If you have even a scintilla of appreciation for freedom and democracy, it’s impossible to watch Ukrainians’ bold defense of their country from the dyspeptic Goliath next door and not feel inspired. President Biden deserves immense credit for rallying the free world to Ukraine’s cause and imposing massive sanctions on Vladimir Putin, but Ukrainians are the ones who are fighting, bleeding, and dying.
It’s tempting to compare them to the 300 legendary Spartans at the Battle of Thermopylae, standing in the gap for liberal democracy, self-determination, and a saner, more just world free of autocrats and wannabe tyrants. Indeed, Ukraine’s democratically elected president, Volodymyr Zelensky, is essentially conducting a real-life reenactment of Air Force One, refusing to abandon his country and its citizens during the conflict—most recently refusing an offer from the U.S. to get out of Dodge
“The fight is here; I need ammunition, not a ride,” he told the Americans, according to the U.S. embassy. Whether that’s a carefully scripted line meant to boost the morale of his people is unimportant. He’s staying in Kyiv and, live or die, he’ll go down as a legend.