I Do Not Stand With Ukraine

It’s the new hit hashtag: #StandWithUkraine. People putting up blue-and-yellow flags.

Which means what, exactly?

Seems to me, it’s nothing more than an atheist’s version of “sending thoughts and prayers” — which is nothing. There’s not even the chance of a friendly deity intervening. It’s just an excuse to buy a militant tee shirt.

Don’t get me wrong here: I’m not telling you to put your money where your mouth is. Scam artists are already growing rich over fake Ukraine charities; don’t fall for them, people. I’m also not challenging you to back your words up with actions. How could I? I’m not in Ukraine fighting right now. I’m not the guy standing up to tanks with nothing but a second-hand rifle. It would be hypocrisy of the meanest sort.

I’m also not saying that the United States needs to invade, or NATO, or Europe. We can’t. Putin’s got nukes, and by our way of thinking he’s insane enough to use them. Forty-five minutes after the first exchange, the northern hemisphere becomes unlivable for a couple of centuries and the southern doesn’t need to worry about global warming so much as it does an uncontaminated water supply.

It is possible, if a few nations find their courage, that a limited military deployment to protect the western-most regions of Ukraine would be practicable as a humanitarian measure, and that Russia would respect it. I doubt any nations will find that courage. Maybe Poland.

President Biden has spoken optimistically of the crippling impact of our proposed economic sanctions. He’s wrong. Russia’s major exports are coal, oil, and wheat; China has announced it will be buying them throughout this crisis (neatly dodging their climate obligations in the process, mind you). I don’t blame Biden for his impotence; he didn’t build the world, he didn’t reduce NATO’s defense spending to pitiful levels, and he can’t control Vladimir Putin. In point of fact, his job is to be an optimist so he can rally his nation behind him, and he’s doing his best.

Some of the best minds on the planet are working on ways to put an end to this. Just because I can’t find a solution doesn’t mean they can’t. That’s where I place what hope I can muster.

Beyond that, I don’t stand anywhere. (There’s no place solid to stand, so you don’t either.) Any sane person deplores war, and must be immensely saddened and angered by this evil and unnecessary action. I wish I could stand with Ukraine, but I can’t, so I won’t say that I do.

For those of you who stand with Putin: You’re wrong.

Before the Russian military brutally suppressed the Chechen uprising, turned Tblisi into the most-dynamited city in the world, conquered Georgia, annexed the Crimea, and moved into eastern Ukraine in 2014, it had already engaged on a busy campaign to brutally suppress the Russian people. Russians today have complete freedom of speech, just as they did under Stalin: They are allowed to say whatever they want, exactly one time. That night, the secret police come for them and their families. You may think Cancel Culture is bad; this is ten times worse and with no morality behind it but nationalist expansion.

Yes, there’s an argument to be made that Ukraine as a full NATO member would be a threat to Russia. That same argument can be applied to a unified Germany, or France, or Belgium. You may laugh; Belgium couldn’t invade a paper bag. Oddly enough, neither could NATO; America aside, they have a tenth the effective force that Putin commands. On a map it makes sense; in the real world, it’s a facile pretext and I’m surprised at you for falling for it.

…well, not ‘surprised’, exactly. ‘Disgusted’ is closer.

If what you just read pisses you off, that’s not because it’s wrong. People are wrong every day and it doesn’t get to you. If you’re upset by this article, it’s because deep down you’re afraid it’s true.

No, The Not Fake News did not “get the memo” to “fall in line or else”; we’d find it hard to believe that anything else would be, financially, worse than this. We’re not shills of the public narrative; we don’t take marching orders from major media. We’re independent, and because we don’t get payoffs or even ad money, we’re poor but reliable.

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