Many on the far-right indulge in their fantasy that if Donald Trump were still president, Vladimir Putin would not have invaded Ukraine because he would have faced “dire consequences.”
Truth is, President Putin did not invade Ukraine under Mr. Trump’s watch only because it wasn’t necessary to achieve his alleged objective: to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO. Mr. Trump wanted to abandon NATO entirely because the Europeans “did not pay their dues.” (FYI, there are no membership dues.) He did pull U.S. troops out of Germany, much to Mr. Putin’s delight.
It has been President Joe Biden who has led a broad coalition in response to Mr. Putin’s aggression. Weapons have been provided to the courageous Ukrainian resistance, and economic sanctions have made the Russian ruble virtually worthless. That’s what a real leader, with a strong commitment to democracy, does.
Some are saying President Biden should be following the example set in 1938 by British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, who “negotiated” with Hitler and allowed him to annex Czechoslovakia. PM Chamberlain promised this would guarantee “peace with honor” and “peace for our time.” What could possibly go wrong?
One might ask Poland, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Yugoslavia and Greece that question. Those countries were all invaded, in succession, by Hitler’s military between 1938 and 1941. For whom was this peaceful or honorable?
At the end of World War II, there was a universal cry of “Never Again.” Yet, some now want another megalomaniac to literally call the shots.
Should we allow history to repeat itself and passively accept Mr. Putin’s atrocities as a fait accompli? Will Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, already NATO members, be the next victims of Mr. Putin’s 21st-century Soviet Union fever dream? Those who don’t want an expanded war should think about that.
The whole world is watching.
Yeosu, South Korea
(Formerly of Goleta)