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Only force can stop Putin
See “Ukraine War, April 5, 2022 (II): Force must be used to stop Putin,” The Trenchant Observer, April 5, 2022.
Let us not praise Ukrainians’ courage, at least not until we have looked within ourselves and found our own.
The war, for those who are not studiously avoiding it, has a tendency to override all other issues, and to dominate our consciousness.
The war places everything else in perspective.
If we allow ourselves to think of a young Ukrainian man, or even an older man, fighting in Mariupol to defend his country, his home, and his life, we can try to imagine his fears and thoughts. He could be thinking:
Will I be alive tomorrow? Will I see my wife and children again? If we have no chance, if our situation is in the short term–the term of my life–hopeless, should I surrender? Or die fighting? If there is no chance of winning, or even joining other Ukrainian forces, what purpose would be served if I die fighting? Who would take care of my wife and children?
I hope that President Biden goes to bed every night thinking of that Ukrainian soldier in Mariupol.
I hope that President Biden and the other Western leaders go to bed every night thinking of that Ukrainian soldier, and of the millions of civilians including the many women and children unable to flee to safety, and the elderly unable to flee, spending each day and night in cellars and basements to escape the pitiless bombardments of the Russians.
I hope they think also of others in towns across Ukraine who are wondering, as they try to sleep, whether their fate when the Russians roll in will be like that of the residents of Bucha.
Let us never forget, not even for a moment, that these are people whose lives are as important as our own, who Russian soldiers are murdering in cold blood every day.
That is the starting point of our analysis.
Let us not praise the courage of the valiant Ukrainian soldiers who are holding back the Russian army, in places, as tens of thousands of their fellow citizens are being killed while we stand on the sidelines, unwilling to use force, even defensive force, to help repel the Russian onslaught.
Let us not praise the Ukrainians’ courage, at least not until we have looked within ourselves and found our own.
Explaining to citizens what is at stake and why it is important
President Biden and U.S. officials have done a poor job of explaining to the American people what is at stake in this war with Russia, and why sacrifices–and maybe great sacrifices–may be demanded of them.
One reason may be because they themselves don’t understand the stakes in the war, and the potential sacrifices we may all have to make if we are to defeat Russian barbarism.
If we are to successfully defend our civilization–which is based on reason, law, and respect for the dignity and physical integrity of each human being–then President Biden and other Western leaders must take care to lay out the case for why this is important.
Ordinary people may not understand why the rule of law, the United Nations Charter, and the international legal order are important and vital to our well-being.
It is up to the President and our other leaders to spell these things out, until every single citizen understands what is at stake in this war to defeat Russian barbarism and to defend our civilization.
Once our leaders and our citizens understand what is at stake in this war, perhaps the American people and citizens in other countries will support the hard decisions that must be made.
These hard decisions are likely to include the limited use of force to stop Putin.
The Trenchant Observer