I don’t talk about this much, but since February 24th, 2022 I’ve spent ~2hrs a day following the war in Ukraine. My heart breaks and sensitivities to injustice rise over this David vs. Goliath scenario where greedy authoritarians bomb peaceful civilians indiscriminately.
Ukraine has fought valiantly over the past year. Their cities and infrastructure decimated. Their homes and apartment complexes the targets of expensive cruise missiles. Mass devastation for what? The Russian government lies to its citizens and punishes them for seeking or speaking the truth. The government-sponsored media says its “necessary”, propaganda about “nazism”, manipulation over “satanism” and overt xenophobia, leaving young men from rural villages are paying a horrible price for Putin’s self-aggrandizement, so the oligarchy can increase their wealth.
Zelensky, in contrast, has risen from fumbling comedian to dignified leader, from political hostage (in the Trump quid-pro-quo scandal) to an international inspiration, a wartime hero, the personification of bravery. The world hasn’t seen a leader of this caliber in a century.
Perhaps an unpopular opinion, but the Biden administration deserves more credit for our response. The United States played a cool, steady hand for once. We garnered global support and the sanctions have been effective in castrating Russia’s war machine. We aren’t in a nuclear war (yet?), NATO isn’t in Ukraine, and we don’t have American troops deployed in a land war in Asia. The money we’re giving to Ukraine is a small fraction of our enormous military budget and we’re selling off our last-gen equipment, helping stimulate our own shaky economy. We are honoring our original commitment to support our ally Ukraine’s national defense. No more, no less. If we had immediately engaged like some wannabe tough guy Senators suggested, this war would have escalated very quickly.
Our US intelligence deserves credit as well. When the US notified the UN of the day of the Russian invasion, we broadcast to Russia that we had their playbook. We flexed a power greater than tanks and rockets. They thought they’d take Kyiv in three days, soldiers had dress uniforms for the parade. Ukrainians repelled them. Russian intelligence, logistics, communication, and strategy failed as whole battalions met their death mired in the mud. Russia’s army was the 2nd most powerful army in the world, but now we know the truth. Nearly 200,000 troops killed or wounded, they’ve exhausted their heavy armor, troops lack modern weapons and coats, and they have nearly run out of artillery. Ukraine has shown Russia to be a paper tiger.
Ukraine has upended the future of ground war. Javelins and MANPADS mean you can’t steamroll into an area with tanks and armored vehicles anymore. Tanks are now slow, gas-guzzling liabilities. M777 howitzers mean your troops aren’t safe for 40km. HIMARS make that danger zone 480km with meter-accurate precision strikes. And most threatening of all, a $100 drone can become a UAV or precision mortar dropping device. The rules of combat engagement have changed forever.
I’m generally anti-war, but the war in Ukraine has me questioning what I believe. America’s militarism and fetishizing is harmful but for this situation I’m grateful it exists in disproportion to protect innocent lives against aggressor nations. I know America doesn’t have the moral high ground on unjustified wars, but perhaps we’re making up for past mistakes by not playing World Police and are helping our allies this time around.
Sláva Ukrayíni! Russian warship, go fuck yourself.