Where Should We Draw the Line?

I’m losing patience. At first, I’m like, yeah, we, the US and the rest of Europe, shouldn’t engage with Russia directly. World war III. Nukes. All that.

I thought, this is a test. Can we isolate Putin with the heaviest sanctions ever? Can we show the world that we can end war without engaging in the war, without escalating? And I’m still worried about nukes, don’t get me wrong, but does the line we’ve drawn make sense?

We are giving weapons and aid to Ukraine. Putin already complains that we are escalating by waging “economic war.” We are clear about whose side we are on. It’s no secret to Putin. Ok, Ukraine is not part of NATO, and we have no pact that binds us to consider an attack on them an attack on us, but that doesnt mean that it isnt one. Putin’s invasion is an attack on the west. There is no other way to look at it. He attacked Ukraine because they are our friends. He attacked Ukraine because he thinks he can because they are not in NATO. He attacked them because they are a democracy, like us.

We are giving them weapons, but we balk at giving them planes. They use our weapons to kill the invaders, but we try to pretend we aren’t in this fight. The only reason he might not consider that an escalation is because he might think it’s not enough to defeat him. And what if he’s right? Are we holding back because we think Ukraine can win? What if we are wrong? Even if we’re right, how many innocent lives have to be lost that might not need to be?

Why do we draw the line at direct engagement with NATO? We could draw another line. We can say that we won’t go into Russia as long as Russia doesn’t attack a NATO country, but why shouldn’t we go into Ukraine? Putin did. They’ve invited us in. He wasn’t invited

The combined forces of NATO are vastly superior to Russia. But we’re being pushed around by a weaker opponent, because he’s a bully who threatens to use nukes.

Well, I ask this, what if he wins? Then the bully who threatens nukes is still around. And what if he starts losing without us in the fight, whose to say he won’t use nukes anyway. And then what are we going to do after its over.

I’ll tell you what. We’ll have to wait for the next time. Like we did the last time. Bullies don’t stop, until you make them.

So, yes, I’m scared. But he must lose.

And I don’t really understand the logical distinction between supplying Ukrainians with weapons and firing them ourselves, where one keeps us out of it and the other doesn’t? If we engage directly with Russian troops in Ukraine, when they have no business being there, how are we the ones escalating? Who started it?

Maybe there is hope that the sanctions will work, that the Russian people will rise up. Maybe we need to give it a little more time, I don’t know. But how much time does Ukraine have?

We Are at War

We are always at war, a war of ideas, at least.

This conflict in Ukraine isn’t isolated. It is a recurring symptom of the world we live in. We are paying more attention to it, for a variety of reasons that can be debated. We can complain about why we haven’t cared as much about other peoples in the past, or other conflicts going on right now, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t care about Ukraine. You have to start somewhere. It’s not the first time Putin has done just this, and if we don’t stop him this time, it won’t be the last.

The ideologies behind the conflict in Ukraine, we fight here in the US too. Our previous president became our leader with the help of Putin’s meddling, and cozied up to him, and almost became president again, using the same kinds of tactics Putin uses, subterfuge, misinformation and force. And now he and some of his followers act like they are on Putin’s side, and maybe they are.

So the fight is here too, and it always has been. We, as a nation, are not innocent and have our own sins to answer for. But that doesn’t mean that we are hypocrites. A country is never truly united, nor should it be. We are also citizens of the ideas we support, allied globally with the like-minded, good and bad wherever they are. Russians protest this war. Germans opposed Hitler and were among his first victims.

We should not blame all white Americans for slavery, or the genocide of Native Americans, or Donald Trump. We shouldn’t blame all Israelis for Israel’s wrongs, or all Jews, certainly, without regard for where they live. 

But each of us must decide what side we’re on, and advocate, in some way, for peace, and freedom, and justice everywhere.

If we, as a race (the human race), are to rise to a greatness that often seems contrary to our nature, then we must at least acknowledge that the war (this war, that war) is never over.