Ukraine War and Russian America

 

Once again, as during the Cold War, the US has cause to bitterly regret never having purchased Alaska from the Russians.  Perhaps Secretary of State Seward would have, he had spoken of making an offer to purchase it, but his death from an assassin’s blade in 1865 eliminated that possibility.  The Russians seemed willing to sell until gold was discovered in Alaska in 1880.  That led to an influx of Russians into what had been almost empty of Russian settlement.  After the Treaty of Portsmouth was signed in 1905, President Roosevelt made an offer to purchase it which was swiftly rejected by the Russians, Alaska now assuming importance as a base from which the Russians could help curb an expansionist Japan.

The US did occupy Russian American following the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, but a vicious guerilla war waged by Communist guerillas in Alaska, and general war weariness, caused the US to withdraw in July 1919.  The fact that Russian America existed did come in handy during World War II when it provided a safe zone to transport lend lease across the Bering Straits to our Soviet allies, as they were neutral in our war with Japan.

 

However, during World War III in 1984 we truly learned the danger of Russian America.  I still recall while I was serving in one of the hastily mobilized Illinois militia regiments which helped hold the Mississippi line, the news that an entire Soviet Army Group was rolling out of Russian America across Canada to link up with the Soviet forces and their Nicaraguan and Cuban auxiliaries in the Great Plains.  A lot of Americans died bringing about the great victory that stopped that Army Group and caused it to retreat into Russian American.

I was pleased as anyone when we learned in early 1985 that a group of Russian generals, fearing all out nuclear war as the next step after Soviet forces were defeated in America, staged a coup, ending Communism and dissolving the old Soviet Union, in the face of internal revolts, military defeat ever causing domestic revolt in Russia.  I still say we should have demanded Russian America as the price of peace, but I also understand that President Reagan was eager to bring to a swift conclusion the war which had already cost ten million American lives.

Now of course we have Putin trying to take control of Ukraine and Russian troops massing on the border of Russian America with Canada.  Judging from Russian performance in Ukraine we probably have nothing to fear from their troops in Russian America.  Is it worth another nuclear exchange to fight in Ukraine?  I do not think so.  Is it worth it to make Russian America American.  Close call, but I think so.

 

Published in: on April 1, 2022 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Ukraine War and Russian America  
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