As citizen of a democracy – a remarkable notion conceived and bequeathed to humanity by Athenians – I have the option of publicly differing with my President which I will proceed to do.
Russians wished they had not let such privilege be stolen from them by Putin. Had they not allowed it we wouldn’t be having this war.
But to the point.
The war in Ukraine has been hard fought. Ukrainians have been exemplary fighters, and yet the greater number of Russian soldiers and armament give them the advantage.
Slowly, I fear, the Ukrainian resistance will begin to wear down.
Though the West has provided much equipment to counter the Russian offensive, it is not enough to stop the invaders.
Mr Biden has been very clear with the American people. He does not approve of any attack on Russia, will not place any American soldiers or NATO troops on Ukraine and strictly forbids that weapons given to Ukraine be fired into Russian territory – the land Russia now occupies in eastern Ukraine exempted.
Ukraine is dependent on the West for weaponry. If we don’t provide them, regardless of their courage in combat, over time they will be overrun and quashed by Russian forces.
But can we move a step further and provide Ukraine with parity in armaments? Can we give them enough to not only hold against the Russians but beat them back and out of their nation?
After three months of uninterrupted warfare, the struggle is entering a period of fatigue.
Ukrainians have excellent leadership but that may not be enough.
Our main worry – Biden’s worry – about weapons assistance to Ukraine is that Putin will consider such assistance to be an escalation on the part of the West. And so providing Ukraine with war planes has been forbidden.
Putin has repeatedly reminded us of his nuclear arsenal and how he is willing to use it.
All along his calculation has been that Ukraine is more important to him than to the West and that sooner or later we will tire out and Ukraine will be asked to be reasonable and urged to negotiate with him.
In fact, those forces are already at work.
But we would be making a huge mistake to give in and accommodate with Putin.
True, there is the risk of a nuclear confrontation, though I believe it is much less than at the start of the war. The reason is that Putin has discovered western resolve which he did not expect and realizes he has as much or more to lose from a nuclear war than we do.
China will be the first to tell him not to dare go down that path because they don’t want to be a target of a western response.
So now is the time to step up the lethality and reach of the weapons we provide to Ukraine. Now is the time to provide them with fighter jets.
I am sure there is a way to make sure those jets don’t go over into Russian territory. But with such weapons, the direction of this war can be turned around.
Ukraine, with enough weapons, can beat back Russia. We should let them do so.
If Putin is humiliated by the defeat of his forces, good. He deserves it.
We should not give less arms to Ukrainians to ensure Putin can save face and say to his people, ‘well, we did gain some territory. As to the rest of Ukraine, let’s pause for now and invade again next year.’
Now is the time to let Ukraine win.
Putin should not.
Oscar Valdes oscarvaldes.net, medium.com, anchor.fm, buzzsprout, apple and google podcasts