When the rebuilding of Ukrainian infrastructure is complete and post-war reality sets in, Ukraine is going to be faced with seven challenges. Here they are – and how to tackle them.
1. The cost of Ukrainian victory
Ukraine is going to win the war, but the crucial question is: ‘’What kind of victory are we talking about?’’ Will it be a Pyrrhic victory, where Ukraine wins but weapons of mass destruction are used on its territory, thereby forcing the Ukrainian government to set up exclusion zones similar to Chornobyl?
How about the best-case scenario, where Russian troops are repelled from Ukraine, including Crimea, with no weapons of mass destruction used by their angry and desperate forces?
In the best-case scenario, Ukraine becomes a valued European Union (EU) and NATO member.
The truth is, we don’t know what kind of victory awaits Ukraine. The war is a complex and unpredictable chain of events. Not even William Burns can predict what a Ukrainian victory is going to look like. What matters is that Ukraine is going to win.
And what about Russia? Could Moscow be occupied by NATO troops? ‘’Peacemakers’’ say such speculation only gives Russian propagandists more ammunition. ‘’Peacemakers’’ tell us that harsh language provokes Russia.
Russians respect brutal language, misogyny, money and military might, nothing else.
There’s no sure-fire way to deal with uncertainty. Until Ukraine wins, several victory scenarios must be considered.
When the war is over, there will be shady businessmen and unscrupulous government officials tempted to take advantage of the dramatic changes happening in Ukraine.
They are going to be tempted to steal money and expand their illegal activities. If such corruption isn’t nipped in the bud, it could take years to eradicate.
The Polish example shows it clearly. Dariusz Przywieczerski, who managed the fund servicing the Polish state debt (FOZZ), defrauded FOZZ for $1.6 million. He didn’t attend the sentencing and fled to Belarus in 2005, and then to the U.S. It took more than ten years to extradite him. I am glad President Zelensky is cracking down on corruption.
Ukraine must find a way to continue this trend after Zelensky leaves office.
3. Mental health
I know many Ukrainians are torn inside because their mother tongue is Russian. It is now, after all, the language of the genocidal aggressor.
Ukrainian children, in particular, who have been abducted by Russians and somehow found their way back to Ukraine, are going to be traumatized for life – their identities conflicted.
Then, there will be the Ukrainian children who were brainwashed by Russians so deeply, they might even reject their Ukrainian identity. Indeed, some Russian ‘’guardians’’ might be so deluded, they are going to see the abducted Ukrainian children as their own and demand to see them.
Maybe a language reform similar to Noah Webster’s spelling reform, aimed at creating U.S. spelling and strengthening the U.S. identity could be an idea worth considering in victorious Ukraine.
4. The desire for revenge
We want Russian war criminals to be tried at The Hague. We are hoping for justice. That’s understandable. Sadly, it’s a bit of a mirage. Look at history. Heinrich Himmler, head of the notorious SS responsible for overseeing concentration camps, swallowed a cyanide pill before facing justice.
Do you think Ukrainian parents who watched their children get blown to pieces by Russian bombs are going to be satisfied with Putin being sent to The Hague? Doubtful. If anything, it’s only going to enrage them even more.
Distraught Ukrainian parents won’t be able to punish the Russians responsible for savagely killing their children; as such, any Russian could become a substitute target. It’s tragic, yes, but hardly surprising.
Not The Hague, but hell, is the only appropriate punishment for Russian ‘’soldiers’’ who get off on blowing up Ukrainian children.
Ukrainian society is going to have to find a way for this collective and individual anger to be channeled into something positive and productive.
5. Integration into Ukrainian society
When the war ends, there will be millions of people across the world wanting to live in and contribute to Ukrainian prosperity. The returning Ukrainian refugees will be the biggest group among them.
Even among the Ukrainian refugees, dramatic differences are going to be visible. Ukrainians who fled to the West aren’t going to be the same as Ukrainians who were taken to Russia and escaped to Ukraine.
Let’s not forget about the huge Ukrainian diaspora and foreigners who are going to become naturalized Ukrainians. The Ukrainian government is going to have to find a way to integrate these diverse groups into Ukrainian society.
Poland and Ukraine have a 1,000-year history of Jewish presence. I see a vital role of the Jewish community in the integration process. Given their own turbulent history, the Jewish people are extremely experienced in cross-cultural dialogue.
6. International relations
The Motherland Monument is already one of the most recognized landmarks in the world. Still, the world’s attention isn’t going to be centered on Ukraine forever.
When the war is over, many promises of help and investment are, sadly, going to turn out to be pompous slogans. That’s where powerful politicians like Boris Johnson come in.
The former British Prime Minister is a true friend of Ukraine.
I used to think it’s pure political expediency but now I know he’s one of the greatest friends Ukraine could ask for. Ukraine is going to demand war reparations from Russia, and rightly so. Johnson, with his knowledge and connections, is the right man for the job.
Russia is going to be much more cooperative after a humiliating defeat.
A victorious Ukraine likely means a revolution in Belarus and a deposed Alexander Lukashenko. China will recognize Ukraine as the regional power.
The remnants of Russian imperial pride are going to vanish the minute China demands all Russians learn Mandarin.
Who knows, maybe we can count on God having a sense of humor and punishing Russians by making them Chinese. At least then, Russians couldn’t play the ‘’friendly Slavic neighbor’’ card to fool the world.
7. Building the wall
Russia is always going to try to meddle in Ukrainian affairs. While it may sound Trumpian, building a wall separating Ukraine from Russia is a great idea.
But building the wall is one thing and protecting the skies from Russian missiles is another.
Russian missiles won’t be raining down on Ukraine if Russia is decisively defeated. Still, it’s practical to have a powerful anti-missile shield. I’m disappointed, but not surprised, at Israel’s reluctance to supply Ukraine with air defense systems (Iron Dome).
Conclusion: Ukraine is never going to surrender to the Z-Cult
Can you imagine Ukraine conquered by Russia and turned into a giant gulag? The Ukrainian population might either be killed or forced to help Russia conquer Europe.
Luckily, I know Ukraine is never going to surrender to the Z-Cult, and the story of Ukrainian bravery and ingenuity is going to inspire countless generations to come.
And when Ukraine wins, Miss Ukraine’s outfit should represent freedom, pride and prosperity.
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