I May Have Contradictory Opinions on Ukraine

2022-03-03 – I may have contradictory opinions on Ukraine.

My first reaction when I learned about Vladimir Putins pre-invasion threats was to let the Europeans handle it. The United States is always getting involved abroad. What does it get us? I tell you this as my “first reaction” not because I’ve changed my mind on this, but because I have not.

My second reaction to Putins invasion was that we shouldn’t let tyrants get away with these kinds of actions. I believe that to be true—in spite of my first reaction.

It’s a bit of a contradiction.

Or maybe it’s not. The assumption that underlies both my first reaction and my second reaction is that our only choice for intervention against tyrants is military action. It is my belief that military action must be reserved for threats that are close and immediate. Putin’s threat to the United States is neither close or immediate. For Europeans the threat is closer and more immediate.

But that doesn’t mean that there is nothing to be done—to prevent us from getting to the point where Putin’s threat could become both close and immediate.

In the history of aggression, bystanders have typically done nothing in the face of threats. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Until it is too late and there is no alternative but war.

But acting in the vacuum of nothing, nothing, nothing could prevent the loss of alternatives—could prevent war.

We may have waited too long in the case of Ukraine. Or maybe not. The United States and our allies around the world have imposed punishing sanctions on Russia, on Russian oligarchs, and on Putin himself. The Ukrainian people (who have no alternative) are acting bravely. And the Russian people are not really sold on their leader’s murderous adventure.

May these actions succeed and prevent a wider war and restore peace to the Ukrainian people.

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