Due to rapidly-breaking developments and in order to facilitate readers’ access to the latest dispatches, we are publishing this article as it is being written. please check back for updates and additions.
To see a list of previous articles, enter “Ukraine” in the Search Box on the upper right, on The Trenchant Observer web site, and you will see a list in chronological order.
1) Charles Moore, “Now is the time for the West to decide if it wants Ukraine to win this war; In the case of France and Germany, the feeling is not so much that the country should triumph, but that the killing must stop, The Telegraph, April 8, 2022 (9:30pm);
Charles Moore highlights the underlying weakness in France and Germany in supporting the war to defend Ukraine and defeat Russia.
Are we in the West determined to do all we can – which is much more than we have done already – to make sure Putin’s new offensive fails?
Our answer depends upon what we think is at stake. The more appeasing approach, favoured, it would seem, by President Macron of France, is to take a “We’ll all have to live with one another afterwards” attitude. There must be talks, therefore, in order to get the angry bully to calm down by giving him part of what he wants. In this analysis, the very fact that the bully seeks a crushing victory is reason to concede a bit.
Germany seems to have comparable feelings, despite its hardening mood against Russia. Behind its reluctance to replace its Russian gas and oil supplies at once, which the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz discussed with Boris Johnson in Downing Street yesterday, is not only a natural concern for its own citizens’ living standards. There also lies a feeling that if only we could get this Ukrainian difficulty out of the way, everything could return to normal.
Everything is not going to return to normal, to the world that existed before February 24, 2022. Such a normal is not even remotely conceivable if Russia wins its war against Ukraine.
In the cases of both France and Germany, therefore, the sentiment is not so much that Ukraine should win (though of course they would not object if it did), but that the killing must stop. Jaw-jaw not war-war is the cliché.
Behind this attitude lies a fear so great that they do not speak of it directly. The euphemism is “full escalation”. What is meant is nuclear attack. Putin has threatened this in public at least three times (“consequences never seen before”). For the first time since the Cuban missile crisis in 1962, our Continent is menaced by the first use of the Bomb.
This fear is justified, but we must consider why Putin is trying to instil it. It is because he sees his attack on Ukraine not only as the recovery of territory he deludedly thinks his country owns, but also as his instrument to destroy the existing world order.
It follows that, if Russia wins, this means not only the destruction and enslavement of Ukraine, but also the overthrow of the world order by something infinitely crueller – an unholy alliance last visible in the Nazi-Soviet Pact of 1939.
From this, it follows in turn that Ukraine must win, not just to secure its national rights, but for all our sakes. I know Ukraine is not in Nato, but Russia’s attack on that one country definitely amounts to an attack on all.
If Nato lets the second-largest country in Europe be defeated by Russia, Putin will know there is nothing left to stop him.
As for negotiations, Black writes:
If the coming fight is well conducted, and the Russian army is severely mauled, there may indeed come a moment when negotiations can take place. The people to tell us when that moment has arrived will be the Ukrainians themselves. It would be disgraceful if we tried to push them into an unfavourable “peace” or failed fully to back their struggle.
In the meantime, err on the side of assuming that a Ukrainian victory is still against the odds, and remember that the story of David and Goliath would never have made it into holy writ if Goliath had survived.
The facts are, and they are now clear:
1) Economic sanctions will not stop Putin and the ongoing slaughter of Ukrainians and the destruction of Ukrainian cities; and
2) The supply of weapons and equipment to Ukraine may slow Russia’s military advances and continuing atrocities resulting from targeting civilians in a campaign of terror, but it will not stop them.
NATO and allied countries will have to take more direct military action, potentially involving the use of force, to stop Putin and Russia.
How long it takes them to come to the conclusion that such action is required, and to act, will determine how many Ukrainians will die before Putin is stopped.
The war is young. We should recall that the Soviet Union fought the German Wehrmacht from June 1941 until the Russians finally defeated the Germans on the Eastern Front in May 1945.
Will David or Goliath survive?
What will the West do, and when, to ensure that it is David, not Goliath, who prevails?
The Trenchant Observer