Your Turn, Star-Gazette, Sunday, March 27, 2022
Rev. Arthur Jones, Guest columnist
“Vladimir Vladmirovich Putin – the Russian president – cannot prevail in his war of aggression against Ukraine. He must be denied victory.
Putin’s deep desire to reestablish a new version of the former Soviet Union via a steady barrage of tanks, missile strikes, bullets and hypersonic bombs is doomed to failure. Despite his braggadocio, Putin’s intention to facilitate regime change in Ukraine seems far more likely to facilitate regime change in Russia instead.
Why? Because the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskyyy, is more than a match for Putin. Zelenskyy is everything that Putin is not: courageous, candid, charming, strategic, humane and respected. Zelenskyy loves Ukraine, the Ukrainian people and democracy. He commands respect on the global stage. And despite intelligence reports that Putin has dispatched paid mercenaries to assassinate Zelenskyy, the Ukrainian president refuses to leave his country for a safe haven elsewhere.
Instead, Zelenskyy continues working in his presidential office in downtown Kyiv. He is encouraging displaced Ukrainian citizens, visiting wounded Ukrainian soldiers, and virtually engaging members of the leadership of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the European Union (EU), American senators and congresspeople, and heads of state worldwide to help provide Ukraine with weapons and humanitarian assistance.
Comparatively, President Putin isn’t doing any of the above. Instead, he has isolated himself to an “undisclosed location,” avoiding human contact.
The war Putin calculated Russia could win in days may actually take years or decades.
Ukraine is teaching us all three things:  common sense isn’t common;  freedom isn’t free; and  democratic countries will from time to time be challenged by autocrats, tyrants and oligarchs. In theory, Ukraine should not be able to contend militarily with Russia. However, wars are fought in reality.
Putin’s invasion into Ukraine is causing the attrition of his soldiers, the decimation of his military leaders, and the destruction of his military’s weapons systems. Or when his own hubris has in four weeks directly caused the displacement of over 4 million Ukrainian and Russian citizens; not to mention the brutal deaths of innocent Ukrainian men, women and children each and every day. Or while singlehandedly creating the conditions for nations geographically near Russia to actively and openly seek membership in NATO and/or the EU. Or while arresting his political opponents, killing journalists, and bombing hospitals.
Putin’s threats to use cyber-war, chemical weapons and nuclear weapons has unified the EU and NATO in ways Putin never intended.
Any human being who would risk initiating World War III instead of simply seeing the error of his ways stands revealed to be a villain, not a victor. A war criminal, not a war hero.
Folks, Putin is a tyrant. Tyrants don’t retire. Tyrants don’t win in the end or ride off into the sunset. Either they stop or they are stopped; usually in violent fashion by their own trusted advisors, generals, or friends.
For all these reasons, Putin will not prevail. Because he can’t.”
The Rev. Arthur L. Jones III, of Elmira, is an Episcopal priest, a certified FEMA disaster chaplain, and a candidate for the Chemung County Legislature in District 9.