, 01.24.2022 12:26 PM

My latest: hashtag this, Neville Chamberlains

Now we know how we could have stopped the World Wars.

Just, you know, hold up a piece of paper with a hashtag on it. That would’ve stopped Hitler, big time. Boom. War’s over.

Oh, and make sure to look pretty serious. Don’t smile or anything. Bravely hold up that hashtag, don’t smirk, and make sure to get one of your taxpayer-subsidized staff to snap the historic picture just right.

That — plus the ultimate weapon of mass deterrence, #StandWithUkraine — will shut down Russia’s dictator, Vladimir Putin, every time. He won’t dare invade Ukraine now.

The Ukrainians will really appreciate your courage, too. They’ll stop scrambling to build bomb shelters, and they’ll stop frantically looking for safe places to send their children, and they’ll stop teaching terrified Ukrainians, too young and too old, how to carry a rifle.

They’ll pause, and remember the valour and fearlessness of Canadian Members of Parliament. How those MPs — Liberal, Conservative, New Democrat, it didn’t matter their party affiliation — dared to hold up a piece of paper with a hashtag on it, and stopped a war.

Liberal cabinet ministers Harjeet Singh, Mary Ng, Marco Mendicino . NDP MP Heather McPherson . Conservative MPs Marty Morantz and Cathay Wagantall . Remember those names, because those are the names that will live in history. The ones our children will talk about, for years to come.

They are the ones who stood up with a hashtag. So badass.

Because hashtags work better than any of the alternatives. Hashtags — those words we put up on Twitter, preceded by the symbol usually known as an “octothorpe” and “hash” — are far more effective than anything else these plucky Parliamentarians could have done.

You know, things Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said his country desperately needed from us. Like:

  • Sanctions: As in sanctions against Russia’s vile potentate, and his cabal, before an invasion. Not after there’s an invasion.
  • SWIFT: SWIFT is the international payment messaging system. Cut Russia off from SWIFT, and it will help to cripple their economy and their leaders.
  • Weapons, arms: Specifically, send Ukraine anti-aircraft weapons, drones, air and coastal defence systems, Javelins, Stingers. And arms — and ammunition, and armed drones, long-range counter-artillery radar, electronic warfare capabilities, anti-ship capabilities, and anti-tank and naval mines. Failing that, access to NATO military stockpiles and intelligence. Immediately. Now.
  • Shows of force: Send a message. Russia needs to see American and other NATO cargo aircraft landing every single day, offloading the stuff noted above. Keep showing military might until Putin turtles and returns his troops to their garrisons — far from Ukraine’s border.
  • NATO: Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, then head of NATO, promised Ukraine would become part of the military alliance in 2008 — 13 years ago. Thirteen years later, that hasn’t happened, because member states were afraid of what Putin would do. Well, he’s about to invade anyway — so give Ukraine membership as a deterrent, for the love of God. Because an attack on one NATO member invites a response from all. Or should.

Those are the sorts of things Ukraine wants and needs from us. Those are the things Canada, and its allies, can do. Right now. No delay.

But, by all means, keep flashing those all-important hashtags on Twitter, Canadian Parliamentarians. And don’t worry that the cynics say it is juvenile, and puerile and pathetic. Don’t concern yourself with those (like, say, this writer) who think that Vladimir Putin is laughing at you, waving around a piece of paper, like modern-day Neville Chamberlains.

Because, really, Putin is laughing at you. For real.

Try to make that into a hashtag, boys and girls.

— Warren Kinsella was Jean Chretien’s special assistant


  1. Warren,

    Yup, it’s war that Putin wants — but only for his side — well sorry, it’ll be war for both sides with all of us pitching in. The British will go in first, followed by a United States trying to conceal its tail still between its legs but in we’ll all go in the war against one of the latest incarnations of the Anti-Christ. Aren’t we “lucky” to have so many of them across the globe.

    • Sean says:

      Not a chance. Western countries will barely flinch. Voters in Western Democracies won’t have the tolerance to send troops to stand up for Ukraine. Not after Afghanistan and Iraq…. Not for one minute.

      • David McKeigan says:

        Your suggested actions are excellent. This situation must be stopped in advance and there is no time to waste. Children , seniors and all citizens prayers be with you!

    • Pipes says:

      Again me being the dumbest virus in the lab, thinks that Putin will very soon or has already reached critical mass. It will get to the point that he has to invade Ukraine or otherwise be seen as being bitch slapped by NATO. The evidence being this is all about Putin and nothing else and that’s why this is so particularly terrifying. His ego will be blood thirsty, and after it coagulates, off he trots to Syria….China to Taiwan and who knows what that little North Korean fella will do. All of this may deplete the US and NATO. All of this may happen while the Earth is rotting.
      Well that’s my positive contribution for today. Pass the Tylenol.

