A Tragic and Dangerous Time

As we are writing this, the incredibly brave people and government leaders of Ukraine still are holding out against the despicable invaders from Russia.

It is clear that Vladimir Putin, the criminal Russian dictator, underestimated the resolve of the Ukrainian people and their armed forces. He also underestimated the united backlash from the rest of the world and the effects of the economic sanctions that are crippling Russia’s economy.

On the other hand, he overestimated the power of his army, which clearly is not up to the task of overrunning a nation as large and as unified as Ukraine as quickly as he had expected.

However, we fear that as the Russians continue to pour military resources into Ukraine and undertake a military campaign that is targeting the civilian population with war-crime levels of bombardment, it is only a matter of time before the Russians take control of whatever will be left of Ukraine after Putin levels it, as he seems intent on doing.

Putin’s barbaric invasion of Ukraine brought to mind a quote that often is applicable to dictatorial regimes such as Putin’s: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority, still more when you superadd the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority.”

Although what is happening in Ukraine, though it is being broadcast into our living rooms and on our computer screens 24/7, may seem a world away, we should not be lulled into thinking that we are safe from Putin’s maniacal machinations.

The reports that the 69 year-old Putin, who apparently was not content with being the richest man in the world, has become mentally-unhinged is a cause for concern because the lessons of history teach us that the evil deeds of dictators know no bounds.

Here is a quote from a book that came out this week about another would-be dictator:

“He stopped listening to his advisers, became manic and unreasonable, and was off the rails. He surrounded himself with sycophants, including many whack jobs from outside the government, who fed him a steady diet of comforting but unsupported conspiracy theories.”

This is a quote from a passage in the new book by former Attorney General William Barr describing the final days of Donald Trump’s presidency.

But it seems equally-applicable to Putin, who has raised the spectre of using nuclear weapons to bolster his failing military campaign and who has the ability to wage cyber warfare upon us to an extent that we have not yet experienced. In the 1950s, Americans conducted Civil Defense drills, which included telling children to duck-and-cover under their desks at school. But in an era of cyber warfare, there will be no place for any of us to hide.

We pray for the poor people of Ukraine, whose lives are being shattered literally hour-by-hour.

But we also must be aware that the after-shocks of what is happening in Ukraine will have far-reaching consequences for the entire world, including us.

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