It is time to get serious and end this war.
The West and Ukraine’s allies need to put some skin in the game, and now step up their efforts and use all of their power to end this war.
They need to end this war of aggression by defeating Putin and his army of war criminals.
How can this be done?
What needs to be done?
Accept the reality of the war, and amp up war propaganda or public diplomacy
First, the governments of countries opposing Russian aggression need to amp up their war propaganda or public diplomacy.
Not a propaganda of lies and distortions, but a propaganda of truth, a public diplomacy that does not shrink from telling hard truths about the struggle that lies ahead and the sacrifices that will be required of the population.
Above all, the public diplomacy or war propaganda must acknowledge that the Western democracies and other civilized countries are at war with Russia, in an existential struggle over the future of our civilization and our dreams of international peace and prosperity.
Yes, they must acknowledge that we are at war with Russia.
This may not be, or not yet be, a war in which NATO soldiers are directly engaged with Russian soldiers, but in all other respects–economic, political, diplomatic–we are already engaged in an extraordinary war with Russia, a war between civilization and barbarism.
This is a hard reality to accept.
However, it is an urgent necessity that allied governments openly accept this reality, and use public diplomacy to persuade their populations to also accept this reality, however harsh and unwanted it may be.
Such public diplomacy or war propaganda will be necessary to sustain public support for the sacrifices and privations that will be required in a war with Russia which may last years, and which could escalate into a direct confrontation between Russian and NATO forces at any moment, and even to a nuclear exchange.
Get really serious about all economic, political, and diplomatic sanctions
Second, the West needs to stop being cute with exceptions to its sanctions, or simply not sanctioning all Russian economic, political, and diplomatic activity.
It is sheer madness for NATO, EU, and other democratic countries to participate in G-20 meetings so kong as Russia is allowed to participate.
If necessary, democratic and civilized countries should simply withdraw from all G-20 activities unless and until Russia is excluded from the group.
Impose secondary sanctions
Third, the West and civilized countries must impose secondary sanctions on all transactions with Russia or Russian-controlled entities.
They must end the free ride the fence-sitting countries of “the South” have been allowed to enjoy. The stakes are too high–civilization v. barbarism–to allow any countries to take a free ride enjoying tbe benefits of civilization without contributing to its defense.
Because of the Russian veto, these secondary sanctions will not be backed by Security Council resolutions. But the West knows how to implement them and they are eminently feasible.
This measure will require clarity of thought and intellectual leadership. It will require economic and political courage.
What countries and leaders can and will provide such leadership?
This would have been a good question in Europe in the fall of 1939 and the spring of 1940, before Britain grasped the reality of the Nazi threat it faced and called on Winston Churchill to lead the country in the war against Hitler’s Germany.
Ramp up war production
Fourth, the civilized nations of the world must ramp up war production, so that they can both supply Ukraine with the arms and ammunition it may need in a drawn-out conflct, and also replenish their own stocks of weapons and other munitions which they have drawn down in providing military aid to Ukraine.
This increased war production should ensure that Ukraine has the munitions it needs to hasten the end of the conflict, removing any possibility that Ukraine will have to ration its expenditure of artillery rounds, for example, due to limited supplies.
The urgency represented by the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and the very real threat of nuclear war
Surely the measures outlined above will cause inconvenience and real pain. The voices of the appeasers will scream loudly demanding an easing of sanctions.
The U.S. and Western countries will have to make difficult compromises, e.g., with China on tariffs, if secondary sanctions are to really take hold.
Yet clarity of purpose, and effective public diplomacy or war propaganda will over time gain adherents to our collective defense of the U.N. Charter, international law, and our civilization.
Even the countries of “the South”, when they see how serious the West and the civilized countries of the world really are, are likely to come around to join the struggle to defend our civilization against Russian militarism, Russian colonialism, and a barbarism we have struggled for centuries to overcome.
The perilous situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, where Putin seems to be playing with our nuclear fears and perhaps rehearsing for a nuclear showdown, and the extraordinary risk of nuclear annihilation, greater now than at any time since the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, may yet bring the countries of the world back to their senses, even in “the South”.
All we need is leadership, like that of Winston Churchill.
The Trenchant Observer