Gongol.com Archives: February 2023
With Russia's invasion of Ukraine approaching the one-year mark, it's inevitable that some reflection and reassessment of the cause of Ukraine's defense will come forth. People cannot help themselves but mark anniversaries. In a Washington Post story, unnamed "senior administration officials" leaked their opinions that "We will continue to try to impress upon them [Ukrainian leaders] that we can't do anything and everything forever" and that they have "warn[ed] that the political path will get tougher once Ukraine has exhausted the current congressional package". ■ Given that the administration has been generally supportive of the Ukrainian cause thus far, the leaks are problematic. Earlier in the war, leaks were known to "displease" the President. Thus it's hard to imagine anyone talking quite so far out of school with an outlet like the Washington Post. ■ It undercuts Ukraine's leaders to give the impression that the United States is unprepared to continue vigorously supporting the country's defense with war materiel. What Ukraine has been doing with the assistance of Western arms and training is truly remarkable. But confidence is a resource, too. ■ On matters this important, it's vital for the President to come right out in front and win the argument. The whole free, democratic world needs to be reminded not to go wobbly -- not just Congress. It's the right argument, and it is well worth winning. But clear advocacy is essential. ■ There are plenty of people who are quick to cast the dispute in terms of domestic partisanship. But opposition to involvement in "other people's wars" is nothing new: For proof, read Winston Churchill's book "Their Finest Hour". Churchill candidly depicts his pleading with Franklin Roosevelt throughout 1940 for arms ranging from rifles to destroyers -- items Churchill believed meant life or death for his country as a free state. In Churchill's telling, Roosevelt was willing, but Congress was not. Congress, at that time, was run by a Democratic majority of 262. ■ It is entirely possible for recalcitrant legislators to make partisan arguments about issues like foreign aid. But it is up to the Commander-in-Chief to steer arguments like this one clear of the rocky shoals of party labels. If Ukraine's ability to expel a brutal Russian invasion is ultimately a matter of national security to the United States (and there is abundant evidence that it is), then those are the terms that a President must take to audiences both at home and abroad. And every member of the team must sing from the same songbook. ■ Winning the argument is essential, particularly when allied teamwork is required. Some countries, like Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, and Poland, already get that Ukraine's fight is of existential importance beyond its own borders. Others still need to be brought along. History is clear that this is nothing new. If this is no time to go wobbly, then that should be the unequivocal message from the top.
A stunning event, and an amazing example of the quality of what we can visualize with satellites in 2023.