Putin the bully must pay a steep price for launching war
Without sanctions, our world risks becoming something unacceptable: A place where nations just take what they want by force, without suffering the consequences.
Anyone who’s ever encountered bullies will tell you: The only way to deal with them is to hit them back, hard.
On Thursday, President Joe Biden announced sanctions designed to hit back against Russia, now the worst of bullies since it invaded Ukraine on the order of President Vladimir Putin.
Those sanctions, which Biden said will freeze every Russian asset in the U.S. and slash technology exports to the country, are unlikely to make Putin retreat altogether. Even so, America and its allies must press forward — and put more sanctions on the table, just in case.
For the sake of every Ukrainian who woke to the sound of incoming missiles, was forced to hide in a subway station-turned-bomb-shelter, had to flee their home or even lost their life — in fact, for every Ukrainian around the world, including here in Chicago — we fervently hope the sanctions are effective at punishing Putin and the elite who help keep him in power.
In his early afternoon speech from the White House, Biden, who met earlier with other world leaders, came out swinging. He emphasized the obvious: that Putin’s invasion was “without provocation, without justification, without necessity.”
Any excuse to the contrary, whether from Putin or his shameful American cheerleaders, is a complete fiction.
“Putin is the aggressor. Putin chose this war,” Biden said. “And now he and his country will bear the consequences. ... Every asset in America will be frozen,” by cutting off Russia’s largest bank and four other major financial institutions from the U.S. market.
“This was never about genuine security concerns,” Biden said. “It was always about naked aggression.”
Financial sanctions will take time to have an impact, Biden acknowledged. Meanwhile, Putin may take over much of Ukraine, but as the president noted, occupying a hostile country over the long-term is an entirely different matter.
America and every other country that has vowed to “stand with Ukraine” must stick to that vow.
America’s onetime ambassador to Ukraine, Bill Taylor, made this point on CNN shortly before Biden spoke. “The fact that the G7 is united is very important,” Taylor said. “He [Putin] is facing the unity of the international community with Ukraine.”
That unity includes some Russians, thousands of whom protested the invasion on Thursday. Putin has perhaps triggered something he undoubtedly fears: Large groups of Russians willing to risk arrest to stand up against his rule.
This crisis is a continent away, but it’s likely to impact Americans in the form of rising gas prices and higher inflation. For that reason, some may not like sanctions.
But the alternative is unacceptable: a world in which, as Biden said, nations just take what they want by force, without suffering the consequences.
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