I watched the movie “Mr. Jones” this weekend. It was a masterpiece depicting Stalin’s ruthless degradation of humanity prior to World War II and his propaganda war to convince Europe and the United States, as well as to brainwash Russians, that the Soviet Union was the utopia of the future. Stalin’s message was that people never had to worry about anything because government would take care of them.
Throughout the 1930’s, Stalin portrayed a lie that the Soviet Union was a contemporary, industrious country. A nation that took care of its people and was developing a modern society based on egalitarian principles of equality and equity. The movie depicted the real life story of Gareth Jones, an ambitious Welsh journalist who traveled to the Soviet Union with the intent to interview Stalin. He could not understand how the Soviet Union was able to finance the allegedly prosperous nation that was portrayed with Stalin’s propaganda.
“Putin is determined to rebuild the Soviet Union. “
What Mr. Jones found was a country deeply divided. All seemed well in Moscow, where the finest wines, most expensive caviar, and extravagant lifestyles painted an affluent and thriving society. However, he found the venire thin. His investigative curiosity lead him to Ukraine, where he witnessed the stark truth of Stalin’s dictatorship.
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During the harsh winter of 1932-1933, Ukraine was subjected to some of the cruelest, most brutal treatment by Stalin. The totalitarian dictator used Ukraine to sustain the lavish Russian existence and false image that the great Soviet Union was the shining star of the future. He stole their natural resources to keep power and feed Russia. Worst yet, the resulting Ukraine famine that winter is believed to have been a deliberate, manipulative act of Stalin also to rout out rising Ukrainian nationalism and punish Ukrainians by cutting off their food supply. The result was millions of Ukrainian deaths from Stalin’s inflicted starvation.
Ukraine has always been viewed by Russia as a vassal state, subject to the whims of the Kremlin. Sadly, today we are once again witnessing the gruesome destruction of Ukraine by a modern day Russian madman determined to expand Soviet-style control beyond the borders of Russia. Ukraine is not a product of Russia. So long as Ukraine maintained a corrupt government, subservient to Kremlin control, all was fine. But when Ukrainian people rise up with self-determination and express strong nationalism that places the value of Ukrainians above those of Russia, they must be crushed.
While there are deep historic, ethic and cultural ties between the two countries, they remain separate, independent countries under which Vladimir Putin has no legal, ethical, or moral right to invade.
Putin is determined to rebuild the Soviet Union. In 2008, Russia invaded Georgia. A ceasefire was declared later that year, but Russia split Georgia and recognized two independent regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Russia has been expanding their military presence in these two regions ever since.
“China is watching. While claiming neutrality, they support Russian actions that weaken the United States and all democratic nations.”
Most remember Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine in 2014 and the annexation of Crimea. This action was but the prelude to today’s horrific invasion of Ukraine proper. Whether it be the 1930’s or now, in the view of Moscow, Ukraine must remain controlled by Russia.
The world should not believe that Vladimir Putin is a rational leader of a peaceful nation. He is a deranged demagog who sees his legacy as rebuilding Russia into a great world superpower, controlling the vast majority of countries surrounding Russia. Don’t be fooled, he is the reincarnation of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin in the 21st century.
This Russian War against Ukraine is a violation of international law. Putin is committing atrocities against the Ukrainian people. He is destabilizing Eastern Europe and bringing the world to the brink of World War III by threatening to use chemical and nuclear weapons to defeat Ukraine. Regardless of how this conflict ends, Putin has created a great divide between democratic and totalitarian nations that will change the course of world history.
While I do not advocate sending American military forces into Ukraine, make no mistake about it, the United States must provide global leadership to isolate Russia, strengthen NATO, and inflict massive financial and political pain on Russia so long as Vladimir Putin continues exporting his violent means towards domination.
The United States must also bolster its leadership role in the Indo-Pacific Theater. China is watching. While claiming neutrality, they support Russian actions that weaken the United States and all democratic nations. North Korea is a puppet of China, so we must be vigilant of any hostile actions that the crazy North Korea dictator may do to provoke a U.S. response that leads to military conflict in the Pacific. Most importantly, this is the time to strengthen Taiwan’s self-defense capabilities and to recognize Taiwan as a free nation, revoking the ill-declared “One China Policy.”
Humanity is facing its greatest clash of civilizations in nearly a hundred years. Will the United States rise to the cause or wait for the world to be engulfed in war, this time with nuclear destructive capabilities of many adversaries? This is the ultimate test for the United States, to lead or to allow the continued expansion of ruthless dictatorships at the expense of independence and freedom.
As to Mr. Jones, he was abducted and executed by the Soviet secret police while doing investigative reporting in Japanese-occupied Inner Mongolia in 1935. He was just 29 years old!
The views expressed here are those of the author.