Rendezvous With Destiny (2023)

Over the summer, the Army’s 101st Airborne was deployed to Europe — for the first time in nearly 80 years. The arrival of some 4,700 soldiers from this elite U.S. Army division was part of a shuffling of troops along NATO’s eastern borders in response to Russia invading Ukraine.

CBS News just decided to check in on them and found the 101st hunkered down in Romania, at “the very edge of NATO territory.” There, our soldiers are “closely watching” Russian forces, and conducting live-fire drills that “replicate exactly what’s going on” at the Ukrainian-Russian fronts. CBS News continues:

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The ‘Screaming Eagles’ commanders told CBS News repeatedly that they are always “ready to fight tonight,” and while they’re there to defend NATO territory [i.e., Romania], if the fighting escalates or there’s any attack on NATO, they’re fully prepared to cross the border into Ukraine.

Ready to fight tonight, and fully prepared to cross the border!

To get into a shooting war with Russia!

Over territory Russia will defend with tactical nuclear weapons!

(Video) Reagan - "Rendezvous with Destiny"

Rendezvous With Destiny (1)

The motto of the 101st U.S. Airborne Division is “Rendezvous With Destiny.” That’s what the division’s first commander promised World War II would mean for his new recruits, and the 101st indeed played pivotal roles on D-day and beyond.

It’s hard not to feel a horrible foreboding at talk today of a rendezvous with destiny, when the Russian defense minister is claiming Ukraine is about to detonate a “dirty bomb” — a bomb designed to spray radioactive material over an area — while the U.S., British and French governments jointly reply that “we all reject Russia’s transparently false allegations,” that we all “see through any attempt to use this allegation as a pretext for escalation,” and what’s more, “We further reject any pretext for escalation by Russia.”

Got it Russia? No escalations! Only NATO is allowed to escalate this!

(Also we won’t have anything to say anytime soon about how much we enjoyed blowing up who blew up your pipeline. Also the CIA did not assassinate a young woman in Moscow with a car bomb, that was the Ukrainians and we scolded them about it.)

On the one hand, this CBS News report out of Romania is a complete non-event. There’s no news. There’s some obligatory “Hooah!” talk, but the 101st has been there for months, nothing about that has changed. As a recovering journalist and former war correspondent, I suspect this report may have come about just because someone asked someone else if they’d like to go for a Black Hawk helicopter ride, and also get some footage of the U.S. Army blowing stuff up (the answer to which is always: “Hell yes!”)

On the other hand: How is it possible we’ve forward-deployed nearly 5,000 soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division into Europe, under commanders who are “repeatedly” (per CBS News) asserting they are ready to fight the Russians tonight — provided that “the fighting escalates” (and it’s escalating!) — yet this on-the-ground reality is not even slightly part of our national discussion?

The Russians are getting out their rain gear to continue fighting through clouds of radiation, both NATO and Russia are holding completely frivolous nuclear war exercises at a time when all agree we might blunder into an actual nuclear war, we issue public shrill warnings to Russia not to even think about “escalating”, the fighting is steadily escalating, the Screaming Eagles are ready to roll “tonight … if the fighting escalates.”

Is there anyone in charge who thinks even one single step ahead of the current moment?

(Video) A Rendezvous With Destiny - Trailer

Where are the peace talks?

Militarily, Russia is on the run, and the Washington foreign policy establishment — a.k.a. “The Blob” — is getting what it wanted.

Congratulations Blob!

Ukraine has won back some modest amount of territory, and might even take back Kherson. The Kremlin response has been that predicted fist of rage — brought smashing down, so far, on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, nearly a third of which is now destroyed. (A couple of weeks before that, it was also brought smashing down on the Khmelnitsky region of Ukraine; my wife’s parents are both from there, and I’ve been studying bombing maps trying to understand whether the family home would have been hit).

In other words, at a terrible cost in suffering and death, Ukraine — almost entirely thanks to massive amounts of American military hardware — has clawed back some devastated lands of minimal real-world significance. In return, they’ve received an absolutely predictable violent response by the Kremlin, one that has now guaranteed Ukrainians (including some of my wife’s family) a winter of godawful suffering and death.

More than 7.7 million people have fled Ukraine to Europe so far, but The Guardian cites new estimates that another 2 million might follow now — purely because it will be too cold to stay there soon. Two million more refugees, on the move this winter!

That’s Russia’s fault: Russia invaded Ukraine, and Russian bombs destroyed the electric grid.

