Resolute Square

Perseverance Over Appeasement

Trump abdicated American leadership, so Putin thought he could roll into Kyiv and Ukraine would roll over. He grossly misjudged the fortitude of Ukrainians and of America under Joe Biden's leadership.
Credit: Міністерство внутрішніх справ України
Published:February 8, 2023

by Sarah Ashton-Cirillo

Upon arriving, the icy terrain hosted majestic illusions of an enchanted fairytale forest. Moving forward, the crunch of hidden foliage beneath every step echoed the fact that we were very much in solitude, except for the enemy lurking somewhere past the final tree line. Taking our position in the trenches, the ongoing sound of artillery was quickly enjoined by the sporadic staccato of assault rifles and the occasional rocket launch.

By the next morning, fresh snow fell, and the landscape took on a fresher, more welcoming appearance. The dangers of moving about inside the trench didn’t lessen, but the vista allowed for a brief sense of renewal. Ultimately the precipitation ended, and we slogged through mud en route to victoriously battling the Russian invaders.

Whether fighting in mud, ice, or snow, or in the heat of the summer or biting cold of winter, we are fighting on land that belongs to Ukraine, and that is Ukraine, no matter if Putin’s war criminals are temporarily occupying it or not. This fact is the driving point as to why peace should never be forced upon the Ukrainian people by its European and US allies. The Kremlin must never be rewarded for its illegal invasion of sovereign territory, regardless of whether its incursion took place in 2014 or 2022.

That this is even a point worth writing about should be laughable, yet based on a recent column in the Washington Post suggesting that the GOP base is prepared for the US government to trade Ukrainian land for peace, it is a necessary topic to confront.

“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine violates the UN Charter and cannot be justified under international law as an act of self-defense or humanitarian intervention,” says the Council on Foreign Relations in an article released at the outset of the Russian invasion. The Biden administration has made significant gains with the international community in restoring trust in the United States. For U.S. taxpayers to even suggest capitulating now to such a blatant attack on the norms of behavior by a nation-state, especially one that is a sponsor of terror such as the Russian Federation, will have serious long-term consequences to our national defense policy, especially in light of the Pentagon’s ill-fated withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Under President Zelenskyy’s leadership, the people of Ukraine are prepared to continue sacrificing in order to guarantee a return to the nation’s 1991 borders, borders recognized under international law. As a member of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, I can say that we, as enlisted troops, believe in the civilian leadership of the Ministry of Defense, along with the battlefield acumen of our senior officers. All we ask is that the United States and our other allies stand fast with us and continue to provide the weapons and supplies we need to vanquish Russia and achieve total victory.

The dictator Putin preys on weakness. This was clear in his dealings with former President Trump. Trump took Putin’s bait and became his stooge. Because of Trump’s abdication of American leadership, Russia felt it would be able to roll into Kyiv and take Ukraine in three days. The Russian strongman misjudged the fortitude of America then, so now he is testing the resolve of the American people by attempting to wait them out. Now more than ever is the time for the world, led by the United States, to show the same patience it did from 1939 to 1945. We defeated fascism and tyranny once before; we can do it again. This victory is about Ukrainian land. It is also about global freedom, the rule of law, and showing what leadership and strength truly mean.