Biden and Putin

In just a few days, Volodymyr Zelenskyy has become the face of democracy against authoritarianism. Vladimir Putin has to know that killing him now would make him into a martyr.

On Tuesday, U.S. President Joe Biden delivered his first State of the Union address, as it’s called there. What is truly novel is that in the House of Representatives on Capitol Hill in Washington, the traditional ways of doing things are back.

Biden was interrupted many times by ovations with which the Republicans joined in. There were no Donald Trump speeches in which the Democrats had joined the applause because of the mood that the polarizer-in-chief set, but that appears to be over.

Biden very intelligently started his speech by talking about Ukraine and the Russian aggression. All those in attendance gave Biden a standing ovation when he spoke of Russia’s “premeditated and totally unprovoked” invasion of a Ukraine that had done nothing to deserve being attacked. The clapping grew louder when Biden acknowledged the presence of the Ukrainian ambassador to Washington, who was seated as a guest of first lady Dr. Jill Biden.

It has to be admitted that the war in Ukraine was a blessing for Biden. It made it possible for him to start a unifying discussion, knowing that Republicans’ voices would join in. One of Trump’s worst miscalculations was saying that the invasion “is genius” on the part of Vladimir Putin. Nobody will be able to forget the closeness and admiration that Trump has always expressed for the Russian dictator, but this time, he shot himself in the foot with his unwarranted praise. Only the sickest Trump fanatics will share that sentiment with their hero.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is a crucial piece of the story of this invasion. At the beginning of the invasion, Zelenskyy put on a military combat uniform and went out to lead his troops. He did this knowing that there were high-level orders at the Kremlin to kill him. And it is not only that Zelenskyy has worn down Russian special forces. He has given interviews to CNN and other Western media outlets, and he gave a speech to European Union delegates that brought the German representative to tears and secured a promise to send arms and food. The same with the United States.

In a few days, Zelenskyy has become the face of democracy against authoritarianism. Putin has to know that to kill him now would make him into a martyr and would be doubly dangerous. He is admired by the whole Western world, and even by the Russians themselves.

Something strange is going on with the Red Army. A 40-kilometer-long column of tanks and trucks moved into position around the capital, Kyiv. But it has not budged in two days. It is possible that by the time you read this, it will have taken the capital. But it is also possible that the unexpected brave resistance of the army and the Ukrainian people, combined with reluctance and opposition to the invasion among the Russian troops, may delay the operation.

Meanwhile, opposition to the Russian invasion of Ukraine is growing. There have been demonstrations all over the world, including in Russia itself. Many Russians think that this is a civil war because it is so close by and because of the ties between the two peoples. Yes, the two countries are close to each other geographically, but that is all. The Ukrainians have been living in a democracy for 30 years, although they almost lost it when they were ruled by Viktor Yanukovych, a Russian puppet. But the Revolution of Dignity in 2014 toppled the dictator and restored democracy and threw the Russians out of power. Since then, Ukraine has been wanting to join NATO, but Russian opposition has prevented it.

Let’s not fool ourselves. It’s not about NATO. It’s about a leader who has gone crazy and has lost his balance. Putin’s threats to use nuclear weapons are taken seriously everywhere, but even more in the Kremlin. How long will it take the oligarchs and high-ranking officials in the Politburo to decide that Putin no longer serves their interests? We shall see.

About this publication

About Tom Walker 222 Articles
Before I started working as a translator, I had had a long career as a geologist and hydrologist, during the course of which I had the opportunity to work on projects in Mexico, Chile, and Peru. To facilitate my career transition, I completed the Certificate in Spanish-English Translation from the University of California at San Diego. Most of my translation work is in the areas of civil engineering & geology, and medicine & medical insurance. However, I also try to be aware of what’s going on in the world around me, so my translations of current affairs pieces for WA fit right in. I also play piano in a 17-piece jazz big band.

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