I covered the MAGA “why are we talking about Ukraine’s borders when we have a crisis on our own border” meme-take. But there is an even worse meme-take making the rounds now courtesy of Tucker Carlson, who seems to know absolutely nothing whatsoever about NATO.
One could be forgiven for thinking it sounds like Carlson is sympathizing with Russia here. “Put yourself in Russia’s position….” If you think about it, Russia deserves to take Ukraine for its own safety and peace of mind. After all, Ukraine was a part of the Soviet Union. You can’t fault Putin for wanting to bring the gang back together and keep the awful legacy of Ancient Athens at bay.
I mean, really, the Greatest Generation would slap the nonsense out of you for talking like that. I’ve really been missing the sanity and intelligence of my grandparents these days.
Let’s remind ourselves how being part of the Soviet Union worked out for Ukraine, shall we? What is the source of bad blood between the Ukrainians and their loving parent, Mother Russia?
The Holodomor (Ukrainian: Голодомо́р, romanized: Holodomor, IPA: [ɦolodoˈmɔr]; derived from морити голодом, moryty holodom, ‘to kill by starvation’), also known as the Terror-Famine or the Great Famine, was a famine in Soviet Ukraine from 1932 to 1933 that killed millions of Ukrainians. It was a large part of the wider Soviet famine of 1932–1933. The term Holodomor emphasises the famine’s man-made and allegedly intentional aspects such as rejection of outside aid, confiscation of all household foodstuffs and restriction of population movement. As part of the wider Soviet famine of 1932–1933 which affected the major grain-producing areas of the country, millions of inhabitants of Ukraine, the majority of whom were ethnic Ukrainians, died of starvation in a peacetime catastrophe unprecedented in the history of Ukraine. Since 2006, the Holodomor has been recognized by Ukraine and 15 other countries as a genocide of the Ukrainian people carried out by the Soviet government.
Early estimates of the death toll by scholars and government officials varied greatly. A United Nations joint statement signed by 25 countries in 2003 declared that 7–10 million perished. Current scholarship estimates a range of 4 to 7 million victims, with more precise estimates ranging from 3.3 to 5 million. According to the findings of the Court of Appeal of Kyiv in 2010, the demographic losses due to the famine amounted to 10 million, with 3.9 million direct famine deaths, and a further 6.1 million birth deficits.
Whether the Holodomor was genocide is still the subject of academic debate, as are the causes of the famine and intentionality of the deaths. Some scholars believe that the famine was planned by Joseph Stalin to eliminate a Ukrainian independence movement. Others suggest that the man-made famine was a consequence of Soviet industrialisation.
Now, sure, modern-day Ukraine deals with a lot of corruption, mostly because of Russian interference in their political and economic landscape. You could say the same about the United States. It would certainly be interesting to understand better the Biden administration’s financial connections in Ukraine as we are evidently heading into war there. But world affairs are not a mere footnote to Hunter Biden’s laptop.
You sound like a goddamn fool trying to put your self into the mind of the man who is known to give his enemies radioactive Big Macs. Even worse when you just cannot figure out why we should care about the descendants of Stalin’s genocides being invaded by Russians once more after their hard-won independence. Why should NATO continue to exist, you ask, as Russia pushes back into Europe. What planet are these people on?
I feel hard-pressed to call nonsense like this a foreign policy position at all, as it clearly emerges from some weapons-grade ignorance about European history (which, frankly, wasn’t even that long ago). But this certainly is not a conservative foreign policy position, which across generations has been built on the notion that you do not wait for trouble to land on your doorstep. This is arguably the whole point of having a military with international operations.