By: Cody Campbell, Columnist
Views expressed in the column are the author’s own.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed Congress from the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, on March 16, in which he outlined the exact needs of his country in order to quell the attack.
Zelenskyy began by offering the mindset of his citizens, stating that they have “give[n] their best sons and daughters to stop this full-scale invasion.”
At the time of this speech, the death toll for the Ukrainian military stood at about 1,300. To imagine this death toll in such a short amount of time is sure to make even the most stoic of individuals feel somber.
In a critical moment, Zelenskyy called on the members of Congress to remember the attacks on Pearl Harbor and September 11, comparing those events to what his country has been experiencing “every night for three weeks.”
I am grateful that he offered up these comparisons because they are, in their entireties, true. On both occasions, our sovereign territory was attacked by foreign operatives, thus engaging us in bloody conflicts that saw us requesting aid, just as President Zelenskyy is doing now.
Currently, the United States has done everything it can to provide that aid to Ukraine except deploy our troops. The United States has thus far given to Ukraine “over 600 Stinger anti-aircraft systems, approximately 2,600 Javelin anti-armor systems…”
These tools – as well as the large swath of other armaments – have greatly bolstered the Ukrainian rebuke of Russian forces. It’s these sorts of aid that we can provide without fearing retaliation from Russia, and let us be honest, the large populous of America fears Russia as a threat to our mainland and way of life.
Folks, this fear is pretty redundant, and in my opinion, largely fabricated by the mainstream media.
Mainstream media has consistently touted Russia as some sort of “big bad wolf” prepared to knock at the door of any country who should oppose their rule, yet that simply isn’t the case.
Russia has a dismal gross domestic product (GDP) of 1.67 trillion, not even being in the top 10 countries in terms of GDP.
With a GDP so low, their sway in international politics is similarly miniscule. The world simply does not rely on them nearly as much as their leadership, specifically Vladimir Putin, would like to admit.
It’s hard to admit that your country is failing, but Putin needs to accept this and make legitimate changes to policies if he wants to stop this from happening.
Changes that cannot include invading sovereign nations, claiming them for your own, claiming that you are attempting peacekeeping missions and that you are liberating the people from Nazi rule, even though their leader, President Zelenskyy, is Jewish.
Our world should not tremble at the shaking of a small man’s fist. His fist has no legitimate power, his only recourse for the past decade has been large public displays of temper tantrums.
Further indicating his lack of respect for policy, he has violated conditions of a previous treaty known as the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances. This treaty (made up of three individual political agreements) was enacted in 1994 by then-American President Bill Clinton, Russian President Boris Yeltsin, and Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk, amongst other nations.
In such, it was solidified that the Russian Federation, The United Kingdom, and the United States would not seek militaristic or economic coercion upon Ukraine, Belarus, or Kazakhstan and in return the aforementioned countries would remove their supplies of nuclear armaments.
With Putin’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, this memorandum was breached. The memorandum states that should Ukraine be a victim of aggression by way of nuclear force, the countries signing would seek immediate support of the United Nations to react.
While this treaty does not explicitly state that the signing countries are obliged to come to the aid of Ukraine militaristically, the breaching of it by Putin could be used as argument for our engagement.
Further in his speech to Congress, President Zelenskyy again asked for a no-fly zone to be established over Ukrainian airspace so that missile attacks could be reduced.
This, in terms of global politics, will not happen due to Article V of NATO, yet it should happen simply because with all this hesitancy from foreign nations, Putin’s ego is further being inflated. If the most powerful group of countries will not check him, he shall continue to rain hellfire upon innocent civilians and not bat an eye.
At this, President Zelenskyy asked Congress to watch a video displaying the atrocities committed against the Ukrainian people by the hands of the Russian military.
The link is at the bottom of this page, please watch it. As I watched this video, my heart sank. Tears came to my eyes as I watched children die, having scraps of garbage placed over their bodies to retain some sense of dignity. I have never felt angrier, helpless, at something I was witnessing happen in real time than I was when I watched this video. President Zelenskyy closes his address by saying the following:
“Now, I’m almost 45 years old. Today my age stopped when the heart of more than 100 children stopped beating. I see no sense in life if it cannot stop the deaths. And this is my main mission as the leader of my people, brave Ukrainians, and as the leader of my nation, I’m addressing the President Biden. You are the leader of the nation, of your great nation. I wish you to be the leader of the world. Being the leader of the world means to be the leader of peace.”
The people of the world look to us, the United States of America, as the leaders of the free world. We have defeated a global evil twice before, and we are being called upon to do it again.
Why should we tremble? Our people are united against this tyranny, the world is united against the tyranny, why do we wait? Theodore Roosevelt once said, “speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.”
We have sanctioned Russia. We have crippled their economy. We have spoken softly. It is time we invoke the second part of that ideology.
Watch President Zelenskyy’s Full Speech to Congress Here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TETSeOjRUp04