A few months ago there was an English chap in Georgia who was attacked in Cutaisi by a Georgian man who was an exception in the case of English lip piercing. It’s not hard to imagine; Like some Georgian men considered ‘LGBT’ with a bull’s red rag (although the victim in question was there sarcastically with his girlfriend), although I think this is true for biased idiots around the world, if perhaps without such a strong ideological twist.
Incidents like this – albeit horrific – are not overly surprising. But the thing that struck me about this particular incident (if you will forgive the phrase) is the way the Englishman reported it on social media. He describes how he first ‘begged’ the man to stop hitting him, then managed to escape, before he was chased and beaten again, at which point he began again begging the attacker to stop.
All of this was later verified by the local press and law enforcement agencies, and soon the story of the English fleeing from an unprovoked assailant spread across an outraged nation. But what you’ve probably been thinking so far is that if someone started hitting you in the face, would you ‘ask them to stop’? I shouldn’t expect that. Shame on me for being British, I tell you. The right thing to do is to resist them, as my wife did in London when a girl attacked her with a tube (Brixton’s attitude is one thing, but being born in the Soviet Union is another).
But you see, as sad as that Englishman sounds, there is no doubt that in the last fourteen years the Western world has gotten much better with Russia. Every time Putin has become aggressive, he has moved away from it – and sanctions clearly do not work.
I know I’m setting foot on risky ground here. Any call for escalation or retaliation inevitably leads to accusations of negligence, followed by thunderous condemnation which suggests that you do not know about the world-end destruction of nuclear war (as if it had escaped anyone’s notice). But something has to be done – or something more. I’m not going to cry about European and American inaction, since I’ve done so much on these glorious pages over the years, so instead focus on what can actually be done from now on.
The Javelin and Stinger missiles have made a dent (and worse) in Russia’s armor and air force, but that’s not enough. There was a pledge to supply 70 warplanes from Europe, which the Ukrainians seem to have seized and are now furious that this will not happen. Well, they need more planes; In fact, give them more tanks while you’re at it, you don’t need them right now. If you don’t want to help them fight, you can give them the tools to do it themselves.
Again, yes, I am fully aware that Europe is sending arms. Well, send more. And when you’re doing it, why not get down and consider it dirty? When things stand still, you are trying to wear a tuxedo in an orgy while Russia is greased and ready for action. We send European troops in unmarked uniforms just as the Russians did in Ukraine in 2014 – and as I write rumors that American private military companies are working for the Kyiv government, let’s send them more.
I have my own belief that Putin, while increasingly reluctant, will not take the risk of a nuclear exchange. I am confident that he is still relying on Western cowardice, and so he can wield his nuclear stick with impunity without fear of hitting a big stick in his face.
With that in mind, it would not be out of the question if Ukraine became a “battleground.” I don’t want to compare that beautiful country to the boxing ring, but this kind of thing has happened before: the Falklands War has not seen the war spread beyond the field of operations, when both Russia and the US were behind it in Syria. Their respective Special Forces units are seven hours apart from each other as well as a screen of reasonable denial.
I didn’t want to do that, but a quick history lesson in Europe might be needed. When Sudetenland and Poland were abandoned, nothing good came of it. Alas, we are at this juncture again. Passivity and contentment do not work: Europe has not yet done what it did. And as the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky has said (echoes of Mikhail Saakashvili to all people), he will not stop after Ukraine – and I think we have enough stupidity from the West, right?