Opinion by Richard Bleil
Every war has its name. It strikes me as if we are naming children; we had the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, the War of 1812, the twin World Wars, the Korean War, the Vietnam war and it just goes on. We even had the Cold War.
The Cold War between the US and the former Soviet Union was so named because there was never an exchange of live ammunition. For the most part, lives were never on the line (I cannot say for certain as no doubt there were behind the scenes secret service type activities that I’m sure put some people in harm’s way). The thing about war, though, is that there is always harm.
The cold war was for all intents and purposes an economic war. One side would develop weapons, causing the other to respond in kind. It started with Hiroshima and Nagasaki. These cities were political pawns as the US sought to prove that, yes, indeed, we had developed atomic weapons. We had already developed nuclear weapons by the time Nagasaki was bombed tested about a month earlier at the Alamogordo test range. This put Russia in the position of developing, by necessity, their own atomic weapons in response. They then stepped it up with the launch of Sputnik. Purported to be a weather satellite, it was about the size and weight of a nuclear warhead, and announcing its launch was tantamount to saying that they have developed a delivery mechanism for nuclear weapons that did not need human pilots. The US responded with the Apollo missions, selling the US on spending nearly $30 billion (the economic equivalent of about $300 billion when adjusted for inflation) to develop a rocket that can land on the moon, again, proving that we, too, have missiles that can be armed with nuclear warheads.
The harm of the cold war became apparent when Ronald Reagan launched a new defense plan colloquially referred to as “Star Wars”. The plan was to develop some form of missile defense system that would be, originally, completely effective at defending the US against incoming nuclear weapons. While this sounded like a great idea to a nation that had been through (including me) “nuclear survival drills” in elementary schools, but the reality of the science behind it made it practically impossible, never formally acknowledged by the government but their awareness of it became apparent to anybody who noticed the slight backtracking of “completely effective” to “nearly completely”. None the less, this new military program cost the US $200 billion in research, and the Soviet Union felt obligated to respond for fear of appearing weak if they did not. Their response resulted in the economic collapse, and it was the people forced to wait for hours in line for a loaf of bread that paid the cost.
Today, whether we (or our government) wants to admit it or not, we are involved in a war that to date has no name. This is a war against political freedom, or, to be blunter, to protect our Constitution. In the 2016 Presidential Election, it has been substantiated that Russia did, indeed, interfere in the election. The effectiveness of this effort is unknown, and may never be fully quantified, but their hacking of the DNC email servers, providing sensitive information to the Republican party campaign managers, and flooding social media sites such as FaceBook with misleading and fake news in an effort to create divides within our nation has been proven. Perhaps the Obama administration made a mistake of not acting on this information more forcefully than it did, but I also understand the difficult position in which they were put in that if they were to act they could have been accused of favoring their own party themselves.
The war in our second front, the “Tariff War”, has cost our nation considerably already, but I believe this to be a diversion. This, like the cold war, is an economic war. The farmers are feeling the effects even with the “assistance” the White House has offered, the great majority of which didn’t go to the people that needed it, but rather to corporate farms. The rate of small farms declaring bankruptcies, the highest it has been in eight years. But this war appears to have been a diversion in my opinion, as is the Ukrainian interference. No doubt the Ukraine could have interfered in the US election, but that doesn’t mean that Russia is “off of the hook”.
Today, four years later, the intelligence community is warning that Russia is doing it again. Unfortunately, they have help, and this help is from right here in the United States. Even in the 2016 presidential race, then candidate Trump called on Russia in his usual non-committal way to get information on Hillary to help him out in a campaign speech. He has actively repressed investigation into Russian interference, and the role of his campaign in this interference. The Republican Party has repeatedly refused to even consider legislation to increase our defense against election interference.
We are in a war. Have no doubt about that. And people will be hurt. This time, I fear, it will be us.
All of us.