A restrained reaction to violence and the killing of innocent people may help preserve mental sanity and help in surviving the war. Unfortunately, it does not help end it.
Yesterday’s shelling of Kramatorsk — 16 killed, 65 wounded — was shocking in its own way. It was not even the fact that the “separatists,” partnering with Russian troops, again “accidentally” used Smerch multiple-launch rockets to fire on the civilian population, including women and children simultaneously. For them, it was not the first time.
What was shocking was the world’s calm reaction and the very restrained reaction of Ukraine. If after Volnovakha and Mariupol the news appeared on the front pages of the Western press, then events in Kramatorsk managed to receive only scant mention at most. But forget the world press, even the Ukrainian one provided few follow-up reports.
Instead, in social networks a steady stream of ugly, dirty, slippery Kremlin propaganda kept pouring out. Maybe the attack came not from Horlivka but from Druzhkivka and (the Ukrainians ) fired on their own headquarters. Or maybe they deliberately started beating their heads against the wall to please the bloody State Department and to defame the enlightened and worthy mission of the militants fighting for the freedom of the Donbas. And maybe …
The official speakers say what they have to say according to their positions. The General Procurator’s Office opens another case for another terrorist attack. Without any real hope of finding or punishing the perpetrators. The president, to his credit, found the time to go and see what happened. But what he plans to do to make sure something similar does not happen again he does not say. The country continues to bury its citizens and to get used to this process. We already have war. Or perhaps ATO. And in war, you know, they kill.
People are getting used to death — Ukrainians and Russians, “separatists” and the National Guard members, volunteers and the “sofa warriors.” They are getting used to mothers who protect their children with their own bodies from the hail of sharp metal fragments. What they used to show in films about World War II is becoming a daily reality.
On the one hand, an adjustment in the threshold of pain is a necessary condition for human survival and the preservation of any mental functioning under conditions of war. On the other hand, this increase in the threshold of pain allows people to gradually become used to what is unacceptable. Under any circumstances.
When we get used to such events our hatred for the aggressor grows, but it distracts us from the simple and deplorable fact that for now neither the government nor society has any realistic strategy for getting out of this war. Furthermore, neither the government nor society is engaged in a real search for such a strategy, limiting themselves to hysterics on Facebook and official outrage. We are ready to help the army, to go to war, to “stand till the last person.” However, for some reason we are not ready to think openly and soundly about what to do to avoid this “last stand.” And if there is one, that it not be for us. And our enemies, despite the well-known poetic masterpiece (reference to the Ukrainian national anthem — Ed.), stubbornly refuse to die “like dew in the sun.” Perhaps the “cotton” in enemy jackets is more stable than dew. (Reference to “vatnik,” originally a name of a cotton-padded Russian jacket but now commonly used for Russian “rednecks” supporting Russian imperialism — Ed.)
We are outraged that the EU is “too soft” on Putin. We wait for weapons from the U.S. as if for manna from heaven.
However, cutting off Russia from the Swift system will not turn off the rocket engines. And the unloading of boxes with Javelins (anti-tank missiles ) in Kyiv or Kharkiv, which would take several months at best, will not ensure the miraculous disappearance of Russian tanks in the Donbas. For that a large-scale offensive with significant forces would be needed. And probably a larger mobilization than the current one would need to be conducted, as well as a purge of the senior officer corps to free it of the clinical idiots who suffer from acute seizures of mendacity and extreme sycophancy along with general stupidity and lack of suitability for their posts. In order to prevent any temptation for the mobilized to return from the front and march on the capital.
Or, if for one reason or another, we are not able to afford a full-scale war with Russia, then perhaps there is sense in giving the Donbas its “long-awaited freedom.” But only after evacuating everything and everyone who does not wish to live in this “strange new world.” And then after finally and irrevocably hanging “Novorossiya” around the neck of the well-known Kremlin character. And after first suitably reinforcing the border and signing binding agreements with Europe on what kind of assistance will be provided if any attempt is made to move the border. And that means assistance that is provided immediately and without discussion on whether or not it could perchance escalate the conflict.
There are probably a number of other strategies out of this war that we are not looking for or talking about. We are putting all our hopes on the fact that there is a government that will “sort everything out.”
Of course we can always declare that we will not surrender one millimeter of Ukrainian land. We can continue to stand at checkpoints far from the former border. And we can keep saying that Putin is a maniac and a psychopath who wants too much. And we will be right. But fate has burdened us with Putin and not King Arthur as an opponent. And we are the ones who must think about how to reach an agreement with him if we are not in a position to defeat him — not Hollande and Merkel.
For if Putin is a maniac, then we, according to present policy, are the victim who wants neither to flee the maniac nor to fight him at full capacity.
And if we do not begin to think about how to end this war then we will be forced to continue to pay — with Kramatorsk, Mariupol, 20-year-old volunteers, 50-year-old colonels, with sleep and good sense. The highest price will be paid by the residents of the destroyed towns and villages — with property, health and lives. Their own and their children’s. Without any end in sight, with no end to the bloody mire into which we have been dragged against our will. And from which we are not even thinking of ways to get out. This is the price of our “last stand.” And if looks like it is too high for us.