Sleepless on a snowy night

January 27, 2023   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

There is plenty to keep a normally good sleeper up at night if the pillow-biters come in too close to bedtime. Perhaps, more than usual this night I worry about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This column has referred to it a number of times, I know. But:

It is extremely unlikely that Putin will start chucking nuclear weapons, even the “little” ones that are meant to only devastate on a small scale. Just imagine.

No. To start that will prove the dark messages of science fiction writers for many decades about life here after the seemingly inevitable holocaust to which our warmongering natures direct us. Yet, there is no doubt that any hint at home of Putin’s wanting to use nukes will be firmly restrained by his generals. They are the experts of the wholesale damage of nuclear war.

How many times have we seen pictures or videos even – in fiction or in truth of a gang of people standing around watching while one bully beats a smaller person. Some just watch; others urge others to call the police but what if the bully’s friends are circling the ring of on-lookers, warning them not to interfere and risk being the next target themselves?

What can anyone do? Who is brave enough to take the risk and really call for help, which comes to end the bully’s aggression and there are consequences of charges, and prison and endless alienation from the rest of the neighbourhood, which can never forgive the bully and never forgive itself for taking so long to call for rescue.

Say the victim died of the beating; say a family’s home was ultimately burned down.

So it is for Russia and Ukraine. Putin’s obvious lies and ridiculous accusations and declarations about Nazism and President Zelensky, who is actually jewish, plus so much more were clear untruths. The whole world knew it then and knows it now. Nothing deterred, Putin placed the whole world on alert that his invasion was a truth and an intention. In a short time, he sent his armies, his missiles in. He has bombed everything, civilians, hospitals, schools – apartment buildings – no problem. Sometimes, he put out a fiction for the attacks but mostly, he did not bother.

In answer, the world put down sanctions in an effort to – what, embarrass and inconvenience wealthy Russians? To stem the flow of money from oil sales throughout Europe? It seems the primary effect of sanctions has allowed Putin to create what is becoming a global recession. This physical and moral devastation of lives and land is primarily because Putin sees himself as the next Peter the Great.

Here is the rub: if Putin succeeds in taking Ukraine, his Peter the Great complex and his confidence that the world is afraid he might use his nukes, he will carry on. He will re-group, restore a flagging army and armoury and invade another neighbour. 
The first name as comparison is less Peter the Great but more: Hitler who was instructed not to invade Poland on pain of all-out war. Hitler did invade Poland anyway and that did lead to war. In many ways, we all still bleed from it. Still have plenty of people with personal memories of those terrors.

The crux of who wins and who falls in this attack and defence and reclaim is tanks. Not small, not old but from Germany, at least 14 Leopard 2 tanks and from the US, 30 M1 Abrams tanks. These are huge modern tanks that will certainly turn the tide in favour of Ukraine’s ability to defend itself. Both Zelenski and Putin understand this.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and President Biden understand this. Nato understands it too. Other countries own Leopard 2 tanks but no one can ship them to help Ukraine without Germany’s permission. It is a protocol.

Having discussed the issue to send or not to send such fearsome equipment to Ukraine and chance Putin’s retaliation, back and forth, amid Zelenski’s frenzied pleas for them, today’s news was what buzzed me to stay awake.

The US and Germany “reportedly plan to send tanks to Ukraine …”.

As if to confirm the fears that had delayed the decision, the Russian ambassador to the US said this news was “another blatant provocation.”

A spokesman from the Kremlin insisted that Germany’s reported decision would “bring nothing good” and leave “a lasting mark” on relations with Russia. However, now timing keeps movement in abeyance, as Biden says the actual delivery of the M1 Abrams tanks could take months and Germany repeated it will ship Leopard 2 tanks, will only allow other countries who have the Leopard 2 tanks to contribute them to the Ukrainian defensive if the US does. (BBC News) Without those tanks (plus the equipment and training to run them), something that really means business and a chance to truly defend the Ukrainians from the onslaught from Russia that is definitely to come, it is likely that Ukraine, once an independent democratic republic will fall under Russian control and tyranny.

Note: Wednesday morning, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced Germany would send Leopard 2 tanks “within a few days,” encouraging the US and other countries to follow suit.

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