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Ukraine, what's in it for us?

I keep hearing that more and more Americans are against supporting Ukraine in it's war against Russia. Recently I was surprised to discover the level of dislike and even hatred for Ukraine. The little guy, the underdog, the one who did not pick the fight but was attacked nonetheless. Attacked by our historical enemy against whom we fought a cold war. And yet a sizable portion of our population is actually supporting Russia over Ukraine in their conflict. Why? Messaging. We are effectively talking about folks who have been convinced that we are spending money on Ukraine INSTEAD of securing our southern border or whichever other issue is the flavor of the month for those set on convincing America to take it's eye off the ball regarding Ukraine. Whatever issue can be used to distract us. As if we can only afford one or the other. Also, that Ukraine is so corrupt, that a few rich guys over there are pocketing sizable portions of the money that we send. There are even some who have been convinced Putin is cooperating with Trump to save America and the only reason Russia has not already handily defeated Ukraine is because they are intentionally dogging their efforts in order to stretch out the conflict and make Biden look bad. Which in turn will help Trump regain the presidency so he can finish “draining the swamp”. Now there are some of us who are reading this and are shaking our heads in disbelief that some idiots could be so stupid to believe this malarkey. Others might be nodding along saying, “damn skippy, only thing you've ever written I agree with.”. Let's be honest, most likely the latter, group is not actually reading this. Yes, I will acknowledge that they CAN read, but usually they are just going to listen to Fox or Trump or Newsmax or their favorite AM radio talk show or stream someone's program that has no business talking about any important issues of the day but pawning themselves off as an expert who is “just having a conversation” or “just asking questions” without any acknowledgment of how leading or biased those questions and conversations actually are. Please do not misunderstand. I want to engage with those others but it has proven difficult. Recently, on this one issue I had a breakthrough. It came after years of trying to understand the thinking of those who are typically lumped into the white, thirty plus year old, blue collar, not college educated, demographic. Usually whenever I hear a talking head explaining the reasons why all Americans should support continued financial and armament support for Ukraine they mention America's leadership position in the world or the world order or democracy all over the world, blah blah blah blah is all that demographic hears. That demographic really only cares about what's in it for us. What does America gain, by participating in the way that we have been, in this conflict. And don't expect them to think beyond one or two steps in the reasoning process that gets your answer from A to Z. If you get the opportunity to have an actual conversation with someone who does not support Ukraine and you care to reverse the trend of Americans moving in that direction, please consider engaging in this manner. First ask them, “in twenty years, who do you think Ukrainians will be buying their cars or any other goods from?”. China or Russia if we abandon them for certain. But if we continue to stand by them? Made in the good ole USA baby! They'll be celebrating the fourth of July, and whatever date upon which they finally expel all Russian troops, with near equal fervor, you can believe that. Now you have them nodding along, ask “do you recall recently when Putin was using hackers to mess with our infrastructure and he and Biden had a meeting about it?”. “notice we have not been dealing with as many cyber attacks launched directly by Russia?”. “Does it appeal to your sense of justice, that the same “aholes” that were over there behind a keyboard sipping whatever vodka infused caffeinated cola is popular there, munching on potato chips, messing with our country, is now drafted, dressed in an inadequate military uniform and getting shot at while calling home to complain about inadequate training and unfair conditions?”. It does mine! If you could go back in time ten years ago and decide if it would be worth degrading Putin's military to the point it would be considered equivalent to that of a third world country and you could spend less than 10% of a single year's US annual military budget, not use any US military personnel and have most of the world count us as the good guys in the situation, would you? Please keep in mind before you answer, how often Putin has stated publicly that he wants to rebuild the Soviet Union, against which we fought a cold war and spent billions of dollars to defeat. Imagine the cost in fighting another cold war against both the renewed Soviet Union AND China in modern day dollars. Do you think Putin will stop at Ukraine? At this point the US not being the “police force for the world” argument will likely come up. Let me ask, do you like having the option to go out and get a job? You are aware the US has the largest economy in the world but China and other countries like Iran and Russia are trying to change that, right? The reason I bring that up is because, right now, currently, the international order allows us to keep our jobs. For example, you have a company and you create XYZ gizmo