Remember the Axis of Evil name? That was the sobriquet given to Iraq, Afghanistan, and North Korea by President George W. Bush back in 2002. Those were the three ne’er-do-well nations he felt at the time were guiltiest of allowing terrorists to fester and of providing them with safe havens, financial support, and destructive materials.

I wonder which countries he would choose today. Iran with its continued march toward nuclear proliferation? North Korea with its missile-testing malcontent of a “Dear” leader? What about Afghanistan again? With the Taliban firmly in charge once more, it’s a good bet the U.S. is still the Great Satan to them. And, of course, there are China and the seemingly omnipresent saber-rattler on the world front, Russia.

Those of a certain age won’t be surprised by the latter of those at all, well-remembering the Cold War confrontations between the former Soviet Union and the United States. Raise your hand if you recall practicing diving under your school desks in case the Ruskies lobbed a nuclear warhead in our direction. (Metal and wood learning tables were apparently well-known deterrents to the effects of atomic bombs.)

When the USSR broke up in the early 1990s, the Western World breathed a somewhat apprehensive but hopeful sigh of relief. Thirty years or so later the trepidation is back. Mainly, it seems, due to the actions of one Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin. Perhaps you’ve heard the name. While his main job for the last 20+ years has been ruler of Russia, Vlad’s résumé includes being a former KGB agent, the Soviets’ intelligence organization whose reputation was decidedly not so nice.

Vlad will be 70 this year, and thus no doubt fondly recalls when the Soviet Union was a really big bear on the world stage. It’s probably fair to say that when the former Soviet satellite countries broke away from the pack, Russia retained its huge missile stockpile but not its superpower status among other nations. My guess is Vlad and his comrades didn’t like the idea of playing second fiddle to anyone, especially to its former number one enemy.

Fast forward to the present. Vlad’s been biding his time (or maybe “Biden his time”) until he thinks he can start trying to rebuild the Soviet Union, starting with Ukraine.

It probably seems to be sound strategy from his point of view to begin his quest for a new Soviet Union in a place that, quite honestly, the rest of the world really doesn’t hold up as the number one vacation destination spot on the planet nor the most economically advantageous. Ukraine has a lot of corn and wheat, but so do many other countries. Which means there have probably been some interesting conversations between Putin and his Kremlin confidants during the troop build-up that’s been occurring on the Russian–Ukranian border of late.

ADVISOR : So, Vlad, what’s the deal with Ukraine?

VLAD: I want to rule the world.

ADVISOR: Uh-huh. Well, ya see, Vlad, that’s not as easy as it once might have been.

VLAD: So let it be written, so let it be done.

ADVISOR: You’ve been watching Yul Brenner movies again, haven’t you?

VLAD: The Soviet Union needs to be the Soviet Union once more.

ADVISOR: Again, not so easy. But let’s go with your thinking. Why Ukraine? And why the heck in the middle of winter?

VLAD: What can I say? I like cold weather. But really, there are four reasons why Ukraine: It’s not a member of NATO. Germany won’t touch it. Half the people speak Russian. The U.S. really could care less about it.

ADVISOR: Well, I don’t know about that.

VLAD: You see any “Free Ukraine” protests on American TV lately?

ADVISOR: Well, no. But President Biden has said he’d take action if we invaded.

VLAD: Yes. With NATO. But Germany is the key. And where does Germany get big time oil and gas from?

ADVISOR: Well, us.

VLAD: You got it. Without us, no heat. Which answers your previous question about the middle of winter.

ADVISOR: Aren’t you worried about how the United States will respond?

VLAD: They have 8,500 troops sitting at home. We have 100,000 on the border. Plus, the same people who ran Afghanistan last summer are running things now. I’m not worried.

ADVISOR: What if Ukraine fights back?

VLAD: You make me laugh.

ADVISOR: So, what comes after Ukraine?

VLAD: Depends on China.


VLAD: As soon as they invade Taiwan, maybe we’ll hit Poland. Nobody cares. Too worried about Xi Jinping to pay any attention to us. Then soon enough? A Soviet Union re-do.

ADVISOR: That actually might work.

VLAD: So let it be written, so let it be done.


©MMXXII. William J. Lewis, III  – Freelance Writer