Life presents people with difficult choices all the time; vexing inconveniences. It can be a real bummer.
The Ukraine/Russia situation fits that category. Vladimir Putin is the devil — period. Yelping “Fake News!” about this assessment doesn’t subvert that historic fact. It certainly doesn’t sanitize him into some kind of traditionalist paladin merely tending to the well-being of his serfs; nor into the Great Defender of universal decency.
No. He’s an insecure creep, a petulant thug who is bloodily enacting his Peter-the-Great shtick on the international stage; and sowing chaos around the globe in the process.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian government? Likely no great shakes either. Doubtless, they wouldn’t be many Americans’ prime choice for ideal geo-political partner. They are, however, willing to rebuff this particular devil as he eyeballs a predatory expansion of his failed state. They are manifestly willing to do the fighting U.S. forces won’t do, and probably shouldn’t do — but which someone has to do.
I mean, there is that.
So, is the planet’s sole freedom-promulgating superpower supposed to do nothing while Putin plies his atrocities? I can’t imagine settling on that irresponsible option — notwithstanding the admitted risks and challenges in America’s arming Ukraine. Is U.S. involvement an uncomplicated alternative? Nope. But giving devil-Putin his head? Stepping aside while he mass-murderingly tramps into a neighboring, sovereign, former Soviet-bloc country? Once more: inconceivable.
Just because Joe Biden — dreadful Commander-in-Chief though he be — supports helping equip Ukrainian forces, doesn’t automatically disqualify that move. Anyone can get something right, at least intermittently. What are those time-tested saws about broken clocks and blind squirrels?
Remember, it was Democratic/liberal icon and big-government enthusiast President Franklin Delano Roosevelt who pursued a military response against Japan after it had bombed American ports. I’d have preferred it hadn’t been a government-besotted budding socialist who led the nation against the twin scourges of Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany. But FDR’s Declaration of War? The 32nd Chief Executive didn’t do much else I’d endorse, but that was the only rational response to those specific circumstances.
Two decades ago, Donald Rumsfeld reminded us, “You go to war with the Army you have.” A reluctant variation of that might be: You push back against aggressive, megalomaniacal dictators with the president you have.
Even if that president, inconveniently, is Joe Biden.
And just because the Left has treacherously leveraged the Russia/Putin slander against Donald Trump for the past six years doesn’t mean that regime is actually just dandy and we ought to put up with — or worse, exonerate — its maraudings. No denying, the Russian President is a bad man, involved in a bad business.
Reservations about the U.S.’s coming anywhere near this conflict are understandable. The whole matter is freighted with prickly implications. Florida Governor Ron Desantis cautions prudently against a “blank check” for Kiev. It was beyond ham-handed for Biden to surprisingly drop in on Zelenskyy’s domain while the poor folks in East Palestine, OH pickle in hundreds of tons of poisonous chemicals — seemingly ignored by the administration. How’s about some meaningful focus on America’s forsaken southern border, Mr. President? Concerns about nuclear-armed nations escalating into open warfare? Questions about an end-point – if any — to these hostilities? An envisioned off ramp for the principals? Genuine constitutional scruples? These points aren’t to be contemptuously dismissed.
Still … do nothing vis-a-vis Moscow’s belligerence? I think not.
“Where has the nuance gone in conversations about complex foreign policy issues?” queries columnist Erick Erickson.
The worldwide scene is choc-a-block with demands on the United States. Some are elective, they can be — often must be — disregarded. Even a vast nation has its limits. Others are non-negotiable obligations, clamoring for this Republic’s attention; so many of them. They have to be attended to at the same time. It’s one reason God invented the concept of juggling … which frequently includes juggling chainsaws.
Once more, reality is dependably complicated. It rarely hews to our favored script. Russia v. Ukraine confirms that truism.
Responsible people answer thoughtfully, guardedly, appropriately. Nations that want to survive and thrive do what they must.
Even when that entails a bummer.