As the ongoing tragedy in Ukraine, fueled by the barbarism of the war criminal Vladimir Putin, continues to unfold, it is apparent that in addition to underestimating the fierce and brave resistance of the Ukrainian people, Putin also failed to anticipate the resolve of free people around the world to rally in support of the Ukrainians.
Putin clearly had little respect for the West prior to launching his invasion. He believed that we would care more about maintaining our creature comforts and cushy lifestyle than we would about the fate of Ukraine. He assumed that as we watched the carnage from the comfort of our living rooms, our materialistic instincts would trump any sense of sympathy that we might have with the Ukrainian people and that we would not be willing to make sacrifices of any kind in order to support the Ukrainians in their fight against tyranny.
In short, Putin believed us to be soft, weak, narcissistic, and lacking empathy.
However, the newfound solidarity of free people and our leaders (with a few exceptions) around the world in our support of the Ukrainians has proven Putin to be hugely wrong.
Western businesses willingly have sacrificed billions of dollars and Western consumers are paying more for their energy — and just about everything else — because of our decision to back the Ukrainians with both military aid and unprecedented economic sanctions that are taking a great toll on the Russia war machine.
With dictators on the rise in Russia, China, No. Korea, and Saudi Arabia (where 81 persons were executed this past weekend), we have re-learned the lesson that the freedoms we enjoy are something that we cannot take for granted.
Thanks to Putin, Americans have found a cause that we all can agree upon — the right of every person to be free.
The months ahead will not be easy — though nowhere near as difficult as they will be for the Ukrainian people — but Putin’s barbarism has illuminated a valuable truth that we had ignored for the better part of the past century: Freedom isn’t free.