Don't Forget Ukraine
Out of sight, out of mind will destroy democracy everywhere
Ukraine is losing in the east. The latest reports indicate that Russia has made significant advances in Eastern Ukraine. The Donbas region is almost completely under Russian control.
Meanwhile, the Ukraine headlines have slid further and further from the front page. Here at PolisPandit, we’re at fault for it too. In America alone we have been bombarded with leaked abortion opinions that ignore stare decisis, continued gun violence, and Trumpian vibes from Elon Musk.
How can we focus on injustices happening half a world away? And why should we?
Whatever you do, don’t forget about Ukraine. Here’s why.
This is a tipping point for liberal democracy
Putin’s apologists want you to think liberal democracy caused Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Scholars like John Mearsheimer love to place blame on NATO.
John and his fellow apologists are wrong.
As we have written previously, any argument blaming NATO for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is fundamentally flawed. NATO is first and foremost a defense alliance. It has never (and will never) threaten Russia (or any country) with an offensive attack.
Any Putin apologist making these arguments also neglects to mention or consider one primary countervailing fact.
The number of dissidents Putin has murdered or attempted to kill on NATO soil. He has had no problems carrying out violence and assassinations in NATO countries like the United Kingdom. Poison is his preferred method.
How many attacks has NATO carried out on Russian soil? None.
If the consortium of liberal democracies that most call “The West” let Putin take a large chunk of Eastern Ukraine without further consequence, what then?
More poison, more autocracy, more emboldened action from an autocrat who has demonstrated little restraint in exercising his power in the region. He has illustrated this maniacal tendency since invading Georgia in 2008. Anyone reading the tea leaves from that attack could have foreseen what would happen in Ukraine as we did.
The point is that Putin will not stop at the Donbas. He will not simply pull his foot off the gas pedal and call it a day. He knows he needs to keep Russian morale high. War wins elections. Just ask President Bush (the second one).
Liberal democracies of the world need to arm Ukraine with weaponry that will help it hold off the Russians and regain ground it has lost in the east. At the very least. There are good arguments against giving Ukraine too many offensive capabilities against Russia - there’s a fine line between self-defense and provoking the cornered Russian bear. Especially considering Putin already embarrassed himself with his failed invasion of Kyiv.
Regardless, people in the West must realize that this fight is still vitally important to the survival of liberal democracy everywhere. If a country that wants to self-determine its own governance is unable to because of a powerful bully neighbor - while the world largely stands by - it sends a message that might makes right.
Unless humanity wants to return to the 18th century, don’t forget Ukraine.
Existing sanctions will not save Kyiv
As mentioned, Putin will not stop at the Donbas. Especially after getting embarrassed the first time he tried to take Kyiv. Although the Russian economy has been hit hard, and the suffering has really only begun, Russia has also proved resilient. They’ve even started their own McDonalds.
Russia will continue to weather the existing sanctions storm. They will not be deterred. The Russian people have not shown the will, nor the desire, to change the war’s course or stop Putin. So all signs point to a continuation of this dreadful conflict until Ukraine is completely under Russian control.
So yes, the war that started on February 24th may seem like old news. It may not be top of mind for you like it was back in late February or early March. But the fate of Ukraine and any other former Soviet Republic has not changed.
They are all still under threat.
The existing sanctions will not save Kyiv and therefore, Ukraine. Zelensky has stepped up as a hero that will live forever in Ukrainian lore, but even his legend cannot hold back the Russians forever. Unless Putin goes - and there is absolutely no indication he will - the West must do something to deter further onslaught without provoking Russia.
It may not be possible. But we have to try.
Most importantly, we must never forget what happened in February of this year. Russia invaded Ukraine, completely unprovoked, in an effort to reunite the Russkiy Mir. Putin and the Russian people demonstrated they are no different from Nazi Germany, and we do not use that analogy lightly.
The days will continue to pass. Summer is almost here. The weather is getting warmer across the Western World. It is easy to forget the plight of Ukrainians and the threat Putin and his thugs pose to their daily lives.
You might think you cannot do much sitting there reading this article. But the more awareness we build, the more pressure we apply to lawmakers in power, and the more we advocate for what’s right, the more likely it will be that not only Ukraine prevails, but liberal democracy too.
If autocracy can win in Ukraine, it can win anywhere. Don’t forget Ukraine.