Let's be abundantly clear: Vladimir Putin's decision to invade Ukraine has zero to do with defense. It was a calculated move, probably years in the making, to try to reconstitute the Soviet empire that officially crumbled on December 25, 1991.
Those who think you can negotiate with Putin are dangerously mistaken. People like him could care less about the massive loss of life in Ukraine or elsewhere. And, he could care less if his own people suffer dire personal and financial consequences for these actions.
A few hours ago, Putin warned any nation that tries to stop the Russians could be met with severe consequences in "an instant" that does not rule out the use of nuclear weapons. Pray for the people of Ukraine but don't be lulled into thinking this is limited to a country thousands of miles away from the United States and we can just live in our safe bubble.
Because once Putin installs a Russian government in Ukraine and takes over the Black Sea, who and what will stop him from marching similarly into Belarus, Slovakia and Poland for starters?
With Ukraine under attack now, it is not so far-fetched to see other border countries (named above) feel a threat by the Russians, too. On top of that, one also has to to wonder if Viktor Orban, the prime minister of Hungary, will just hand Putin the keys to the country if he asked since Orban very recently has eagerly sought closer ties with Moscow.
A major superpower like Russia with battlefield and long range nuclear weapons - and one that would even consider using them - should terrify every leader of the free world.
And, while Putin seeks to remake the map of Eastern Europe as other dictators have done at various times for many centuries, it's easy to forget for a moment that China's Xi Jinping has his own designs on Taiwan. (Jinping is already demonstrating solid support for Russia's aggression since Jinping wants the same in return if and when he decides to take Taiwan by force in the future).
Putin can't be cajoled or reasoned with and that's what makes him terrifying to the West right now.
The Biden Administration - and any administration that follows - will likely face serious national security issues in Eastern Europe and the Pacific that Americans have not had to face on this scale since World War II.
For now, we just have to hope that the first shot of World War III was not fired in the past few hours.