      PS-General Patton was right about Russia.

  2. Michael Teper says:

    Let’s not forget that Russia has, uh, nuclear weapons.

  3. Joe who says:

    Show of Force? What exactly could the CAF do in that area? I really like your stuff but I need to point that successive government have under funded the CAF for decades and none more so than the one lead by Jean Chrétien that you worked in. You can not build military capacity over night, as an example the Sea King helicopter replacement which PM Jean Chrétien cancelled and which was restarted under Paul Martin is still not at full operational capability and there are many other examples.

  4. Robert White says:

    My grandfather White was First World War Canadian Infantry and lost one leg fighting in France. My dad was RCAF in the Second World War, but he was stationed in Newfoundland at the RCAF base where training took place.

    I’m not joining the Third World War as I’m too old, but I wouldn’t join any world war even if I was of an appropriate fighting age for that sort of thing.

    Back in the 80s I learned Mechanical Engineering and can no longer understand why people want to destroy things or people. War no longer makes any sense to me whatsoever unless it’s a war against the financial elite .001%.

    Wall Street is the enemy of the people not the Russian Federation or China.


  5. Sean says:

    The war for Ukraine ended last August… When NATO countries completed the surrender of Afghanistan to the Taliban. Putin sees that the timing is perfect. Western democracies don’t have the tolerance for foreign adventures as they once did. There is no chance at all that NATO will do anything serious about this.

    Anyways… the fix is in. Russia is just waiting for the diplomatic people to leave and then they’ll move in on Kiev. I’m actually pretty sure there is a mutual understanding at this point…. Lots of talk about this and that…. to make it look like Biden really cares…. but we all know what’s coming.

  6. Other Sean says:

    Not sure where to start with any sort of counterpoint, but it is clear that Mr. Kinsella has done some fairly serious reading on the required equipment for actually fighting a modern war. The problem arises from his proposition that Canada should send many weapons systems that Canada possesses in name only or not at all. I doubt very much that Canada has any stockpiles of antitank and sea mines that we could send, and while effective at area denial or slowing an advance, there’s the ethical gymnastics that we as a country would have to contemplate once the fighting is over and people try to rebuild their lives in those mined areas.

    Ukraine still uses Russian munitions in everything from their pistols, rifles, machine guns and artillery, so any ammunition type we may have stockpiled will not be compatible. The only thing I can think of is that they could send out Anita Annand with the corporate card and buy up all the 7.62×39 and 7.62×54 from all the local gun stores.

    Putin may think twice if he see’s more than a token amount of fighter aircraft and naval task forces, but nothing from our clapped out air force or navy will cause him to reconsider invasion, not to mention, any other anti aircraft or anti armour systems we have will be 80’s tech at best.

    That said, while I would agree that Wall Street, corporate America and the military industrial complex are chipping away at the American empire, Xi and Putin are gangsters and need to be dealt with in a way befitting of their behaviour.

  7. RKJ says:

    It seems that Putin is seeking to recreate the USSR. In WW11, the USSR lost tens of millions of soldiers and citizens. Apparently, over 90 percent of young men aged 18 to 25 lost their lives in combat (perhaps another reader here can verify this). I understand Putin lost uncles in the war. As well, the USSR government was responsible for executing countless numbers of citizens.

    The USSR, together with the western powers (United States, Britain, Canada) defeated Nazi Germany. None could have achieved this individually. We in Canada and the United States do not have collective memories of being overrun by a hostile army. I understand Putin enjoys strong domestic support for this likely action – Russia now wishes to have “friendly” nations on its borders.

    This does not excuse Putin’s actions but perhaps offers further context to this situation. His personal reasons are likely some combination of venal and altruistic. Protecting Mother Russia provides a very convenient, and saleable, domestic political smokescreen.

    Meanwhile, we have Canadian legislators responding with embarrassing cardboard hashtags….

    We have better leaders in Canada. Where are they?

  8. Ronald O'Dowd says:

    Putin sees it as his destiny to reconstitute the Soviet Union, by force if necessary. We can fight him now or later when they quite deliberately undermine the Baltic States, you know, NATO members. We should have admitted Ukraine in 2008 but we preferred to be cowards…

    As for nukes, Putin doesn’t have the balls as the American sub force would wipe Russia off the face of the earth.

    Evil wins when good people do nothing.

