The Apologists

Over the last week or so, I’ve gotten proposed comments citing articles by various military “authorities,” published in magazines or by organizations of, shall we say, dubious provenance. Many of the citations or facts in the articles appear to be largely accurate, but many are not.

What they all have in common, however, is a bottom line that Vladimir Putin had no choice but to attack Ukraine because the Ukrainians didn’t scrupulously “keep” the Minsk accords and because the evil Ukrainians were shelling their own people in the Donbas, i.e., the Russian-speaking sympathizers who have been fighting for years to secede from Ukraine. In fact, for practical purposes, some of those areas have seceded in all but name, but even Russia agrees that those regions aren’t legally part of Russia.

What exactly did Ukraine do to merit an invasion? Ukraine didn’t seize Russian territory. And it did agree not to join NATO. It’s a nation of 40 million people that’s hardly a military threat to Russia. It did get involved in a nasty civil war in one part of its own territory, but that war hardly threatened Russia.

And, oh yes, the apologists also claim that the Russia of today is not at all the same as the USSR, because now Russia is “capitalist,” except that the apologists conveniently ignore that quite a few “capitalists” who displease Putin end up missing, dead, or commit suicide improbably and that the Russian economy still doesn’t function all that well.

What this also ignores is that Vladimir Putin is 69 years old and a product of the USSR. In terms of his acts, and his methodology, he’s little different from Josef Stalin. Opposition is crushed ruthlessly. Even non-violent dissent isn’t tolerated. Political opponents end up imprisoned or dead. Neighboring nations are threatened and/or invaded.

Is Ukraine perfect? Hardly. It’s experienced more corruption that it should have, and likely been brutal in dealing with the equally-brutal secessionists, but it’s made considerable efforts to improve, and it’s more than clear that its people have no desire to be ruled or governed by Russia. That, by itself, should weigh much more than Putin’s hurt feelings over the fact that the Ukrainians weren’t “perfect” in abiding with an agreement forced on them at gunpoint.

And no, I won’t publish references to such apologia that read like they were crafted by Putin trolls.

7 thoughts on “The Apologists”

  1. Tom says:

    “The India Way: Strategies for an Uncertain World” 2021, as described in:
    https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/southasiasource/christophe-jaffrelot-reviews-the-india-way-strategies-for-an-uncertain-world-by-dr-s-jaishankar/
    would support the probability that Russia/Putin is being played for a sucker by China and India.

    Russians do so want to be part of Eurasia; but both the EU and Russia are still too self-centered to take the long view of humanity on Earth. Germany is now doing a mia culpa because they tried to get cooperation from Russia and China (worth trying but how could Merkle etc. really think a bunch of authoritarians would cooperate – particularly communist authoritarians?).

    The coming stage of economic empires e.g. “Coming to Terms With the American Empire” 2015: https://worldview.stratfor.com/article/coming-terms-american-empire makes me cross my fingers for US to rework the Monroe doctrine with Canada Mexico and Brazil at least.

    Hopefully people like Bolton will disappear and we’ll get a cooperative UN, WHO, WTO combination, supported by all nations, assuring an even playing field world-wide. Pipedreams – but I prefer them to Conspiracy theories.

  2. Lourain says:

    It’s your blog, and your right. Those who don’t like it can vote with their feet. They can express their opinions somewhere less critical (i.e. less willing to call out b.s.).

  3. R. Hamilton says:

    All murderous tyrants deserve a fate like Mussolini, left hanging on a meat hook; too bad he was already dead then; would have been a better warning to others if he struggled for awhile. But it’s difficult and slow to deliver it to them when they have nukes. Ultimately their own people have to deliver it then.

    And the number of non-tyrannical Russian rulers I can think of: one, Yeltsin? Nicholas II tried, sort of, but didn’t last very long. Makes it tempting to wonder if there’s something in their collective psyche (or their cold winters) that makes cruelty attractive so long as it comes with the promise of an empire, whether called that or under some other name.

    1. Postagoras says:

      Luckily, the greatest non-tyrannical ruler of the Soviet Union came just when the world needed him most: Mikhail Gorbachev.

      1. R. Hamilton says:

        Ok, maybe another one; he tried to be better, and things were less ugly than they might have been, but I’d say that like all others that tried, given the inertia there toward tyranny and corruption, it’s not surprising that he got through the crisis but never really changed the direction all that much.

  4. Tom says:

    So I looked at the definitions for apologist, debater, arguer, devil’s advocate, polemic in various dictionaries including the Oxford. Only in defining “arguer” did the Oxford definition state – “person presenting a reason or set of reasons to show that something is true or correct”.

    Perhaps social media has accentuated our very human desire to win all arguments rather than arriving at the truth through debate; but that seems to be our present tendency as citizens and our leaders.

    I agree with Lourain that this blog is improved by the guidance of the owner allowing for breadth, depth and informing.

    1. Postagoras says:

      The way I’d phrase it is, social media gave a platform to folks impatient with any kind of nuance.

      And, of course, I’m completely right and everyone else is completely wrong, so there!

      🙂

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