For two years, emotion has been driving our prism throughout what should be the most consequential, rational, logical decisions of our lives –  whether or not to go outside, whether or not to breathe free air, whether or not to inject our children with a vaccine.

In calmer moments, we would say, “Yeah, I think I want to hear out all the arguments on this one.” But we didn’t because the emotion of fear took our culture and changed it into something that we would never have accepted and most likely, never have recognized. 


Today, when it comes to Ukraine and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, I can see that we’re headed down a similar path. Here’s what I mean: This time we’re not driven by fear; we’re driven more by empathy. We see horrible images go across our social media feed or on our television screen. We see civilian lives, loss of life. We see absolute travesties that warrant, at some point, a discussion of war crimes. And we’re driven by empathy to do something. You can’t let this continue. We have to do something. And by the way, the emotion of fear is playing a role as well because we sit here and not irrationally fear what Vladimir Putin‘s next move may be. 

I want to be clear about something: I’m not telling you that I believe emotion has no role in life. In fact, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve actually started to appreciate more the role of emotion. There was probably a time when I thought rationality and logic and turning ourselves into essentially automated robots was the best way to achieve a just society. I was wrong. Logic is cold. It has its role, and you can tell anyone who listens to this knows I lean heavily on logic.

But I’ve also come to understand sometimes that the world operates by very simple emotions – fear, strength, weakness, courage. I know that not only is the world explained by emotion, but emotion is important. It makes life richer. It can’t be all black and white. It brings out the colors, and sometimes even though something is irrational, that’s part of being human. That’s part of this life. 

But when it comes to making a decision about whether or not to go to war, one that could result in nuclear war, one whose costs could be incalculable, I do want to be as rational as possible. Emotion, empathy, the humanitarian cause, the pleas of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the words in our mind that carry such heavy impact —  words like freedom, the concept of the underdog – they all lurk, playing on the irrational decision. But I don’t think we can give in to it. I don’t think we should just do something. 

I mean, let’s just put into context what that kind of irrationality leads to, how that kind of irrationality is a false North Star. I don’t hear many calls right now for us to do something in Syria. In Syria, little children are gassed. Chemical weapons. Chemical warfare. They die. They’re disfigured. People die by the thousands in Syria because there’s a civil war between separatists and Bashar al-Assad, the authoritarian dictator in Syria, who, by the way, is backed by Vladimir Putin, who’s being funded and given weapons and supported by Russia. 

A Ukrainian serviceman aims towards Russian positions outside the city of Brovary, east of Kyiv, on March 9, 2022. 
((Photo by ARIS MESSINIS/AFP via Getty Images))

And oh, by the way, one more time: This travesty, these war crimes, this horrible, horrible loss of human life has been going on for over a decade, but we haven’t been compelled by our media. Our brains haven’t given into images to just do something. Why? And don’t think Syria and Ukraine are the only places in the world where horrible things are happening. But I want to be clear about something: That doesn’t mean we don’t do something even if we don’t do it everywhere. I don’t believe that. I don’t think just pointing out our inconsistency says, well, throw up your hands – don’t do anything. 

It just means, hey, recognize we may not be living in the land of principle. We may not be living in the land of reason and logic. On the other side — and it’s weird how political lines are totally scattered right now – I can hear from those on the right who say, “What are you so afraid of? Why are you such a coward? Why does Vladimir Putin scare you so much? We got to go get him.”

I think it’s worth setting aside for a moment, in our own decision-making, about putting American interests first.

 And look, even though I used that voice, I don’t blow off that kind of mindset, either. I love that America irrationally has an empathetic streak to help people, even when we don’t help everyone. I also love that America irrationally sometimes just wants to kick some ass and do the right thing. But I know that those are instincts. I don’t want to rip them out of the human experience. But I also want them to have the steering wheel.

You can’t just go marching boots into Ukraine. You can’t impose a no-fly zone. You have to go through the process of the dominoes of warfare playing out, and you have to try to get inside the mind of your opponent. You do it if you’re playing chess, you would do it if you were on the basketball court. You would do it if you’re on the offensive line facing a defensive lineman. 

You would try to get into the mind of your opponent. What will they do? Will he try a spin move? Which way is he going to cross over, left or right? You would ask yourself what you have to guard, not just to play defense, so that you know how and when to play offense, and you have to do the same thing in warfare. 


What would make Vladimir Putin launch a conventional war against a narrow country? What then would the United States of America have to do? What then would Vladimir Putin do on the escalation scale? Would he employ a nuclear weapon? What then would we do? What would, in that, provoke a 300 kiloton nuclear intercontinental ballistic missile bearing towards Miami? 


I think it’s worth tapping the brakes on we have to do something. I think it’s worth setting aside for a moment, in our own decision-making, about putting American interests first. Ask yourselves what can we see down the road? Because – not to be too cute – love is blind. War should not be blind.

New episodes of “The Will Cain Podcast” are available now and can be at

This article is adapted from Will Cain’s commentary on “The Will Cain Podcast” on Fox News Audio on March 7, 2022.

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