Submitted by Marina Levine, Greenwich
GoFundMe’s largest fundraising effort to date has been the #StandWithUkraine campaign-raising over $35 Million. As of March 6 , 20K foreign fighters signed up to fight and serve in Ukraine. Civilians and nonprofits all over the world have come together to raise incredible sums of money. They have also been instrumental in building out evacuation routes, creating networks to accept refugees, filling containers with tactical gear and first aid. The international civilian community has unified the entire world on the behalf of the Ukrainian people and in hopes of preventing WWIII.
I was born in Leningrad-now St. Petersburg, and the former Soviet Union. My husband was also born in the Soviet Union, in Lviv, Ukraine. We have watched with horror as our homeland simultaneously burns to the ground while defending themselves from one of the world’s most heinous nuclear powers.
The United States has done a great job in collaborating with NATO countries and our allies in sending a singular message to Putin. Unfortunately, Putin’s short-term goals are minimally impacted by our actions. Putin and his cronies are poisoned by power.
There has not been one shred of evidence that rational thought would prevail in Putin’s head. In fact, at this point I am certain that a rational thought in Putin’s brain would die of loneliness…much like he will and hopefully soon. I am not a foreign policy expert, so I am not going to opine on our strategy up until now. Civilians have become the great crowdfunders of this war. I do not want to think about Ukraine’s ability to hold Russia back if it were not for the moral and tactical support of the global civilian community.
If civilians have figured out how to DIY hack the war effort, then, both, US and global governments need to do more.
I am not speaking of No-Fly Zones and troops on the ground. I am talking about thinking outside of business-as-usual sanctions and military supplies. Give them the planes they ask for. Are we flying drones with missiles on their behalf? Unless the missile is labeled “I am American” who knows and who cares who is flying them.
We have thousands of Russian and Ukrainian speaking troops – give them Ukrainian military uniforms and allow them to rescue trapped Ukrainians.
Are there clandestine missions shoring up Ukraine’s defense? I hope so.
Are we engaging Mark Zuckerberg and weaponizing social media as Russia continues to do and feeding the Russian population the truth via celebrities that the Russian youth care about like K-pop bands?
Arnold Schwarzenegger is a great first, however we need infiltration that speaks to the Russian youth who are willing to die and fight for freedom as they did in 1991.
Omar Abdulaziz, a Saudi activist and friend of Jamal Khashogghi is an expert in infiltrating closed society’s social media platforms-are we using him?
Alexei Navalny, half-starved in prison, is rallying Russia via social media – we need to help him.
And then of course there is the great unifier; Ukraine’s President Zelensky. Take a lesson from him and his ability to be present, youthful and direct on social media in the face of incredible stress. There are hackers who have set up overnight websites that allow us to contact Russian citizens via email, text or WhatsApp regarding the truth about the war. There is so much ingenuity coming from the civilian community. We would like to see the same ingenuity coming from leadership.
Putin is committing genocide. His speed of destruction and escalation is equivalent to those of Hitler’s-utilizing Blitzkrieg strategy and the capture and murder of civilians. We have the largest military spend in the world – yet there are tools we are unwilling to give. In that case what was that spend for? Wasn’t it for exactly this moment in time? We are using Ukraine as a human shield against the world, yet our leaders refuse to acknowledge that. That shield is likely to crack soon. We can NOT allow that to happen!!! We have tools other than NFZs and I hope the US military, Members of Congress and White House start to dig deep into the world of creative, courageous, bold and clandestine action, while also giving Zelensky the help he asks for.
I refuse to accept that by not providing certain military weapons we give Putin reason to believe that we are not escalating. Ukraine is Putin’s enemy because they represent his fear of democracy next door. However, Putin’s #1 enemy is really us and just by our existence Russian propaganda will always paint us as the great provocateur-whether we send in those planes or not. If we fear what he will do if he feels like he is losing, then what exactly are we hoping for from his win?
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