Just for legitimate defense

Just for legitimate defense

Putin's Russia has not resigned itself to the loss of the Soviet empire. Not conquering Ukraine could help Russia finally enter the third millennium.


Putin’s Russia has not reconciled itself to the loss of the Soviet Empire. If it were not able to conquer Ukraine, perhaps that Russia would understand that history has turned the page


The right of peoples to legitimate defense

Examining what is happening around us, we can have the feeling that many people do not realize what we are living through. And there is no surprise in that. To understand the present, one must know the history – at least the “Contemporary History”, from the French Revolution to today – and not everyone loves it. For some, it is part of the unknown.

It is easy to demonstrate. Let’s imagine asking: “Is there a war between Russia and Ukraine; would it be the same if it were a war between Colombia and Peru?” Many would say yes, maybe even laughing. But a cultured person would obviously say no: “Because it is taking place in Europe.” And this demonstrates that the “present” is not the same for everyone.

However, it is not enough that the war is on our continent to make it so different from a South American war. If there were a conflict between Kosovo and Montenegro we would be upset, because a war, even if small, always involves sorrow and horror; but we would be calm because, whatever the outcome, the international landscape would not change much. Conversely, there are wars in which the protagonists realize that not only a territory, an area of influence, or some other single concrete advantage is at stake, but a choice of civilization.


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History is dotted with examples

When Greece fought against the Persians, they did not only intend to defend their sovereignty, they wanted to preserve their way of life, which was already Western: democracy. And even where there was no democracy (Greece was not a unified state) the way of life was not Asian, not Persian, and the Greeks fought for their own identity.

That is why they celebrated the battle of Marathon with the most unrestrained reductive rhetoric. Because they knew that on that day they had saved their world.

Similarly, the battle of Cannae (216 B.C.) was such a defeat for the Romans, that they reasonably thought they had lost the war: they expected to see Hannibal arrive and not be able to resist. And indeed, many historians still wonder why the Carthaginian did not take advantage of the opportunity. And yet, despite the discouragement, the Romans realized that the fate of the conflict was not at stake but the existence of Rome itself. So they decided the unlikely: they would resist until the last man. And the Roman women, many of whom were in mourning, were no less. And it ended that the defeated was Hannibal.

Sometimes history repeats itself. Yesterday – I mean in 1940 – Great Britain was almost unarmed (except for the fleet), hungry and discouraged, and yet decided not to surrender to Hitler; with considerable surprise on the part of the latter, so much so that in order not to have her as an enemy he even proposed a form of alliance. But England was unshakable in its determination to defend its territory. And not only did some men decide to fight to the death (like the heroic pilots of the “Battle of Britain”), but all, women included, even facing enormous privations and sacrifices.


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Only the brave lead by example

It was the war of an entire people and it ended with an unexpected victory. That is why – to the surprise of many – I often repeat to everyone that the Second World War was not mainly won by the Americans, even though in the end they were the most conspicuous, but mainly by the British: when the Americans were not even at war.

The judgment about the Ukrainians is not much different. Although that people suffer a lot, bearing difficulties, losses, and indescribable horrors, they are not as heroic today as they were in February and March 2022: that is, when they fought without hope of victory. Currently they are brave and admirable, but they are armed and supported by the West; then, in the spring of 2022, they showed a desperate heroism like a Greek tragedy.

In the West this war is characterized by an inconceivable misunderstanding. Many nations – even those that help Ukraine – have the feeling of helping an attacked people with an act of disinterested democratic generosity. The truth is another, and too many do not understand it. While we are warm in our homes, we do not understand that a thousand kilometers to the east we are not fighting a war between Russia and Ukraine, but, like at Marathon, a war between East and West; between tyranny and democracy; between oppression and freedom; between imperialistic expansionism and the will of peaceful coexistence; simply between barbarism and civilization.


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Legitimate defense, but not for everyone

Too many do not understand that the Russia of Putin (the deep one, who knows) has not reconciled itself to the loss of the Soviet Empire. If it were not able to conquer Ukraine, perhaps that Russia would understand that history has turned the page. But if that conquest were to succeed, why not continue with Moldova, with Poland, with the Baltic States, until imposing with good or bad governments vassals in Romania, Bulgaria, and who knows what else? Moscow would have had the proof that the world belongs to strong and resolute autocracies, not to a timid and corrupt West.

If we had common sense we should help Ukraine not “out of generosity” but “for the legitimate defense of democratic values”. The stakes are such that for this victory we should be willing to fight ourselves, even if we baptized the confrontation as the Third World War: because we should be willing to do so, if it were to preserve our Western and democratic model. To not be less than what happened in Greece in 490 BC.