Speaking of the seven-week war in Ukraine ignited by Vladimir Putin, Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is warning us to expect a war that lasts for years.

"I do think this is a very protracted conflict ... measured in years," Milley told Congress. "I don't know about a decade, but at least years, for sure."

As our first response, said Milley, we should build more military bases in Eastern Europe and begin to rotate U.S. troops in and out.

Yet this sounds like a prescription for a Cold War II that America ought to avert, not fight. For the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, while a declared goal of U.S. policy, is not a vital U.S. interest to justify risking a calamitous war with Russia.

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"In the battle between democracy and autocracy, democracies are rising to the moment, and the world is clearly choosing the side of peace and security," said President Joe Biden in his State of the Union address.

"This is a real test. It's going to take time."

Thus did Biden frame the struggle of our time as the U.S. leading the world's democracies, the camp of the saints, against the world's autocrats, the forces of darkness.

But is "democracy" really America's cause? Is "autocracy" really America's great adversary in the battle for the future?

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Several weeks into the war in Ukraine, ABC's George Stephanopoulos asked President Joe Biden if he agreed with those who call Russian President Vladimir Putin "a killer."

"I do," said Biden.

Since calling Putin a killer, Biden has progressed to calling him "a war criminal," "a murderous dictator," "a pure thug" and "a butcher."

It is difficult to recall an American president using such a string of epithets about the leader of a nation with which we were not at war.

What is Biden's rationale? What is his purpose here?

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While President Joe Biden was in Brussels and Warsaw showing U.S. solidarity with Ukraine, the 38-year-old autocrat who rules North Korea made a bold bid for the president's attention.

For the first time since 2017, Kim Jong Un test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile, the Hwasong-17, the largest road-mobile missile ever launched.

While it flew 600 miles from Pyongyang into the Sea of Japan, the mammoth missile flew for 71 minutes, reaching an altitude of 3,852 miles.

Had it been fired in a normal trajectory, its missile warheads could have reached Washington, D.C., and every city in the USA.

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During the 70 years that the Soviet Union existed, Ukraine was an integral part of the nation.

Yet this geographic and political reality posed no threat to the United States. A Russia and a Ukraine, both inside the USSR, was an accepted reality that was seen as no threat for the seven decades that they were united.

Yet, today, because of a month-old war between Russia and Ukraine, over who shall control Crimea, the Donbas and the Black and Azov Sea coasts of Ukraine, America seems closer to a nuclear war than at any time since the Cuban missile crisis of 1962.

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