“The world will not be destroyed by those doing evil, but rather by those who stand by and do nothing.”
1) Charles Moore, “Putin will win and win again if the West continues to show that it is afraid of him: Introducing a no-fly zone over Ukraine is probably too risky, but Nato’s lack of ambiguity emboldens the Kremlin,” The Telegraph, March 4, 2022 (9:30pm);
2) Jonathan Freedland, “This bloody invasion is turning the march of history into a sprint – and it’s not going Putin’s way;The last few days have sealed Ukraine’s place in the global imagination – and for Russia, that’s a big problem, The Guardian, March 4, 2022 (17.04 GMT);
3) Carl Bildt, “A prolonged war in Ukraine could transform Europe,” Ashington Post, March 1, 2022 (4:51 p.m. EST);
4) Emmanuel Grynszpan (Odessa, envoyé spécial), “Guerre en Ukraine : à Marioupol, « c’est un enfer, c’est Alep. Je voudrais que tout le monde l’entende en Europe »; Dans la ville assiégée, l’espoir d’un corridor pour évacuer les habitants de la ville s’est éteint sous les bombardements. Deux habitants de la ville témoignent,” Le Monde, le 5 mars 2022 (à 19h57, mis à jour le 6 mars 2022 à 04h38).
Grynszpan, citing eyewitness accounts, describes a Russian attack on Mariupol, on the Black Sea, employing methods similar to those used in Aleppo.
He quotes one resident as follows:
Personne ne compte les cadavres, il n’y a personne pour faire ce travail. Les enterrements sont impossibles à cause des tirs de roquettes. Les cadavres gisent dans la rue. Ou dans des chambres froides qui ne fonctionnent pas. Ou bien les gens qui le peuvent enterrent les morts dans leur jardin.
Personne ne compte. C’est un enfer. C’est Alep. Et je voudrais que tout le monde l’entende en Europe. Si vous pensez que ce n’est pas la troisième guerre mondiale, vous vous trompez lourdement. Elle a commencé. Vous faites l’autruche et fermez les yeux et ne soutenez pas la zone d’exclusion aérienne [consistant à interdire à l’aviation russe le ciel ukrainien]. Parce que vous ne voulez pas de conflit direct avec la Russie, mais ce conflit a déjà commencé.
revised Google translation
Nobody counts the corpses, there is nobody to do this work. Burials are impossible because of rocket fire. The corpses lie in the street. Or in cold rooms that don’t work. Or people who can bury the dead in their gardens.
Nobody counts. This is a hell. This is Aleppo. And I would like everyone to hear it in Europe. If you think this isn’t World War III, you’re seriously mistaken. It has begun. You are an ostrich and close your eyes and do not support the no-fly zone [consisting of banning Russian aviation from Ukrainian skies]. Because you don’t want a direct conflict with Russia, but this conflict has already started.
5) “Russen kappen Trinkwasser- und Stromversorgung von Mariupol; Russische Truppen belagern und beschießen Mariupol seit Tagen. Die Zerstörung sei »kolossal«, berichtet der Bürgermeister. Außerdem bauen die Angreifer »inneren Druck« auf: Sie lassen die Menschen hungern und frieren,” Der Spiegel, den 6. März 2022 (06.37 Uhr).
The West* is at war with Russia.
* “The West” as used here includes all civilized countries, which live in a world largely shaped by two millennia of Western Civilization.
The one thing Putin fears is that we will use all of our weapons (including economic weapons) to oppose his military invasion of Ukraine.
Biden and his administration are afraid of Putin. They are afraid of antagonizing Putin. Indeed, our greatest weakness, the greatest weakness of the West, is that we are afraid of Putin.
Biden and the U.S. have taken force off the table.
Putin has upended the table.
In fact, there is now no table. The U.S. and the West must consider all of their weapons as available in fighting to defeat Putin in his war against Ukraine, Europe, and civilization.
And we must absolutely not say a word, publicly, about any weapons we are at present unwilling to use. That willingness can change.
American foreign policy leadership has brought us to this point. The February 2020 agreement with the Taliban to withdraw from Afghanistan. The Afghanistan withdrawal in 2021. Telling Putin we are taking force off the table. Actions that communicate our fear. Not calling out war crimes.
Biden is cowed by Putin’s nuclear threats. Putin knows this.
It is clear that Putin fears an oil and gas embargo. That is our most powerful weapon not involving the use of force. Putin’s fear is the strongest argument for using it now.
Putin threatens he will consider an oil and gas embargo an act of war.
We are already at war. We have been at war since Russia invaded Ukraine, whether we realize that fact or not. In time, in a short time, that will become abundantly clear to even the most timid and fearful amongst us.
We should use the oil and gas weapon, now.
We cannot ignore the tempo of the war, and succeed.
Even the best defensive measures, after you have lost a city, are useless.
Our decision-makers congratulate themselves on all they are doing, the unprecedented unity they have forged, the unprecedented military aid and financial assistance they have provided. Witness the grotesque triumphalism of Biden in his State of the Union Speech.
They think they can define the parameters of war.
But they can’t.
Instead of congratulating themselves on all they are doing, and telling Putin what they will not do to defend Ukraine and civilization, they should be focused on the battlefield, and asking themselves the hardest questions.
Are they doing enough to prevail in the war with Putin and Russia? That is the question they should be asking themselves every hour of every day. And they should not seek victory or “probable victory” by only the narrowest of margins. But rather, they should seek assured victory, by the widest possible margin.
The path to victory is a difficult one to follow when the U.S. is being led by a timorous, pacifist president and an incompetent foreign policy team.
Other forces in America must now step forward to make up for these deficiencies. They must now play a bigger role in determining U.S. policy and decisions. Political leaders (of both parties), current and former military and intelligence and diplomatic officials must speak out, and step forward to bolster Biden’s weak foreign policy leadership.
Biden is a proud and stubborn man, as the Afghanistan withdrawal decision demonstrated beyond any doubt. He will have to be nudged, or badgered, into drawing these other leaders into his decision-making circle. But he must do it, for the country and to defend civilization–successfully.
If the U.S. can’t lead the defense of the West, these leaders must at least force Biden to let others lead.
The Trenchant Observer