Not delivering the needed, behavior-changing consequences to Putin and Russia is the international equivalent of defunding the police. And will have similar results.
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Russia is governed by paranoid, autocratic rulers. It has been invaded three times, twice by the Germans, and once by France under Napoleon. Napoleon captured Moscow before retreating, and Germany under Hitler came within spitting distance. Partly as a consequence, Russia is hungry for huge amounts of “buffer” countries on its borders to help protect it.
Russia has long been a bold, cruel aggressor notably in the last 90 or so years.
1. In 1932/3, Russia under Stalin induced a famine in Ukraine, killing upwards of 3M people. Stalin then replaced the dead population with Russians, helping to create today’s minority Russian-leaning population in eastern Ukraine.
2. In 1939, Russia invaded Finland with 21 divisions totalling 450,000 men.
3. Also in 1939, Russia under Stalin sided with Hitler and Nazi Germany by signing the Molotov–Ribbentrop non-aggression pact, allying the two dictatorships.
4. In 1948, Russia under Stalin attempted to starve and freeze out divided Berlin in an attempt to have the entire city for himself.
5. More well known is the failed 1979 Russian invasion of Afghanistan. The US supplied the Afghans with the highly effective Stinger missiles, essentially creating a No-Fly zone over Afghanistan.
6. In 2008, Russia used force to occupy the 20% of the country of Georgia it declared to be leaning to Russia. Sound familiar?
7. Russia has twice attacked Chechnya, attempting to topple its anti-Russian government. In 1999, then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin led the military response against Chechnya. Putin, Boris Yeltsin’s handpicked successor as President, said of the Chechen defenders, “We will rub them out, even in the toilet.” Again, does anything sound familiar?
8. In 2014, Russia invaded and annexed Crimea, then a part of Ukraine.
And now Ukraine itself. What country is next? Does anyone believe that almost a century of Russian aggression will end with Ukraine? Does anyone believe any dictator when he says that he is finally satisfied, and does not want to gobble up more territory, power and people?
In 1938, British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, believed Hitler when the Nazi leader signed the Munich Agreement saying that he would finally be finished with his many territory grabs if he could just have Czechoslovakia. Even as Chamberlain was triumphantly waving the paper signed by “Herr Hitler,” claiming that, “We will have peace in our time,” Winston Churchill responded with, “He (Chamberlain), had a choice between war and dishonor. He chose dishonor.” Hitler attacked Poland in 1939, breaking the agreement and starting WWII. Churchill became Prime Minister the next year.
Sanctions might be hurting Russia, but they are not stopping the invasion and the killing. We must do more now to help Ukraine, Eastern Europe, NATO, and ourselves. It’s past time for a No-Fly Zone over Ukraine.
In the mid-seventies, Fram oil filters became well-known due an ad campaign that featured the slogan, “You can pay me now, or pay me later.” The mechanic in the ad offered the viewer a simple proposition: Pay me now for a filter and an oil change, or pay me later for a new engine.
That logic applies to Russia and Ukraine. Pay a smaller price now to help surprisingly resilient Ukraine defeat Putin with a No-Fly Zone, or pay a much larger price later. Shamefully, we did not supply Ukraine with needed and effective shoulder fired anti-aircraft missiles, Stingers, or shoulder-fired anti-tank weapons, Javelins. Or even rifles, for that matter until very recently. Time to get going–if we are serious.
Some say that the US helped to bring about Putin’s invasion by not declaring that Ukraine would never be allowed into NATO. NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, is a defensive alliance of 30 countries. The principle of collective defense is at the very heart of NATO’s founding treaty. Who is the only likely attacker? Russia, of course. And Russia, Putin, is screaming that he will not allow any other country, including Ukraine, in his region to join NATO. Why? Simple. He wants to attack and absorb other countries without having to worry if NATO is serious about its collective defense posture.
Stop Putin now. NATO, and the US is the leader in NATO, must show Putin and Russia that it is not a never-been-tested, paper-only organization. Stand up now by supplying planes and pilots to Ukraine. If that triggers an escalation, better now than when Putin has more time to test, train and strengthen his military and its strategies and tactics. Hitler would have been far easier to defeat in 1938 than 1939. He used that year to massively strengthen his military. Just as Putin will. Remember, “We will rub them out, even in the toilet.” It is time for us to choose between conflict on one hand, and dishonor and disaster on the other.
The West, led by the US, should have been acting to counter Russian ambitions for many years. And many of the successful tactics, while effective, would not have involved firing a single shot. Now we need to shoot. Do you remember that wise saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?” To paraphrase, “An ounce of blood today will save a pound of blood tomorrow.
”Pay me now, or pay me later.
We all have the personal responsibility to hold our government accountable, and to prompt it to take action when required. Speaking of personal responsibility, this principle does not stand alone; the two main and interdependent principles at Revolution 2.0 are:
1. Personal Responsibility; take it, teach it and,
2. Be Your Brother’s Keeper. The answer to the biblical question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” is a ringing, unequivocal “Yes.” There is no other answer.
Where do you stand? What are you going to do? Remember, it does not matter where you stand if you don’t do anything. You can start by subscribing to these episodes, and encouraging others to subscribe with you.
As always, whatever you do, do it in love. Without love, anything we do is empty. 1 Corinthians 16:1.
As we get ready to wrap up, please do respond in the episodes with comments or questions about this episode or anything that comes to mind, or connect with me on Twitter, @willluden, Facebook, facebook.com/will.luden, and LinkedIn, www.linkedin.com/in/willluden/. And you can subscribe on your favorite device through Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and wherever you listen to podcasts.
This is Will Luden. We’ll talk again soon.