in addition to the blood being shed in the Mid-East, there is a lot of the same sera being spilt in Crimea. Russia has sent well-armed troops with a great deal of heavy weaponry into the Crimea to dislodge that peninsula from its surrounding state, the Ukraine. When the Soviet Union broke apart in the nineties, Russia saw many of its autonomous regions split off into fractions of its greater self. In fact, Russia was carved up by the Soviets themselves and lost both the Ukraine and the Crimea. Mr. Putin has sworn to reunify the greater Russia that was, and everything he’s done, said, lied about has been to further this goal. He wants badly to be one last Czar.

Which is to say that under the cover of the ISIS crisis, Russia has been building a new Soviet Union comprised of territories and entire countries it lost in the past twenty years. While most of the world is watching the horror of the Mid-East, Russia is nation-building to the point where it is possible to imagine a recurrence of what was once called the Cold War when the US and Russia faced off time and again over territorial and ideological struggles. These face-offs eventually bankrupted Russia losing, as it did, the international arms race for lack of money to continue it.

Happily, and for the first time in many years, Congress seems to be alerted to a situation that could grow out of control. It is now as important to stop Putin’s murderous and badly disguised troops from taking over the Ukraine as it is to stop ISIS.

Now is the time for Congress, the military, and industry to look ahead at how to combat the possibilities that Putin is thrusting upon the world.

Now is the moment for the US powers-that-be to take time – months if necessary –in isolation to map out responses to imagined moves by Russians in the future. Super-powers are not meant to be taken by surprise and to react defensively time after time. They are meant to control events, balance scales, prepare for a variety of possible hostile experiences.

We never again want to hear our leaders say we have no strategy to meet today’s, or tomorrow’s, threats.

The US still has time. Let us take it and use it wisely.

This is not to counsel war. This would be an effort to maintain the peace, such as it is. Planning ahead is not an act of war. But it may avoid sending the world into one.


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