For Israel, Ukraine Was A Test Case And The West Failed That Test.
Before March had arrived, we witnessed the early probing of forward Russian troops into Ukraine. Initially, this force consisted of young inexperienced troops and old equipment.
The media and inexperienced pundits celebrated Ukrainian victories and pondered over the ineffectiveness of Putin’s army against Ukrainian resistance.
But this stage, with raw forces and older equipment, was only the beginning. They were cannon fodder to test Ukrainian defenses in advance of the proper assault by toughened soldiers with deadly modern armaments.
Ukraine begged for experienced Western fighting forces and their sophisticated weaponry to intervene to take on the might of the massive Russian heavily armed force in static formation before the heavy tanks began to roll. But that help was not forthcoming.
We have watched grim scenes of early destruction. This is only the opening barrage. The real attack, with heavy armor and fully trained Russian soldiers, is about to begin.
Destruction? You haven’t seen anything yet. Or, as they say crudely in Russian, Blat!
I hope I am wrong, but I am convinced that, despite its people’s bravery, Ukraine will be outgunned and swallowed up, maybe before you get to read this article. And NATO and the United States will regret that they did not stand fully with the Ukrainians as they should have done.
Ukraine is trying to be Israel. Since 1948, we in Israel did it on our own. That is why we spent so many decades, and so much of our economy, developing our military force out of sheer necessity. That necessity drove us to become the most advanced and innovative country on earth. If we hadn’t, we wouldn’t exist today.
Unlike Ukraine, we didn’t have the oil reserves to fuel our economy. We only had sand that we turned into a giant agricultural economy. We turned barren places into technological R&D centers in our search for superiority to outwit and outgun our adversaries and partner with moderate nations.
They now call Israel the “Start-Up Nation,” but that drive began out of the urge to survive.
Never Again was not, is not, an empty slogan.
Unlike Israel, then, the West has what Ukraine needs in abundance, but is too timid and hesitant to give it to them in large enough quantities.
Ukraine is, like Israel 1948, 1967, 1974, alone militarily. And if/when we finally act, whatever they receive may be too little too late.
It pains me to see the obstinacy of the democratic West, particularly in Europe, not standing shoulder to shoulder militarily with Ukraine right now. It is in Europe’s best interest to draw a line in the sand in Ukraine. This should be their European Stalingrad against the advance of Communism, to use a mixed historic metaphor.
I know about treaties and protocol, but that is for committees, not for a Europe that needs to stand strong against an enemy whose appetite will not be satisfied by Ukraine. They must not only tell Putin, “Beyond this border, you shall not pass,” but they should also stand in his path with the same stoic courage as the Ukrainians.
Image: 1967--Israelis recovering the Western Wall from its long Islamic captivity. יהודה גרינברג Pikiwiki Israel. CC BY 2.5.
I know that Ukraine is not a NATO member. That is the fault of NATO for being too appeasing to Putin. But Ukraine is a European-style democracy standing, in their military nakedness, against the advance of Russian Communism. Where better place, what better battle to wage by Europe, to stand in Ukraine rather than wait for Moldova, or Estonia, or Poland to fall.
This is not the time for committee protocols. This is the time for Europe and the United States to grow a moral spine!
Am I hopeful? Sadly not. Europe is scrambling to make up for lost time, but the embattled Ukrainians do not have that time. Communism is already battering down their door.
As for America, history shows us, in two world wars, that they are isolationists, always too late coming to the fight. It seems they prefer to wait until the enemy is destroying them on their own turf before they wake out of their stupor and get into the battle. (Pearl Harbor, anyone?)
Before Americans get involved, they muddy the waters and let others take the brunt of the battle. And that brings me to Iran.
America’s history and Ukraine’s present are why Israel cannot allow the United States to dictate or agree to the terms of another Munich-like agreement with the Iranian Ayatollahs over their inexorable march to a nuclear missile.
Israel cannot, must not, wait for an American Churchill to replace the current Chamberlain. We had two such Chamberlains, Carter and Clinton, acclaim “Peace in our time!” as they clutched false promises signed by a deceptive Palestinian leader. That danger still hangs around our necks.
Western leaders demand that we surrender historically legitimate and security essential territory to an enemy that still vows for a world without Israel. And they are shocked and accusatory because we see reality rather than surrender to a fake fantasy.
Obama, another American Chamberlain, let the Tehran deceivers progress almost to the point of them becoming a nuclear threshold state.
As we see the mess left by Biden in Afghanistan, Putin’s unchallenged invasion of the second-largest country in Europe, and a new Iran nuclear deal which leading Israelis describe as far worse than the last bad one, we Israelis know we stand alone.
Those dreadful words “Never Again” seem to be happening again.
Who will the United States or Europe sanction when the nuclear hammer comes down on Israel? Who cares? Israel certainly doesn’t.
That’s why Israel has no faith in Western sanctions. We already know that no one will come and fight with us for our existence as the only truly democratic state in the Middle East because the West has shown us it hasn’t got the spine to stand with a democracy against a massive Communist aggression within Europe.
If the West is not willing to stand there, it certainly won’t stand here.
For Israel, Ukraine was a test case, and the West failed that test.
Barry Shaw is the Senior Associate of the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies.