"In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies."

—Winston Churchill

We’ve reached the one-year anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to give a major speech today marking the anniversary, while President Joe Biden is already in the region after a secret visit to Kyiv, Monday.

There are many narratives to follow and believe in war, but hard-boiled truth is always in short-supply. One wonders whether those precious truths defended by Washington’s “bodyguard of lies” are more precious than the well-being of the American people themselves.

Worse than any lie the Washington elite may tell the American people are the lies they convince themselves to believe. What’s the lie Washington elites believe the most? That the United States of America is THE untouchable, indispensable, and revolutionary superpower destined to make the world safe for democracy. History is on the side of the United States.

A noble sentiment, but the Washington elite assume too much. History has seen many great powers rise and fall. Hubris always invites Nemesis.

Yes, America won World War II (with a lot of Soviet help) and rebuilt Western Europe. Yes, America won the Cold War in an unexpected, stunning fashion over the Soviet Union. These victories should be remembered, celebrated, and emulated.

Yet a century is but a blip in history and America is not the same nation that won these wars. The greatest generation is nearly extinct. The Berlin Wall fell over 30 years ago.

America in 2023 may still be powerful, wealthy, and relatively free, but decades of neglect have left widening cracks in the foundation of the house our forefathers built, from massive debt, to persistent inflation, to a lack of trust across America’s major institutions. Yet Washington seems unwilling to face these unpleasant facts in their crusade to dominate the world for “freedom.”

After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, I described the West’s leaders as “sheep in wolf's clothing.” Now they’re wearing wolf pelts from the wolves their fathers and grandfathers killed. Their trophies are not theirs. Does the American ruling class even know how to hunt big game anymore, or are they mostly skilled at telling good fishing stories for their own cynical gain?

We’re about to find out as the Russian Bear stalks Eastern Europe and the Chinese Dragon rises to its place in the Pacific Sun. Time to see whose practical lies, the West’s or the East’s, are actually hiding the hard-boiled truth — what Machiavelli called “the effective truth.”

“War is a horrific laboratory experiment,” writes classicist and war historian Victor Davis Hanson, “that confirms or rejects vague and inexact prewar guesses about relative strength or weakness.”

Hanson continues:

“Germany, Italy, and Japan had no business dreaming that their combined might could ever defeat the forces of the British Empire, the Soviet Union, and the United States. But for a variety of reasons (in the case of World War II, British appeasement, Russian collaboration, and the isolationism of the United States), that reality from 1939 to 1941 was not made clear. The result was that the Axis started a series of wars on false impressions; the truth would have been obvious if their enemies had adopted wiser prewar deterrent policies and military preparation.”

As Hanson explained in an interview about his book, The Second World Wars, the Axis Powers “lived in a world of fantasy and romance and after 1941, it caught up to them.”

Who is living in a world of fantasy and romance when it comes to the Ukraine war? Russia or the United States? East or West?

After their initial failure to swiftly topple the Ukrainian government (a development which shocked analysts the world over) Russia appears poised to conduct a massive new offensive. Despite successful Ukrainian counter-offensives in the second half of 2022, as well as billions of dollars supporting Ukraine with weapons, ammunition, and non-lethal aid (including the much vaunted Javelin anti-tank missiles produced in Troy, Alabama,) the Ukrainians seem more desperate than ever for further support. Even CNN is reporting on the problem, noting that “Ukraine is burning through ammunition faster than the US and NATO can produce them.”

Again, when it comes to this war, it’s nearly impossible for the average American to know the truth. But here’s a truth I do know: I have never seen my country not at war in my entire adult life. I know America’s “bodyguard of lies” all too well.

I hope the Washington elite are not so self-deceived as to forget that it is the American people they are sworn to defend, no matter what precious truth they may secretly attend in their quest to claim history’s end.

Joey Clark is a native Alabamian and is currently the host of the radio program News and Views on News Talk 93.1 FM WACV out of Montgomery, AL M-F 9 am-12 noon. His column appears every Tuesday in 1819 News. To contact Joey for media or speaking appearances as well as any feedback, please email newsandviews931@gmail.com.

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to Commentary@1819news.com

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