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March 01, 2022

Brave Ukraine Can Unite a Fractured US

But only if we can break the habit of tearing each other apart.

Nothing is as inspiring as the brave Ukrainians fighting against Putin’s brutal invasion. The TV cameras show the expected stream of refugees escaping – mostly women and children, then pan over to the Ukrainian men going back to save their country. Each morning I wake up and quickly check my phone to see if that flag still waves over Kyiv. Like most people I assumed that a Russian blitzkrieg would immediately succeed. I hardly dare to hope. But I do.

Amazingly NATO has come together. Germany nixed Nord Stream 2, made concrete plans including LNG terminals for energy independence from Russia, and began budgeting the 2% of its GDP which is supposed to go to NATO – and released weapons for Ukraine. The sanctions declared by NATO – and others like Japan and even Switzerland – really have teeth. Turkey has indicated it will exercise its treaty rights to prevent some Russian warships from entering the Black Sea. Finland and Sweden are considering joining NATO as it has become clear why NATO protection is needed.

In the US it seems that everyone from Bernie Sanders and The Squad on the left to Mitch McConnell, Liz Cheney, and even Kevin McCarthy supports the need to support Ukraine. That’s a very broad spectrum. Yeah, Trump thinks Putin is a “genius”; but we already know Trump isn’t fit to hold public office. Yes, the extreme left (and some on the right) says the whole blow-up is our fault because we allowed countries escaping the Soviet Union to join the NATO defensive alliance See a damning critique of the idiocy of the Democratic Socialists of America at https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/odr/a-letter-to-the-western-left-from-kyiv/.

But bitterness in America runs so deep that even normally sensible people are preoccupied with throwing fellow Ukrainian supporters out of the tent for their real or imagined past sins. @billkristol tweeted “It’s worth remembering now, as so many Republicans pin ‘Stand with Ukraine’ images to their profiles, how little most of them cared when Trump withheld military assistance from the country in 2019 as he pressured Zelensky to do his political dirty work.” thebulwark.com/shame-on-those…” I don’t think he really means to say that anyone who failed to denounce Trump shouldn’t be allowed to support Ukraine. A lesson we all should have taken (Putin, too) from this episode is that Zelensky is no pushover for bullies.

Do we want to say that Bernie Sanders, after a lifetime of being an apologist for Russia and leftwing dictators, shouldn’t now be allowed to support Ukraine? Hell, no. Welcome to the tent, Bernie. Does Obama have to apologize for sending socks (or was it gloves?) to Ukraine after the Russian annexation of Crimea before he’s allowed to support Biden on Ukraine? Nope. All support welcome.

Before WWII there were a significant number of Americans (including Lindberg) who were pro-Hitler and an uncomfortable number of Nazis as well. Before Hitler invaded Russia, American communists (including my parents) were against the US getting involved in that war. After Pearl Harbor there were rumors Roosevelt had deliberately ignored intelligence that the attack was coming so the American public would support the war after the day that has lived in infamy. The great and strong and broad middle of America came together in support of that war. We must come together now no matter what we were wrong about in the past. Putin is counting on our not being able to do that; sowing disunion is a specialty of his.  

Our unity might just prevent another world war.

See also:

Defeating Putin Requires Winning the Energy War

High Oil and Gas Prices Fuel Russian and Iranian Aggressiveness

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