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Opinion: If Putin defeats Ukraine, where will he stop?

Will he learn that he needs only to mention the words “nuclear arsenal” and the West will give in?

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Russian President Vladimir Putin is pictured during a meeting.

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with members of the government via teleconference in Moscow, Thursday, March 10, 2022.

Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik via Associated Press

I respond with my own considered thoughts to Valerie Hudson’s opinion, “On the Polish jets, Romney is wrong and Biden is right.

Those who oppose Sen. Mitt Romney’s plea to send fighter jets to the Ukraine military should consider history. While Hitler and the Nazis in Germany were threatening their neighbors in Europe, leaders of the governments of England and France met in Munich in September 1938 and forged an agreement with Hitler and Mussolini that required the United Kingdom and France to formally ask Czechoslovakia to cede part of its territory to Germany in exchange for peace.

Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain expected that this concession would prevent another world war like the one that devastated his country and much of Europe in 1914-1918. Returning to London, he declared that the agreement would bring “peace in our time.”

Sensing, I suppose, that the Western allies showed weakness, Hitler then invaded Poland, thus beginning World War II. Germany then turned to Denmark and Norway before directing its attack at the neutral nations of Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, before attacking and occupying France, destroying the Franco-Anglo alliance, and leaving Great Britain at great danger

Times have changed, and the risk is greater given Putin’s threat to use nuclear weapons against any nation that gives military support to Ukraine. The threat is on everyone’s mind and appropriately so.

But consider the consequences of letting Putin have his way in Ukraine. Is there any reason to believe that Putin will not set his sights next on non-NATO nations like Sweden and Finland? And then move on to Poland and other NATO countries, until he succeeds in recreating the Soviet Union? Will he learn that he needs only to mention the words “nuclear arsenal” and the West will give in?

Consider further the message sent to other nuclear-weapon states by our inaction. Think of China. Also, Pakistan and India, and perhaps soon Iran and North Korea. I’m convinced that letting Putin win in Ukraine makes the world more, not less dangerous.

It is now time to face down Putin, call his bluff and put an end to this madness. Our leaders must affirm Ukraine sovereignty and send aid, based not on treaty, but on the principles of sovereignty and human rights.

Max J. Evans

Lehi