When I was a young man practicing law in Alaska, my senior partner gave me some advice I never forgot. Several times during my legal career, I had an opportunity to completely devastate a nefarious party that had pressed a frivolous claim against one of my clients.
"I've got you now," I told myself as I made plans not only to defeat my opponent but to humiliate and destroy him. In these cases, my senior partner always cautioned prudence and restraint. "Richard," he would say, "always leave a rat a way out."
And he was right. I learned that a party pressed to the wall almost always lashes out viciously and behaves recklessly to the detriment of everyone--good guys and bad guys alike.
So far, President Putin's war against Ukraine has not gone well for the Russians. To almost everyone's surprise, Ukraine has beaten back the Russian invasion, inflicting heavy casualties. The Ukrainians have destroyed countless Russian tanks, airplanes, and even the flagship of Russia's Black Sea fleet. The Ukrainians have been so exhilarated by their battlefield successes that President Zelensky promises to evict the Russians from Crimea, where they have been since 2014 (and centuries before that).
What fun! In America, the elite media crows with delight. How delicious to rub Mr. Putin's face in the mud.
We should remember, however, what George Orwell said about war. "One of the most horrible features of war," he observed, "is that all the war propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, come invariable from people who are not fighting."
With a few rare exceptions, the reporters who work at the New York Times, Washington Post, and CNBC are not being shot at. If the Ukraine war escalates, their children won't be drafted. Their paychecks, restaurants, and expense accounts won't be affected. The beaches of Martha's Vinyard and the Hamptons will be pristine and peaceful no matter what happens to the Russians and the Ukrainians.
We should remember, however, that Russia is a nuclear power. We may sneer at Putin's threats to unleash tactical nuclear weapons. We may comfort ourselves that Russia is merely a regional power, unlike the mighty United States, which is supposedly the most powerful military power in the world.
Nevertheless, we should always leave a rat a way out.
Our diplomats and political leaders may consider Ukraine an American playground that can be manipulated like a child's toy. Perhaps they have not read about Stalin's Holodomor or the savagery of the Russians and the Germans in the blood lands of Ukraine and Belarus during the Second World War.
Of course, I'm some old guy living in Flyover Country. What do I know compared to the policymakers and political strategists who got their degrees from Harvard, Yale, and Georgetown?
However, I've done a little reading, and I recall that Hitler woefully underestimated the Russians when he launched Operation Barbarossa in the summer of 1941. The Germans pushed the Russian army back to the outskirts of Leningrad, Stalingrad, and Moscow, but in the end, Russian soldiers showed up in the streets of Berlin in May 1945. I'll bet the Germans wished they had let Russia alone.
And Napolean, one of the world's greatest military strategists, lost his entire army when he foolishly invaded Russia in 1812. By the time that adventure ended, little Nappie had lost ninety percent of his army, with the survivors reduced to cannibalism.
So let the United States strip our nation's arsenals to give high-tech weapons to the Ukrainians. Let's see how it works out. As for me, I don't want my grandchildren fighting in Europe in a war that got out of control because the western powers didn't leave a rat a way out.
|Let's you and him fight!|