Two weeks ago, Chris Mayfield from Pittsboro (“Some questions about our strategy with Ukraine,” letters, May 19-25) described well many of the ramifications of Putin’s War. In the same edition, Mike Walden (“Do we live in the most uncertain of times?”) included the disaster in Ukraine with uncertainties of inflation/recession, work changes triggered by COVID, and Damocles Sword/nuclear war.
We in Siler City are no strangers to ripple effects of a global economy. Before Mountaire, a chicken processing business, spent about $12 million on renovating the closed Tyson plant based on a business model of shipping Ukrainian corn here to feed the chickens, the Ukrainian “government” of the day slapped a 12% export tax on corn and put him/us out of business. Now much-needed corn and wheat from Ukraine cannot help feed the world because of Russian/Putin blockade of Black Sea shipping. Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Gabrielius Landsbergis has elicited help from the UK to move ships of grain past the Putin blockade. That is real backbone. Lithuania borders Russia. We should help.
The evaluation of concerns changed with the actual invasion on 24 Februrary. What were legitimate Russian concerns — NATO expansion, control of predominantly Russian-speaking areas, Crimea and Donbas — became opportunities for appeasement. The Bear was rebuilding Stalin’s empire by war. Zelensky stayed to fight instead of fleeing to government in exile. He pulled a real Churchill; “We will fight them on the beaches.” He rallied all of NATO.
Chris, the strategy of our policy to end Putin’s War is to have him “bogged down” and not “backed into a corner.” The tactics for doing so are tricky, sometimes subtle, sometimes blunt. Putin must “lose”; he may “save face.” Remember, Ukraine surrendered its massive nuclear arsenal because the U.S. and Russia both guaranteed Ukrainian borders and sovereignty.
Internal Russian leadership change may alter the dynamic drastically. Our goal is for commerce to triumph over conflict. Mike Walden, if we successfully negotiate a commercial resolution to Putin’s war, even though the Fed was a year late in even talking about raising interest rates, our economy is sound — so long as we maintain the peaceful transfer of power. Add to your list the great transition from fossil fuels to renewables over the next 40 years. Add the improving standard of living that will inevitably accompany falling birth rates in every tribe on our one shared planet.
Meanwhile, even if it hurts for a while, we support the Ukrainians with extra money for a gallon of gasoline. They are fighting Putin’s War for us, too. None of us are being shelled, bombed, or drafted. (Get my book “Every War Is An UnCivil War” on Amazon for Kindle/in Paperback.)
John R. Dykers Jr., MD
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