In December 1940, as armies bombarded cities in Europe, President Franklin Roosevelt He saw the threat and the solution:
“Democracy’s fight against world conquest is greatly helped, and must be further aided, by the rearmament of the United States and the sending of every ton of ammunition and supplies we can lay hold of to help the defenders in the front,” he said.
And I add: “We must be the great arsenal of democracy.”
The invasion of Ukraine by the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, is an attack not only against a peaceful and democratic neighbor, but also against democracy itself. Putin does not want Ukrainians to chart their own future; nor that they choose their path.
Since Russia could no longer rule its neighbor with threats or bribes, Putin sent in tanks. In any case, Putin seeks to erase Ukraine’s democracy and his ability to decide his life for himself. Their war has the same goal that their diplomacy once had: conquest.
“Putin’s choice of war is a direct threat to European security,” said US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, in a November speech in Halifax, Canada. He went on to say that “Russian aggression is a clear challenge to our NATO allies.” “Russia’s willful cruelty is an attack on our common values, and Russia’s invasion tears apart the rules-based international order that keeps us all safe,” she said.
“Our support for Ukraine’s self-defense is an investment in our own security and prosperity,” Austin said.
And he’s right. Putin’s war against a democracy in the heart of Europe is an existential war.
If Europeans want to live in both peace and freedom, they must extend their support to Ukraine.
Putin’s conscript army, reinforced by mercenaries, is waging a savage war, targeting civilian families who are guilty of nothing more than trying to live in peace in their own country. Its rockets are aimed at power plants, hospitals and schools, and its artillery shells rain down on once sleepy suburbs. He hopes to terrorize enough Ukrainians that their support for democracy and independence withers and dies.
President Biden and Europe have made support for Ukraine the centerpiece of their case for a reinvigorated US-Europe alliance.
The US president fulfilled this promise by demonstrating once again that The United States remains the defender of freedom and democracy in the world.
Meanwhile, the United States has said that China could start sending military aid to Russia. Chinese military support would give Russia two things it desperately lacks: soldiers and supplies.
The US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinkenlet China’s rulers know that if they help Russia now, they will face the same economic isolation that Russia now suffers.
Despite China’s frenzied acts of disengagement and self-reliance, the regime knows that it still has trillions of dollars in banks throughout the Western world. In addition, its economy depends on inputs from abroad and needs foreign markets to recover its investments.
While Ukraine fights for the survival of its democracy and while The United States and Europe play their historic role as the “arsenal of democracy”Let’s remember that democracies fight against other governments, not against other people. The Russian and Chinese peoples have a long and storied past, a rich culture that has enlivened the world for centuries.
The peoples of Russia and China are not our enemies. Let’s not punish people for the evils of systems or dictators.
As before, when the United States and Europe rose up to defend democracy, they succeeded and then had to rebuild. It will be easier to rebuild Europe if we don’t hate Russian individuals, but only Russian atrocities.