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“We have become the front line of the free world,”
–Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov
1) Yaroslav Trofimov and James Marson, “Ukraine’s Kharkiv Front Line Holds Despite Russian Bombardment; Police headquarters, university building in second-largest city are hit as Ukrainian officials say the invasion’s civilian death toll has reached 2,000,” Wall Street Journal, March 2, 2022 (10:40 am ET).
Trofimov and Marson report that civilian deaths now exceed 2,000, while Ukraine continues to receive military weapons and equipment.
Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said that in recent days Ukraine had received and deployed a new batch of the Bayraktars, and was receiving other critical weaponry from Europe.
“We have become the front line of the free world,” Mr. Reznikov said.
2) María Sahuquillo y Javier G. Cuesta, “Putin ataca el corazón de las grandes ciudades de Ucrania y avanza en el flanco sur; El Ejército ruso irrumpe en Jersón, en el mar Negro, y continúa el duro asedio a Mariupol, en el Donbás. Ya hay más de 874.000 refugiados y al menos 2.000 civiles han muerto en la guerra, según el servicio de emergencias del país,” El País, el 1 de marzo 2022 (02:22 EST: Actualizado: 02 MAR 2022 – 15:40 EST).
Sahuquillo and Cuesta have provided some of the best reporting on Ukraine, bringing to bear great perspective and an understanding of what is truly significant. The article can be easily translated at Google Translate (translate.google.com).
3) Maximilian Popp (Kommentar), “Es gibt nur ein Völkerrecht. Verteidigen wir es! Wenn die EU »wehrhaft« sein will, bedeutet das nicht nur, mehr Geld in Verteidigung zu stecken. Es heißt auch, Normen zu achten – überall auf der Welt. Und die eigenen blinden Flecken zu erkennen,” Der Spiegel, den 2, Mārz 2022 (20.39 Uhr);
4) Marc Pitzke, “Die Welt rückt zusammen; Globaler Schulterschluss: Mit überwältigender Mehrheit hat die Uno Russland wegen der Invasion der Ukraine angeprangert und einen sofortigen Rückzug gefordert. Das Votum ist historisch – auch wenn es wirkungslos bleibt,” Der Spiegel, den 2. Mārz 2022 (22.07 Uhr);
5) Bryan Bender, “Wie die Supermächte den versehentlichen Atomkrieg verhindern wollen,” Die Welt, March 2, 2022;
This is a very detailed and important report on current U.S.-Russian military communications capabilities and practices.
Analysis and Commentary
Joe Biden remains a president focused on domestic politics, with an incompetent foreign policy team. That is the hard truth. Even though he has come around to heavy sanctions on Russia, it has repeatedly been too little, too late.
Biden’s foreign policy team do deserve credit for coordinating with NATO, EU, and other countries in a successful effort to contribute to Western unity.
But on the military front, beyond his rational-actor paradigm focusing on costs and benefits over the long term, Biden has remained a steadfast pacifist in terms of the U.S. or NATO using force to defend Ukraine against Russian aggression.
His State of the Union speech on March 1 revealed, above all, that with respect to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its impact on the world, he doesn’t get it.
Biden remains focused on his domestic agenda, and appears to view this new Russian aggression as just a major nuisance which he does not want to distract from his domestic policy agenda.
European leaders, not Biden, are leading the ideological struggle to defend civilization and the free world. He does not seem to grasp what is at stake, or the kinds of actions that are likely to be necessary to win that struggle.
Regarding the failure of Biden and NATO to be able to figure out how yo deliver 28 older NATO Polish fighter jets to Ukraine, see,
“Ukraine War, March 1, 2022 (III): “Bureaucratic time” versus “war time”–NATO stumbles in delivering fighter jets to Ukraine,” The Trenchant Observer, March 1, 2022.
We are now entering a phase of the Ukraine war in which we are going to be able to witness on our TV’s the equivalent of the Russian war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Syria and in particular the destruction of Aleppo.
These will be horrific scenes that are extremely difficult for an American audience to stomach.
The tendency on the cable news channels, which are ever-attentive to what their viewers want to see, will be to focus on human-interest stories, and to look away from the strategic military situation and the horrific killing and destruction wreaked by the Russian war machine.
Aleppo. Grozny. That is what we can expect to take place. But, at least initially, public opinion will be tempted to avert its glance from the horror.
Afghanistan offers an illustrative example. After months of intense television coverage, attention shifted, reporters were withdrawn from the country, and Afghans were keft to cope with the consequences of Biden’s catastrophic withdrawal decision on their own.
Still, the Russian challenge to civilization and international peace and security will not go away, just as Adolf Hitler’s and Germany’s similar challenge did not go away after the Munich Pact in 1938 and the German and Russian invasions of Poland in September 1939.
America waited two years to enter that struggle to defend civilization against Nazi barbarism, and did so only when it was attacked by Japan at Pearl Harbor in December 1941.
How long will it be before America enters the current civilizational struggle with Russia?
How long will it take until America finally abandons its pacifist approach and accepts the fact that it must use every tool in its arsenal, including the use of force, to repel Russian aggression?
Will it take 5,000 killed in Ukraine? With 2,000 civilians plus large numbers of military already dead, we will approach that threshold very soon.
What will it take to goad us into action?
Or, as in Syria, hundreds of thousands dead?
Biden, and his successor, must grasp that the civilized countries of the world are and will remain at war with Russia.
Just as happened in World War II, the world as we have known it will change.
In fact, it has already changed.
Will the West* defend its civilization by the use of force?
* “The West” as used here includes all civilized countries, which live in a world largely shaped by two millennia of Western Civilization.
Biden’s triumphalism is grotesquely premature.
While the unity achieved by the civilized countries of the world is impressive, it must now be translated into success on the battlefield.
The Trenchant Observer