The brutal war that Russia is currently waging on Ukraine is not just another war, of which there has been no shortage in recent centuries. This is not really about seizing territory, revenging a real or manufactured political slight, an ideological crusade of some sort, or any of the countless other excuses that have served to “justify” armed conflicts in the past. The actions of the Russians to date have made it clear that their aim is the plain and simple genocide of the Ukrainian people.
Russian leaders and their controlled media have openly admitted that their aim is to destroy the existence of Ukraine as a nation, a people, a language, and a culture. They deny Ukraine’s right to exist, they seek to destroy its traditions and heritage, and obliterate all traces of its thousand years history. To the Russians, it seems that all Ukrainians are Nazis, even the Russian speaking ones, that must be wiped off the face of the earth. This warped militaristic zealotry has been raised to the status of a religious crusade, blessed and encouraged by the Russian Orthodox Church.
This has come as a shock to most people of what we call the “free world”. We hold the mistaken notion that here in the 21st century, we have a attained a level of civilization where such things should not be possible. After the brutalities of the two world wars, after the creation of the United Nation, NATO, and the European union, after the emergence of an interdependent global economy and the evolution of the internet and social media technologies that brought the peoples of the world together, one would have thought that such a primitive and blatantly predatory assault such as what Russia has committed against Ukraine, would not be possible.
And yet here we are. Russia is trying to destroy Ukraine and Ukrainians in full view of a disbelieving world. They have even given up the pretense of this being a military conflict, with one army fighting another. Instead, they are indulging in a frenzy of death and destruction inflicted on innocent civilians and the entire industrial, residential and civilian infrastructure of Ukraine. This is not politics. This is not war. This is genocide, plain and simple.
Above all, this is evil. Putin is evil, and the credulous and soulless Russians that are implementing Putin’s malignant war-making, are aiding and abetting his evil.
It has taken the world a while to realize the reality and implications of what has happened. Thankfully, the full scale and horror is finally hitting home, and most of the democratic nations on this planet are finally coming together to try and deal with this malignant imperialistic virus called Russia that masquerades as a civilized country. They have reluctantly been forced to accept the fact that Putin and the rest of his regime cannot be trusted in the slightest. They lie, they cheat, they steal, they kill and they destroy. They renege on treaties and agreements with impunity. They place no value on human life, on democratic values, or international co-operation.
It has taken a lot of time and a lot of grief for the world to realize that you cannot deal with Russia in any kind of rational or civilized manner. They do not play by civilized rules. They do not see the world and international relations the way we do. They can only be dealt with effectively if we recognize them for what they really are, and that is evil. You cannot negotiate or deal with Russia, you can only contain it.
This war will eventually end of course, and we can only hope that it does end sooner rather than later. When it does, the international political community will have a major challenge on its hands, and that is how to ensure that Russia, or any other state that tries to emulate what it has done in Ukraine, is effectively constrained and prevented from doing so.
These past few months have shown conclusively that our current international alliances, economic unions, and our political structures such as the UN, the UN’s Security Council, the EU and others have been singularly ineffective in dealing with rogue states like Russia. There is a pressing need to re-examine the mandates and the operational policies of these organizations, to ensure that we can deal proactively rather than reactively when similar crises arise in the future. There need to be more effective deterrents to the kind of blatant aggression that we have seen in Ukraine. Failure to do so, would put the whole future of mankind on this planet at great risk.