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When Mr. Putin seizes the vacuum

    Saturday, September 22, 2018 -- (Long Beach, CA) -- Q -- When can Americans agree that Russia is a risk?

    A -- When FOX reports that Europeans saw a Russian bomber fly over them without permission, and openly refuse to obey military commands.

    All must wonder, “What does the future hold?”

    For the first time in 70 years, Europeans see an American president whose own warm relations with Moscow creates a vacuum that could end the alliance created by Harry Truman to protect the world from strategic military collapse.

    Immediately following the end of World War Two, the world climbed from its knees, after battling against tyrannical thugs, led by Adolf Hitler.

    Only after achieving the uncertain of victory against Hitler’s Nazi Germany and his Axis allies -- of the Fascists in Italy, and the butchers of the Japanese Empire -- did the United States face an even larger question, of how peace in the world could be secured.

    A generation earlier, after defeating German’s Kaiser, division within the United States slivered the push by President Woodrow Wilson, to join the League of Nations that he created, with an intent to preserve democracy.

    Failure to win Senate support for the treaty kept the United States neutral from the global pact that thus lacked power to push down military aggression.

    As America’s president led the world to the ultimate victor against genocidal thugs, Franklin Delano Roosevelt crafted a new world order, through a vehicle for global peace, with the creation of a United Nations (U.N.).

    The hosting in San Francisco that brought the U.N. into fruition came only weeks after the world wept upon the death of Mr. Roosevelt, and it the ascending leader -- Harry Truman -- whose signature fulfilled the vision of America’s great leader.

    Mr. Truman achieved that which Mr. Wilson could not, for even the Soviet Union would not deny the vast deed envisioned by Mr. Roosevelt.

    As profound as the United Nations appeared to be, all negotiators acknowledged that so massive an undertaking necessarily needed limits of any ultimate power that would otherwise suppress individual nations.

    Every leader -- including Mr. Truman -- accepted that the U.N. would be, at most, a vehicle to carry agreement of the world to secure peace, but, at weakest, served only as a hall for debate that achieves no consensus on threats that weaken the globe.

    To face the structural weakness of the United Nations, Mr. Truman reached directly to our strongest military allies that together had defeated the Nazi regime, but who faced a Cold War against a retreating USSR, in order to creation a regional security pact.

    The end of World War Two saw Europe sliced into two pieces, of free nations, and those dominated by Joseph Stalin.

    The long-time dictator of the USSR killed tens of millions of his own people to hold power and only stood as an ally with the United States and Europe because of the Nazi invasion of Russia itself, giving truth to the strategic reality, that, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

    Harry Truman saw immediately that the USSR rejected peace, so as to pursue strategic domination of half the world. The United Nations would prove inadequate as the principal method to push back strategic aggressive by the Soviets.

    Indeed, since Russia spans 11 time zones, the game being played by Mr. Stalin had begun centuries earlier, in what Czars called, “The Great Game,” and which asked just one question, of, “Who shall control half the world?”

    Europeans for centuries faced today’s question, not simply by a Russian bomber, but the threat it poses, of what the future holds.

    For the first time since Truman created of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the American president appears willing to sell the world short and pull back from our global alliance.

    Mr. Truman viewed Soviet expansion as a risk across the Mediterranean, but the Russian jet flying over the United Kingdom is an echo of ships now off the Syrian coast, in the warm-water lust shown by Vladimir Putin.

    Turkey is home to land and water that divide Europe and Asia. A narrow passageway separates the chilled Black Sea that is now dominated by Russia’s control of the Crimea with the Mediterranean itself.

    Mr. Putin sent un-uniformed Russian forces into Ukraine, taking one-third of an independent nation, to seize control of the Crimea, once again giving Russia the waters needed to berth a massive navy needed to dominate the Mediterranean.

    NATO is the question that could be the strategic vacuum of whether Russia can seize the world.

    If “The Great Game” spanned centuries and cost everything, what is the simplest way to win victory? Buy an election? Shove money into a rich man’s pocket? Throw bombs upon North Korea?

    If the United States sees a global collapse of strategic allies by abandoning NATO, and calling other regions simply “sh_t-hole nations” then all is at risk.

    Indeed, the State of our Imperfect Union is not simply internal division driven by a Hater-in-Chief, or one plane flying over the United Kingdom, or ships floating in the Crimea and off the Syrian shore, but that our greatest foe now has possible achievement of what Russia has spent centuries seeking to attain.

    And as we are divided by a leader who tweets and spews hate, lost in our own debate is the question of whether a selfish rich man is selling America short, and posing risk to global peace.

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Billy Orton is a novelist and historian living in Long Beach, California.