JIM FURLONG | Good Guys Don’t Always Win

*Originally published in our June 12-18, 2022 issue

The race does not always go to the swiftest or so we are told in Ecclesiastes. The cold reality is that it usually does and smart money bets it that way. 

Those words are a grim reminder that the bloody war in Ukraine continues to ooze across that smashed nation and there seems no sign in sight of the Russians even thinking about a cease fire.

Moral support for Ukraine fighters after the Russian invasion is all over the place but they, the Ukrainian fighters,  are essentially on their own. I know you do not like to hear that, in fact I don’t like writing it; but it is true. Also true is that as horrible as it is in Ukraine the lead story these days is from Texas and yet another attack by a gunman on children. Such is news.  

Uneven Struggle

Now the last two world wars were settled and won by the guys with the most men and the most bullets. You look back to history and it is but a rare conflict where that does not happen. The great exception was Vietnam where the Americas were beat up despite the fact they had every weapon on the face of the earth but lost anyway because they just were not sure where to point those guns. That tragic war was fought in jungles often and all solders were not in uniform. 

It was an uneven struggle in terms of weapons, but it was not at all like the Ukrainian situation. Russian invasion is more a conventional battle where raining firepower on towns and cities is not necessarily doomed to failure.

Fighting Alone

Moral condemnation of the Russians will not win the war. In the absence of a sea-change in how the war is going the Russians should win because the Ukrainians are fighting alone. Yes, generous nations like Canada are doing what they can to help with weapons and sheltering people forced from their homeland. It is admirable and they are doing remarkably well at saving people, but I am reminded of what Winston Churchill said after the Allies were squeezed and driven out of Europe by the Germans at Dunkirk. While England marvelled at how the English were able to get many soldiers out of harms way, he said, ‘’ Wars are not won by evacuations “ 

path of victory

I look at the situation and I watch the Russians and I watch the battles and I wonder where the path of victory lies without the current limited war becoming something else. How long does the informal coalition of forces against the Russians hold? Ukraine will continue to exist I expect but not with its present borders. That is not a popular position but in war the good guys do not always win. 

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