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Aardvark Daily

New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 25th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

Content copyright © 1995 - 2019 to Bruce Simpson (aka Aardvark), the logo was kindly created for Aardvark Daily by the folks at aardvark.co.uk



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Nobody can win this

28 April 2022

I have been trying to find something to write about today but nothing has really stood out on the news wires or elsewhere.

So perhaps it's time to take a further look at the situation in Ukraine.

Things appear to be going from bad to worse in Eastern Europe right now with Russia once again hinting that it is more than prepared to start using some of its more powerful weapons against any Western nation that might help Ukraine a little too much.

Veiled threats to completely wipe the UK from the face of the planet have been made and that must be worrying to everyone -- given that nation's strong support for Ukraine. Not only has the UK provided ongoing words of support but they have also supplied much of the anti-tank and other weaponry being used so successfully to fend off Russia's military might.

The reality is that the failure of the Russian offensive in Ukraine is increasingly becoming a huge embarrassment to both its military and its leadership.

Despite much bravado from Putin and his cronies with regards to the operation, Russia can not continue to suffer the losses it is presently incurring.

At some point, Russia has to stop and decide whether it can sustain a potentially very long and dirty conflict or perhaps if it should instead simply deploy tactical nukes and similar weapons so as to score a definitive victory in the shortest possible timeframe.

Right now a critical point in the conflict is approaching, as a significant number of people holed up in the Mariupol Steel Works reach the end of their food and water supplies. If the world leaves these people to die for fear that Putin will carry out his threats to any who might intervene then we are all lost.

If Russia sees that all it needs do is make wild threats to attain its goals then this is exactly what they will continue to do, much to the cost of the rest of the world.

It saddens me that we all look back at the atrocities conducted by the Nazis during WW2 and so many proclaim "this must never be allowed to happen again" -- only to sit around and watch exactly that.

Just as Nazis executed innocent civilians and engaged in war crimes that shocked the world -- Russia is now doing the same.

I'm sure that once this is all over, all the hypocrites will come out of the woodwork again and say "this is terrible, we must never allow such things to happen again" -- but they will.

It seems that we're all very brave and principled until such time as we're called to actually do something. Then we come up with all sorts of excuses and justifications for sitting on our thumbs and watching the innocent suffer.

Of course the current situation is a no-win for everyone.

If the West was to perform a Dunkirk style evacuation of those trapped in the steel works then it could be that Russia would simply pull back its own troops and use a tactical nuke to level the whole place -- rescuers and innocents included.

Perhaps an even worse scenario would be that Putin throws his toys out of the cot and fires off his nukes at Western targets from the relative safety of his own underground bunker.

No matter what happens, innocent people are going to die and we're going to have little option but to stand around and watch.

I guess the inaction of the West will be justified by claiming that allowing so many to die in Ukraine represents the lesser of two evils.

However, as humans we have to decide whether sometimes principles are more important than numbers.

Let me finish today's column with the following very true statement:

For evil to triumph requires only that good men do nothing.

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