Chamberlain or Churchill: Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

There is a popular Israeli story – perhaps apocryphal– that in 1973, when Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack on Israel during the high holy holiday of Yom Kippur, Prime Minister Golda Meir, demanded to know the whereabouts of her Defense Minister, Moshe Dayan.

An aide replied: “Prime Minister, He’s at one of the two fronts, out of reach. Perhaps, it’s time for us to pray for God’s help.” Golda replied: “Right now, between God’s help and Moshe Dayan, I’ll take Dayan.”

Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine has elicited global sympathy in the form of prayers, outraged editorializing, some money, “humanitarian aid” (whatever that is), even a trickle of weaponry. But fully armed and equipped expeditionary forces that would turn the tide to Ukraine’s favor and in effect save the state are withheld for reasons so specious that one is almost embarrassed to cite them.

The Western powers argue that Ukraine doesn’t warrant military intervention because it isn’t a member of NATO. Fine. So call an emergency session of NATO’s membership nations to vote in Ukraine. Then, dispatch the crack troops of each nation (including non-NATO members like Israel), and all the vaunted toys in the West’s collective military toy chest, to encircle and crush Putin’s troops, as Israel’s Patton-like general, Arik General did to Egypt’s vaunted Third Army in 73’.

Though Putin has warned that any inference by outside parties will be met with nuclear retaliation, nuts to that. He knows full well that such a move would trigger a retsponse that will reduce Russia to a Mad Max movie set. His nuclear rhetoric is just that—radioactive noise.

The principle American rationale for declining to militarily rescue Ukraine is the economic impact it may have on American citizens, allegedly hard-hit after two years of the Pandemic ( even though as of September, 2021, the GNP reached an all-time high). OK, I’m no economist by any means but hasn’t war traditionally been very GOOD for the American economy? Hasn’t that economic “Good” allegedly been a prime motive for our leadership’s persistent intervention into every kind of foreign conflict, from Vietnam to Afghanistan?

Yet, finally, arrives a war to our doorstep that checks every box of moral, historical and political justification for direct military intervention – an intercession of which any American worth his or her salt could be proud (except for Putin-enslaved Trump and his fawning mindless Mansonesque-Republican followers) and what’s the reason we can’t give the green light? Because it may affect the ability of Americans to purchase a second car. Because it might mean having to live another year with last year’s furniture. Because Americans might need to fly to a vacation instead of binging on an obscene cruise ship smorgasbord.

I know the calendar says 2022. But it is 1939 all over again. And regardless of his specious arguments for rejecting direct American military intervention in Ukraine, President Joe Biden, as leader of the Free World, stands before a decision that will weigh heavily in the scales of History.

Putin has chosen to play at Hitler. How will Biden choose? Chamberlain or Churchill?

About the Author
Alan Kaufman is an American-Israeli novelist and memoirist. His latest novel, The Berlin Woman, has just been published by Mandel Vilar Press. His other books include the novels Matches (Little Brown) the memoirs Jew Boy (Cornell University Press) and Drunken Angel (Viva Editions).
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