Thank you for printing Professor Newell’s essay. It is highly informative and useful for anyone wanting to appraise the responses by Canada and by our allies to the Russian invasion.
Beyond Professor Newell’s description of and explanation of the international problems posed by Mr. Putin’s tyranny, however, it is instructive to understand the internal domestic position into which Mr. Putin has put himself over the last two decades or so. He has presided over the destruction of a nascent and poorly developed democracy in Russia, which was barely starting in the dozen or so years after the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union and before he began his grip on power in Russia. His autocratic position has been consolidated at the expense of personal freedoms, a free press, a democratic political process, and the lives of some of the Russians who disagree with him. He has made many enemies in Russia, and his life, quite literally, hangs on his remaining in power. He will, therefore, hold his political position in Russia at any cost, because to do so is a matter of survival for him. Thus, most Russians are victims of his megalomania, but can do little about the grief he has brought to them. All of this makes it very difficult for anyone attempting to negotiate with him, whether inside Russia or externally, because his options are, essentially, limited to waging war in Ukraine and blaming the rest of the world when he fails and drags his country down.
Ukrainians understand the above very well because they are doing the fighting and the dying which Mr. Putin has put upon them. Prime Minister Trudeau is correct to say that Canada will support Ukraine with “as much as it takes, for as long as it takes” because to do otherwise would only cost more in the long run and take even longer.
More essays of the high quality of Professor Newell’s, please!
Gregory R. Côté, Irvine