Editorial: Putin’s folly, anachronistic NATO and everybody’s problem

DHL Panama
An editorial about war illustrated by THIS, rather than scenes of death, destruction, suffering and/or glory? What gives? Unless some world leaders go terminally crazy and launch all-out nuclear destruction, the effects that we see online from Ukraine will not be replicated here. But consider other fronts of the conflict. German-based DHL is, like many others, caught in the reciprocal Russian and Ukraine supporters’ bans on flying through their airspace. Those prohibitions radically affect much of the world’s logistics. Russian billionaires may find their money suddenly unwelcome in much of the world. Global gas and energy trade is disrupted, so fuels will be taking different routes to different markets. Panama and Russia are parties to the Panama Canal Neutrality Treaty, which means that Russian ships can use our canal without discrimination. On several other scores, Panama is and will be affected as a maritime and air transport hub, and as a financial center. We shouldn’t pretend that it’s far away and can be safely ignored. DHL Panama photo.

It’s early, but we may get some peace and justice yet

The Ukrainian leader rejected the Russian leader’s offer to go to Minsk to be disappeared. They then sent teams to talk on closer to neutral ground, and it may be that the Ukraine war will be over before the next editorial page of The Panama News appears. At least we can hope.

However, while the talks and consultations are underway, the killing rages on at full ferocity. Ukraine’s hospitals are running out of supplies to treat the wounded. It’s Hell on Earth.

Kicked out of FIFA, expelled from the Olympics, cut off from the world’s bank transfer system, banned from the airspace through which Russians would fly to most places they’d want to go, gas sales to Europe in doubt – those are painful enough to Russia. But notwithstanding all of the arrests and intimidation, a widespread new antiwar movement showed itself in Russia, and that’s even without an ignominious battlefield defeat of the sort that sparked the country’s 1905 and 1917 revolutions. It adds up to an incentive for even worse behavior out of Putin, so that he might save some appearance of victory from the carnage he unleashed.

If a settlement is reasonably favorable to Ukraine and its president, there will also be consequences on the other side of the ledger. In any case, Americans and their leaders need to think about a changed world.

• Russian aggression would have been stopped without NATO having played such a decisive role. Old Cold War formations may still be popular with US neoconservatives, but they’re proving to be superfluous appendages in the scheme of world opinion. Putin can issue a stern warning to Finland and Sweden? They don’t have to join the 1949-vintage alliance to deal with it. Russia attacks a Ukraine that’s not actually in NATO? If Putin fails that’s a demonstration that Zelensky doesn’t need that crutch.

• Israel didn’t side with Ukraine’s Jewish president. The United States continued to support Saudi Arabian bombing of Yemen as Russia was bombing Ukraine, but the Saudis took Russia’s side in the conflict.

• Most of the world’s fascists were for Russia, while only the planet’s most out-of-date communists jumped on Putin’s bandwagon.

• Lots of people with various ideas in lots of places, however, had no use for Putin and his offensive but took the occasion to point out the US hypocrisy inherent in criticizing any other country for invading another. “Regime change” politics have become passe on the world stage.

• From a recent Miss Ukraine to an 80-year-old man, Ukrainians heeded Zelensky’s call to arms en masse? The stuff of glorious war propaganda, but “people’s war” is also the tragic democratization of warfare’s casualties. If you understand Mother Russia and her sword on Mamayev Hill, and know about how many died on that battleground in the former Stalingrad, it ought to give you pause to consider.

Let’s hope for peace, demand it, pray for it if that fits our beliefs, but understand that old war and peace equations have changed on many sides. It’s time for dogs old and young to learn new tricks. Mainly, how to get along.



It is better to have dreamed a thousand dreams that never were than never to have dreamed at all.

Alexander Pushkin


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Isabel Allende


We all have ability. The difference is how we use it.

Stevie Wonder


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Simone de Beauvoir



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