But it’s Washington’s fault too. The invasion, criminal as it is, was just the latest (and ugliest) move played out in Ukraine over many years of U.S.-Russian combat-by-proxy. In the weeks and days before the invasion, the Kremlin clearly and repeatedly came to Washington — both privately and publicly — seeking one last time for a new understanding that NATO would not envelop Ukraine.

You may object that it’s not Russia’s business to dictate that. Fine. Was it Washington’s business to dictate? Because Ukrainians, when polled and not under crisis, have consistently wanted economic and travel access to Europe and Russia both, while remaining militarily non-aligned.

That’s what Ukraine used to want; God only knows what they want today, after all of the bloodletting.

(Video) 101st Airborne: Rendezvous With Destiny

Instead, they got what Washington wanted: A fight to the death to defend Ukraine’s right to ask to join NATO (and Washington’s prerogative to constantly flirt with the idea, never saying “yes” or “no”).

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Even if you don’t care who wanted what, it is still a tremendous failure of journalism and of scholarship that all of this White House-Kremlin back-and-forth has never been honestly reported out. Many would feel very differently about the war if it was made clear that America was asked to negotiate a deal to avoid wrecking Ukraine — and declined. “Sorry. Not interested. Our drones will see your drones in the Donbass.”

Two months into the war, in April, there was a chance to end hostilities. Washington nixed it. An article in Foreign Affairs by two scholars from the always reliable Brookings Institution provides confirmation of how close we were to a peace deal:

“According to multiple formerseniorUS officials we spoke with,” the authors wrote, “in April 2022, Russian and Ukrainian negotiators appeared to have tentatively agreed on the outlines ofanegotiated interim settlement: Russia would withdraw to its position on February 23, when it controlled part of the Donbas region and all of Crimea, and in exchange, Ukraine would promise not to seek NATO membership and instead receive security guarantees from a number of countries.”

That tentative settlement had emerged out of peace talks in March in Istanbul, held face-to-face between Russian and Ukrainian officials. It was very nearly a return to the status quo prior to the invasion. It was probably the best deal anyone would ever get. Why was it not seized?

There was zero public support in Washington for those talks. They were barely even reported by our media, you had to deep-search the Internet to even find a reference to them. But beyond that, we apparently told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in private to stop talking. Ukrainian media report that when Boris Johnson visited Kyiv on April 9, he told Zelensky that, basically, we in the West don’t negotiate with terrorists:

According [to] Ukrainska Pravda sources close to Zelensky, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson, who appeared in the capital almost without warning, brought two simple messages:

(Video) The Screaming Eagles

The first is that [Vladimir] Putin is a war criminal, he should be pressured, not negotiated with. And the second is that even if Ukraine is ready to sign some agreements on guarantees with Putin, they are not.

Johnson’s position was that the collective West … now felt that Putin was not really as powerful as they had previously imagined, and that here was a chance to “press him.” Three days after Johnson left for Britain, Putin went public and said talks with Ukraine “had turned into a dead end”.

We possibly could have ended this war in April — six months ago. But what would the fun be in that? Instead, we worked actively to keep peace dead and the war alive.

Yesterday, a group of 30 progressive Democrats in the U.S. House finally spoke up in favor of peace talks. These are progressives! And it’s taken them this long to advocate for peace talks?

In a letter to President Joe Biden generously sugarcoated with praise for his leadership, the 30 members of Congress nevertheless called on him to launch a “proactive diplomatic push” to help end the war.

“Given the catastrophic possibilities of nuclear escalation and miscalculation, which only increase the longer this war continues,” the progressive Democrats write, “It is in the interests of Ukraine, the United States, and the world to avoid a prolonged conflict.”

Well, better late than never.

As Antiwar notes, all of the progressive headliners who signed this letter have repeatedly joined their “mainstream” Democratic and Republican colleagues to vote for spending tens of billions of our tax dollars on weapons for Ukraine — the running total now is $67 billion. (A $40 billion Ukraine aid bill that was passed in May was opposed only by a handful of Republicans.) Those weapon shipments have massively escalated the death and destruction of the war, but are not likely to ever alter the fundamental outcome — unless of course they do, in which case, be careful what you wish for, because it might be that long-courted rendezvous with destiny we keep risking.

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(Video) Screaming Eagles


1. Bishop C D Owens "A Rendezvous With Destiny" HC2001
2. Rendezvous With Destiny
3. Jim Caviezel’s “Rendezvous with Destiny” Speech
(My Faith Votes)
4. Purple Heart Recipients Sing 'We Have a Rendezvous With Destiny'
(101st Airborne Division Fort Campbell)
5. We Must Fight - President Reagan (Long Version)
6. Rendezvous with Destiny - Spiritual Readiness
(101st Airborne Division Fort Campbell)


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