ThoughtStorms Wiki

Current (and rapidly evolving) thoughts on Russian invasion of Ukraine

It's obviously a tragedy especially for the Ukrainians. But also for the rest of Europe and hopes of a world order.

Mainly April 15, 2022

  • Agree: Russia is in the wrong. And VladimirPutin is a nasty piece of work.
  • Disagree: with NATO trying to establish a No Fly Zone or otherwise engaging Russia directly in war. Understandable why people would want this, but it's a high risk which I'm not yet willing to take.
  • Agree: There's a lot of Western hypocrisy and cant. Many things Putin does that we claim are outrageous, the West has done too. Eg. AmericanWarOnIraq violated many principles that are (now) allegedly inviolable. NATO war on Serbia is also relevant.
  • Agree: "Realist" international relations people have been warning for ages that Russia didn't want NATO and EU / "Europe" expanding eastwards, and would be pissed if NATO did. We knew this and still thought it was a good idea. There's nothing wrong with pointing this out.
  • Disagree: that any of this somehow justifies Russian invasion. Even if it were predictable under these realist models, it isn't justified. Ultimately Ukrainians do have right to the kind of government and policies and alliances they want, whether Russia likes it or not.
    I'm inclined to oppose the Russian imperialist invasion of Ukraine precisely because of its parallels with Western imperialism in the middle East that I also opposed.
  • Agree: That Ukrainians have the right to defend themselves and fight back. And that they have the right to ask for weapons and military support.
  • Agree: That the West has the right to support Ukraine if and when asked. (Even though I am still in favour of trying to keep NATO out of direct conflict, as above)
  • Disagree: with any AntiWarLeft that think that NATO is too flawed to be involved. Or that the West is too corrupt, hypocritical to play a positive role.
  • But also Disagree: that this makes AntiWarLeft bad people, Putin apologists etc. It's a judgement call, weighing up many issues. On balance I think a war in defence of Ukraine against Russian invasion is "just". But I have no intention of hating those who have come to the alternative conclusion and want to campaign on that. (See also LeftOnRussianInvasionOfUkraine2022)
  • However Disagree: that there's any LeftWing justification for any residual support of Putin. It's been obvious for decades that Putin is a right-wing authoritarian, who has made Russia a right-wing theocratic authoritarian society, and who has consistently supported extreme RightWingPopulism around the world.
    (This is slightly different from the case of China, in that I don't like the Chinese government much, but think they still have some communitarian / developmental goals that the left can appreciate. OTOH, Putin's Russia seems to have nothing at all to recommend it from a left-wing perspective)
  • However Disagree: with RussiaGate type conspiracies that think DonaldTrump is actually a Putin puppet. (I still hold to the position that a lot of this was hype by a DemocraticParty that wouldn't face its own inability to tell an inspiring story to American voters). (Pace CaroleCadwalladr)

Update 2023 : A couple more points

  • I understand the pro-Russian claim that Ukraine suffered a coup in 2014. I still Disagree that this justifies Russian invasion. Firstly because there have been other elections since then, so Zelenskyy received his mandate post-2014. But even if that weren't the case, I rejected the Western justification in Iraq that we were invading for the Iraqi's own good. I didn't oppose the Iraq War because I thought Saddam Hussain was decent person and leader, but because I considered the benefits of removing him were far outweighed by the wrong of bringing an unnecessary war, death and destruction on a civilian population of the country. The same holds true here, even if Ukraine were a dictatorship and Putin were as well motivated as TonyBlair, his invasion still isn't justified.
  • Agree that, on balance it seems far more plausible that the US committed the NordstreamPipeline sabotage than that either Russia (who have a real interest in it remaining open and seem to be busy repairing it) or Ukraine did. The US had means, motive and opportunity for this in a way pretty much no-one else had. If this is right, it's obviously a mind-bogglingly reckless and cynically bad thing for the US to do. (Update: it seems the West, unable to plausibly blame Russia, is increasingly now saying it was "rogue" factions of Ukrainians. I still think the US is more likely.)
  • Agree that the far-right is an increasingly strong and prominent part of the Ukrainian fighting force, and that this is very problematic. Are there Nazis in Ukraine? Absolutely. (UkrainianFarRight) Should the West be supporting them with money or weapons? No. The West should be taking a hard line with Zelenskyy and demanding that its aid doesn't go to them.
    • At the same time, I also agree that it's likely to be very difficult to really control this in practice. The Ukrainian army is hardly likely to enquire too much of people who are obviously fighting with it and against its enemies. And the more useful the far-right militias are in fighting Russians, the more likely they are to win support and loyalty from other Ukrainians. This is yet another evil consequence of the war.
      • To emphasize that last point, the heroization of neo-nazis in Ukraine is a terrible thing. And I hold Putin responsible for that. Just as I hold the West and its invasion of Iraq responsible for the rise of the IslamicState. If you wilfully bring chaos and destruction where it wasn't before, and that chaos spawns a greater evil, you did that.
  • I'm just keeping an open mind on the conflict that seems to be opening up between the WagnerGroup's YevgenyPrigozhin and the Russian army. Maybe it's the beginning of a serious civil war. Maybe it's just jostling negotiation. Maybe the whole thing is faked to discredit and overthrow the current Russian army and strengthen Putin. Who the hell knows.
    • Update: Prigozhin is dead. I agree it's plausible, though hard to prove, that Putin killed him. To have one enemy assassinated is an accident, two may be coincidence, but three?
  • I'm also keeping an open mind on the cause of failure of the NovaKakhovkaDam. Which is a major disaster, but might have been simply it wasn't being maintained properly during the fighting, rather than either side explicitly blowing it up.

How it's going

In 2023 : A pro-Ukraine view that Ukraine is likely to drive the Russians out completely, so shouldn't do any land-for-peace deals

Via the following tweet :









Transcluded from StarlinkInUkraineWar

ElonMusk initially put StarLink at the service of the Ukrainians after RussianInvasionOfUkraine2022.

But seems increasingly ambivalent.


See also :