The Two Wars Gerry OShea
The world is
galvanized by the awful daily reports from Ukraine and Gaza, with the future
direction of both conflicts very unsure. As American support wavers, Russia
seems to be gaining the upper hand against the Kyiv resistance. While Israel is
assured of military victory, they are facing serious charges alleging inhumane
bombing of civilians in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague.
Two years ago,
Vladimir Putin had amassed troops on the border of Ukraine, claiming sovereignty
over that country in a ploy reminiscent of the power games of the early 20th
century. Many commentators doubted that he would invade an adjoining country at
a time when grabbing a neighbor’s land was sure to elicit widespread outrage
aggression in February 2022 was premised on the idea that the United States was
losing interest in Europe and that the Western democracies were divided on critical
economic issues and so incapable of any meaningful united response.
leader’s assessment was utterly wrong. Western leaders, led by President Biden,
were outraged that Moscow, with its superior military power, would trample on
the territorial integrity of a neighboring country. Instead of caving into his
blatant land grab, they immediately pledged financial support and modern armaments
to the Kyiv government.
Zelenskyy emerged as the elected leader of the resistance to the attempted
Russian occupation of his country. This former actor from a Jewish family
qualifies for Shakespeare’s definition of “a plain blunt man,” preaching a clear
sermon about a bully taking advantage of his superior size and treasury.
The Ukrainian leader traveled to all corners
of the globe pleading for support against what he correctly named as Putin thuggery.
He made a compelling moral case for a continuation of Ukrainian independence. He
got a positive response nearly everywhere. However, North Korea and Iran
aligned with Moscow, and Xi Jinping in China tried to equivocate by
disapproving of any country invading another but still hosting Putin in Peking.
still holds the important high moral ground because they clearly are the
aggrieved party. Still, President Biden’s request for additional funding for
the war is held up in Congress by a few Republican isolationists who are
against providing additional funds for a conflict with no end in sight.
Republican nominee for the presidential election in November, Donald Trump,
claims that he will work out a deal with Vladimir Putin that will somehow
satisfy both sides during the first few days of a Trump presidency. He also
plans to lead the US out of NATO. While promising a quick solution in Ukraine surely
qualifies as empty rhetoric, nobody doubts that under his leadership, American
funding for the war will be phased out.
President Biden is in the White House his unambiguous approval of Zelenskyy and
his freedom fighters will continue, and he will try to find some way to work
with other Western countries to maintain funding for the resistance in Kyiv. The
results of the November election for the White House and both Houses of Congress
will determine the future direction of the United States in the war in Ukraine.
countries in the European Union (EU) are very wary of Russian aggression on
their eastern doorsteps, and they fear that a victory in Kyiv will only be a
preamble for Putin sending troops into Poland and Hungary, satellites of
Moscow, until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
14th last, the EU, in a significant move, agreed to start accession talks
with Ukraine. In lauding this decision, Mr. Zelenskyy called it “a victory for
Ukraine that motivates, inspires and strengthens.” He has no doubt that his
country’s future lies with Brussels and not Moscow.
his generals have recently heightened the bombardment of Kyiv and other cities in
Ukraine. They have significantly increased their attacks on civilian
infrastructure hoping to wear down the people’s will to fight on. Uncertainty about
military aid from Washington also strengthens his hand. These are precarious
times for the Ukrainian government.
major conflict started after Hamas attacked Israel on October 7th,
killing more than 1300 Israelis and holding hundreds more as hostages. This was
a barbaric assault disproportionately impacting women and children. Nobody
doubts Israel’s right to vigorously defend itself in these circumstances.
Minister Netanyahu and his far-right cabinet ministers responded by daily strafing
Gaza in a revenge bombing that is still going on. Around 23,000 people,
including women and children, have been mowed down by merciless Israeli
bombardments. The terror and chaos in Gaza have led to a major humanitarian
disaster, with famine spreading featuring starving children daily on our
leadership completely misread the situation and they have ended up sharing the
blame for the human carnage. A few days after the initial attack, President
Biden went to Israel for a public show of support for a close ally.
Fine, except Washington, which supplies most
of the weaponry to Tel Aviv, is now seen as providing its blessing for the
murder of thousands of innocent civilians. Unlike the Ukrainian War, Washington
finds itself far away from the moral high ground.
progressive Americans are disgusted at the embarrassingly weak hand their
leaders have played in this crisis. What positive results could possibly emerge
from Israeli planes strafing a civilian population? Netanyahu’s madcap leadership
has poisoned his country’s relationship with the United States and will hurt
President Biden’s hope for re-election in November.
countries have repudiated the overkill policies of the Israeli government.
These actions have not only alienated traditional allies from Israel, the only
functioning democracy in the Middle East, but they have heightened the
resistance against an Israeli government that has treated Palestinians as sub-humans.
The ICJ was created in 1945 by the United
Nations Charter after World War 11. Ironically, the case being brought by South
Africa against the Jewish State is based on the Genocide Convention, which was
initiated by the United Nations in response to the horrors of Hitler’s openly
genocidal policy of eliminating all Jews. It defines genocide as “acts
committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic or
judges adjudicating in the Hague will not make a final determination about
Israel’s guilt or innocence for a few years. Still, they will issue what are called
provisional measures, which are binding on the parties, although the court
lacks enforcement powers. These may mandate a change of course by Israel to
counter the current terrorizing of the people in Gaza.
States alone can lead the way out of the miasma of death and despair that
defines life in Gaza now. Only President Biden can insist on a two-state
solution that respects the rights and dignity of both communities.
OShea blogs at wemustbetalking.com