The invasion of Ukraine on February 24th was the largest military assault on another nation since WWII. It was an act of naked aggression against a peaceful sovereign nation. This is a criminal act and should be made as costly as possible for the Russians. I speak for millions when I say I hope the Ukrainians, who’ve shown a lot of heroism so far, make this incursion so costly the Russian army and the Russian people decide they’ve had enough of the dictator and mafia boss in the Kremlin. Vladimir Putin’s demise and the growth of a genuine democracy in Russia would be the best outcome for the Russian people and the world. Of course the odds are clearly in Putin’s favor right now.
So far, though, from a lot of what I’ve read this morning it appears the Ukrainians aren’t going to just let the Russians walk right in. There are a lot of reports the Russian army is taking greater casualties than they probably anticipated. No doubt this is partially true because the United States and the European community had time to arm and equip and provide tactical advice. But it’s largely true because the Ukrainians are prepared to die to defend their democracy and their way of life against the Russian invaders. The support and the heroism of the Ukrainian army appears to be paying off for the moment. But autocrats like Putin don’t care about casualties either way, and now that Putin’s ego is committed he will flog his army forward regardless to avoid a humiliating defeat and the consequences that would likely follow a retreat.
Americans should care greatly about what happens in Ukraine because, like Ukraine, we’re a liberal democracy. If you are the least bit read in history you probably know democracy is the exception and autocracy the rule in human history. The world’s history is mostly the history of masters, through military rule and intimidation, dictating to the masses what life the masses will have and what freedoms, if any, they will enjoy. In large part this is the life of most Russians right now.
Like America, Ukraine is a liberal democracy. It’s ruled by its people and has a government of the people’s choosing. Ukrainians share our hopes and aspirations. We are united by the animating spirit of liberal democracy; by the need to keep its flame burning in the surrounding darkness of history. The people ruling themselves, and not being ruled by autocrats like Vladimir Putin, are what being a pro-democracy, rule of law, freedom loving people should ultimately stand ready to defend. The Ukrainians are doing this and we should support them in their fight against tyranny.
I believe America’s and Europe’s interest are in supporting the Ukrainian army with as much ammo, training, and weapons as possible. If the Russians succeed and the Ukrainians continue fighting with an insurgency the West must continue to provide support to the insurgent Ukrainian force. The use of American troops simply cannot be justified given all the implications at this time. European nations have the first obligation to defend their own sovereignty if the situation calls for it.
But Putin has put the Europeans on notice that defense spending will have to be increased. Authoritarianism, which had been on the rise in Europe and the United States recently, is on the march again militarily in Europe. America, critically, must provide support and leadership against this surge of authoritarianism. If Ukraine falls, then the West, led by the United States, must isolate Russia and starve its economy. NATO should immediately begin a military build up within NATO nations that border all Russian controlled territory. Only a completely uneducated fool believes Putin will be satisfied with just adding Ukraine to Russian control. The only message Putin will understand is simple, and that is strength and resolve.