The "Why You Were Wrong About Ukraine and Will Be Again" Megathread

“There will be no invasion,” they said. “Putin is just sabre-rattling,” they told you. “It’s just Biden trying to escalate the situation so he can look good by defusing it,” they explained.
Anti-establishment voices on both Left and Right - voices of reason - urged us to be careful. They argued, often convincingly, that Russia must not be provoked, that concessions must be made to secure peace.
And you believed them.
You believed them for the same reasons I would have believed them.
You believed them because the establishment voices keep lying to you.
You believed them because you know that Western leaders are corrupt, dishonest, war-mongering incompetents who have led us into a series of pointless, counterproductive wars.
You believed them because you don’t want a confrontation with a nuclear superpower on the other side of the world over some piece of land you’d struggle to find on a map.
And they were making good points, were they not?
Surely, they were right when they explained that the reason all of this is happening is the “ever-eastwards expansion of NATO”? “We musn’t poke the Russian bear,” as one friend put it.
And aren’t we, here in the West, guilty of the same, or worse?
Sure, Russia annexed a piece of Ukraine in 2014 and orchestrated a civil war in the country’s eastern regions but what about Iraq, Syria, Libya and Afghanistan where our involvement has killed more people for no discernible benefit to anyone except ISIS and the Taliban who…
…thrived in the chaos we created?
And isn’t it true that people in Eastern Ukraine are mostly Russian-speakers? Isn’t it true that they voted in referendums for their right to self-determination? Isn’t it true that these lands were historically part of Russia?
Wasn’t, in fact, Russia founded in Kiev, today’s capital of Ukraine?
There will be no invasion, in other words. And if there is, well, it’s Russian land populated by Russian speakers who want nothing more than to be rightfully reunited with their historic Motherland.
This narrative is persuasive precisely because it contains grains of truth. It is true that NATO has expanded eastwards since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
It is true that American and British interventions in the Middle East were calamitous – that’s why we, that is you and I, opposed them at the time.
It is true that people in Eastern Ukraine speak Russian, that referendums were held, that these lands used to be part of the Russian empire and that the history of what we now call Russia began with the Kievan Rus.
But to leave the discussion here is myopic and absurd.
[skip this bit if you’re uninterested in the intricacies of Russian and Ukrainian cultural and linguistic history:
Addressing these “truths” in reverse order, the suggestion that Russia is entitled to invade Ukraine because the capital of a 9th century Viking colony from which the modern Russian state descends was in Kiev is like saying Germany is entitled to annex Austria due to their…
…shared history, language and culture. Given the historical parallels of such an argument, I doubt anyone would make it today.
It’s true that many people in eastern and southern Ukraine speak Russian. My aunts, uncles, in-laws, cousins and nephews are among them.
Some of them are pro-Russian, some pro-Ukrainian. Speaking the Russian language does not mean unequivocal support for a Russian invasion. People in Ireland speak English – does that mean they support an English invasion?
Some fantasists even manage to combine the argument that parts of Ukraine are Russian-speaking with the simultaneous claim that Russian speakers in these parts of the country are “marginalised and oppressed”.
“Everyone speaks Russian,” goes the argument, “which is why Russia is entitled to invade” but, at the same time, “even though everyone speaks Russian, they’re all oppressed”.
As a Russian speaker who speaks no Ukrainian whatsoever and has travelled all over Ukraine, I have never experienced any prejudice or discrimination and nor have my Russian-speaking friends and family.]
I could go on about how referendums held under the barrel of a gun might not necessarily reflect the actual wishes of the people, but to you, a Western reader, this is all irrelevant and rightly so.
It is not the job of Western governments to do what is right for Konstantin Kisin’s family or even for the people of Ukraine. The job of our government is to secure and protect our interests, which is where the truth of this conflict is revealed.
The reason NATO is expanding eastwards is the desperation of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and other countries in the region to secure themselves against inevitable Russian aggression. They too have Russian-speaking minorities who can be weaponised against them.
They too were part of the Soviet empire after being invaded and annexed by Stalin while Europe was busy with Hitler.
The people in these countries understand something very few Westerners do: Russia is not a bear to be pacified.
Russia is a hungry wolf who cares not one bit about your protestations, your pathetic sanctions or your naïve appeals to morality.
The crisis in Ukraine is a symptom of a far bigger problem, one about which I have been warning for some time: the West is divided, distracted and weak.
A terrible pandemic has ravaged the minds of Western elites for decades, turning us into a self-loathing, nihilistic people whose main preoccupation is self-flagellating while hypnotically reciting the wrongs of our past.
It does not matter how much economic, military or technological power you have if you are unwilling or unable to use it to achieve your objectives.
The reason Russia invaded Ukraine and will continue its expansionist policies is the same reason why China is expanding into the South China Sea and moving in on Taiwan: BECAUSE THEY CAN.
While here in the West we talk endlessly about equality, diversity and social justice, in the rest of the world, things are much simpler. People respect strength and despise weakness.
And the more weakness, fear and hesitation the West shows, the worse this problem is going to get.
The events of the last few days are not the beginning of the end or even the end of the beginning of this broader geopolitical struggle.
They are a sign that the disease of the Western mind has metastasized sufficiently and our enemies know it. The collapse of the West is coming and, save for a miraculous recovery, there’s nothing any of us can do about it.
P.S. I am aware that in the desire to avoid facing this simple truth, it will be tempting to dismiss this as a knee-jerk overreaction.
I myself wish that it were but sadly I have been warning about this for many years to apathetic nods of bored agreement from people who really should know better.
This was recorded in mid-2019. To be clear, @JohnAndersonAO is not one of the apathetic nodders - he clearly gets it!
You can follow @KonstantinKisin.
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