I have been intrigued at the interest and concern that Black people around me are expressing towards Ukraine. Not movement folks, the usual suspects. I’m talking about people waiting in the grocery line, at the gas pump, on class alumni calls. Intrigued, not because I think we are don’t care about foreign affairs but because working class Black folks are shouldering so much right now.

In addition to showing compassion for those victims of Russian military aggression, Black folks seem to be clear that Ukraine is between a rock and a hard place. Russian is the rock and the United States is the hard place. Two superpowers going at each other in ways you can’t see unless you have special anti-imperialist glasses.

President Biden and his hawkish colleagues are coolly playing their role. Out of one side of the mouth are flowery declarations about democracy and the support for Ukraine to be a sovereign country. On the other side of his mouth, Biden talks tough about punishing Putin. Not by fighting Russian directly but by using Ukraine to duke it out.

What price will Vladimir Putin pay? Nothing Biden said stopped the largest conventional military invasion in Europe since World War II. Russian troops have bombed everything from civilian neighborhoods to water supply stations to churches. Cities are being bombarded, religious and cultural treasures destroyed. Biden’s threats have been lost in the thunder of Russian shellings.

The president knows the majority of this country does not have an appetite for war. While Biden has not sent American troops to Ukraine yet, he has continued funneling military aid and equipment. Over $650 million to be exact - the most ever given to Ukraine in one year, according to the U.S. State Department. And more is coming. Congress is being asked to allocate another $10 million of our tax dollars in security, humanitarian and economic support to the country.

More than 2 million Ukrainians have become refugees, fleeing their homeland as cities come under siege. It’s generally women and children who burden the toll of dislocation. The scenes of crying children being separated from parents to be sent to foreign countries is gut-wrenching.

Meanwhile in the West, particularly in the U.S., people are rebelling against safety measures that would put a deadly pandemic in check. When I heard that 500+ semi-trucks and other vehicles were going across the country headed to Washington D.C., it provoked an ominous image of comparison. That of the 40-mile Russian military convoy of tanks, armored vehicles and other weapons of mass destruction poised to assault Ukraine. Angry truckers demanding freedom from mask mandates while the Ukrainian people prepared to defend their country from a bullying superpower seemed, well - seemed trivial. Petty.

The citizens of Ukraine are putting up a good fight; they have a lot to lose. The ending to this story is not clear but a military solution imposed by a Russian dictator doesn’t bode well for the self-determination of the Ukrainian people.

BlackCommentator.com Editorial Board member and Columnist, Jamala Rogers, founder and Chair Emeritus of the Organization for Black Struggle in St. Louis. She is an organizer, trainer and speaker. She is the author of The Best of the Way I See It – A Chronicle of Struggle. Other writings by Ms. Rogers can be found on her blog jamalarogers.com. Contact Ms. Rogers and BC.

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