Perry Smith is a retired Air Force officer who lives in Augusta.
There is much that can be learned from the war in Ukraine. Unfortunately, television coverage of the war in Ukraine is quite superficial. Some of the TV experts are quite knowledgeable. However, they are seldom given more than three or four minutes to answer questions and share their wisdom.
There is one exception – the Newshour on PBS. Interviews are longer and the follow-up questions by Judy Woodruff and her PBS colleagues are first-rate.
Newspapers and magazines do a better job than TV. However, these articles seldom recommend books or extended television specials which provide a depth of information that can lead to understanding and wisdom.
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I am hopeful that the recommendations below can be helpful to you. I have a strong belief that one of the responsibilities of citizenship is to try to understand the major issues of our time. This responsibility is followed by the duty to vote for the candidates who best understand the national and international issues.
Videos to watch
Putin’s Road to War: By PBS Frontline, also found on YouTube. The first five minutes of this TV special are chilling
Trump and Putin: DW Documentary found on YouTube
Mr. Jones: Found on Hulu, the movie tells the story of an American journalist who visited Ukraine in 1933. He witnessed the starvation of Ukraine by Stalin. Five million Ukrainians died in less than two years. A year later this journalist was murdered by assassins set up by the Soviets.
Winter on Fire: On Netflix, this is the amazing story of the persistence of Ukrainians in 2013 and 2014. In “a revolution of dignity,” Ukrainians managed to chase off an autocrat who fled to Russia. After watching this documentary a few months ago, I concluded that if the Russians invaded Ukraine, they would face very stiff resistance. However, I did not anticipate how strongly the West would lend support to Ukraine.
“Mr. Putin” by Fiona Hill
“Putin’s People: How the KGB Took Back Russia,” by Catherine Belton
“Then Took on The West,” also by Catherine Belton.
What lies ahead
Now that over four months of war have passed, it may be time to take a long-range view of the future of Ukraine, Russia and the world. Let me take you out ten years to the summer of 2032.
One of the most fascinating aspects of wars of significant size is that they often trigger a major revolution in world affairs. The Napoleonic Wars led to the creation of the British Empire and a century of relative peace. World War II led to the creation of the United Nations, the development of America as the world’s first hyperpower (by 1991) and peace among the major powers for more than seventy years.
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In the case of the Ukrainian War, the long-term results for the world are likely to be positive. This war has led to a major emphasis in Europe, and much in the world, in a number of important areas.
First, a major acceleration toward reducing dependence on fossil fuels. This acceleration is especially dramatic in Western Europe.
Second, the reestablishment of the power and unity of the NATO Alliance as well as its expansion.
Third, the serious weakening of Russia – its military, its economy and its international influence.
As far as Ukraine, I predict it will regain all of its territory and a major Marshall plan to rebuild the nation will follow its victory. Much of the money will come from the hundreds of billions of dollars of Russian funds that have been frozen in banks around the world.
By 2032, Ukraine will have a vibrant economy and a stable democracy with less corruption. The 45 million Ukrainians will find great unity in the pride they will feel for having defeated the invaders.
This war is fundamentally a brutal contest of autocracy versus democracy. If democracy prevails, it will be an indicator that the future of democracy is bright in Ukraine, Europe and elsewhere.
In that regard, a new book, “The Great Experiment: Why Diverse Democracies Fall Apart and How They Can Endure” by Yascha Mounk is recommended.
This article originally appeared on Augusta Chronicle: How the Russian invasion of Ukraine might affect Europe and the world