After the massive destructions and the horrendous loss of human lives of WWII, you would assume that anybody would think more than twice before starting another war. But human hubris often trumps reason, and this is what happened in Ukraine.
Conflicts often have the feeling of poker games. One side is bluffing and daring the other to fight or capitulate. Vladimir Putin thought that he could intimidate tiny Ukraine, or if need be, dispatch it in a few days, but it now looks like he mightily overplayed his hand.
The would-be prey didn’t fold and even had the audacity to fight back. After a few weeks of hard combat, it seems that the Russian ogre bit more than he can chew. Its quarry is now sticking uncomfortably in its throat and threatening to choke it.
This terrible war, instead of enhancing the political status and the invincibility of Russia, has had the opposite effect. It has shown the ineptitude and the blaring weaknesses of the Russian army and its leaders. After a month of relentless fighting, the Russians have suffered a large number of casualties and a tremendous loss of material. It is also said that supplies are low, and so is troops’ morale.
This war has also shown the changing tactics of modern warfare. Tanks are not any more invincible monsters and can be destroyed rather easily by a single infantryman. They, like CDs, might soon end up in large graves or museums.
But the tragedy of this conflict is that neither side really wanted it. It only happened because of the hubris of a single flawed individual: Vladimir Putin. Most Russians didn’t support this war and were shanghaied into it through propaganda and intimidation. Many have now sheepishly expressed sorrow and regrets about this disaster.
On July 20, 1944, Claus von Stauffenberg tried to kill Hitler. He didn’t succeed but he saved a tiny bit of the immensely tarnished honor of Germany. It proved that not every single German was in step with the monster who led them, and some tried to fight back. Russians can do it too.
As president Biden said, I hope that the Russian people will soon see the light and eventually reject a cold-blooded tyrant who never freed his countrymen from slavery.
Like Lady Macbeth, he can wash his hands forever, but the blood of his victims will always remain on his fingers.