Right now, everyone is aware that Putin has made the implicit threat that if there is any outside interference in his illegal invasion of Ukraine - he will unleash hell on Europe. The spectre of effectively beginning World War Three.
But we also know that he, Putin, might decide to invade another country anyway, one that used to be annexed to the old Soviet Union, which is now a part of NATO, which is effectively the same thing - World War Three.
We fervently hope Putin won't do that and we mutter, re-enforcing comments like; "of course he won't - he's not that stupid". But many were saying precisely the same thing about Putin invading Ukraine two weeks ago......and eighty-three years ago, about Hitler.
So we stand on the sidelines, watching in macabre horror, Ukrainians (which everyone has voiced and acknowledged "they are fellow Europeans.") being systematically destroyed by Putin's hugely superior Russian Armed Forces.
Yes, we in the West have issued sanctions against Russia and some Russians - harsher sanctions than ever before. Yet, the shattering of personal livelihoods, the wounding, the pain, the indiscriminate destruction of property and loss of innocent life continues.
The psychopathic arrogance of Putin has, by all accounts, astounded even his own close allies.
My immediate thought process is - "what if that were me - a Ukrainian in my homeland - how would I want others to act or react?" (Not like our Home Secretary - that's for sure.)
So what we in the West are effectively saying - "Ukraine - we like you, admire you, and we are on your side, but we will wait on the sidelines and watch you being destroyed and just hope and keep our fingers crossed that Putin doesn't invade any other country?
Now - I don't know how that sits with anyone else, but it leaves me feeling decidedly uncomfortable and somewhat ashamed. Common sense tells me we definitely don't want World War Three - but my conscience asks me, perhaps not doing the right thing is even worse?
I hate the thought of war more than I can put in words - but isn't our fight for "civilisation" even more important? - for our own souls even.
What would our brave war-weary forefathers tell us now if they could? Avoid war at any cost? Or - avoid war at all costs where possible but always stand up to psychopathic dictators - because if you don't, that will hurt you much more in the long run.
Rikki - Suffolk - UK - 2nd March - 2022