12 Apr Never Means Never
As this is written, Russia has an eight-mile convoy of killing machinery and soldiers headed toward eastern Ukraine, much of which already has been occupied or destroyed. And, the general who Vladimir Putin yesterday placed in charge of Russia’s attack on Ukraine bears the nickname “The Butcher.”
You do not need to be a military expert to know what is next.
Since this attack began, Ukraine has begged for stiffer sanctions on Putin and his financiers. It also has been begging for more and stronger weapons to drive back Russia’s invasion and protect civilians.
Very proud of itself, the West (including the United States) has imposed some sanctions, then harsher sanctions, then supposedly broader sanctions. Each announcement of such sanctions is accompanied by well-written press releases and speeches praising ourselves for doing so. Politicians boast that these are the “strongest sanctions” ever imposed. Western leaders also are quick to travel to Ukraine or nearby Poland, so as to get their pictures taken showing “support” for and “solidarity” with Ukraine. They probably want people (especially voters) to think, “so courageous and humanitarian of you to do that.”
Countries also have been tripping over themselves to promise hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars’ worth of “weapons” for Ukraine. Surely, this has helped to some extent, although Putin does not seem particularly deterred.
Now appears to be the last chance to get real.*
*One virtue espoused by Principle Based Politics is the leadership principle of understanding. This principle insists upon learning before opining as well as knowing before deciding. Because we do not know all of the facts—many of which are classified and thus available only to certain of our military and national leaders, but not known to us—this blog is unsure it understands the issue well enough to opine definitively and precisely on what the United States should do to help Ukraine without blowing up the world through nuclear war. We do understand that international and wartime situations are particularly complex.
If America has sanctions we have held off on imposing, now is the time for them. If we have weapons we have hesitated to deliver, now is the time for them, too.
We acknowledge that more sanctions could cause Western stock markets to drop and oil prices to rise. In our view, those are among the sacrifices we are willing to make. This blog alluded to the necessity of sacrifice in Ukraine and the Need for Reconciliation (March 1, 2022), and we elaborated in We’re Talking About Gas Prices? (March 22, 2022). In turn, we recognize that fuel prices, stock market drops, and inflation could be blamed on politicians who vote for stronger sanctions, as with the economic reverberations that may follow. We also understand that weapon shipments could lead to a short-term escalation of the war in Ukraine. This, too, could be politically unpopular and lead to criticism.
Nonetheless, now is when we find out which politicians care about what is morally right more than they care about their own re-election.
Protecting the Vulnerable
Disgracefully, America and other nations sat by with eyes diverted while Adolph Hitler perpetrated The Holocaust, the genocide of European Jews during World War II. That was the opposite of protecting the vulnerable, which is a key government principle promoted not only by this blog but, more importantly, by higher authorities, as we wrote in What the Bible Says about Protecting the Vulnerable. Referring to this disgrace, the phrase “never again” often is uttered about the Holocaust and other genocides, and that phrase adorns many Holocaust memorials.
Today, it is Ukrainian civilians who are vulnerable. If we truly mean never again, then now is the time for courageous political action and sacrifice by the public and politicians alike. Let’s not wait and build shiny memorials to the vulnerable we again didn’t protect, nor just give lip service to “Never Again,” even one more time.
Politicians may hear a lot from a few who think fuel prices, stock market declines, and rising inflation surpass the need to rescue Ukrainians from genocide. If you believe that protecting the vulnerable should rise above the economic repercussions elsewhere, now may be the time for you to write to your senator or representative.
Written by Quentin R. Wittrock, founder of Principle Based Politics.
Look for his posts each week, as this blog will explore and promote the idea of principle in politics, both as to individual elected leaders and our federal government as an institution.