  9. Phil in London says:

    A lot of people seem to be dismissing or dare I say trusting Russia’s interests here. Most of us have never known war myself included. On a bad day we miss out on the second piece of chocolate cake. – I’m kind of okay with that.

    Yes, there are gallant stories about our ancestors hurrying to sign up but normally people don’t join wars, they get caught up in them. It’s not usually a choice.

    I’m not sure comparisons to Afghanistan work either. Ukraine neighbours many democracies that rather feel a closeness maybe even a kinship.

    I agree with Warren’s point that Canada has a moral basis for assisting and stupid hashtags and other messages are not a substitute for paying attention to what is potentially a very serious concern.

  10. David McKeigan says:

    Canada what do we stand for? Warren’s suggestions are all excellent and need to happen ASAP. We can also light a fire under our allies asses as well. I believe the Ukraine gave up it’s nuclear arsenal with the promise that their borders and sovereignty would be respected. Children, Seniors and citizens my prayers go out to you. Hang in, I hope help is on the way.

  11. A. Voter says:

    Western authorities should identify and freeze the assets of all Russians living outside of Russia and say they will stay frozen as long as Putin is the leader of Russia. Let the mobsters and crooked billionaires take care of Putin.

    • Other Sean says:

      Then what of the crooked billionaires and mobsters?

    • Sean says:

      …well naturally! because there is a dainty lineup of friendly guys in good standing, completely acceptable to Western moral sensibilities… all ready to assume the reins of power at a moment’s notice! It would be like the Bachelorette of the Kremlin!

  12. JH says:

    I don’t get why there would be any surprise about these ministers WK named. Basically the same bunch that helped leave our Afghan allies to the tender mercies of Monsef’s Bros. This gang of shites let Silly Servants ( most of them ex-Lib staffers) tie these victims up in red tape for months on end so they wouldn’t have to deal with it during their election call.

  13. The crisis in Ukraine needs to be solved diplomatically. Under no circumstances should Ukraine be admitted to NATO. The Americans have the Monroe Doctrine for the Western Hemisphere. Why would we think that the Russians would not feel the same way about a military alliance being brought to their doorstep? The facts are that we can do nothing militarily to stop Russia. I agree that sanctions are the way to go. We should all hope cooler heads will prevail. The West is responsible for much of what is going on now over there.

  14. PJH says:

    Well said Mr. Kinsella……we know how appeasement of the Nazis and Adolf Hitler on the Sudetenland question worked out so well…..It is indeed time for a show of combined force…..Aggression against a sovereign nation, cannot be tolerated. Period. I agree with A. Voter that one of the most effective ways to bring the Russian bear to heel would be to seize the assets of the Oligarchs…..Putin would be out faster than you can say Yuri Andropov….

  15. whyshouldIsellyourwheat says:

    NATO Expansion: What Gorbachev Heard

    Declassified documents show security assurances against NATO expansion to Soviet leaders from Baker, Bush, Genscher, Kohl, Gates, Mitterrand, Thatcher, Hurd, Major, and Woerner

    Slavic Studies Panel Addresses “Who Promised What to Whom on NATO Expansion?”


    • WSISYR,

      Perhaps I’m too cynical by nature but if it’s correct that western leaders went out of their way never to formulate consequential documents or a written agreement, then that inevitably amply demonstrates the bad faith of those parties.

      That brings up the question of why Gorbachev relied solely on oral representations, if that is indeed the case?

      The other thing is the context which is vital — the 1990s Soviet Union is far more of a legitimate partner than is the 2020s Russia. It would be ludicrous for me to view G’s Soviet Union as a natural hostile power bent on territorial expansion post the unification of Germany. Putin, by all measure, is far more closer to the Hitler mould and needs to be dealt with accordingly.

      As a result, the self-evident bad faith of the Western powers is contextual. No non-NATO expansion assurances need apply to today’s geopolitical environment and the legitimate threat that today’s Putin Russia poses to her neighbours. In short, I don’t care if it was oral or written. With this guy, any and all assurances need absolutely to go by the wayside.

  16. Derek Pearce says:

    Pundits smarter than I have said it’s likely going to take a combination of economic pain for Russians and an ongoing, grinding guerilla-warfare type conflict to bring Putin to heel. But as always Russians have a higher pain tolerance both economically and in terms of bloodshed than Westerners do. I’m pessimistic that Putin can be outlasted on this, sigh.

  17. PJH says:

    It’s clear what is needed here is a dose of reality delivered to Mr. Putin via Irish fishermen…..Not a Chamberlain in the bunch….Makes me proud of me Irish heritage…….:)

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