GUEST APPEARANCE: Don’t let Putin prevail in Ukraine | Opinion

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has confronted the United Nations Security Council over its ineffective response to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin’s horrific war crimes in Ukraine. Zelenskyy argues that the UN has not been tough enough on Putin, who is “turning the right of veto in the UN Security Council into a right to kill”. He wants Russia removed from the Security Council. Unless that is done, and unless the UN does more to come to Ukraine’s defense, the UN should “dissolve completely”, Zelenskyy said.

Zelenskyy’s urgent appeal to the UN raises this question: if the UN fails to adequately protect Ukraine — a UN member — from the totally unwarranted and unprovoked deliberate destruction of a peaceful country, so why even have a UN, which was created in the aftermath of World War II to prevent the type of barbarism to which Ukraine is subjected by Putin.

President Joe Biden has backed Russia’s suspension from the UN Human Rights Council. Big deal! Allowing Russia to remain on the Human Rights Council while committing Nazi-like atrocities in Ukraine would have been so absurd that even Russia did not strongly protest its suspension from that Council. But when it comes to taking more decisive action against Putin, including removing Russia from the Security Council, the UN and the Biden administration are too timid.

In a recent syndicated column (Finger Lakes Times, April 12), Marc Thiessen suggested that we should take Zelenskyy’s proposal one step further. I agree with Thiessen that not only should Russia be expelled from the Security Council, but its seat should be given to Ukraine. Yes, the Charter of the United Nations states that “the Republic of China, France, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America are permanent members of the Security Council”. But the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics no longer exists. Nothing in the Charter of the United Nations says that the “Russian Federation” has the right to be a permanent member of the Security Council.

Putin declared his intention to expand the Russian Federation by regaining control of the countries that left what was the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

Some think that since Ukraine is not a member of NATO, NATO members, including the United States, should not make too much of a fuss about Ukraine. Because other countries that Putin would like to control are members of NATO, surely Putin will not attack any of these countries because he knows that the United States and other NATO members would then be forced to take military action. directly against him. So, to have peace, it may be necessary to let Putin do what he wants in Ukraine, they argue.

It is not my belief. A history lesson. In 1938, Czechoslovakia was strong enough to put up fierce resistance if Nazi Germany attacked. Czechoslovakia had also made pacts with France, Britain, and the Soviet Union that would oblige those countries to come to its defense if Germany attacked it.

But at the Munich conference, Britain, France, Germany and Italy struck a deal that would allow Germany to occupy the Sudetenland, the mountainous border region in northwest Czechoslovakia. which was inhabited by 3.5 million ethnic Germans – and which also contained Czechoslovakia’s industrial resources and most important military defences. Czechoslovakia and Russia were excluded from the Munich conference. In exchange, Adolf Hitler promised to give up further expansionist demands.

British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain boasted that the Munich agreement secured “peace for our time”. Six months later, Germany occupied the rest of Czechoslovakia. The Czechs, without the Sudetenland or help from other countries, were unable to fight. And six months later, World War II – the most destructive war in human history – began.

If Ukraine is defeated, I can imagine a future scenario in which Putin pressures smaller NATO countries like Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania with ultimatums to “voluntarily” allow occupation. Russian, “voluntarily” withdraw from NATO and “voluntarily” renounce the NATO army. aid. Otherwise, Putin threatens to do to them what he did to Ukraine. And even if they rejected such ultimatums, would the United States and the other NATO countries honor their commitments, or find excuses not to? I can also imagine that if Putin’s goals in Ukraine are achieved, China, North Korea and Iran would be encouraged to pursue their expansionist plans.

Biden said he was sensitive to the plight of Ukraine and wanted to help Ukraine as much as possible, but also didn’t want to goad Putin into starting World War III. James R. Robbins, member of USA today Board of Contributors and author of “This Time We Win: Revisiting the Tet Offensive,” recently wrote a widely circulated column suggesting that, by Biden’s logic, “Washington can give kyiv a little but not too much. Our policy seems to be to let Ukraine lose the war, just slower.

If Robbins’ assessment is correct, I believe that the continuation of such a policy will do more to trigger, than prevent, another world war. We cannot allow Putin to win in Ukraine. The United States and the other nations that Zelenskyy called on should quickly supply Ukraine with all the tanks, weapons and planes that Zelenskyy requested. And sanctions against Russia should all be strictly enforced and even expanded to penalize an aggressor country. (I feel bad that the Russian people, many of whom bravely protested against Putin’s war, are hurt by the sanctions, but Putin is solely responsible for this).

Canandaigua resident Joel Freedman contributes essays and book reviews to the Finger Lakes Weather often. Now retired, Freedman taught history, political science and sociology at Finger Lakes Community College for many years.