The conflict in Ukraine is closer than you think

By Brandon Case Special at the Tribune brandoncase98@gmail. com

A bully has surrounded your friend’s house for several months. During this time, he invited other bullies to join him, threatening your friend with their mere presence.

From your comfortable home, a few blocks away, you have noticed what is happening on the surveillance cameras. You’ve warned everyone in the neighborhood that the bully and his cronies are going to break into the house and hurt your friend. You keep saying that.

Finally, the main bully decides it’s time to act. The command is given. The rocks are thrown. Bullies break down the door and enter your friend’s house, intending to make it their own.

Your friend has been in danger for many months and is now in grave danger. What have you done to help him and what are you going to do? Maybe you gave him some expert advice, maybe some weapons to defend himself with, but not really enough. You threaten to drive down the property value of the bully’s house. You pose and say how much harm it will cause the bully.

Your friend is fighting valiantly for his life, but were you really a friend?

This is the situation the world found itself in last week. The question remains: will we continue to give in to the threats of the big tyrants of the world or will we come to the aid of those who have broken free from the grasp of the big bad tyrant?

Ukraine is (was) free from communist oppression for more than 30 years. In Russia, a madman dusts off the iron curtain.

What will the world do? At this point, two days after the invasion, the world’s response has been lackluster at best. Unfortunately, the only language bullies seem to understand is akin to that of Neanderthals.

This has already been done in Czechoslovakia, a country close to my heart. In 1968, the newly appointed leader of the Communist Party in that country, Alexander Dubcek, began implementing reforms that relaxed restrictions, allowing for increased freedom of speech, among other things. Dubcek called it “socialism with a human face”. It became known as the Prague Spring. The Prague Spring lasted only 7.5 months, from January 5 to August 21, 1968, when Soviet tanks invaded Czechoslovakia and hardline Communism was restored (and Dubcek deposed, of course).

Netreby, Czechia (the modern name for the Czech Republic) is separated by 603 kilometers of highway from Ukraine, which sits on the westernmost border of the former free country. It’s a 7.5 hour drive (about 375 miles) – basically the time it takes to drive from Pratt to Denver. In Netreby and other nearby towns live relatives of mine that my wife and I visited in 2019.

I pray for my loved ones there and for adjacent Eastern European countries that Putin’s ambition to recreate the golden age of the Soviet Union does not lead to further inroads beyond borders of Russia.

Again, the question: what are we to do with the bully who attacked not only our friend, but also the principles we hold dear?

Ukraine may be thousands of miles from the United States, but it’s actually close.