As Russia invades Ukraine, the West could get serious

Suddenly, when our political debate is characterized by so much moral posturing, fabricated outrage and moralizing smoothing, it is enlightening to see what real honor looks like in the face of real adversity.

Our polarized and angry domestic politics is dominated by egoists who signal virtue. In Ukraine, virtue does not need to be pointed out.

As privileged young Americans express outrage at microaggressions in the workplace because someone used the wrong pronoun, young people in Kiev are gathering in bunkers to prepare Molotov cocktails in a last desperate act to defend their besieged city, street by street if necessary. — against the most violent macro of attacks.

As our multi-millionaire sports and entertainment stars bravely take to social media to denounce ‘the continuing genocide of black people at the hands of the police’, a former television comedian and ex-boxing champion in Kyiv watches as the world’s third largest army missile strikes and aerial bombardments to save their country from literal annihilation.

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Ideological fanatics here, on both sides, claim that America is a moral pariah, grotesquely twisting the story of its past or wildly exaggerating the flaws of its present. Meanwhile there, a veritable pariah state is trying to murder a population under pretenses as preposterous as ever in history.

And while a self-obsessed failed leader continues to sell fiction about a supposedly stolen election, a democratically elected government struggles to avoid being physically extinguished by a brutal oppressor.

There is nothing wrong with heated debate. It is essential to democracy. There’s nothing wrong with thinking that your country is headed in the wrong direction – which, it’s fair to say, the United States clearly is right now.

But Ukraine’s struggle for survival should make us forget the hysterical tenor of our domestic political debate. It is a reminder that freedom is not something we can take for granted. Whatever legitimate beefs we may have with the state of our democratic freedoms, we can see that brave people around the world are fighting and dying to have those freedoms, and perhaps we wonder who is so disenchanted by our condition-why it might be .

It is a moment of clarification for the world as we reflect with growing anxiety on the merits of our system of government and various others.

We know that Ukraine is far from being a model of democracy. His politics are marred by large-scale corruption; its judiciary is not very independent; its political institutions are fragile and flexible.

But it is not a client state of America, as some in the West reject. This is not a debauched kleptocracy. It is not run by “drug addicts and neo-Nazis”, as Mr Putin describes it. (His promised denazification of a Jewish-ruled country must be considered one of his least successful propaganda efforts.) It is a free and sovereign state, and its people are demonstrating with moving clarity that they want the right to determine one’s future. . It is not Ukraine’s corrupt institutions that defy Russian aggression, but its ordinary citizens, desperate to defend their way of life. If they think it’s worth fighting for, who are we to disagree?

The bitter struggle the Ukrainians are waging is the ultimate rebuke to all those Putin apologists in the West who have declared that Russia’s insecurity is somehow entirely our fault for pushing to expand the United Nations Treaty Organization. ‘North Atlantic. We can certainly see now that it has always overlooked one important thing: the aspirations of the people who have lived so long under the Russian yoke. There is no surer way to justify these people’s fears that led them to apply for NATO membership than to see their country invaded by the Russian army.

There are signs that the West is finally understanding the issues. It’s hard to remember a time when such an obvious act of infamy was met with such unified and pragmatic condemnation.

Europeans, whose governments like to preach about the evils of fossil fuels and immigration restrictions, have finally been pushed to defend one of their own. They finally seem to have understood that Russian fuel is not worth sacrificing their freedom.

Over the past week, perennially foot-dragging Germany has done what the United States has politely asked of it for decades: start disconnecting its energy sector from the Russian grid and commit to serious spending for his own defence.

As we rush to funnel funds and arms to Kiev and cut off adrift Russia from the global economy, and as Ukrainians continue to bravely resist, it still seems likely that Mr Putin will at least achieve his goal. immediate: the subjugation of Ukraine to its own authority.

But the price for him – crippling economic sanctions, Europe and North America in a rare show of unity, the strengthening of NATO and the weakening of pro-Russian forces in the West – will be high. .

If we learn the right lesson from this, the highest price it could pay is a new appreciation in the West of what our civilization has achieved – and a renewed determination to defend and nurture it.

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