What We Need to Say to Russia Now

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One taboo just came down. There are at least two left.
The taboo that came down was the one that said the West shouldn’t send tanks into Ukraine because it would upset the Russians. The tanks would be too much fire power and the big bear would growl louder.
After much back and forth, finally Britain took the step and committed to sending in their Challenger tanks. This will boost Ukraine’s fighting capacity and make a difference.
Now if only Chancellor Scholz in Germany would make up his mind and supply the Leopard tanks, then the punch Ukrainians can deliver will increase its power.
For the second taboo. The West should not supply weapons powerful enough to reach into Russia’s territory.
This is a good one. For a while, I bought into it, too. Russia can shoot their missiles into Ukraine from inside their borders, but Ukraine can’t shoot the missiles we give them into Russian territory.
This is not a sustainable position.
Keep this up and Russia will conquer Ukraine.
We need to make up our minds, do we want Ukraine to win, or are we looking for a long war and then, after there are no Ukrainian men left to fight, Vladimir the Great will ride into Kyiv unopposed.
With China and India buying his oil, even at reduced prices, there will always be cash to support the Russian economy, at least long enough to conquer Ukraine.
So we must draw the line and say to Putin, stop firing missiles into Ukraine from Russia itself. Stop now. If not then we will give Ukraine the capacity to fire missiles into your territory.
The assumption in the West has been that this will so upset Putin that he will want to fire his nuclear weapons at us. Hence, Escalation. The big E. The third taboo.
But does Putin want Russia destroyed? No.
He cannot get away with firing nuclear weapons without us firing back.
We haven’t confronted Putin yet because he has intimidated us.
We must admit this.
The bully has to be confronted. There is no other way.
Do we have what it takes to confront him? Yes.
This war pits two very unevenly matched combatants. Russia has the advantage of territorial proximity and larger number of troops.
That Ukraine has come this far against the odds is an amazing story.
But without us setting new rules, Ukraine’s remarkable courage will be beaten down.
There is so much they can take.
To not confront Putin now is to say, ‘let’s wait until Ukraine is exhausted and then Zelensky himself will be ready to beg for a negotiated peace which His Highness Vladimir the Greatest, might just agree to in the interest of projecting a measure of benevolence. So long as half of Ukraine stays under his control. The other half to follow in 2-3 years.
And Putin will be able to say, ‘it took my frightening them to get them to not set limits on me. That’s why I will one day own Europe. Because if the West can’t stand up to me now, they won’t do so later. My bravado will again win the day.’
In confronting Putin it would help if we can say to China, ‘You’re an accomplice in this war. You’ve supported Putin. If Putin dares use nuclear weapons, then you, too, will be a target for us. Think about it.’
Would that mobilize China to prevent a nuclear war?
Absolutely.
We are letting Putin frighten us.
We cannot allow it.