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The Quislings Turn on Zelenskyy

R. Emmett Tyrrell on

Washington -- Well, now that Americans have had an opportunity to think about the war in Ukraine, cooler heads are coming to the fore. Or they think they are cooler heads. Last week, in Washington, there gathered a collection of cooler heads to consider what to do about the war. There was Sen. Rand Paul. There was the editor of the Federalist and TV commentator Mollie Hemingway. They are always worth listening to. Yet, in this war, evil men are doing evil to peaceful people. Much of the world has been roused against them. It is time for all the world to take a stand. I wish I could launch a witticism or two about them, but now is a time for sobriety. Atrocities committed in time of war and against civilians do not invite humor.

My British friend, Andrew Roberts, the Churchill biographer, spoke at a conference of conservatives in Brussels recently, and his remarks were reprinted in The Wall Street Journal over the weekend. He reminded the assembled that there are times when conservatives are duty-bound to stand out and speak up. Roberts was disappointed in his remarks by people like David Stockman, the budget director under President Ronald Reagan, who, by the way, had a spotty career with the Old Cowboy. In his own words, Reagan "took him to the woodshed" on at least one occasion. It is time for Stockman to return to the woodshed.

Provoked by Stockman, Roberts elaborated, "Sometimes I feel that there are some in our movement who enjoy being contrary for its own sake -- out of perversity or a desire for attention -- regardless of the cost to the wider movement and how it looks to ordinary people. They fail to heed the enormous damage done to the right in denouncing Mr. Zelensky and the favorable opinion that is strongly held by many millions, perhaps billions, of people around the world who have been profoundly moved by Ukraine's plight."

What did Stockman say of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy with other quislings presumably chiming in denouncing the Churchill of our time? Stockman said, "We were already getting sick and tired of this Zelenskyy clown." Clown! Stockman went on, "Zelenskyy should resign and make way for a collaborationist government that will sue for peace." Collaborationist! After all, Ukraine's present government is composed of "anti-Russian fascists and oligarchs." Stealing yet another line from President Vladimir Putin, Stockman added that Ukraine is not a real country and has no claim to sovereignty.

The language employed by Stockman has a Vichy-like quality to it -- for instance, "collaborationist" and when Stockman speaks of Putin's interest in territorial acquisition. Adolf Hitler used a more compact word, "Lebensraum." Still, I think Stockman's move to the Vichy right could have waited a few weeks. There were others who joined him. One was Rep. Madison Cawthorn, the youngest current congressman, who called Zelenskyy a "thug" and said that the "Ukrainian government is ... incredibly evil, and it has been pushing woke ideologies."

As I say, these quislings came out against Zelenskyy at a less than auspicious time for them. First, there was Zelenskyy's superb interview with Bret Baier on Fox News last week. Zelenskyy came across as reasonable and sympathetic, not beating his chest, only calling for that which he and his countrymen had earned. That is to say, a country free of Russian invaders and at peace with the world. Second came the revelations of the weekend. After Ukrainian troops pushed back the Russians in Bucha, a suburb of Kyiv, they found civilian corpses strewn throughout the city, most showing signs of having been tortured. There were landmines the Russians had hidden in homes and within the corpses. Women had been raped in front of their children. Men had been executed with their hands behind their backs. Instead of fighting their enemies, the Ukrainian military, the cowardly Russians committed crimes against humanity as they fled, but flee they did.

 

Andrew Roberts is right in his summation. Says Roberts, "The martyrdom of Ukraine and the Churchillian leadership Mr. Zelensky and his people are showing has changed the political landscape. If we believe in uniting the right, and especially if we want to do it when the left is so disunited, now is the time for open-hearted and full-throated support of Ukraine and its leader."

As I have been ending this column for weeks: Glory to Ukraine!

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R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator. He is a Senior Fellow at the London Center for Policy Research and the author most recently of "The Death of Liberalism," published by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Copyright 2022 Creators Syndicate, Inc.
 

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