HILL: Putting Russian militarism on the sidelines next to German and Japanese aggression

Russian President Vladimir Putin listens to Governor of the Kurgan Region Vadim Shumkov during their meeting via videoconference at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Russia, Monday, March 6, 2023. (Mikhail Metzel, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

The world would be a far worse place without America. We all know that. 

Would it be worse off if Russia didn’t exist any longer? 

If militaristic Russia was somehow eliminated from the world scene this year, the immediate response would be raucous celebration and tears of joy. The three main products of Russia over centuries have been murder, mayhem and death. Vodka, great literature and oil follow, but the literature comes born of human suffering in the face of war, famine and gulags; the vodka was invented to deal with such sufferings, and oil is well, just oil. 

If you were president of the United States today and had the chance to guarantee the world would be rid of brutal Russian bullying leaders forever, would you make every possible choice to do so? 

Ronald Reagan hated communism and wanted to bring down the Soviet Union during his eight years in office. The Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 without U.S. soldiers having to fire one shot at a Soviet soldier anywhere in combat. 

It happened because Reagan played every foreign policy, defense strategy and economic card possible to bring pressure on the Soviet Union from day one in office. U.S.-supplied Stinger missiles helped Afghan freedom fighters drive the vaunted Soviet Army out of Afghanistan in 1989 after a decade-long invasion. The Soviets under Mikhail Gorbachev realized they could not match U.S. defense or economic prowess and dissolved in 1991 without one American soldier firing one shot at a Soviet soldier on the field of battle. 

Could it be that President Joe Biden is trying to play the same cards as Reagan when it comes to supplying Ukraine with the resources needed to defeat the Russian Army?  

People forget German and Japanese armies have not conquered or terrorized any nation since 1945. That is because America and the Allies didn’t allow them to maintain any standing army after their unconditional surrender. The death and destruction caused by German and Japanese armies rival that of any other warlike culture or nation in history dating back to the ancient Babylonians ― and now they don’t threaten anyone. 

This might be the most opportune time in history to completely hamstring and neuter belligerent warlike Russia and put them on the sidelines of military history next to Germany and Japan. 

When Russian tanks, armed vehicles and supply trains formed a 41-mile convoy aimed at Ukraine a year ago, all I could think of was why don’t we order soldiers to launch thousands of drone-fired anti-tank missiles remotely from secure bunkers in Colorado and destroy each Russian vehicle before they cause any damage in Ukraine? Such an attack would cripple the Russian war machine and effectively end its land threats to neighboring countries overnight. 

Perhaps instead of an immediate full-scale provocation, the Biden team is conducting a more mature and well-thought-out strategy of a slow and steady war of attrition where Russian tanks and armored vehicles are being taken out daily by drones and Javelin anti-tank missiles on loan to the Ukrainian army much like the Afghans took out Soviet tanks and helicopters. If the end goal is the depletion of the war-making capabilities of Vladimir Putin and Russia — and not solely defending the independence of Ukraine — then that is an effort to support. 

But Biden needs to clearly articulate why first. 

As we deliver continued assistance, America illustrates to other aggressive nations that we have not crawled into some shell, leaving them free to run roughshod over their neighborhoods around the globe. Americans have never led from behind — whatever that means — always from the front. Now is the time for America to exert such bold principled leadership on the world stage, especially since NATO is fulfilling the reason it was created in the first place and clarifying that it cannot be intimidated by Russia withholding energy supplies. 

There remains the issue of how to wrest control of 4,500 nuclear warheads still somehow possessed by Russia, even in the aftermath of the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. 

But a demilitarized Russia in economic decline and in need of food and assistance is in a far worse position to negotiate than the Russia before the invasion of Ukraine. 

Is Biden up to the same task as Reagan was? Democrat Presidents FDR and Truman presided over the death of German and Japanese militarism. It would be quite an achievement in world history for Biden to preside over the destruction of Russian war-making capability forever.