or you work at a company that creates those gizmos. Then China comes along and ignores the patent laws for the gizmos your company creates. They steal your intellectual property and start using your ideas to compete against you while using Chinese “near slave level wages” to produce your gizmos. What can be done? Well as a leader in the international community we can use our influence to have other countries not allow the sale of those “illegally created” gizmos. But if we step back while chanting “America First, America First, screw being a world leader or doing things a world leader does” (like sending billions of dollars to African countries to help them build a dam or get clean water so that one day when they want to buy cars and computers or XYZ gizmos they want to buy them from us). If we want to withdraw from being a world leader and not helping to maintain the world order as it is (that heavily favors the US and us keeping our jobs making gizmos) China and other countries will pounce at the opportunity. The US being a world leader helps us all stay employed. It allows us to have the money we need to protect our southern border at the same exact time as we help other democracies who are more likely to buy from us in the present and the future. Now is when the drug smuggling and Americans dying from fentanyl and criminals crossing the border usually comes up. Fentanyl sucks. It's crazy how little it takes to do so much damage. One of the things that makes it so prevalent is how easy it is to make. I'm not going to turn this conversation into a “how to” on making fentanyl but it's supposedly a relatively simple process. This does beg the question, why does it have to be made in Mexico? Could it not be made here also? Oh it is? So if there was a “magic” wall that prevented EVERYTHING coming from Mexico we'd still have enough fentanyl production in the US per year to kill every American five times over? Seems like maybe spending money on a “magic” wall that would not fix the problem is maybe a waste of time and money that could be spent helping to maintain our current world order that so heavily favors you and I keeping our jobs. But yeah I guess it would stop all of those immigrants coming over who are so desperate to feed their families that they sold all of their worldly belongings, walked thousands of miles, dodged bullets, left loved ones who were murdered or died of starvation along the way abandoned on the roadside. I'm sure it would stop them from coming over. I know if I had endured all of that hardship I'd let a wall stop me from feeding my kids or getting my pregnant wife to a land where starvation and no medical care are the exception not the rule. Yep that wall is totally worth it. It's too bad the wealthiest country that has ever been, cannot afford to build it AND also maintain it's position as a leader in the world. Okay okay maybe sarcasm is not the best option here but dammit it's hard to resist. Sometimes I just cannot help myself. The noses on our faces SHOULD be obvious. It gets annoying and frustrating to have to explain to our fellow Americans, who's votes count just as much as ours, that noses are used for breathing and smelling and not for being lodged firmly up the backside of the orange man. Moving on! But Ukraine is still corrupt! We should not waste our money funding corruption. Admittedly when humans are involved there will be corruption and Ukraine has maybe more than it's fair share. But let me ask you, when the wolves are at the door... no scratch that... when the wolves have busted through the door and are making their way towards your living room, do you grab the gold bars and the cash and the ill gotten gains or do you grab the guns and the kids and some food and maybe some toilet paper before you retreat out the back? The point is, while fighting a war, the crooks are most likely concentrating on winning so that they will continue to have a country to steal from in the future. They can get back to the "as usual" corruption and graft once the bombs stop falling because keeping that money to pay for bullets is a little higher priority than buying that expensive sports car they were eyeballing. Maybe instead of worrying if they are piggybacking our wifi, we could be that neighbor that shows up with an extra shotgun and throws it over the fence to our neighbor who has wolves pursuing them out the back door. Let's not be the neighbor peaking out the window saying “oh I hope everyone is ok” and then does nothing. There is a time and place to be worried about corruption. We do have a responsibility to make sure our ally is not misappropriating funds but maybe we can wait until the bullets stop flying before we insist upon counting how many are shot or if the fight could have been fought more efficiently. There will be time for an accounting after the wolves are dead and gone. We are f'n Americans! We deserve to be proud of that. Why? Because we do not just stand by and watch our neighbors die when we could do something about it! Even if it's our neighbor who borrowed our lawn mower and never returned it. We don't let the bad guy convince us that it's actually us who is bad either. We can believe simple truths like the guy who started the fight and took the first swing and who has been being a bully to his neighbors does not deserve to molest his neighbors without consequences. We can stand up and help or we can stand by and watch. Who do you wanna be?

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