Last night around 4:00am I woke up briefly, obsessed with an invidious comparison.
It was the realization that the civilian casualty-rate in Ukraine has only recently approached or exceeded that number of US citizens killed by police, annually. Of course the police have been doing their violence year after year after year, and the Russians have jumped in late but with enthusiasm and heavier weapons. I’m sure the police felt a surge of envy when they first saw all those Russian armored vehicles, although perhaps they’ve been realizing that all that gear is no substitute for tactical leadership. I also hope that the various militants in the US, who seem to be hoping for “the shit hits the fan” are getting an idea what an army does to civilians/irregulars. The latter is unlikely, though, since there have been plenty of educational opportunities in that regard since the Vietnam war.
The difference, of course, is the massive property damage that accompanies the Russian attack, and the cover of law that the police work under.
And, of course, the US is much bigger than Ukraine. If you normalize the kill rate by population, the Russians are worse than the police.
I saw a pretty funny quip the other day, where someone was talking about how the Russians like and promote Tucker Carlson, which had the stinger, “you’ll notice that even the Russians don’t like Ted Cruz.”
I read opinions and think. I try to understand things as they are. A rule of thumb is that reality should not offend me. If it does the problem is with me. I will not turn away.
Opinion One. The leaders of this society are too corrupt to allow me to support anything the US does.
Opinion two. In a conflict between societies one will dominate. So far the choices are: China, Russia, the USA. Those are the only choices. Which is better for humanity?
Accepting that we are not being eliminationist, second and third choices are not destroyed and this choice can be revisited, chose one.
Hard choice but the USA, with ‘wart and all’ , is how I roll. The Russian mafia tendencies, as exemplified by Trump, are worrying and could lead to a steady-state with no off ramp.
China, a regime of ever tighter surveillance and control also lacks an exit.
Yes, there are crooks and liars (good site) and manipulators and every form of corruption known to man in the USA but there is still some hope of potential change. Our democracy is sick and may die. But there is still some realistic hope of change. No, I’m not a nationalist in anything but the most abstract form and I’m not touting anything really exceptional about the USA beyond a coincidence of dreaming big and a lot of luck, but I’ll run with that.
In the end we fuck everything up, but we are creative and we keep trying to make it better, if not often right. Liberals are Cassandra: We see the future but nobody believes us.
Far too easy to discount the progress we have made. Used to be everyone was, quite literally, the property of kings. There was no right to be paid, much less in money. Slavery was taken as entirely normal. And on and on … every step advanced by liberals against conservatives.
we, the USA, the west in general, is messy. Allowing people to have multiple, or no, religion is messy. Creativity is messy. Freedom is messy. Small ‘d’ democracy is very messy. Messy is good.
So I chose the messy nation to win this battles because it is messy. The underdogs in this nation are still not eliminated. We are run by crooks and liars, but all nations are. Maybe, some day, it will be different but if humanity is going to have real freedom and progress this nation seems to most likely of all major nations to accommodate those changes.
Marcus Ranum says
@lorn: I agree, we must be practical. We’re bumping up against some hard limits, though, and I don’t have a lot of hope.
Agreed, China and Russia and India suck. But the US was built on chattle slavery and “free” real estate, which are nitromethane dragster fuel for an economy, and moral nightmare fuel. I’m glad I’m here, I suppose, but that comes with its own helping of guilt. At least we can say we pioneered the destruction of our biosphere, so we’re #1! USA! USA!
Reginald Selkirk says
Marcus Ranum says
The US also sells export versions of systems, probably because of cost.
Russian tanks are problematic. From the specs and design, they are lunchmeat and everyone knows it. Their gunnery systems don’t match the Abrams which, legitimately, could kill a Russian tank almost a kilometer farther out than the Russian tank has a chance of hitting the Abrams. The Abrams’ gun-levelling system actually works and it actually can hit shots on the move. From there it’s Mike Tyson versus Peewee Herman as long as the Abrams can resupply ammunition. Add the A-10 to the mix and the Russian command stack have always known they were going to be slaughtered.