Putin is holding the threat of nuclear confrontation as his answer to the West’s rallying behind brave Ukraine.
He desperately wants Ukraine and is willing to do anything.
Because he has such control over the Russian people, he believes they will tolerate the effects of the sanctions against him for starting the war.
But the pain he’s inflicting on Ukraine seems unreal.
We have heard of people in pain. In Myanmar, in Xinjiang province in China, in Syria, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Yemen, Venezuela.
But who had thought it would happen right next to Poland and Slovakia, Hungary and Romania?
Who had thought that one man would disrupt or end the lives of so many?
And that not a single shot triggered Putin’s wrath.
He is angry, he says, because the West is getting too close to him.
He is angry, we can discern, because he has been incapable of moving Russia to the top of the nations of this earth. So he falsely concludes that he is not getting his respect.
But what is there to respect?
That he has nuclear weapons capable of destroying millions of lives? Granted.
But what else?
He has a narrow mind and a lust for destruction.
It seems unreal, to see presidents and chancellors, foreign ministers and diplomats, all going to see narrow minded Putin to ask that he engage in substantial negotiations.
But the man does not budge. He wants Ukrainians to bow to him.
This morning he bombed a military installation near the border with Poland, killing 35, prompting the West to say that any hit to Poland or any NATO nation, even if not intentional, will trigger a full response.
Sadly, it could happen.
Meanwhile, the wave of Ukrainian refugees rushing to the West is now greater than 2.5 million and growing.
The number of casualties is probably in the thousands. The destruction of property rampant.
Ukraine is a big country, home to 44 million people. And it is being destroyed by the actions of one man, who makes decisions by himself. One man, who doesn’t have to answer to anyone.
And what use is the United Nations, when Russia’s or China’s vote in the Security council can block any action by it?
What is the point of that body? A pretense of dialogue?
No one seems to listen. Countries go there to parade their viewpoints but not to hear each other.
The sanctions the West is implementing will hurt Putin. Will hurt the Russian people most of all.
But will the Russian people rise against Putin?
Will they see him for who he is?
Putin is not afraid of a nuclear confrontation and that is his advantage.
We in the West, are afraid of a nuclear confrontation, and that is our advantage.
Preserving the collective work of humanity is important to us and not to Putin.
The question we must be asking ourselves is, why does humanity tolerate the rise of tyrants?
Why do we allow it?
Why does the rest of the world permit any tyrant, anywhere, to rule without the consent of the people?
Why can’t the rest of the enlightened nations of this earth act on behalf of humanity and join to depose those who rule through brutality?
What is the point of sovereignty in today’s world, if we must tolerate dictators who force their people into submission, and then use them to attempt to submit another nation?
What is the point of the United Nations today?
What is the point of someone like Assad in Syria, remaining in power (with Russia’s aid), or the generals in Myanmar (with Russia’s and China’s aid), or in any other dictatorship?
Why can’t there be more external pressures from the rest of the world to unseat these people?
Ukraine story is telling us that it must be so.
But how does this war end?
This war ends with Putin conquering all of Ukraine after a campaign that will leave hundreds of thousands dead and maimed. A nation scorched.
It ends with Europe being flooded with refugees but becoming stronger because of it.
This war ends with Russia becoming weaker and forcing their citizens to look at themselves and choose between remaining servile to Putin or daring to join with other nations in the march to freedom.
It ends with the world economy going into recession and Russia’s loss being the greater.
A stronger West would then have to look ahead and continue preparing for the inevitable confrontation with China, both economic and military.
Russia’s stated aims at the start of the invasion were two: regime change in Ukraine and the country’s demilitarization. They have not changed.
Given Putin’s behavior, I don’t see any point in the West’s continuing to reach out to him for a diplomatic solution. But it is up to the Ukrainian people, whose lives are being lost, to make that choice.
Meanwhile, we will continue to assist.
Is there a risk of a nuclear confrontation? Yes. For Putin is growing desperate.
But the West is ready.
So let us stick with the sanctions, and Ukraine’s heroic resistance will have marked a new beginning for the free world.
Oscar Valdes Oscarvaldes.net, medium.com, anchor.fm, buzzsprout, apple and google podcasts.