It was something our nation has not seen in a very long time. A powerful, moving, emotional, and dramatic presentation about the need for good to overcome evil in this world.
This morning Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in a most unusual and need I say rare wartime virtual speech urged Congress to stand more fully with his nation. After giving his thanks for the support from the United States thus far, he spoke for military items that have been urged for on this blog in recent weeks as the Russian military pounds and kills in Ukraine.
Zelensky urged for aid so to help close the sky over his country to Moscow’s weapons, asked that his defiant and strong-willed nation be provided more effective surface-to-air defenses, and made it known all American companies should quit doing business in Russia at once.
His words could not have been more plain and direct.
“In the darkest time for our country, for the whole of Europe, I call on you to do more.”
The address was heard by the entire Congress on a large screen in a theater-style auditorium under the Capitol. With the gravity of the hour upon the shoulders of freedom-loving people worldwide, Zelensky stated “we need you right now.”
The powerful words and image of a brave Churchillian-type figure brought tears to the eyes of some lawmakers and a resounding standing ovation. He concluded his historic address by speaking in English.
“To be the leader of the world means to be the leader of peace.”
It was an address loaded with precision about the United States and this moment in time. We absolutely need to be mindful of not only what he said, but who we are.
Our nation remains a world leader, as our mission is clear and our strength undeniable. Our might comes not only with military hardware and trained members of the services but also with a firm set of principles and ideals that have global appeal.
With a dictator invading, killing, threatening, and blustering on the world stage it then demands that the standard-bearers for democracy and freedom do the part that history demands. Our ideals call us to stand up. We simply need to intervene in a far more powerful and effective manner with this madness in Ukraine.
So what happens now after the members of Congress head back to their offices?
“My hope is that what comes out of today’s discussion with President Zelensky and all of us working together in a bipartisan basis is to tighten the sanctions immediately, is to provide more armaments that they actually need to defend themselves … and give them a fighting chance to protect themselves,” said Sen. Rob Portman who is the co-chair of the Senate Ukraine Caucus.
This blog stands with the use of the warplanes from Poland for use in Ukraine. The rather sad spectacle of the Biden Administration rebuffing Poland’s offer to send MiG-29 jets to Ukraine via a U.S. military base in Germany was not this nation’s finest moment over the past weeks. Referring to the planes Zelensky today said, “You know they exist. You have them, but they are on earth, not in the Ukrainian sky.”
After the address, Biden correctly announced new military assistance for Ukraine that will include anti-aircraft defenses, drones, and other weaponry. The new aid will help provide 800 anti-aircraft systems to combat Russian planes; 9,000 anti-armor systems to help destroy Russian tanks and armored vehicles; 7,000 small arms such as machine guns and shotguns; and a total of 20 million rounds that includes artillery and mortar.
While I strongly support President Biden, and find him an honorable leader, I am concerned about some reticence and foot-dragging with some aspects to Putin’s war of aggression. I want more resolve and impactful decisions that will hit hard on the ground in Ukraine.
I read a column this month in The New York Times which ended with a theme I have thought to be essential when talking about Ukraine.
Long before Pearl Harbor, Roosevelt understood that America could not be indifferent to Britain’s fate, even with the odds so overwhelmingly against it. At a meeting in Britain in January 1941, his closest adviser, Harry Hopkins, used the words of the Book of Ruth to convey to Churchill the feelings the two Americans shared:
“Whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge; thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God.” Then he added, “Even to the end.”
That is precisely how I feel today.
And so it goes.