The world yesterday saw evidence of genocide and horrific war crimes in Ukraine, discovered after Russian troops withdrew from Bucha, a town near Kyiv. Besides its destruction by artillery and bombing, Russian soldiers purposely went on a murderous spree. Hastily dug mass graves held 300 people, and dozens more were found dead on its streets, including some who had been bound and executed. Clearly, Vladimir Putin is as barbarous as was his hero Josef Stalin or Germany’s Adolph Hitler. There cannot be any doubt now that Putin, his army, and his government must be eradicated. Russia must be sanctioned into oblivion, and NATO and the United Nations Security Council must intervene because the atrocities, known and still unknown, in this war mark another grim milestone in history.
On February 24, 2022, Putin’s invasion of Ukraine upended the world order, as did the creation of the German Nazi Party on February 24, 1920. Putin’s mass murder is rooted in a Hitlerian “super race” theology and replicates Stalin’s genocide of 1932 and 1933 (called “the Holodomor”) when 3.5 million Ukrainians were starved to death for the crime of refusing to give up their farms to move into his communist collectives. Now they are being mowed down and blown up for the crime of wanting to be European and democratic. The map of that 20th-century genocide, and of the current war, are chillingly similar.
Threatening to deploy the law to fight this lawlessness is pointless. War crimes cases can only be brought before the International Criminal Court at the Hague, but the court lacks enforcement powers. Any ruling would need to be enforced by the United Nations Security Council, where Russia holds veto power. Clearly, the only remedy is force. A shocked U.S. Senator Rob Portman said that “we need to do more to help Ukraine, and we need to do it more quickly.”
Garry Kasparov, chess master and former candidate for the Russian Presidency, wrote in The Wall Street Journal — before these crimes were unearthed — that President Joe Biden was right to say that Putin must be removed from power. Appeasement won’t work. “Mr. Putin’s Russia is a bankrupt gas station run by a mafia that prefers to spend its time and money in London and New York. Offering any carrots to these war criminals would set the stage for a return to the appeasement and corruption that brought us to this deadly phase. It would also shake the foundation of collective defense in the region. As Latvian Defense Minister Artis Pabriks told me last week, `We are afraid not of Russian tanks, but of Western weakness.’”
Maximum force must be threatened to demand a halt to this gradual destruction of a country of 44 million people. Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky — who was ruined and sent to a gulag for 10 years by Putin — said the civilized world doesn’t realize the monster it faces. “He’s a criminal. We must understand that in his head Putin is not at war with Ukraine. He’s at war with the U.S. and NATO. He’s started to prepare Russian society for an attack on NATO countries. This will not be the last war. The next step will be the Baltics. He has a mission in his head that’s way scarier.”
Khodorkovsky also admired President Biden for saying that Putin should not be in power. “People all over the world expect an ethical assessment from the leader of the free world. His words are absolutely correct and very important.”
Now actions must match words. This is the 21st Century’s “9-11” moment. Putin is as savage as were Stalin and Hitler. Russia’s armed forces must be obliterated. Its economy must be dismantled to strangle its war machine. Putin’s reign must end.
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