Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday January 4, 2023
The West’s Commitment to Ukraine Must Not Waver
December 13, 2023
The West’s commitment to supporting Ukraine against Russian aggression and its growing fatigue towards this commitment is a grave mistake. It is crucial to recognize the strength that lies within the West and the importance of upholding our values, interests, and partnerships. The West must reverse course, abandon weakness, and stand firmly with Ukraine in its quest for victory.
Warmongering dictators pose a significant threat to their citizens and neighbouring states. However, it is the weak leaders who appease them that enable their aggression. Compromise and concessions are seen as weakness by these dictators, emboldening them further. Bad behaviour must be punished, not rewarded. Just as rewarding wrongdoing reinforces misconduct, rewarding bad faith actors in international politics only encourages further aggression.
The West’s response to Russian aggression in the past has been marked by weakness and appeasement. For example, after Russia invaded Georgia in 2008, instead of imposing devastating consequences, Russia was appeased. Concessions were made, and Russia faced limited sanctions, which only emboldened Putin to pursue a more aggressive foreign policy. The West’s feebleness was further highlighted when Russia invaded Ukraine, annexing Crimea and invading Donbas, right after hosting the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. The limited scope and scale of sanctions imposed on Russia and the rewards given to Putin, such as Nord Stream 1 and hosting the World Cup in 2018, only reinforced his belief that he could act with impunity.
News: Ukraine war: with stalemate on the battlefield Nato needs unity and commitment more than ever
February 24, 2023
The consequences of the West’s weakness extend beyond Europe. In the Middle East, the West’s inaction in Syria allowed Russia to intervene and support the Assad regime and Iranian terror proxies. This resulted in the loss of countless lives and the transformation of Syria into a narco-state. Furthermore, the West’s hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan, despite years of sacrifice and investment, showcased weakness once again and led to Putin’s second invasion of Ukraine. Failing to extinguish the fire in Europe risks setting the rest of the world ablaze.
President Joe Biden’s recent shift in supporting Ukraine’s bid for total victory to focusing on negotiations and territorial concessions is concerning. The West must not falter in its commitment to Ukraine’s goal of expelling Russia from its territory. The war in Ukraine represents a conflict of great power magnitude on the European continent, and its resolution will have significant implications globally. The West must provide Ukraine with the necessary support to strengthen its defensive position and deter further Russian offensives.
The West must recognize its strength and abandon acts of weakness that have only served to embolden dictators like Putin. Upholding our values, interests, and partnerships is crucial. The West’s commitment to Ukraine must remain unwavering, and we must stand firmly with Ukraine in its quest for victory. Failure to do so risks not only the freedom and prosperity of Ukraine but also the stability and security of the entire world. (AI)
Some moderated backnforth – occasional gleanings from social media – because why let time spent engaging and writing stuff go to waste?
Critic1: If Trump were still in office Ukraine wouldn’t have been invaded.
MacKay: Sure, and Putin would’ve returned Crimea under Trump. But didn’t. The Trumpsters are oblivious. Reagan is rolling in his grave.
Critic1: Putin doesn’t want Trump because Trump is likely to respond to any threats to the U.S. or our allies. He’s unpredictable. He won’t tell the enemy what his plans are unlike some traitors from his cabinet.
Graeme MacKay: …well, there’s that hokey narrative, that Putin fears Trump. In actuality, Trump is a pushover. Trump showed he cared not about Syria, nor Crimea, and he essentially cleared the way for Putin to make his move on Ukraine, which will become Putinland if Trump is elected.
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Critic2: As someone who is from that area of the globe and pays a lot of attention to what happens there, you are either grossly lacking in information on the matter, or this is just shallow politics for the faithful, which, if that’s the case, my apologies for disturbing the preaching.
MacKay: Being practically scared to death as a kid in 1970s-80s all thanks to the fear of Cold War nuclear annihilation gives a certain awareness even to those of who aren’t from the USSR/East bloc. Decades of Putin’s criminality has been enabled by aloof western leaders, for sure, but the Russian people are ultimately to blame for their own aloofness over the years by allowing this monster to thrive. Putin’s tactic to cause misery on Ukraine as a means to divert attention from the criminal ways he’s enriched himself since 2000 demonstrates how he’s put his own people under a spell. If senseless meat grinder of hundreds of thousands of 18-25 year old “soldiers” won’t send Russians into the streets in outrage then one wonders about their complicity. Biden and Trump? They’re a sideshow.
Critic2: as someone who is friends with a person who smuggled Boris Nemtsov’s documents out of Russia after his assassination and is friends/works with Navalny etc, they (and I) would disagree with you that our presidents are a sideshow. Putin seems to take certain things into consideration before acting, two of which seem to be who is US president and the price of oil. In addition, without giving away too much, presidents have a lot of sway over funding of organizations that oppose Putin’s regime; when Biden became president, he cut funding to the ones I’m familiar with. He’s reversed that since, after the conflict started, but at the beginning his administration wouldn’t even communicate with them. Also, I understand the fear, i lived next to a soviet nuclear bunker as a kid, it was accross the street from my elementary school. At the school, we did nuclear attack drills and lessons about things like Pershing missiles. It was a different time.
MacKay: I’m not sure what we’re disagreeing on. That Trump would be better dealing with Putin? It would end the killing but it would strengthen his dictatorship.
Critic2: hmm, well, thank you for conveying to me that you are not interested in engaging with different perspectives.
MacKay: well, from your viewpoint who’s better for the world in terms of dealing with Putin, Trump or Biden? I ask because I’m dealing with Putin apologists on other threads. They tend to leave comments in tandem under critical cartoons.