On Thursday, as Russian “peacekeepers” entered Ukraine and began seizing territory, we witnessed a repeat of history: an authoritarian ruler attacking neighboring countries without provocation or cause. Russian aggression is an abandonment of the international rule of law that took hold following World War II.
It made us wonder, what is our commitment to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Are these values from the Declaration of Independence for Americans only? Or for every person?
We asked you, our readers, to answer one question: What additional actions, if any, should the United States take in regards to the Ukraine situation?
There are many points of view, similar to opinions Americans held about European relations in the 1930s. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, American citizens sprang into action and found national cohesion to stop the aggression of the Axis powers. We expected opinions to vary now as opinions did in the 1930s. And we were not wrong.
Here’s a sampling, edited for length.
Russia has been in/at war in the eastern part of Ukraine since 2014. This is how my Ukrainian friends with their family describe it. I don't speak Ukrainian, but I'm told that what is not translated is the absolute exhaustion of these Ukranians who've been living with ongoing Russian aggression for 8 years. I believe the US is doing the right thing and a good job helping coordinate the diplomatic efforts and NATO preparation/response to Russia's aggression. I remain astonished that there are politicians and leaders in this country who are expressing support of the autocratic leadership in Russia/Hungary/Belarus, etc. ~Deborah Brodheim
My take is that I’m disturbed that people don’t understand that these areas of the Ukraine majority speak Russian and asked for Russian protection, from the UN and US troops amassing where they have no business. At their request Russia sent in peacekeeping troops. We should stop poking them and look to our own backyard rather than theirs. All the US really cares about anyway is it’s oil and natural resource interests. Likely we started this whole thing because we didn’t want Germany buying its natural gas from Russia instead of us. ~Margaret Alexander
Ukraine, like most countries in Europe is comprised of many ancestral regions some with their own language, but they all relate to a National compound under 1 flag, and what Mr Putin is trying to do is dissolve those ties of national unity to keep enriching himself and the Russian oligarchs, while destabilizing ALL Western democracies. Autocrats and Fascists need to be stopped by western democracies. And the reality is that these battles are becoming constant. They are cyber battles and social media battles of misinformation and propaganda, already happening “under the table”. The West needs to wake up to this menace to our way of life. I propose the USA and NATO bite the bullet and totally shut down the Russian Oil pipe into Europe, immediately. Also cut the oligarchs from the world banking system NOW. PUTIN, who does not care at all about his people, needs to hear the pain from his own oligarchs. Ukraine like Turkey are crucial countries separating East from West cultures and they need to be AUTONOMOUS to decide their political alliances. ~Fernando F Seisdedos
I feel Mr. Putin is playing the US and NATO just the way he expected - In control of the whole situation, enhancing his power image, and leaving him with all the cards on what to do next. I believe President Biden showed his weakness in how he handled the Afghanistan withdrawal and this is just what Putin wants to expand the territory he controls. Where does this go from here? My guess is he slowly takes over all of Ukraine, either in one large bite (an all-out invasion) or in small bites as he is doing now. Once again, he is in control and in power which is what drives him. ~Al smith
No one beyond Russian and Ukrainian borders is watching what Russia has done than Xi and his party. If Putin can succeed and the world stands by in order to "have peace in our time", then Xi knows he can attack Taiwan and the world will stand by. And Kim J will feel he can take South Korea. If you do not know how WW I started, then what I say is nonsense. The first shots have been fired. ~Michael Gresko
This is not the end of the world. On the benefit side:
- The US can push harder for NATO members to meet their 2% budget spending for NATO. The Bear is back and unity and additional military budget spending are necessary to muscle-up NATO defense.
- Sanctions will slowly impact the Russian economy. Putin has a war chest of 700-800 billion dollars. He has a new oil pipeline market with China which replaces any lost revenues with Germany and Europe.
- The most immediate aid would be as much tank killing hand held missiles NATO can provide. Anything else will speed up the invasion.
