And names will never hurt him

I sat in the gallery as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivered these words: “Volodymyr, in the years I’ve known you, I’ve always thought of you as a champion for democracy. And now, democracies around the world are lucky to have you as our champion. Your courage, and the courage of your people, inspires us all. You’re defending the right of Ukrainians to choose their own future, and in doing so, you’re defending the values that form the pillars of all free, democratic countries. Freedom, human rights, justice, truth, international order. These are the values you’re risking your life for as you fight for Ukraine and Ukrainians. Beyond that, you’re inspiring democracies and democratic leaders around the world to be more courageous, more united, and to fight harder for what we believe in. You remind us that friends are always stronger together.”

As a public service I will reduce this tripe to plain English: “Hey Vlad, you’re a good guy. Hang in there. You’re inspiring, really, I mean it. Good luck champ.

The other leaders in the House of Commons more or less said the same thing. Candice Bergen, of the Conservatives, got the loudest applause and more standing ovations than anyone else, save Zelensky, because she called Vladimir Putin out as the war criminal he is, insisting he be brought before the International Court of Justice at The Hague. Of course, that won’t happen, any more than Ukraine will now be admitted into the NATO club or get the “no fly” zone Zelensky begged for. What we’re witnessing are the West’s promises of the past 31 years of Ukraine’s independence being exposed for the malarky they were, hogwash that, regrettably, many a Ukrainian swallowed. As for the utterly curlish whimpering of the Green Party’s Elizabeth May, her blather marked the low point of this “historic” event in the House. To comment further on her eyewash would be to risk my health.

Any thinking person knows what Ukraine needs. Remember this nursery rhyme? – “Sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me.” Putin is not bothered when we call him names. But we can hurt him if we give Ukraine’s valiant defenders more of “the sticks and stones” they need to clear their sky of the foe, modern weapon systems for killing as many Russians as it takes. I know I am supposed to feel sorry for the young conscripts who allegedly don’t know where they are, are poorly trained, led, and equipped. But then I think about the Ukrainian girls these “soldiers” raped, then strung up in an Irpin cellar. War criminals deserve no mercy.

Some folks still insist we must not do anything to upset the KGB man in the Kremlin. These “do-nothings” have been gibbering away for over three weeks, as Putin keeps waging war. They worry he’s a lunatic who, if “pushed into a corner,” will respond by shooting off a nuke. I doubt the military chain of command, Putin’s oligarch enablers or even his secret police confederates are itching to be incinerated along with their vozhd for the greater glory of the Whore of Babylon, otherwise known as “Mother Russia.” Far more likely is a Russian use of chemical or biological weapons of mass destruction. If that happens we’ve already said we’d condemn this “war crime.” See above – names will never hurt him.

Vladimir Putin is engaged in a genocidal project, the end goal of which is to wipe Ukraine off the map. While he’s doing that, as President Zelensky has now realized, the West has mostly stood by, taking on the role of a Judas, or of a Pilate, take your pick, neither ends well. Since Ukraine will never be subjugated, I reckon Russia has already lost this war. If ever there was a “Great Russia” there certainly won’t be one anymore. Russia is a failed federation, a rogue state, a marginal power that has no place in Europe. As for the majority of Russians, who support Putin, they are like the lepers of old – to be rigorously sanctioned, kept away from civilized company.

Unfortunately, the West has also lost this war. We dithered and did far too little for too long instead of standing with Ukraine. We forgot what even Justin Trudeau seems to know – we would all have been stronger if we had only stood together from the start.

About the Author
Born in Kingston, Ontario, the son of Ukrainian political refugees, Lubomyr was educated at Queen's University, the University of Alberta and, since 1990, has been a professor of political geography at The Royal Military College of Canada. He is also a Fellow of the Chair of Ukrainian Studies at the University of Toronto and, in 2019, was distinguished by President Volodymyr Zelinsky with Ukraine's Cross of Ivan Mazepa.
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