It began a few weeks before Russian forces invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022. People who know me began asking me what I thought of the situation.
I studied that area of the world formally for some years, and I’ve watched with more than the typical American’s interest ever since. So it’s no surprise that virtually every day brought at least one e-mail message, text message, phone call, or face-to-face query from a friend, family member, neighbor, or coworker. What will happen next? How bad will it get? What does Russian autocrat Vladimir Putin want, and how far will he go to get it? Has he lost his mind? What should the US and the rest of the world do — and not do — to stop him?
These queries have become less frequent as the war has proceeded. Inflation, abortion, and the mass slaughter of schoolchildren and teachers are more than mere distractions; they deserve our sober attention too. But most of the questions I’ve heard about Ukraine are still open. I still hear them often, and they still matter immensely.