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  • Writer's pictureBeth Bowen

Freedom Isn't Free

And that isn't a startling revelation by any means.

But it bears repeating. Freedom isn't easy either. It doesn't just grow independently. It requires tending. It requires vigilance.

We see the cost of not attending to freedom and making sure it is defended in Ukraine. Not that the Ukrainians did anything wrong. In fact, I would posit that the Ukrainians are paying the price of others' mistakes and missteps.

When a bully is not deterred, he continues to bully until he is bored. And then his game steps up. He doesn't walk away. He doesn't find a better solution to his emotional needs. He pushes harder. He includes more victims. He employs more methods of bullying.

Putin was not deterred by the US and Europe for years. He tried something, invading somewhere, and was not met with sufficient resistance or consequences. And now he is upping his demands that the world pay attention to him and acknowledge him as relevant.

And I am left explaining to my children why the US doesn't want to just go in with guns blazing and push him back.

If we commit to violence, to military action, to troops on the ground, then Putin has won. He wins the argument that he matters in this world. He wins the appearance of power and influence. He was the one who provoked the US into action. He was strong enough, wily enough, and important enough to move mountains. But only IF we act alone. Only IF we act with matching violence and destruction.

If we continue to gather allies, continue to support Ukraine, and continue to build a better bulwark against further Russian aggression and transgression in the future, then the US does not legitimize any of the current actions of the Russian government under Putin. These actions are not recognized as requiring a war footing with the US. Russia's actions are not identified as something that only the US can meet.

The rest of the world will meet these challenges, together, and map out a better future for billions of people. The US cannot be in that business alone, nor should it be. We are stronger as one of many. We will prevail against one who seeks to find strength in division.

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