Zelensky’s Glory And Its Price

Zelensky’s fame and glory in the West are indisputable, and his rise to celebrity status is remarkable. The transition from a comedian who played the piano on stage with his pants down to a politician who was compared by the media to Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Ronald Reagan, and many other famous politicians will earn him a noted place in history. The big questions are what would this particular place be and at what price for achieving it.

Let us start with the price. As the war in Ukraine drags on every day it brings new numbers of dead and wounded, additional devastation of cities, and villages plus an increasing risk of nuclear WW3.

Presently, the number of Ukrainian victims is estimated at hundreds of thousands, but for some in Washington, this is acceptable. Cynical politicians like Senate Republican Senator Mitch McConnell and many others from both parties openly declare that supporting a proxy war in Ukraine is a very good and cheap investment. Washington’s declared goal is to weaken Russia, and this is achieved by Ukrainian soldiers perishing while Americans are not. At the same time, U.S., Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is threatening members of Congress that he will send “your uncles, cousins, and sons to fight Russia if aid to Ukraine is not approved.”

The Washington Post columnist Lee Hockstader explains that “U.S. aid for Ukraine is a bargain”, although he has to admit that nearly half of Americans now say the United States is spending too much on Ukraine.

To prove his point, Hockstader quotes Brown University researchers who studied the cost of America’s post-9/11 conflicts and found that 20 years of fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria drained a whopping $8 trillion from U.S. coffers. He adds that President Biden noted that the Afghan war alone cost taxpayers more than $300 million per day for two decades. That’s about triple what the U.S. has spent daily for Ukraine, so our support here seems like an even better deal.

What Biden and Hockstader conveniently forget to mention is the other math in Brown’s report which the number of victims of the U.S. wars in these countries. Here they are:  Over 940,000 people have died in the post-9/11 wars due to direct war violence. An estimated 3.6-3.8 million people have died indirectly in post-9/11 war zones, bringing the total death toll to at least 4.5-4.7 million and counting. Over 432,000 civilians have been killed as a result of the fighting with 38 million refugees and displaced persons. At least four times as many active duty personnel and war veterans of post-9/11 conflicts have died of suicide than in combat. The wars have been accompanied by violations of human rights and civil liberties, in the U.S. and abroad.

Who cares?  Biden, Blinken, Hockstader, McConnell, etc. certainly don’t. They and many others in the U.S. and EU don’t care that the whole country of Ukraine was engaged by the collective West in a proxy war against Russia with whom for centuries it was bound by close religious, historical, economic, cultural, and family ties. I placed religion first to underscore that those who declare their adherence to Judeo-Christian values have provoked the war between the two Christian nations, not to promote democracy, but rather to use Ukrainians as cannon fodder to preserve the geopolitical advantage of the U.S. by weakening Russia.

The biggest lie coming from those who want to continue this war “for as long as it takes” is that after winning in Ukraine Putin will move further West.  Fortunately, there are many other honest American experts who state that Russia has no interest, desire, or means to do so, while those who benefit from the wars like the Military-Industrial Complex, corrupt politicians, think tanks and the media keep repeating this lie.

Finally, about Zelensky’s place in history. In my opinion, his legacy will be that of a modern version of the 4th-century BC Greek vandal Herostratus who is known for destroying the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus and, concomitantly, seeking fame at any cost. This led to the creation of a damnatio memoriae – a condemnation of memory – law forbidding anyone to mention his name, orally or in writing.  According to Wikipedia “The law was ultimately ineffective, as evidenced by surviving accounts of his crime. Thus, Herostratus has become an eponym for someone who commits a criminal act in order to become famous.” The Ukrainian people elected Zelensky because he promised to bring them peace, but instead with the help of his handlers, he brought them horror. Of course, comparing him with Herostratus may not be valid in terms of damage done, but symbolically I do think it is correct.