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By Dan Carlson
Prairie Ponderings 

What the War in Ukraine is Teaching Us

 

March 23, 2022 | View PDF

The images we’re seeing from Ukraine are upsetting. Families displaced, combat in the cities, buildings leveled and innocent lives snuffed out. And let’s not forget each Russian tank we see set ablaze burns a crew of soldiers inside alive, soldiers who, we’re told, often have no idea why they’re even fighting. And each of those dead men has loved ones at home whose lives are devastated by the loss of a son, husband or father. We shouldn’t react joyfully to any death.

Yet as we watch the combat unfold half a world away, many are only now coming to understand how interconnected we are with other nations. The temptation is to say what happens in Ukraine has no real impact on America, but that notion is misguided. Here’s why.

Media would have us believe the high cost of gasoline in our country is due to the war in Ukraine. This is only partially true. Russian has been called “a gas station with nukes” because its economy is fueled by the sale of oil and natural gas to other nations. Stiff sanctions on the import of Russian products by multiple countries is crushing the Russian economy. But let’s be clear – the energy crisis in America right now is because the Biden administration is restricting domestic oil and natural gas production. Gas prices would plummet tomorrow if the government repealed the federal gasoline tax at the pumps and encouraged states to curtail theirs through the rest of this year. And that temporary relief would last longer if Mr. Biden reopened offshore oil and gas production because the price of gasoline is also based on investors’ confidence about the future of energy production. Ukraine is teaching us the need for energy independence.

Ukraine is also showing us why the 2nd Amendment to America’s constitution is vital. Ukraine lost precious time gathering weapons and distributing them to its people. If America were invaded, our enemy would face an unsurpassed number of already armed citizens. We’re seeing each day how Russian supply lines are being harassed by not only Ukrainian military, but also by civilian resistance fighters. Time and again over recent decades we’ve seen major military forces ground to a halt because armed citizen militias fought back. Ukraine is teaching us how important our right to keep and bear arms is.

Ukraine and Russia together produce about 20 percent of the world’s wheat. The war and related sanctions make it likely much of that won’t make it to market this year unless something changes fast. Now NOAA is forecasting a summer of drought across America’s wheat belt, including the Nebraska Panhandle. A poor U.S. wheat harvest combined with no wheat from Russia and Ukraine will make food prices increase dramatically across the globe. Low-income households will need to decide between filling their cars and filling their bellies, and most are not prepared for that. Watch for civil unrest in places that will have food shortages. Ukraine is teaching us to build a six-month food bank in our basements.

I could give more examples about ways the Ukraine war could impact us here, and there are many. But in the interest of time and newspaper space I must stop. The bottom line is that we’re not immune to impact from happens elsewhere in the world, and our current government is unable and unwilling to soften those impacts. We should prepare as best we can because I don’t see it getting better anytime soon.

 

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