BARBWIRE BOB – Ramblin’ around the corral with Bob Sweeney

When I was in junior high student in Craig I became interested in Napoleon Bonaparte and checked out an enormous book on his life from the local library.  I would recommend reading this history book for any person, young or old.  At that time, I lived on a rural cattle ranch, 30 miles from the nearest town with a kerosene lamp for reading at night. In the late1940s we had no electric power, and television was not invented yet.  My father had a battery-powered radio where we listened to the KOA livestock report at noon.  The large red radio battery was ordered from Montgomery Wards in Denver and was  not to be used for any other purpose except a Joe Lewis prize fight or the world series, my dad’s few pleasures in life.

Back to the life and times of Napoleon Bonaparte;  I  remember an early story in the book about Napoleon’s first successful conquest in his brilliant and tragic military career that ended at Waterloo, Belgium in 1814.

Napoleon, born in 1769, was of slight stature, 5’6,” and at an early age, he and his friends were bullied by older and larger male students.  Apparently, his hometown of Ajaccio, France was on a lake or seashore with a sandy beach.  He and his allies buried rocks and clubs under the sand and then proceeded to taunt the bullies who chased them on to the seashore, whereupon Napoleon and his first little army whipped the bullies with their clubs and rocks.  

That was his first militant excursion of what became the Napoleonic Wars that lasted 20 years and enhanced the French empire and placed Napoleon on the throne twice.

While he won his first battle, he lost his last one at Waterloo to The Duke of Wellington in a massive battle, was captured and exiled to the island of Elbe. Years later, he died at St. Helena in 1821.

The Waterloo battle came after a disastrous invasion of the Russian empire in 1812 followed by his Waterloo disaster in 1814.

I recall history of Napoleon because it seems to parallel the career of  Vladimir Putin who is presently destroying his checkered career of rising to vast power only to meet his Waterloo. He is destroying his world reputation and what will be left of the current Russian empire when this conflict ends badly for him.  

While his regime-controlled Russian media paints a different picture of his invasion, the truth will eventually prevail as the body bags of dead Russian soldiers arrive back in their homeland. With the surprising social media news flowing out of Ukraine, surely Russian citizens have access to the Internet and more transparent media outlets in the West and the East. The truth will ultimately prevail, but the end of this nightmare is of grave concern to the free world. 

Putin will to have his Waterloo and will destroy Russia along with his disastrous Ukrainian invasion.  He may, in time, win the battles but will lose the war as he destroys a prosperous democratic-oriented Slavic state with deep Russian roots.  He and Russia will live  in infamy for decades for the death and destruction he has caused.

The chain of events are changing from day to day, and as of this writing the war moves past day 17.  He is starting to bomb the western regions where urgently needed supplies are flowing in from the US and NATO allies. The Baltic states have been wonderful in their support of the millions of refugees pouring out of Ukraine.

Ukrainian people have shown their superb bravery and heroism in defending their young nation from Putin’s attempted greedy and bloody grasp for more power and the fantasy of restoring the old communist regime of the USSR.

Napoleon had his Waterloo, and Putin will have his, destroyed by his misguided invasion of Ukraine.

The Chinese should be paying close attention to the world reaction to this aggression and the high cost of invading a neighbor.

Napoleon knew how to treat bullies, and the Ukrainian fighters are waging a heroic fight against a bullying regime.