After the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 and the Warsaw Pact dissolved, the breakup of the USSR began. But the dissolution did not stop with the 14 Soviet "republics" declaring their independence of Moscow.

Decomposition had only just begun.

Transnistria broke away from Moldova. South Ossetia and Abkhazia seceded from Georgia. Chechnya broke free of Russia but was restored to Moscow's control after two savage wars. Crimea and the Donbass were severed from Ukraine.

Besides these post-Cold War amputations, assisted by Russia, what do Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia have in common?

"Every Day Is Jan. 6 Now."

That was the headline over the editorial of 1,000 words in The New York Times of Sunday last.

On first read, I thought the Times was conceding its obsession and describing its mission. For the editorial began by bewailing yet anew the "horrifying" event, "the very real bloodshed of that awful day," the "once-unthinkable trauma."

Still, a year later, said the Times, "the Republic faces an existential threat," as the "Capitol riot ... continues in statehouses across the country, in a bloodless, legalized form that no police officer can arrest and that no prosecutor can try in court."

While all facts are true, not all facts are relevant.

And what are the relevant facts in this crisis where 100,000 Russian troops are now stationed along the Ukrainian border?

Fact one: There is not now and never has been a vital U.S. interest in Ukraine to justify risking a war with Russia.

History tells us that. Even as Ukraine was suffering in the Stalin-induced Holodomor, the terror-famine of 1932-33, President Franklin Roosevelt granted diplomatic recognition to the Bolshevik regime.

As 1991 turned into 1992, America appeared to have arrived at the apogee of its national power and world prestige.

President George H.W. Bush had just sent an army of half a million men to expel, in a 100-hour campaign, Saddam Hussein's invading army from Kuwait. The world, including Russia, China and Iran, had supported U.S.-led military action to overturn Iraq's aggression.

Our Cold War adversary, the Soviet Union, had just collapsed and disintegrated into 15 nations. The Warsaw Pact had dissolved. All of Eastern Europe was free. We were the sole surviving superpower.

Here we are on the eve of Christmas, that day of joy set aside for celebrating the birth of Christ who came down to earth 2,000 years ago to show mankind the way to eternal salvation.

Yet, the present mood of America at Christmas 2021 seems better captured by Jimmy Carter in his "malaise speech" in July of 1979, several days before he cashiered half of his Cabinet.

"The threat" to America, said Carter, "is a crisis of confidence. It is a crisis that strikes at the very heart and soul and spirit of our national will. We can see this crisis in the growing doubt about the meaning of our own lives and in the loss of a unity of purpose for our nation."