What is Ukraine’s history? Here is an 8 minute PBS video on the topic which is very interesting.
Several commentaries about Russian disinformation have come by recently. I invite you to read them. I have some personal comments at the end. This is not a simple topic.
A couple of days ago a long-time friend sent the following to two of us. We all generally agree on things political. The article is here, translated from the original Russian. The pull quote from the article is hers:
“Everything that Russia has done for the West, it has done at its own expense, by making the greatest sacrifices. The West ultimately rejected all these sacrifices, devalued Russia’s contribution to resolving the Western crisis, and decided to take revenge on Russia for the help that it had selflessly provided. From now on, Russia will follow its own way, not worrying about the fate of the West…”
A day later came another, a post in Politico, from an activist friend, about youth in Russia (if you’re 22 or less the only Russian President you’ve probably ever known is Putin, who’s been President all but four years, 2008-2012,` since 2000.)
Today, yet a third, from “The Weekly Sift”, a thought out commentary titled “Why the Russians did it”.
There are more, but let these suffice for now.
My earlier posts on the topic are here (the first Feb. 16).
I was surprised that the Russians actually invaded Ukraine. I have not been surprised by the atrocities and the disinformation.
In my opinion, President Biden’s administration of the horrible situation has been admirable. Of course, there are endless opinions about that. The presidency is a lonely place. The restraint by the president, means we have so far avoided a broader and even deadlier war, notable after over a century of deadly wars. [April 11: Heather Cox Richardson has an excellent column about the press and Biden, here.]
It is easy to kick around the United Nations but the assorted coalitions which have evolved with the UN over the years have done and are doing yeoman service under awful conditions, and not only with respect to Ukraine. Without the UN and the abundance of other organizations, like WHO etc, the situation would be much worse.
My country, the United States of America, enters this conflict without clean hands – something easy to ignore when things are cast as good versus evil, and evil is always the other party.
The U.S. is given considerable credit for the perfection of propaganda, going way back to the yellow news media, Pulitzer, Hearst et al, and the campaign eliciting citizen support for World War I through the Creel Committee. One character on that committee staff has always fascinated me: Edward Bernays. His expertise in manipulating public opinion was copied by others, like Joseph Goebbels. We Americans are hypnotized by advertising, which is propaganda, pure and simple.
Most of the codes of conduct for war, like the Geneva Convention, and terms like “war crimes”, are largely inventions around the 20th century. Before 1900s, brute power ruled. So it was considered fair game to depopulate our country of its indigenous persons. That didn’t meet the definition of genocide, which came later.
The 20th century was the century of making war more and more deadly, especially to civilians.
We can’t avoid talking about our role in Vietnam, and later Afghanistan and Iraq. Etc. But these topics almost never come up in any context from any quarter these days. But they’re in the very near background – out of sight, but not out of mind.
And, of course, the United Nations was never designed to have united power. Five nations: the U.S., United Kingdom, France, Russia and China, have power of veto over most anything of substance. The rules do not apply to those five, the winners of WWII. This was intended at the start, and hard to change.
And when the 45th president of the United States took office, he clearly favored authoritarians like Putin. He ran for reelection and got 74,000,000 votes, and while he lost by 8,000,000 he will never admit it. And people are still covering for him. This says too much about our own citizenry.
There are lots of valid reasons for an American to be cynical about America at this point in our history.
I am an American, and I give a damn. I respect my country with all of its abundant faults, which I think we have to acknowledge and deal with.
I have long been active in an organization now called Citizens for Global Solutions which has a very long history. Both the State and National work at being a voice for positive change in our world. We are a small voice, but we are a voice. Take a look at both state and national and consider getting involved. see the most recent national newsletter which has some excellent commentaries. Some food for thought.
Putin and Russia are serious problems, but ‘we, the people’ are an even larger problem, and paradoxically the only solution to our current malaise.
Be on the court as an individual. It’s the only solution.
That’s my opinion. What’s yours?
COMMENTS (more at end of post):
from Carol: This is my 2 cents, and you likely won’t agree with me. It’s long – please free to share all, part, or none at all. I think we as a country have to get more involved – with overwhelming Ukrainian air support, not the “boots on the ground” stuff. The Ukrainians are doing an awesome job on the ground themselves. And I have now sent a message saying that to my senators, representative, and the White House.
from Terry and Andy to the Peacemakers group, meeting today (April 12):
The Left has to Recognize Russian Imperialism in Ukraine or it is Trapped in Americocentrism
It is tough for leftists to be on the same side as the mainstream. We can easily feel at those times that we’re missing something, that we’re letting down the struggle, that by ganging up even on an admittedly bad actor we’re helping strengthen the nemesis at home, allowing it to appear as the good guy.