Update From Dale
March 13, 2022
What follows is a long and sobering message we just received from Dale, written and sent to us while he travels from Poland (via Amsterdam) back to Seattle for a brief, but much needed, break from the events of the past two weeks.
——————— Dear Friends of Ukraine, I am creating this post as I travel from Poland to the US for a week of further planning and spending time with my family. I know firsthand how fortunate I am. I attach a picture of a young family also traveling to the US, but without the husband and father. As we walked toward the security checkpoint, the mom reached her hand back, saying “nana, give me your hand”. To me, it spoke volumes. Of these two, I only know that they are traveling to Paris and onward to “America”.
As I write, it is two weeks to the day when I left the Amsterdam hotel early in the morning, for Krakow. I left my suit, shirts, pants, tie, shoes with the young lady at reception. She asked “when will you return for these?” and I turned back, as I was headed to the door, and said, “ask Putin”. I remember her asking “are you alright?”. And I finished by saying “I am, but millions are not.’ I returned last night to the same hotel and the same young lady was at the desk. After a few minutes, Eva said, “wait, I remember you, but you look different, are you ok?”. I reminded her of the brief discussion she and I had about Putin, Ukraine, etc. She had so many questions, and we spoke for quite some time. In the end, she asked, “can these problems reach us here in the Netherlands? .” I asked her if she wanted my real answer and of course she did. My points to her were: the world is dealing with a madman. Poland is at risk. Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia are at risk. So, what should keep him from deciding that all of Europe must be under his control? And furthermore, it is possible that certain parts of the US will join in his logic, so how is the entire world not at risk? I finished by reassuring her, “I am probably just the crazy American – as they refer to me at the Polish/Ukranian border, so please try not to worry.” People are asking me, what do I see as a plausible worse-case scenario? I fear that Putin, backed into a corner as he is, will detonate a battlefield nuclear weapon over a Ukrainian city. This will force the US into a binary situation: retaliate with similar (which are now on submarines out of Bangor), or capitulate and accept his demands. Neither scenario is positive. A retaliation carries concerns of escalation and capitulation will send a clear signal to the world: “you want to protect your borders? You need to have a nuclear weapon.” The member of the European Parliament with whom I flew from Warsaw yesterday commented that discussions are starting about just this topic. Namely, that the only EU country with nuclear weapons is France and they are not always aligned with the EU as a whole, so therefore, “should the EU as a whole acquire nuclear weapons?”. In short, this calls into question the entire security we have enjoyed under the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT). So, I need to bring this post to a close. Perhaps best done by summarizing my Uber ride this morning to the Amsterdam airport. Ali was my driver. Thirty eight year old Iraqi/Russian. His mom is from Moscow, he was raised in Iraq until the war broke out there. As our morning discussion progressed and he learned of my interests in Ukraine, his line of discussion started with “but remember that NATO has provoked Putin for many years.” He absolutely is not a Putin-supporter, but called into question NATO’s expansion. I suggested that one could see it as “expansion” but equally one could see it as “small neighboring countries to Russia seeking security”. He has several valid points, such as the fact that there are so many Ukrainian flags and so much money and resources being garnered for Ukraine, but during the Iraqi war it was almost non-existent. I brought up the Budapest Memorandum with him, at which time we calculated that he was eight years old. That this failure of the West and Russia to protect the sovereign borders of Ukraine will send a message to the world: you need a nuke if you want to protect your sovereign borders. He took this onboard and at the same time he asked me about an Oliver Stone documentary on Ukraine and some details therein. Finally, he brought up corruption and how the Zelenski Administration was so corrupt. On this subject I fully agreed and amplified. I explained that part of my business focus now is to rid Ukraine of these corrupt actors once and for all, during this time of war. Having said that, I continue to try to spread the understanding that Schroeder, ex-Chancellor of Germany continues to be on the Board of Directors of the largest, most influential energy companies in Russia. How can this be possible when the CEO of the same company is sactioned? Where are the demands from the EU and US to shut this down or file charges against him? Ali and I agreed one fundamental, important point. Our debate on a Sunday morning ride to the airport is what was important. Not that we disagreed in some areas, but that we talked. Real talk, not lectures, is what has disappeared in the US. How can we get it back? Finally, what are next steps? First, be informed that Dutch residents are purchasing iodine tablets, should the winds blow in their direction. I suggest the same for US residents in northern areas. Second, the need for aid to Ukraine grows every day. The EU Parliamentarian yesterday noted from his meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine, in Lviv, she says that 200 aid trucks are being sent each day to Ukraine, but 1,000 trucks are needed. This makes our 3-5 trucks look so miniscule. Third, we (ERU) will continue to supply Ukraine with natural gas on a daily basis, so that Ukrainians have heat. Such supplies are approximately $3 million per day and we are hopeful that we will eventually be paid for this gas. Fourth and finally, we will daily attempt to purchase food, consumables, etc and supply to Ukraine across our small border point. The honest truth is this is becoming ever-harder. Daily shopping trips are difficult to fill the trucks. Our recent attempts to purchase from wholesalers resulted more in offers to clear expiring (probably) products such as condiments and instant coffee. To the over 1,100 people who have donated via our site, you can be sure that our team, on the ground in Poland, will ensure that every dollar goes in to Ukraine. If in the end this becomes too onerous, any remaining donations will be passed on to one or more of the large non-profits that are now on the ground in Poland and whom we are advising on how best by get their deliveries across the border. Thank you for supporting Ukraine. Dale