Saturday, July 16, 2022


Christopher Hitchens tells how Neville Chamberlain asked Hitler if there was something else he wanted besides Austria and the Rhineland. The Fuhrer answered that Czechoslovakia would be nice. So the British P.M. together with Lord Halifax entered the chorus of the Munich duped. Old stubborn men can be dangerous, as President Biden proved yet again with the Saudis.

Regarding Ukraine, the rot prevails. Putin's "special operation" was totally unacceptable from the start, a coup de grace against all agreed rules of international law. After the annexation of Crimea the Russians knew the West had little mettle. Hence the "special operation" has no boundaries. His Sudeten in the East fool no one but some obliged "client states".

The reverend Stoltenberg's NATO is not unlike the Catholic church that screams about others' sins but leaves the option of confession open. Early on, NATO said it would never be involved in an operation/retaliation on Russian soil. Normally one refrains from letting the enemy know how far one considers going. Now the Russian side has carte blanche to do in Ukraine as they want. The West sends arms and logistics and supports Kiev with the caveat that Russia is off limits (does the same apply for Belarus?) 

Given the indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, the destruction of infrastructure and property, the violation of every rule of international law and conventions is growing by the day.  How long can one remain a voyeur of the systematic onslaught on a country that cannot help being the depository of a convoluted history. It is impossible to predict if Putin has set an end game plan. Even if he were to stop, he should have to pay, to repair, atone, leave. This is wishful thinking, he will do none of the above if he is not removed.

In the West, "Ukraine fatigue" will set in. Notice that unlike famous causes (Bangladesh, Biafra, We are the People) the media remain "unsentimental". The spoiled West fears the winter, inflation, food shortage, discomfort...Ukraine is too close to ignore but still too different to feel close. President Zelensky is the last man in the Pantheon of disappearing heroes. He must feel lonely and it would be scandalous if the West left him with only Skype to show for his rage. In the future one might reconsider the rules and the facts. Perpetrators never deserve a blank check. It is time to find a way to make Putin pay, suffer and be removed. The current strategy only aggravates the harm done on the innocent and leaves the aggressor free to roam. Rational risk taking has to be on the table...remember the targeted bombing of Belgrade during the Bosnian conflict ?

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