Ukrainians Die, as Europe Coos

Excuse the lurid title, but it’s only a variant of a headline that appeared many years ago in a New York tabloid: “Mother Dies, as Baby Coos.” I can’t speak for the accuracy of that headline, but today’s variant is, alas, all too valid. Because the fact is that Ukrainian soldiers are dying at the hands of Vladimir Putin’s terrorist hirelings as European states—and the European Union—are engaging the Kremlin with baby talk and diplo-babble.

Twenty-seven Ukrainian soldiers were killed by the terrorists during the cease-fire declared by President Petro Poroshenko more than a week ago (and which he ended on June 30th). Putin and his foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, liked the cease-fire and wanted it to continue. What’s not to like from the Kremlin’s twisted point of view? As the terrorists continued to shoot at Ukrainians, Ukrainian soldiers continued to be sacrificed at the altar of diplo-babble.

Putin’s acquiescence in killing Ukrainians makes sense. After all, he’s demonized them as fascist vermin, and fascist vermin must, as every good Russian knows, be exterminated. European complicity in the killings makes rather less sense. After all, Europe is supposed to be a community of values. Europe is supposed to be committed to the promotion of democracy and human rights. Europe is supposed to be opposed to wars and fighting and killing.

Do European values stop at Ukraine’s borders? Evidently. But then why don’t they stop at Russia’s? Surely the Germans must see that Russia is not exactly a thriving democracy. Surely the French must see that Russia has engaged in an aggression against Ukraine. Or are they really so self-absorbed or dependent on the Kremlin mob that they are blinded to the atrocities taking place in Europe’s back yard?

If so, it’s small wonder that the European Union is experiencing a crisis. Its financial problems can be fixed. The EU’s real crisis is the mismatch between their words, their values, and their actions. If the EU really is a community of values, then it should act like one. If it’s too pusillanimous to defend the values it claims are at its core, then it should abandon all pretense of defending democracy and human rights and reinvent itself as a values-free zone.

If you think Ukrainian lives aren’t worth a café au lait in Paris or a stein of beer in Munich, then please say so. Have the courage to tell the Ukrainians: “You are not worth my comfort. Your lives are not worth the price of a steak frites. Your existence is of less importance to me than the existence of a juicy Schnitzel on my plate.”

So, France, deliver the two Mistral amphibious assault ships to Russia as the Kremlin continues its assault on Ukraine. A few more Ukrainians will die, but the espressos will flow in Paris.

And, Germany, by all means remain committed to sweet-talking Putin, even though you of all countries should know the difference between perpetrators and victims, aggression and resistance, dictatorship and democracy. A few more Ukrainians will die, but the beer will flow in Berlin’s Kneipen.

And, Austria, even though you should remember just what an Anschluss is, keep signing those pipeline deals. A few more Ukrainians will die, but the wine will continue flowing in Vienna’s wine gardens.

What’s not to like? 

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