No One Has Bothered to Ask

I have the dubious joy of being called a traitor by one of my beloved readers, because of my alleged disloyalty to our nation’s liege, Vladimir Zelensky (assuming his elevation to power was lawful, of course). I crave no enmity from any customer, but he may be taking more offense than was offered.

Sadly, my accuser neither asked me to which republic I have pledged allegiance — it is to the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the other unimportant member states in our federation — nor what was my opinion of the war in Eastern Europe.

I have offered no conclusions erenow because they are tentative. The fog of war clouds nearly all, and the loudest voices on the issues are the ones I trust least.

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For the record, and because no one has bothered to ask me my opinion, I hold that Putin’s invasion of the Ukraine is entirely without legitimate casus belli.

The desire not to have NATO forces on his doorstep, while prudent to his national interest, is not a legitimate cause of war; nor, as best I can tell, is the desire to support Russian speakers who colonized Eastern Ukraine under prior regimes; albeit, to be fair, this is an issue where reasonable man can differ. Much would depend here on facts not known to me.

He violates the “Just War” doctrine which is binding on all Christian princes, and all mankind, and offends the civilized usages of war. As such, Putin and his nation are hostis humani generis — a general enemy of mankind. Just as any pirate or slaver found on the high seas is beyond legal protection, so, too, here, any nation may rightfully bring military force against the tyrant, not just the nation directly attacked.

Hence, no ally of Ukraine needs further justification for declaration of war against Russia. That said, America has no military treaty with Ukraine obligating such a declaration.

The only considerations here are prudential ones, namely, what degree of treasure and manpower to commit, if any, and how, if at all, to deter, slow, or expel Russian troops without triggering nuclear world war. On that question, I have no knowledge, and offer no words.

As for the surrounding questions, I do not see how it is in America’s national interest to involve herself in the Ukraine, aside from a general (and legitimate) desire to deter invasions by tyrants.

While many of my fellow conservatives are vexed at America’s role as world peacekeeper, and while I wish our involvement in overseas adventures to be minimal, prudent, and brief, the grim truth is that there is no one else to do it. An unpoliced world is not in our national interest, nor in the general interest of Christendom, nor mankind. Likewise a world where China steps into America’s current role. A collapse of our overseas trade would collapse our economy, which has military, not just economic, implications.

I am aware of no other crucial American interest in the region. No son of mine has a million-dollar-a-year no-show job with any Ukrainian oil company.

I not aware of what makes this war particularly more crucial than any other European war, such as that in Kosovo, which, when ended by Trump, was ignored by the technoplutocrats running our media. We did not declare war on Russia for invading Crimea or Georgia.

More to the point, our current military, under current leadership, is unsuited to win a major war, despite any inferiority in the foe. See Afghanistan for details.

Nonmilitary intervention, such as economic sanctions, would have to be pursued with cleverness and prudence to minimize harmful side effects to our own economy. Our current White House and State Department, under current leadership, is likewise unsuited to orchestrate such a campaign.

The very vehemence of the pro-war sentiment provokes my suspicions. Since it comes from the selfsame voices for years vexing, libeling, and berating me and mine, at times to fiscal, professional, and personal loss, that I was and am a white supremachinist neo-nasty cis-grenadier homophonic baguette (or words no more meaningful than that), I am not willing to give them the least benefit of the doubt.

This is the ending of the story when the boy crying wolf. When the real wolf comes and savages the boy, the townsfolk ignore his death screams as a prank.

With these qualifications in mind, I have no objection to giving the Ukraine all the aid and support prudence allows, national interest prompts, and human fellow-feeling demands.