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Putin and the Lessons of History

The words of a friend, a Greek expatriate who lives in Ukraine will follow me for a long time.

The Russians have not reached the city where he lives. At least not yet. But they are approaching, judging by the magnitude of the sounds he hears the bombs make.

“Aren’t you afraid?” I ask him. “Of course I’m afraid, but what can I do? Life – now, and in the future – will never be the same.”

As in our previous conversation, his voice trembled with indignation and rage over his belief that America is allowing Russia – “the snake” as he calls it – to exterminate the country’s population. “What is happening is genocide,” he told me. “And not to intervene actively to save us? Who will trust America again? At least,” he continued, “let them do what will really hurt Putin. Let them immediately cut off the oil and gas that are financing the war. That’s all that matters. All the sanctions they have imposed so far do not count.”

I confess that I considered it excessive that some of us demand that President Biden take this measure, considering the cost to the West, to all of us. The price of oil and gas is already high. An energy embargo will make the situation even worse. So much worse that it is likely to throw the economy into a recession.

So this is a very difficult decision.

However, after talking to my expatriate friend, I now believe that no measure and no initiative should be excluded from the fight to deal with the greatest threat to peace we have faced since World War II.

It is probably a battle for the survival of the human race on Earth.

So not only should Putin be confronted, he must be defeated. He must personally pay a heavy price for his unacceptable actions.

As I was writing these lines a few days ago, the news reached me that Biden would announce the imposition of an embargo on Russia’s oil and gas.

As I said, this is a very difficult decision because of the impact it will have on the economies of Europe and America, among others.

But it will probably be a small price to pay if Putin concludes that we have not learned anything from history…


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