Tragedy of Ukraine

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The day after 9/11 I emailed George W Bush urging a moderate response. I was expressing the consensus view of my Saturday morning English conversation class in Bishkek. President Bush ignored that advice.

Yesterday I emailed Joe Biden with very different advice – too late for it to influence his State if the Union Address. Here’s what I wrote:

Joe Biden’s State of the Union Address

I am an Australia/British citizen with many friends in Ukraine and no rancour towards the Russian people.  I understand the strategy of putting economic pressure on Russia’s businesses and population in the hope that Putin will be disempowered from within.  But as we learned in WW2 the Russian people have the ability to withstand great hardship – as do the Ukrainians – and Putin has successfully mined a deep deposit of nationalism and perceived historical grievance.

Therefore I do not believe that sanctions alone will be enough to save Ukraine, the Baltic states (notwithstanding NATO Article 5) and perhaps other former members of Russia’s sphere of influence. 

Like Hitler, Putin has made his wider intentions clear.  If we choose to believe that he’s bluffing, or will be brought to his senses by non-military means, we are living in Cloud Cuckoo Land.  Eventually we will have to fight him, just as we had to fight Hitler.  Now is the best time to do it, while a significant part of his military machine is engaged in Ukraine.

I spoke to a German colleague yesterday, who said that any military intervention to save Ukraine could precipitate WW3.  I replied that it’s already started.  Putin fired the starting gun.  If we (the ‘good guys’) dawdle he will only get stronger, and Xi Jinping will feel increasingly comfortable supporting him and fulfilling his promise to subjugate Taiwan.

My German colleague also pointed out the vulnerability of Europe to a nuclear attack.  The logic of that argument is that we should allow Putin to do whatever he wants, because he’s the only leader mad and bad enough to make a first strike.  That would mean that the MAD strategy has failed and we are living in a new world order in which freedom, democracy and the rule of law have no place.

One thought on “Tragedy of Ukraine

  1. Bleak prognosis.

    I’ve long used the word “evil” to describe Putin. But I wasn’t thinking he was anywhere near this evil.

    The West needs to stop thinking and start acting. Otherwise the tiny Baltic States are doomed. The West thinks that sending forces to Ukraine would count as agression (against Putin). Whereas for the Baltics it would be defence under the NATO treaty. But Russia will have taken the Baltics and dug-in long before the West mobilises. Hopefully America has already despatched an aircraft carrier and nuclear subs to the Baltic (but we’ve not been told).

    There is no “parallel” with Hitler. They are identical situations, right down to the twisted logic used to “justify” the invasion.

    Thankfully Blinken is in the hot seat. I wonder what Trump would have done.

    Like

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