"Both the fighters and the ordinary civilians, they kept looking up at the western sky. . . They were looking for the American warplanes that they felt sure were coming to help them. All that week, when people realized I was an American journalist, they would grab at my jacket: 'When are the Americans coming? They told us they were coming.'"
"There was all this shooting going on, people were in despair, and they knew the end was coming, and all of a sudden, this cheer goes up. And it spreads. Even over the gunfire, you could hear this cheering. I finally asked someone what was going on, and they said, 'the Americans have arrived at last, they are on the outskirts, but they're coming this way.' So this rumor had started. . . Well, this was a very difficult thing to hear."
Timothy Foote, a Time-Life journalist, as quoted in Scott Anderson's The Quiet Americans p. 451-2, describing Budapest in 1956.
Perhaps history does not repeat itself exactly, but sometimes it comes hauntingly close.
If tyrants could be stopped by the number of reports of the spotting and siezing of oligarchs' yachts, Putin would be six feet under by now.
If wars were won by talking about how strong and comprehensive sanctions are and how unified NATO is, white flags would be flying from the Kremlin.
But wars driven by expansionist ideology and dreams of an empire are not deterred or beaten by sanctions. And, besides, Germany and several other European nations are still paying Russia for substantial parts of their oil supplies, and two countries representing 2.8 billion people are not imposing sanctions.
Every former and would-be general doing commentary on the war is enthusiastically exclaiming their astonishment at just how bad the Russian army is performing.(Continue at https://www.edelsteinrandomthoughts.com/2022/04/never-again.html)
The Russians could have the crummiest army on earth, but they nonetheless flattening Ukraine and commit atrocities against the Ukrainian people. Putin is willing to sacrifice Russian soldiers--kids, really--and he is willing to level Ukraine in order to achieve his objectives. And his objective is the obliteration of Ukraine and the re-creation of a Russian empire of some sort. If not today, tomorrow.
And the "free world" i.e. the U.S. and Europe, is apparently and sadly willing to allow Ukraine to be leveled, destroyed. Because Russia has nuclear weapons and the West does not want to risk "World War III."
When the U.S. and NATO stated unequivocally that they would not engage in a war defending Ukraine, they guaranteed that Putin would advance. They gave him a bright green light. Seizing yachts, imposing sanctions, expressing astonishment at how bad the Russian army is, will not defeat Russia. Only force will.
If history teaches anything, it teaches that tyrants who are not confronted and stopped keep going. Putin's own history illustrates this: Chechnya, Georgia, Crimea, Syria. Moreover, Putin has made his intentions clear. He has stated that the greatest geopolitical tragedy of the 20th century was the disintegration of the Soviet Union, and that he intends to re-create the Russian empire.