The invasion of Ukraine by Russia leaves the rest of us looking fragile. The sanctions imposed as acts of objection to carnage and destruction are pathetic gestures. They are shows of weakness, almost of not caring – though there are many of us who do care deeply. They are an invitation to others to make land grabs in the safe and secure knowledge that the rest of the world won’t do much to stop it. My great grandchildren will rue the day Ukraine surrenders and the media revert to articles about how important it is to look after other people.
I hate war. I lived through WWII. As a child there were moments of exitement but there were many more moments of terror and of sadness. When our London apartment was bombed we were fortunate that nobody was killed or seriously hurt. Older cousins and friends went to war. Several never came back. War is a despicable display of greed and a miserable method of wasting life and limb. Nobody wants WWIII, fearful of the widespread loss of life and destruction of property. But red lines do not disappear just because the military is stronger and the rockets more devastating. When Ukraine surrenders it will not be just the Ukrainians who do so. You and I will do so too.
Nor will it be just the territory of Ukraine that is lost. We are an overcrowded world and land grabbing may easily become the style of the future. If that happens the concept of ownership, and of property itself, will wither. “What’s yours is mine; and what’s mine’s my own” used to be a joke. It will no longer be after Ukraine falls. Putin has threatened unprecedented destruction if anyone interferes with his smash and grab raid. How do you read that? I read it as a threat to everyone outside Russia. Putin is starting as he means to go on. There is only one possible response to that.
Take Putin out. I have no idea what mental condition is driving him to try to rebuild the Soviet Union. Whatever it is, it threatens your security and mine. I want peace and security for the coming generations. I will not be here to see them but they will reflect the decisions we make now. To make it clear to any major aggressor that our weaponry is there to prevent the consequences of such aggression is the only way to guarantee peace. It will probably have to be done once every few generations. If it must be, so be it.
I realise that there will be many who disagree with what I say. If you are one of them please tell me why. After I had written this I saw that General Richard Shirreff had said (Financial Times 26Feb22) “arm the NATO borders lest a Russian soldier puts a foot over one of them”. In practice, he and I are saying the same thing.
If we do not eliminate Putin right now we threaten the next two generations with sporadic loss of freedom. I don’t know what you think of freedom but I think it is the Jewel in the Crown of life.
Let’s not lose it for fear of sticking to our principles.