Put the hammer down on Putin

It’s crunch time in Ukraine’s defense of its democracy against the brutal, unprovoked criminal Russian invasion that just passed its one-year anniversary.

One of the best assessments of the state of the war and America’s role in Ukraine’s heroic defense of freedom has come from venerable conservative journalist George Will.

Here’s what Will had to say, “Putin can win only by Ukraine’s allies choosing to lose by not maximizing their moral and material advantages.” His comments come at a time when several outlier Republicans have proposed a premature exit from Ukraine. They have spurious reasons for bailing out, such as other budgetary needs in the United States and the protection of our own borders.

Wisconsin congressmen, Reps. Glenn Grothman and Tom Tiffany have flirted with isolationism. Those two doves sound like they want to seize defeat from the jaws of victory.

I don’t know what “victory” looks like in this 20th century war waged by Vladimir Putin in the 21st century.

But the valor and tenacity of the Ukrainian fighters, coupled with the support from Western allies in weapons and munitions, has denied the would-be Russian emperor of any trace of victory. At this point, the war is a stalemate even as the Russians use their time-honored strategy of wiping cities full of non-combatants off the face of the earth.

The renewed and expanded allied commitment to supply Ukraine with ever more powerful and far-reaching weaponry is tipping the battle against Putin’s masses of motley and unmotivated troops. The allies have proved they can “win” this war.

By win, I mean forcing Putin to the negotiating table. He will not go there if he thinks he can hold on to the big chunks of Ukraine that he invaded. But he will go there if the Ukrainians launch a counter-offensive with the new tanks, armored personnel carriers, more accurate drones, longer range surface-to-surface missiles and modern jet aircraft to defend and reclaim some, if not all, lost territory.

It is now a common assumption that Putin will not be the first to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in this war, knowing that Russia could face retaliation of up to Hiroshima proportions. He is stupid, but not that stupid.

It’s time to put all our chips on the table to force Putin to recalibrate. Even though he controls Russia by cruel suppression and floods of disinformation, the word of Russian losses past and future is slowly getting out through alternative means of internet communication. Point in case, if the Ukrainian’s counteroffensive, which needs to happen soonest, reclaims large swaths of Crimea that Russia absorbed by force in 2014, some of the truth will get back to the Russian people and upper-level Russian leaders. The latter have to be having doubts about Putin’s delusional return to his fantastical empire.

In short, it’s time to do exactly the opposite of what the fringe minority in the U.S. Congress wants: cut funding and take a short-sighted “off ramp.” It’s time to put the hammer down with the superior resources that the U. S. and its Western allies can bring to bear. Empty our arsenals.

The allies are united as never before, and the U.S. Congress is united despite the unending equivocation by the people in the cheap seats on the right and left in Congress.

Polls show a dip in support here for the anti-Putin strategy in Ukraine. That does not give sustenance to the doves, but it does raise the necessity for strong leadership from both parties. Leadership must continue from the White House and from Congress.

I’ve said it before, but those who have not served in the military should take the lead from Wisconsin congressmen who have – Mike Gallagher, former Marine officer with strategic chops and Derrick Van Orden, a special forces warrior who was deployed on multiple operations.

Finally, let us remember always, American troops are not in harm’s way. The Ukrainians are fighting and dying for us and other democracies.

Torinus is a retired USMC artillery officer.

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