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K.A. Bachus

February 25, 2022

You will not be surprised when I tell you that I am very much exercised by the possible beginning of World War III in Ukraine. The former KGB major-cum-wannabe megalomaniac dictator who is destabilizing the world based on a fanciful reading of non-history had already earned my undying disgust as a blot on humanity.

My real wrath, though, is over the weak-ass response of the West, including my own leadership. Don’t get me wrong. I'm glad the reaction has not been the former embarrassing ass-kissing that happened every time Putin tested our resolve in the past. But I find today’s hand-wringing and concern that nobody important should suffer inconvenience as we search for ways to make Putin’s life a living hell to be a step too far into the realm of unreality. War is hell for all sides and we are at war. It is asymmetric and irregular—Putin’s favorite kind—but it is war.

People who get up every day and slog through snow and slush and traffic to report for work that barely pays the rent—if they’re lucky—are already seeing higher gas prices. It bothers me not at all if more onerous sanctions against Putin might affect profits or markets or the convenience of Western elites. So lay it all on him and his oligarchs and let our own oligarchs share the pain in proportion to that already suffered by Joe Six Pack.

Because the alternative is nuclear war. Putin has obliquely threatened it, and men of his ilk have never had a problem inflicting maximum destruction on all humanity. See history, particularly Sudetenland. The violence ensuing from this misadventure also needs to go badly for him, not least because of all the wannbe Putins running around the planet. If he succeeds in any way, if he does not walk away with the blackest eye (or not at all), NATO will find itself in a shooting war for the Baltics by next year. And the need to evacuate Taiwan will become the next big news story.

So not just humanitarian aid, but also maximum arms to Ukraine, sophisticated and plentiful, to level the playing field for a nation fighting for its survival. Poetic justice served on a madman who is throwing this tantrum in an attempt to force us not to do just that. And how about a PMC (private military company) or two of our own to counter the Russian PMCs who have been operating in Ukraine since 2014? A little plausible deniability, a lot of fighting capacity and a technical edge.

We should, in short, hand the commission to whomever is the real-world modern equivalent of an expanded and beefed up Charlemagne.