I do not pretend to have answers about the senseless and unnecessary war that Putin has instigated in Ukraine, but my heart goes out to its people. Once, for many years actually, a good colleague, George Pinchuk did his best to educate us all on the political situation and the culture of Ukraine. He was an unending advocate of his native country, and thanks to him, I have a much better appreciation for it than I would have. Unfortunately, he succumbed to health issues a few years ago. If he were alive, I know he would be heartbroken today, even more than we all are.
It is impossible to watch news coverage of the fighting, to see casualties and destruction in the cities, or to hear the stories of those who for now are surviving, and not feel for their plight. It is impossible to think of the the many refugees who have fled the country or those who are staying behind to fight in a resistance without images of World War II flashing through your head. Does it make a difference that this war is in Europe? Definitely. Especially since the danger exists that Europe and the U.S. could be drawn in. Yet it also makes a difference that this war was begun without any provocation. It shows the fragile nature of the world peace we have all come to rely on, which has brought the world such prosperity and security. Ukrainians have long lived under the threat of Russian domination and are better prepared to react to it than those of us in the U.S. Their resistance is fierce.
Here in the U.S., public opinion seems to be mostly with Ukraine. Those few polititians who vocally support Vladimir Putin’s ugly war ought to become pariahs. Anyone who would support the naked aggression of a dictator who invades a sovereign nation on a whim is clearly unfit for public office in a democracy. I can’t imagine what self-interest or insanity would cause someone to call Putin a genius for invading Ukraine, but I hope we can agree that it is clearly beyond the pale.
As I said at the start of this post, I do not have answers. I support the sanctions that have been placed on Russia, I stand in awe of Ukraine and its people, and I grieve for the loss of life and the damage being done every hour. I know the sanctions will cause some minor hardships in the countries that impose them, yet those inconveniences must always be weighed against the true tragedy of what is going on in Ukraine.