“And here comes in the question of whether it is better to be loved rather than feared, or feared rather than loved. It might perhaps be answered that we should wish to be both; but since love and fear can hardly exist together if we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince
Machiavelli did recognize complexity in people and had a clear grasp on the concept of “gray” meaning there is a middle between black and white. While he recognized this complexity existed, he also decidedly with intent simplified the public persona of the masses. An individual person may have complexity but the masses are overall simplistic. Which drives leaders to lead with high-level concepts less much of the required details. The details are difficult and messy but the abstract concept is clean, clear, and motivating. For there is good and evil and no in-between for the masses. The truth is that good and evil are intertwined in constant motion. The beautiful fire burns and destroys the log but heats the room. It is destruction and creation all at the same time. That said, we could take a position on the destruction side or on the creation of heat energy depending on where we want to rest our own opinion. With this in mind, Machiavelli simplifies.
“Men are driven by two principal impulses, either by love or by fear.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli, The Discourses
If Putin represents the simplistic view of fear and Zelensky represents love, the world, her people, choose for their own individual purpose which side they choose. This simplistic view creates global sociopolitical drivers which influence leaders, especially in countries where public opinion matters.
Simplicity and passion drive people to illogical and irrational behavior. These behaviors are driven by abstract thinking without emotional connectivity to consequence. These behaviors can also drive emotional decision making which may influence people into a mode of sacrifice.
The truth in Ukraine is not about good and evil. The people of Russia aren’t a single body, they are the masses and multitude of many. Putin has many reasons for driving his agenda through fear in the same way as many other effective leaders over human history used the same tools to wage effective campaigns and gain power and land. Whether Putin accounted for the wall of Ukrainian resistance isn’t relevant as Putin has already caused damage that can’t be repaired. Generations of people across the world will remember these days in the same way that we reflect on wars in our past. As a body, human beings don’t learn from our mistakes. History repeats itself because we can’t remember through our DNA what pain and misery feel like. However, there is always hope.
Hope comes from people who as individuals remember the past. Hope comes from people who as individuals have a vision for their future and the future of generations beyond. Hope comes from people who have risen from tragedy and remember their personal pain.
The news now calls Ukraine and Russia a story of “David and Goliath.” The story of David and Goliath is much more complicated than we were generally taught. David won because he was in a better position to win for many reasons. David also had the right tools and weaponry at the right time. If all things are considered, there wasn’t a good scenario for Goliath to have beaten David. Again, this simplification drives us to pick one side or the other. This conflict in Ukraine is nothing like the story at all. What will happen from here is practically impossible to predict except for one thing. Putin will do what he wants to do until such time, that he cannot do. The people against this aggression will do what drives their passion, until they cannot do. For these people, Zelensky is key.
From Zenesky to the individual person, passion and love convey. For one such person, my friend and recently adopted lil brother, the fire has been stoked.
Zed (alias) is one of the smartest people I have ever encountered. He comes from this region of the world and believes the world must take action to help Ukraine. He believes it to the extent that he is taking action to help.
This image is of Zed on his way while traveling through the airport.
I have intentionally blurred these images because these men are targets even though they are not working in any military capacity.
The power of love is driving people toward Ukraine while the power of fear is driving people out. Our five living generations are now in the throws of textbook history. Zed inspires me. The action he has taken shows incredible courage and bravery in the face of the unknown. As we discussed why he was going, he said “We were taught to never forget the holocaust and many have forgotten but I won’t and it is my turn to help.” He felt the urgency and responsibility to the people. Growing up, he had also seen and experienced regional conflict. For many reasons, he could have been stymied by fear. His feelings of responsibility and love over-powered his fear and drove him towards action. For Zed and his team, I pray for their safe travels, work, and return.
For the rest of us, we can also do something. I’d like to address an important point brought to my attention several times. Why should we send money to Ukraine? What about Africa and all the other people and countries that need money and help? Many charitable organizations have very good intentions and poor execution. Millions of dollars never get to the intended destination. It is important to understand what is happening with the money from end to end. The situation in Ukraine is unique due to the massive logistical challenges and human impact. We can see this invasion impacting 43 million people directly and billions tangentially. I think a call to help gather resources under these conditions makes sense even if the truth is that some monies may never reach the intended destination. I don’t believe Zelensky will build castles with resources coming in to help his people. That is my personal view. It is important to do some homework if you are going to send money and support. Below is a list of organizations that I skimmed from Forbes. The original article and link are attached to the name. Please see below.
The Ukrainian Red Cross
The Red Cross is often on the frontlines of war serving to help those affected by armed conflict. The Ukrainian Red Cross is currently assisting people inside the country by aiding evacuations and providing shelter, food and basic necessities.
World Central Kitchen
World Central Kitchen (WCK), established in 2010, is an organization that deploys chefs directly to disaster areas to provide hot meals to those in need. WCK is currently working in Ukraine and along its borders in neighboring countries.
GlobalGiving Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund
GlobalGiving is raising funds to support locally-led organizations throughout Ukraine. Any donations to the fund will provide essentials for refugees, health, psychological and support and access to education and economic assistance.
Vostok SOS is a Ukraine-based non-governmental organization (NGO) dedicated to assisting areas of conflict within Ukraine. The organization is currently accepting donations to help aid local people, evacuate the vulnerable and provide trauma support after shelling.