Unfortunately this disadvantage will persist in several areas for the next 3-5 years.~Warren Bragg
First, my message to the media is to stop writing articles entitled "War fears ... ." Write about the cooperation between NATO allies, about their confidence in the diplomatic process. Second, stop "threatening" sanctions. Start applying them immediately. Third, learn once and for all that war does not result in peace. ~Dr. Helen Santi
Those who would ignore history will find it difficult to resist those who distort it. The writer and poet Nikos Kazantzakis recalled how his father took his family from the risks of genocide on Crete to the pastoral island of Naxos. Of Naxos he later wrote, “Here liberty had extinguished the yearning for liberty.” We should remind ourselves, including those who represent us. that democracy is a flawed, yet delicate gift and that its realization is revealed by the practice of the quest for it. It is Illusion that we can deny democracy and the freedom toward which it aspires to another and somehow expect it for ourselves. And it is treacherous to assume that the certainties nurtured in manifest destinies or other false grandeurs of history somehow justify the denying it to another through violence. These illusions and the rationalized beliefs in which they hide their madness are in this moment being exposed for all to see. As we witness these threats, and I write these lines it is fitting to remember a few lines from Rabbi Roland Gittlesohn’s sermon after the Marine victory on Iwo Jima. The sermon was delivered at the 50 year Memorial service in 1995. As the service proceeded a friend told me, “All I could remember was the mayhem in the black volcanic ash on Iwo Jima“
The Rabbi’s words:
Whoever of us lifts his hand in hate against another, or thinks himself superior to those who happen to be in the minority, makes of this ceremony and of the bloody sacrifice it commemorates, an empty, hollow mockery.
There isn't a whole lot we can do, without killing a lot of people. The sanctions might work, or not. The problem with them is that they will hurt the U.S. and our European allies almost as much as Russia. That's because we are dependent on Russian energy. Obviously Putin's strategy has been to create an energy dependence in Europe which gives him immense leverage in global negotiations. Looking at the future, this is another reason for the world to develop local independent alternative energy sources. How many wars have been fought? How many people's lives have been ruined? All in the battle to preserve and protect petroleum sources. Also, how much money are we currently spending to protect these sources? Wouldn't we be better off spending money on developing better energy resources around the globe? Some people will never accept the concept that fossil fuels are causing global warming. However, nobody could possibly deny the fact that when one factors in the political and military financial costs of these fuels, they are not inexpensive. Not to mention the human suffering. The present is a real mess, and I don't know what we can do about it, but the future is ours to shape. ~Mike Plantz
In the near term I think we can only call for an end to any invasion and the renewal of diplomacy. In the medium term we need to call for an end to hostilities and pressure, care for the humanitarian effects and, I fear, providing arms to the Ukrainians to defend themselves. The only workable solution at this point is for NATO to say it does not plan to invite Ukraine into NATO, for the Ukrainian government to renounce any intention of doing so, and for an agreement among all parties for Ukraine to be a neutral, independent country. I do not hold out hope that any of this will happen. War is unpredictable in direction and outcome, so we will have to look for opportunities to find the off ramp as the situation evolves. In the long term, we should be calling for a broader discussion on the European security architecture with all parties. It is what we should have done 30 years ago. Unfortunately, we did not and we would now be doing so with a significantly more hostile Russian regime than what Yeltsin provided. I didn’t like the choice made then – stiff-arm Russia and scurry to expand NATO – I am a pessimist that anyone would buy the deal now. ~Gordon Adams
Total embargo of all shipments into and out of Russia by all nations. Utilize the UN's special authority in "Uniting for Peace," the change in Security Council rules that got us into the Korean War. The U.S. should admit and be honest that there is not functionally any difference between Putin in Ukraine and George W. Bush in Iraq. Has anyone in the U.S. learned from that disaster? ~Mike Ruby
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