Helping Ukraine may mean helping the entire world
Tribune News Service February 27, 2023
(Tribune News Service) — It is a time of Russia indulging in nuke talk, yanking people out of prisons to replace the dead soldiers in Ukrainian battlefields and China saying it just might hand Russia more fighting tools. While Ukraine was simultaneously losing some land it had won, there were also some positives, not the least of them a surprise visit by President Joe Biden standing in a danger zone to make it clear that the United States is steadfastly behind Ukraine and NATO.
President Biden, thank you. Here was a bold move, and no doubt it boosted Ukrainian confidence in the United States continuing to supply it with loads of moolah and weapons, not just defensive weapons, but offensive weapons. NATO, with more at stake, is not doing all it could, but is still saying yes, we are with you. Ukraine remains blessed with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the former TV comedian with courage, charisma, high intelligence and rare leadership capacities, no laughing matter to Ukraine’s enemies.
Was it OK for him to force 11 political parties with ties to Russia to get out of parliament? It makes it harder to see him as a respecter of rule of law, but it may have been necessary for national survival. His speech to Congress a while back was touching, encouraging and democratically heroic. He doesn’t want to give an inch, has accomplished what no one imagined, but could not have done it without the help of America and NATO. Here is the big question. Should America keep helping out? The experts disagree with each other, and here, first, is the point of view that says no.
The conflict is costing us heaps of money, and in this COVID-recovering, overspending U.S. economy, we just can’t afford it. This has become a war of attrition with lots of soldiers dying on both sides and women and children being blasted to death in acts of Russian terrorism. The Russians hugely outnumber Ukrainians, and Russian President Vladimir Putin will recruit with however many chains and handcuffs are required. Remember, this war is his whole life right now: the resurrection of the Soviet Union, Russia a foremost power again, his name never forgotten.
Thanks to China and its internationally needed energy resources, the Russian economy has stayed alive and could get better as Russia attains more weapons. Russia might even be serious in its yapping about the possible use of nuclear weapons. If we want to save lives and money, we should stop fighting and win peace if not fairness.
Another perspective is that there is no way virtual surrender would save lives or that Russia would risk the retaliation through nuclear games. With Ukrainian victory, Russia would simply go to war with other countries and we’d either have to fight for them or see Russia become an incredible, crushing, threatening power again.
There are also the brave, good Ukrainian people to worry about. It might be that a quick end of the war would keep some from being killed, but there are possibilities of massive death sentences, concentration camps and the torture of totalitarian government. China could be encouraged to go ahead and take over Taiwan, with North Korea and Iran starting their own wars, too, maybe.
The thoughts above are a fraction of the possibilities of varied decisions, but here is something else to keep in mind. This isn’t just about the United States, NATO, Ukraine and Russia, but what might happen to the whole world. This, after all, is an era of growing Chinese economic and military might, ongoing Mideast concerns, Europe seemingly unsure about its future, Russia wanting to revive its evil past, South America gone awry, Africa’s possible tangled routes, climate change and democracy seemingly insistent on an international turn from conquest to retreat.
There are also issues about morality, faith, socialism, capitalism and liberty, and we had better be wise.
Jay Ambrose is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service.
©2023 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.