It took the Ukrainian invasion and the fierce resistance it has prompted, for the nations of Europe to stand firm with America against the barbarism of Putin. The Ukrainian people, long in the shadow of Russia, decided it had seen enough. It would not applaud the invading Russians but fight them. And fight them to the end.
That heroism has elicited a new vigor in the West.
The cruelty Putin has unleashed on the Ukrainian people will not go unpunished. It will not be forgotten.
The lies Putin has used to justify his actions will forever remind us of the lies all autocracies or dictatorships use to justify their oppression.
By virtue of the ubiquity of cameras the invasion and its consequences have been thoroughly documented, making it one of the most public wars. And that evidence will not be buried with the dead but forever stand to remind us of the price of freedom.
Putin, of course, has tried to hide all of it from his people. But his days are numbered.
The Russian people are now asking themselves, ‘is this violence not being inflicted on us too? By denying us freedom of speech and thought?’
And that stark reality will bring unease to their consciences and so move them to assert the fullness of their existences.
Sooner or later, Putin will fall. And it will be the Russian people who will bring him down.
He knows he is losing the war. He knows he has nowhere to go and hide. It is a matter of time before he is set aside by his own people.
China, meanwhile, has refused to condemn the invasion. But their leadership is accustomed to denying their own people their voice. What else could we expect from their autocrats?
The influx of weapons from the West has made a huge difference in the fierce Ukrainian resistance and so, too, the fact that the mighty Russian army has not been all that mighty.
Their advance has proven difficult and the likelihood is that it will need more and more resources to complete the conquest of Ukraine, raising the possibility that Russia will not have the capability of doing so.
A diminished Putin will be tempted to resort to chemical weapons and even nuclear ones.
This would escalate the war with uncertain consequences.
Earlier today, in Brussels for a meeting with NATO partners, a confident president Biden said that if Putin used chemical weapons against the Ukrainian people, NATO would respond.
Putin will likely challenge that position and use such weapons. The same way that Assad in Syria challenged president Obama’s drawing a red line intended to bar the weapons.
In our confidence, we must not forget caution.
Putin is a failed man but as long as his people don’t rebel against him, he can unleash horrible weapons.
So we must watch our language.
Putin has little to lose at this stage. But we do.
With this catastrophic performance, not only Ukraine but other nations now under his influence will turn toward the West. That, we can be confident about.
I say that Belarus is next.
Oscar Valdes, oscarvaldes.net, medium.com, anchor.fm, buzzsprout, apple and google podcasts