You will never read this in the newspapers or see it on television but it certainly affects all of us and the financial markets as well. There are always bogeymen in the world. In the last century, it was Hitler, Stalin, and Mao Tse-Tung of china. There’s always somebody that wants POWER, INFLUENCE, or DOMINATION.  For five hundred years it was the European powers and their battles for control of the sea lanes and trade. Spain ruled the roost for a couple of hundred years followed by the English and the French. You might remember the Spanish Armada and the Napoleonic wars when you went to school.

In the 20th century, Hitler tried and failed but expanded his empire temporarily to include all of Europe and everything west of Moscow for a while plus he moved into the Mid-East also. Then it fell apart. Russia formerly the USSR, after the war took control of much of Hitler’s Empire and then continued to spread communism throughout the world until it controlled a good chunk of the world until it fell apart in 1990.

Now we face an ongoing and ever-growing threat from China in the far Pacific Ocean and Russia attempting to reconstitute the empire in Eastern Europe. So how do the Ukraine and Russia’s invasion fit into this equation?

It is very difficult for citizens of our country to understand the tension that other countries live under from the threat of physical invasion. We are protected by two vast oceans from invasion. The last invasion was by England in the War of 1812. Remember they set fire to the White House and Dolly Madison the wife of President Madison saved George Washington’s picture. For more than 100 years the Americans hated England after that all the way until World War I when the US and England became allies once again.

The Russians have always FEARED invasion. It is built into their psyches. This is not a false fear, for Russia has been invaded many times and has fought many wars over the last 500 years. People do not forget and they certainly do not forget World War II. All living Russians have relatives that fought in World War II against Hitler. During that war, America lost 400,000 soldiers and civilians to the Pacific (Japan) and the European (Hitler) conflicts. The Russians lost more than 20,000,000 people and soldiers. You cannot imagine the scale of the death, suffering, hunger, starvation, torture, and rape that took place. This is ingrained in the Russian mentality and is still there after all these decades.

Back in 1990 when the old Soviet Union was falling apart and it looked like German would reunite their Eastern and Western countries into one, the rest of Europe looked on in fear that perhaps Germany would start another war and seek to reconstitute their empire. This was a very REAL FEAR that the peoples and politicians of assorted European countries actually thought about.

We also had our own fears. We kept a large force of more than 50,000 American soldiers in German prepared to defend the Fulda Gap in Germany which leads to the frontiers of Poland. We knew if a Russian invasion came, it would have to come through the Fulda Gap.  Our troops were prepared to defend the Gap for 24 hours before they would be overwhelmed by 20,000 Russian tanks. We would then go nuclear to defend our territories. That was the plan.

So how does all this tie together today in Ukraine? Believe it or not just as we feared a Soviet invasion sweeping through the Eastern European countries into the West, Russia feared the same from us. I realize it is unthinkable to our minds that someone would think that America and Western Europe would ever attack Russia in a first attack. The Russian mind believes this all too well. And after 500 years of being involved in wars with Western Europe including Napoleon’s invasion in the early 1800s where everything was burned to the ground west of Moscow, the Russians just can’t get rid of this fear.

And thus at the end of World War II, the Russians took control of all of Eastern Europe in an attempt to build a buffer zone between the West and Russia. In this buffer zone which included Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, and so forth, they put tens of thousands of tanks and 2 million military personnel. The purpose was simple. If war ever came from the West again, the war would be in the Eastern European satellite countries and fought there bitterly before it could ever work its way into Russia again.

Let’s now move to today. In Putin’s mind, if Ukraine remains as part of the West and especially if Ukraine becomes part of NATO then Russia has zero buffers. There is nothing blocking a united Europe from invading Russia – nothing at all. Consequently, for the last 20 years, Putin has decided to do everything possible to put Ukraine back into Russia’s hands. If war comes, then the west has to travel hundreds of miles across the Ukrainian plains to attack Russia. Putin knows this and he desperately wants Ukraine.

This is the major overriding purpose why Putin will do everything in his control to take control of the government, the people, and the lands of what is now Ukraine. He wants the country to basically disappear and reappear as a member state of Russia. The Ukrainian culture, government, and independence must be vaporized. The Ukrainians are in fact fighting an existential threat to their country. This is about winning or dying as a nation. Putin will settle for nothing less.

The decision as to who will win this war is as yet undetermined. President Biden has made the right decisions to give whole support financially, politically, and militarily to Ukraine. The people of this country in Eastern Europe are fighting OUR war. They bleed, not us, but it is our treasure that is financing this. It is worth the tens of billions of dollars or more of whatever we have to spend to weaken Putin, and his dream. Throughout history all aggressors if creditably challenged, back down. Putin will be no different. There is an axiom of war that states: The BEST way to Keep the Peace is to PREPARE for WAR

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August 1, 2022  

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