Slowly the West has come to its senses and united against Putin’s war of aggression. While the collective West now understands that it needs to stand up to Putin, it remains uncertain on how to do so and it does not understand that speed is vital. Wars are won with shock and awe, not with hesitation and deliberation.

The rising Western insight is that Putin needs permanent wars to stay in power. Within Russia, imperialism gives him legitimacy as well as a cause of repression. For him, a bad war is preferable to a good peace. Putin is today's Hitler. Since he will not stop his wars, the only plausible end to his war is his demise or death. 

Western political leaders do not want to spell this out, but they had better understand that the sooner Putin dies or is ousted, the earlier the war will end. The West needs to do everything to make sure that Ukraine not only “prevails” but wins and that Russia not only “fails” but is defeated. 

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The West should change its military strategy towards Ukraine. It should give Ukraine all the arms it requires as soon as possible and allow Ukrainians to hit whatever they care to in Russia. We should welcome Ukrainian bomb attacks on Russian arms and fuel depots, armaments factories, critical infrastructure, and oil refineries. The West must stop offering Russia a sanctuary and do so to Ukraine instead.

Ukraine Can’t Wait Another 75 Years to Join NATO, Says Chief Diplomat
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Ukraine Can’t Wait Another 75 Years to Join NATO, Says Chief Diplomat

Kyiv’s Foreign Minister, Dmytro Kuleba, told CNN in an interview with renowned journalist Christiane Amanpour that “we cannot wait another 75 years to celebrate Ukraine’s accession.”

The much-maligned Western sanctions on Russia are substantial and quite effective – in 2023 Russia’s total export revenues plummeted by no less than 26 percent. Yet, the West can weaken Russia economically more by isolating it more effectively.

The financial sanctions have just been tightened significantly, but they need to be taken further. The US Department of Commerce is the center of export controls for technology, but they should be made multilateral by restoring CoCom, which kept the Soviet Union so technologically backward during the Cold War.

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Russia’s trade with the West has become insignificant, having dwindled by more than two-thirds. Therefore, the West can now impose prohibitive import tariffs on all Russian goods without risking rising inflation. The West should sanction more Westerners who violate the sanction regime, as the US government now forebodes. 

Putin, his subordinates, and the Russian propaganda issue daily threats of nuclear war against one country after the other. Since the Kremlin always lies, these threats should not be taken seriously. Whoever believes in these threats understands nothing of Putin’s Russia. The hedonistic and power-hungry Putin will not use nukes, because that will end him and his regime. 

The question of how to deal with Putin’s allies is more intricate. Ukraine and the West face a hostile alliance of four countries: Russia, Iran, North Korea and China. Belarus has already become a Russian colony. The three key enemies are Russia, Iran and North Korea.

The great challenge is China. It requires much analysis. Can it be cut off from the axis of evil?

This axis of evil needs to be isolated and subjected to similarly severe sanctions. To keep the Global South at least neutral is an intricate diplomatic task, but hardly insurmountable. 

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The great challenge is China. It requires much analysis. Can it be cut off from the axis of evil? It has many other interests, but it is basically a kleptocratic communist dictatorship. A worrisome indicator is that until World War II, most Westerners thought that Mussolini was better than Hitler, but when the war started Mussolini sided with Hitler.

Time is vital, but Berlin and Washington, the two Western laggards, have wasted the last year.

Unfortunately, Xi Jinping appears ideologically and personally closer to Putin than Mussolini to Hitler. The best deterrent to Xi Jinping is if the West helps Ukraine to defeat Russia and China needs the West economically.

Time is vital, but Berlin and Washington, the two Western laggards, have wasted the last year. They must get going at full speed because they have and offer Ukraine the most military and financial resources. The faster Ukraine defeats Russia, the fewer people – both Ukrainians and Russians – will be killed and the less will the material destruction be and the smaller the cost of this war.

Ukrainians are naturally getting exhausted, but they persist because they know that otherwise they and their nation will perish. Macron, who has seen the light, is unfortunately about to lose his government, and the greatest fear is that the demented authoritarian Trump wins power in the US. If so, both US support to Ukraine and the transatlantic alliance are in evident danger.

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For all these reasons, the West needs to act as fast as possible to tip the military balance against Russia. The West must act now while it is sound and united! It can no longer afford fantasies about the risk of Putin launching a nuclear war or Russian “red lines.” Learn Russian reality from the wise Balts!

The views expressed in this opinion article are the author’s and not necessarily those of Kyiv Post. 

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