Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, which began in February and continues, is at its heart an effort to recreate the glory of the Soviet Union, which formally collapsed in 1991 after decades of over-spending on its military and the sheer failure of Marxist ideology. Within a decade, Russia would default on its debt—it was so cash-strapped that it was unable to pay state employees, fail to keep NATO from kicking Serbians (a Russian ally) out of Kosovo, watch former allies join NATO, lose a war in Chechnya, and become a bastion of corruption. Putin, a former KGB (Soviet intelligence) officer, resented the shame heaped upon Russia, and in a 1999 speech to the Duma he spoke of “strengthening the vertical chain” of power domestically, and go on to say “Russia has been a great power for centuries, and remains so. It has always has and still has legitimate zones of interest…we should not drop our guard in this respect, neither should we allow our opinion to be ignored.”
Every year on September 11th, Americans across the nation pause to reflect and remember the 2,753 lives lost on that day. It’s been 20 years since that horrific day and for us Americans it’s a day that none have forgotten. Many in the community have hosted events in hopes of honoring the lives lost, such as running a 5K to raise money to help veterans in need, or stair climbs that symbolize the number of flights climbed by the firefights in the towers.
In 1787 Ben Franklin would say about the presidents who would follow George Washington, “the first man put at the helm will be a good one. Nobody knows what sort may come afterwards. The executive will always be increasing here, as elsewhere, til it ends in monarchy.” When the Constitution was being debated, the Federalists believed that checks and balances—the separation of powers between branches of government, the ability of Congress to override a veto and to impeach, and others—would prevent the United States from returning to monarchy. James Madison, in Federalist number 10, said that the separation of powers would be a check in the event that “enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm.”