Invasion of Ukraine is the beginning of new era
Published 3:03 pm Friday, February 25, 2022
There’s always a bully on every stage.
This week most Americans and the world watched in horror as Ukraine citizens fled from their homes and into the streets as Russian troops invaded their country on Thursday, attacking over a dozen major cities and dropping scores of missiles on airports and other military targets. It was a sad day not only for Ukraine, but the entire world.
Here in the U.S. we have never experienced the horrors of war. The closest we have come to an invasion of our homeland was 9-11 when terrorists plotted and bombed the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and passengers overtook the terrorists in an airplane over Pennsylvania, forcing it to crash, killing all aboard.
We cannot know the fear of the Ukraine citizens as they fled burning buildings and the evidence of war as the Russians launched missiles on the eastern part of the country and Kiev, the capitol city. There is profound horror at what Russia has leashed upon Ukraine, and at what is to come. The invasion is illegal, immoral and outrageous. Russia’s president is a bully with a well-documented ruthlessness and disdain for civilian lives.
Sure, President Biden has imposed some strict sanctions on Russia, but is it enough? Why did he not impose sanctions on Putin personally? Is he willing to let Putin bully him?
Ukraine has endured so many 20th-century traumas and is now experiencing the continent’s biggest attack by one state on another since the second world war.
Russia claimed for months that it would not invade; its assurances that it will not occupy Ukraine are worth nothing. Even on its own supposed logic, the request for military help from the breakaway “republics” in the east cannot explain why troops are advancing from the north and south, and bombarding targets across the country. Putin says that he wants to “demilitarize” and “de-nazify” a democratic country that freely chose its Jewish president. Putin believes his aim is to topple the government and install a puppet regime.
Putin warned against other countries “meddling,” with the chilling warning that otherwise there would be “consequences you have never encountered in your history” — a barely coded nuclear threat — though Ukraine has long known it will fight alone, albeit strengthened by the recent influx of arms and advice.
Russia is likely to pay for this assault with a weakened economy, increasing isolation, a reinvigorated NATO and a bitterly anti-Russian Ukraine.
Ukrainians now need and deserve the staunchest support. Those who flee must be given a true welcome by western Europe as well as neighbouring countries. But the big question is what price Ukraine’s backers are willing to pay.
In the U.S., the invasion for a surety will cause a further hike in energy prices, cause more inflation and potentially a recession with the danger of political destabilization and further division as citizens struggle to get by.
Yes, there will be outrage at higher gas prices and perhaps higher food prices. But, it’s a small price to pay for freedom. Remember, some in Ukraine have given their lives, others have been forced to leave their homeland, their families.
Ukraine’s friends must make clear that this time with Putin it is different, with a sustained as well as large-scale response. Serious attempts to counter Moscow’s aggression must start now, but will be the work of years. It will take years, too, to understand the new era on which we are all now embarking.