Ukraine Conflict a Manifestation of Leftist Ideology

Ukraine Conflict a Manifestation of Leftist Ideology. By The Readers Turn.

(The writer wishes to keep their name private due to fear of reprisal from their institution in East-Central Europe. The writer has taught political science and international relations at universities in Poland, Russia, the Czech Republic, and the United States since the 1990s.)

Russia’s attack was not only predictable and predicted; it was also avoidable and permitted contrary to warnings of responsible scholars and statesmen. …

Regardless of the outcome of this war (and Russia appears to have overreached seriously), it has squelched any possibility of Ukraine joining NATO and ensured another neutralized buffer. We knew that NATO would not defend Ukraine. So why did we not listen to respected authorities warning us to take Ukraine’s NATO membership off the table and take Russian security concerns seriously?

President Donald Trump had signalled that Ukraine would not join NATO absent a Russian provocation. He too, played a weak regional hand skillfully and prevented precisely today’s confrontation.

The post-World War I settlement should have taught us the consequences of humiliating a defeated adversary (a status our actions have given to Russia, despite rhetoric about everyone having won the Cold War) by boxing him into a corner and poking him with a stick unless you expect him to lash out in a fury.

The corollary recklessness to threatening Russia was enticing Ukraine: dangling NATO membership that we never intended to grant. Now we encourage the Ukrainians to fight alone for uncertain ends, precipitating death, destruction, and homelessness, though we ourselves are unwilling to defend them or suffer these consequences.

The left led them on:

But this reaches deeper than security issues. For years, we have told this deeply divided nation that our prerogative is to mould its identity and circumscribe its allegiances. Historically and culturally, Ukraine is a profoundly torn nation that undeniably has at least as much in common with Russia as with the West. After all, Ukrainians elected a pro-Russian government in 2010.

Yet we made clear that only the Western-liberal-secular side of their national identity is acceptable. We will not permit them to also be an Eastern Slavic Orthodox nation because that larger identity is distasteful to our elites. We sent that message starkly by engineering the coup that overthrew their democratically elected government in 2014.

The European Union (EU) has been an auxiliary partner in NATO’s maneuverings: holding out yet another false hope of membership and using that hope as leverage to drive a wedge between Ukraine and Russia, with enormous dangers for Ukraine. This message was likewise starkly conveyed in 2014 when the EU presented Ukrainians with an ultimatum to sign a cooperation agreement but only if they refused a similar agreement with Russia. Historian Stephen Cohen believed this ultimatum triggered the crisis of 2014.

So Russia is not the only hegemon playing power politics at Ukraine’s expense. We — the U.S., NATO, the EU — have not invaded Ukraine, but we have manipulated it as a pawn to augment our own position, and then, when the worst came to pass, we left Ukrainians to bear the consequences alone. If Ukraine now feels used and betrayed, they have a reason. …

All this hardly gives Russia the right to invade a sovereign state. But rights have little to do with international politics, as 2014 demonstrated. Perhaps the greatest crime in all this — the massive self-delusion that must be forever debunked by this crisis because it will find other opportunities to destabilize the world — is sucking Ukrainians and others into our make-believe moral universe that reifies mental constructions like “international law” and “human rights.”

These ideals are worthy in their place, but it is foolish to pretend they have some magical power to supersede the concrete interests of powerful nations. We might equally ask what moral right the West has to mobilize intergovernmental organizations, intelligence services, government propaganda machinery, media, and even universities to send other people into a devastating war that they can never “win” in any meaningful sense. …

When NATO stands aloof and reneges on whatever implicit security guarantees it proffered, Ukrainians become embittered, calling NATO “weak” and cowardly for refusing to risk nuclear war. …

The left-liberal global agenda (now going down in flames):

So what is so important about bringing countries like Ukraine into NATO in the first place, with the added illusion that they are Western liberal democracies? …

Is it … because NATO is not only an alliance but also an “organization” — a bureaucracy fearing obsolescence, in need of a new purpose, and finding one not only in war but also as yet another vehicle for woke social transformation? The illegal 1999 bombing of Serbia (in the name of international law) dispelled any illusion that NATO remains a purely “defensive” alliance (and the Iraq war undercuts any such argument about the U.S.). …

Foreign policy establishments and intergovernmental organizations like the United Nations, EU, and NATO are easily “woked” because they are aloof from the scrutiny of domestic constituencies and electorates. What agendas preoccupy the State Department, Pentagon, and NATO? Understanding perennially unstable and volatile regions? Or “redefining” global security according to radical agendas like global warming and gender equality?

Is it really ideals of freedom and democracy espoused by Ukraine’s patriots (and by others on their behalf) that are at issue? Or is it the Western elite’s own imperial designs to acquire satraps in aspiring liberal democracies — and then pressuring them to become liberal-left democracies, with all the baggage that carries for the traditional, overwhelmingly Christian peoples of Eastern Europe?

As Patrick Deneen asks: “If our countrymen and children will be asked by the laptop class to fight and die mostly for them, we rightly ask — for what are they to die? Is it the ‘classical and Christian’ civilization that fought and defeated fascism and communism? Or is it on behalf of … a toxic liberalism that today drapes itself in Ukrainian flags, but will tomorrow denounce the very idea of the nation, particular cultures, and Christianity, discarding Ukraine’s blue and yellow for a rainbow flag, and turning on the Ukrainian churches in whose crypts its people are sheltering?”

Zelenskyy and Ukraine surely grasp that they have been used to serve imperial liberalism. …

Russia has engineered another “frozen conflict.” Making accommodation with invaders is bitter. But it is Western ideology and duplicity that will work further mischief globally.

US Embassy in South Korea

Not “World War 3”, but “World War Gay” or even “World War T” (trans).