When a woman is first hit by her husband, though shocked, she nonetheless often denies at first, makes excuses – he didn’t mean it, it didn’t really happen, he promises it won’t happen again, we need to keep peace and stability in the family for the sake of the kids. After all, he is such a (fill in the blank) charming, intelligent, responsible man, he cannot really be an abuser.
These arguments to stay, to keep the status quo are offered to her by the husband who struck her, by her nervous family, his disbelieving friends, neighbors who worry about the public spectacle that often accompanies unwilling breakups. At the root of this decision to deny and to stay is the argument of “concern” – aka fear.
After several years and two dozen other times that he hit her, she now knows that this is a pattern. The pattern will only stop if he is completely broken, decides to stop, or she leaves.
She has little control over the first two possibilities, so without resources or support, an abused woman often chooses “concern” – aka fear – and decides to stay in the dysfunctional relationship, which then affects the future of her children, as well as immediate relationships with friends and family. However, she often continues to “hope” for better, almost convincing herself that hope is reality. Unfortunately, the reality is that after repeated efforts to “keep the peace,” more than one woman has ended up dead.
Or, precisely because she has little control over the first two possibilities, and also does not want to be abused anymore, she summons up her courage and decides to fight back, says “no more,” ends the relationship with her husband, leaves, all the while not fully aware of the consequences of doing so, but with the will and determination to survive, even win, as her husband persistently hounds her, insisting she is his and must stay. The past is prologue; but she wants a different future, she wants better for herself and for her children. This step takes courage, but she decides that she is bold and strong and smart and will make this decision a success.
The Ukrainian analogy
In the Russo-Ukrainian war, the United States morally believes, and, in good part, supports the choice to fight back – but still only in part. This decision is similar to giving your abused sister, abused neighbor, abused friend only $500 when she needs, and you can give, $5,000. The result of only tepid support is that America, effectively, has chosen the “stay” option for Ukraine – to stay in this abusive relationship with Russia with the genuine and not small risk that Ukraine will die. America’s “concern” for the future, aka fear, if not overtly, then subtly, aids the abuser by allowing the abuse to continue, a reprehensible position when there is the actual possibility and power to stop.
In contrast, Ukraine, without much power, has nonetheless chosen to fight back – determined not only to survive, but to win.
The US can continue to half-stand on the sidelines, wring its hands, find excuses and justifications for why more courageous, determined and brave steps cannot be taken. Or, it can sum up the courage and help the abused Ukraine achieve victory once and for all. Basta.
Until America, and the appeasers of the world (looking at you, Richard Haas) understand, and stop excusing abuse as “well, let’s be practical…” then like the black-and-blue, beat-up wife, we will all be left at the mercy of Russia.
Ukraine must win, and victory means that Russia must not only be fully stopped for now, but broken of this habit and pattern of abuse for the future. This means that Russia’s delusions about itself and its self-proclaimed greatness can no longer be tolerated, much less encouraged. And the United States must fully come to believe that its future hinges on this victory. Ukraine winning does mean America wins. Ukraine losing does mean America loses. Just so that we’re all clear about that.
Russia is a terrorist state. Russia supports other terrorist states. Terrorist states hate America. Supporting Russia is supporting those who hate America. This is a fundamental truth and the basic fact from which America’s decisions must proceed. All the other “truths” and “facts” are just white noise. Not liking or not believing this fundamental empirically and historically supported truth does not make it untrue.
Russia chose the path of war, violence, confrontation, placing itself before the unenviable end result: one side must win, and one side must lose. Victory will mean that either Russia survives and Ukraine is broken, or Ukraine survives and Russia is broken.
There is no in-between. Not for Russia. Not for Ukraine. Nor for America.
The views expressed in this opinion article are the author’s and not necessarily those of Kyiv Post.
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