Voices of Children
Created in 2015, the Voices of Children Foundation has been providing psychological support to children affected by war in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine through art therapy, video storytelling, mobile psychologists and more. Now, the organization is working to support children across the country with emergency psychological assistance and assisting in the evacuation process.
Donating directly toward the media in Ukraine can help fight against Russian misinformation and keep Ukrainians informed of the latest developments. A GoFundMe has been launched by various organizations to help keep Ukraine’s media outlets running during the war.
Kyiv School of Economics
The Kyiv School of Economics has created an initiative to provide equipment to those directly involved in the war through its charitable foundation. This equipment includes protective kits, such as bulletproof vests and helmets, for groups including the State Emergency Service of Ukraine, the Ukrainian Paramedic Association and the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Forces. As of March 10, it has raised $5.9 million.
Humanity & Inclusion
Humanity & Inclusion (H&I) is an international nongovernmental organization that works to support people with disabilities in areas of conflict, poverty and disaster. H&I workers have arrived in Ukraine to assess how it can help distribute medical equipment, provide post-operative care for the injured and provide mental health support. Donations will go toward supplying emergency kits and rehabilitation and mental health support sessions.
How to Support Ukrainian Refugees
According to a tracker from the United Nations refugee agency, over 2.5 million Ukrainians have fled the country due to the war. Many have fled to neighboring countries, including Poland, Hungary, Moldova and Romania.
Many refugees will be in dire need of basic supplies, food and resources as they’re now forced to rebuild their lives. You can donate to the following organizations to help them do this.
USA for UNHCR
USA for UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency, is raising funds to provide emergency supply kits, helping set up transit centers and providing temporary shelter to help Ukrainians displaced by the war. The organization has created a restricted donation fund where 100% of the donations will go toward supporting Ukrainian refugees. It recently partnered with Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds to match $1 million in donations.
Global Empowerment Mission
This nonprofit has organized a welcome center at the border of Ukraine and Poland. Donated funds will help support refugees with relocation assistance, such as transportation, lodging and airfare; it will also help with other initiatives, including war-zone evacuation of those still in Ukraine and getting aid directly into Ukraine.
Community Organized Relief Effort (CORE)
Community Organized Relief Effort (CORE) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to immediate crisis response. CORE is working in Poland to help support Ukrainian refugees. Donations will go toward providing cash assistance to displaced families and distributing hygiene kits with soap, hand sanitizer, toothbrushes, thermal blankets and other essential hygiene items.
The International Rescue Committee
The International Rescue Committee is a longstanding organization that provides resources to those fleeing countries in crisis, including providing cash assistance, medical treatment and more. The organization is currently on the ground in both Poland and Ukraine to provide support to those who have had to flee their homes.
The Polish Red Cross
As of Feb. 28, most of the Ukrainian refugees have crossed into the country’s eastern neighbor, Poland. The Polish Red Cross has provided humanitarian reception points at Ukrainian-Polish borders to assist those entering with humanitarian aid and medical support.
Donate to the Polish Red Cross. (Note: the website is in Polish, but most browsers have an option to translate pages into English. Donations will be made in local Polish currency, zloty, and will be converted according to your card’s current exchange rate. See here for bank transfer donations.)
Malteser International is the humanitarian relief agency of the Sovereign Order of Malta and is currently involved in relief efforts for Ukraine. The organization is providing food, shelter, emergency medical care and more both within Ukraine and neighboring countries. You can donate specifically to its efforts in Ukraine on the donation page.
Impossible to Predict but Probable to Perceive
A few things to consider from our history of war.
Never lead your soldiers into an engagement unless you are assured of their courage, know they are without fear, and are organized, and never make an attempt unless you see they hope for victory. – Machiavelli
When you engage in actual fighting, if victory is long in coming, then men’s weapons will grow dull and their ardor will be damped. If you lay siege to a town, you will exhaust your strength. – SunTzu
The will of the warrior is more important than the power of the weaponry. A sword held by a person with no will to use it is as useless as a person with no sword at all. If a person exposes their lack of passion to win a battle, the battle was over before it started.
Winning battles and taking over land doesn’t mean that it can be held indefinitely. It will be difficult for Putin to hold it if he can’t win the people over through fear or love. Regardless, if he takes it, there will be some form of ongoing conflict. The people of Ukraine will ultimately decide the outcome of this invasion. It will take a long time for Ukraine to be settled even if Putin leaves the area. It is likely that he will seek to control portions of the country as opposed to the whole of it. This may still result in unending conflict (Gaza Strip) due to the will of the people. It is my hope that people take back their land and drive the invading forces out. The lessons that come from this invasion will inform many leaders on the spoils and spoilage of warfare in modern times. Death will continue for many and life must go on for the people harmed through this aggression. There are no positive outcomes here but we can hope for the lessons here to deter others in the creation of new conflict.
It is important to note that even in modern times, the global population is still limited to the simplicity of right and wrong, good and bad, red and blue, and, black and white. As long as we are limited to this kind of thinking, we are always at risk of mutually assured destruction,
In the meantime, as individuals, we do what we can to help those in need here and now, with the realization of the things we can do.
Much Love – HC