Even if Russia-Ukraine relations are nowhere near my wheelhouse, I have spent the last several days captivated by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the people he is leading in self-defense. By now, everyone reading this paper has heard about the brave response of these people to an invasion by Russia. The rest of the world watched and Biden wagged his index finger while Russia, under Vladimir Putin’s direction, built up Ukrainian facing troops. And then they invaded, which was a half surprise. But the biggest surprise of all is how bravely the Ukrainians have fought off the invaders. Under resourced, often unarmed, it is a testament to how much this population has grown to value its freedom. At least, that’s the way I read it.

These days, I am glued to the news. I am worried about the welfare of President Zelenskyy. I want him to live, despite the rockets the Russians are lobbing into the major cities in Ukraine. Part of my motive is selfish: here is a true leader, someone who transitioned from being a comedian to becoming President of Ukraine, whose bravery and leadership skills has had the chance to emerge in front of the world. And it is so impressive. I want to see him succeed. I want to see Vladimir Putin fail.

From my distant view, the Russian gangster-dictator is backed into a corner. If he stands down in his invasion of Ukraine (and why would he), he gets egg on his face in front of the world. If he succeeds, he sends a message that he is the winner who gets what he wants. Europe, on the other hand, and the rest of the free world is grappling with its own wimpiness. Like a bunch of snowflakes, they can’t bring themselves to boycott Russian fossil fuels. With prices of these commodities surging, Putin needs to sell even less volume to bring in the same revenue. It seems like the world is sanctioning everything that it wants to sanction except the one key thing. The rich free world can’t take the pain of some extra inflation (due to less supply of natural gas and oil). I suppose they have not reconciled that Putin is war hungry and will impose his will on the world continuously if he is allowed to succeed with the Ukraine. The risk is that our sons go to war sometime in the future if this escalates.

Finally, there is the notion that a country legitimately wants to be part of the free world. The people and their leadership has proven it with their actions. Democracies must protect their own. Otherwise, the bullies win.

My mind is consumed with the Ukraine, with President Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian people. I can’t help it, even if puzzling developments are also happening in the Philippines, i.e. the resurgence of the Marcos family. I will right about that in the coming weeks so consumed am I with the Ukraine.