An even dumber meme-take on Ukraine

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: HolodomorIPA: [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.

10 thoughts on “An even dumber meme-take on Ukraine

  1. OK, this explains answers my earlier comment/question on your earlier blog-post (and I’m not sure is this post was, in fact, b/c of it).

    I’ve a very, very, good Ukrainian friend who lives north of you (J-ville); who cam here in ‘89…. so I’m very familiar with the Holodomor (have you seen: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6828390/ ), and in no way saying we should sit back and let Putin invade/overthrow/etc.
    I do, however, think the issue of Ukraine in NATO, especially if we place missiles there, is a valid Russian concern.

    Is that not one of the, if not the, major issues Putin demanded the US/NATO address?

    Again, I’m interested in how you think this should be played-out and/ or defused.

    And where exactly is the EU on all this?

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    1. I think we are in a damned if we do / damned if we don’t position. So far, the only NATO country not playing nicely is Germany, and it’s not a mystery why – they are wholly dependent on Russia for natural gas and it’s winter. They are also seemingly enjoying a resurrection of bona fide fascism domestically, and who knows where that is going to lead. Right now, they have more in common with Russia than they do with the west.

      If we do take military action, we get to see what it is like to be governed by an imbecile during a big conflict. Two imbeciles, if you count Boris Johnson in the UK. Both desperate not to look weak after covid, though there is not a prayer for either of them being respected again.

      If we do not take military action, we get to see what it looks like when the Russia – China – Iran alliance think they are unstoppable. And did I mention it is an election year here, where the main question is who gets to control Congress, the only body that gets to declare war?

      I don’t think Putin needs for this to be defused, and that’s why this is such brilliant strategy. So far, his people are just camping out in their own country. They can do that indefinitely while the west panics, thinking they are going to invade any minute. He doesn’t have to do anything now or ever.

      That’s sort of the over-arching perspective of my last few posts – we have made bad decisions domestically that have put us in a no-win position with Russia and China.

      The east is ascendant whether we like it or not. They do not mean us or anyone else well. It does not matter if we like it, understand it, or like the people in power in our own country. It’s simply a thing that is happening that was intelligently designed. They succeeded at weakening western democracies after Trump made foolish decisions surrounding covid in 2020 and the world followed suit. An imbecile has been installed in the White House, and no matter what he does, he will fail.

      We can do a MAGA redux in 2024 (who knows what the world will even be like by then) and watch Trump destroy all of our military alliances in the name of “America First.” And China and Russia will exploit that too. They have already laid the groundwork for that, investing in essential infrastructure globally during a period when the US has doing nothing of the sort. We don’t have the carrots and the sticks; they do.

      We need radically different leadership, but these folks will make sure we don’t get it in time. As they started evacuating the embassy yesterday, Americans were riveted by football. Our world in a nutshell.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. FYI been busy all day so just now went back to your earlier blog/post where I first commented and noticed by 2nd reply in that thread didn’t show? Got a weird msg that I couldn’t access your dashboard?? You didn’t block me did you? 😎 it was a long one too 🤷‍♂️ I alluded to it here when I asked if this post was in response to my (now missing) one. Basically: I think Ehrlich was spot on, in particular Kennan’s take. This cluster fuck goes back to broken (perceived?) promises between Baker and Shevardnadze in the late 80’s/early 90’s ensuring that the Soviet empire would collapse “with a whimper, not a bang” (Baker’s words) and would accept a reunited Germany in NATO; the quo was a U.S. promise not to “leapfrog” NATO over Germany farther East.
        Clinton changed that in ‘96 by pushing for letting Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic into NATO (source of Kennan’s angst??)… they got in in ‘99. Anyway… I kinda agree with you… I don’t think Putin will go in…. for now. Xi would be pissed if it fucked up his Winter Olympics 🤷‍♂️😇

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      2. No idea what the technical difficulties were about. I have only blocked one person ever, over some really creeptastic harassment because he was triggered by my covid skepticism, lol.

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      3. I realize part of my problem is I spent a lot of time doing personal research and little time writing. Now I have all these powerful opinions about things that are catching some folks who know me off guard. I used to do this in finance too – I’d be off in my own forensic accounting little world for months and resurface talking about defaults, and folks were like wtf are you crazy. It’s my process lol.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Tucker is partly right. Russa currently can’t control Ukraine, but it can’t tolerate NATO on within it as well. Just as Russian missiles on Cuba or in Venezuela will be a casus belli for the US, Russia in its current state will fight [to the last Russian, sadly] to ward off “the West” from Ukraine.

    With all his faults Trump was right: while Ukraine was holding Russia hostage with its gas transportation system, Russians couldn’t speak about their wishes. Now, as Biden was stupid enough to lift the sanctions, it seems to be too late.

    As to your point, if there will be real war or not, I was talking to two guys: a Russian high-ranking military officer and a Ukrainian reservist from Kiev. Both say that neither part is ready for was, and they are just “bettering our negotiating position”. The best thing for US officials in this scenario is just to shut up. The level of understanding in Pentagon and Oval Office is in the negative territory and the whole situation is too flammable for fools to speak.

    PS
    The things you are writing about Holodomor are correct but have no more application to the modern-day politics than slavery for US-Nigerian relationships or Ireland Famine on UK-Ireland politics now. People from both sides of the border suffered a lot from the Communists [Volga Famine in the 20s, Industrialization to mention a few] and generally (for a small exception of corrupt politicians) do not relate to those horrors. Remember there was the WWII afterwards with its problems (with the scale that is hardly imaginable on your side of the pond).

    One thing to consider is also that meanwhile Ukraine doesn’t want to be a part of present-day Russia, the Left Bank of Dnieper is much more empire oriented and generally people have more unity feelings with their Russian-speaking friends from the other side of the border. Since younger generations have more or less moved towards Europe or Kiev, retired workers of numerous Soviet factiories are still very pro-Russian.

    Ukraine now is no paradise either, and people in Russia have generally better living standard. This also adds to pro-Russian sentiment there.

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    1. This is exactly the kind of remark I am talking about in this post. I have many friends in and from ex-Soviet states, including Ukraine, and they hate Russia with the fire of a thousand suns. They are like the Cubans and Venezuelans in Florida in that respect – they associate Russia with a miserable childhood and acute deprivation. Saying they do not care about famines that killed millions of people (where witnesses to these atrocities are still alive – good grief) is like saying that Jews have finally gotten over that whole Holocaust silliness. There are some pro-Russia contingents in Ukraine, sure, but they are far from the majority and the affinity is mostly cultural/ancestral. To suggest otherwise is flat-out factually incorrect. Every single time I see MAGA people making claims like this, I am just overcome with how much Trump nuked so many brain cells in the GOP. It is depressing how much disinformation has found a home in the party.

      Also, saying Ukraine is “no paradise” is not an argument. A lot of places aren’t paradise, but that doesn’t mean they want a captor. They are living with the decades-long legacy of communism and genocide. And let me tell you how many Russians have moved their “high standards of living” here.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think you are a kind of missing my point.

        In my opinion, US involvement makes things much worse there. Russia has no _capability_ to control even the Left Bank let alone the West Ukraine, which is not considered a part of the “Russian World” even by the fiercest nationalists. This is understood pretty well among Russian elites, as far as I see it.

        I think the _only_ case the war could possibly be started if they actually spiral down the mortal coil of “retailiating to NATO forces next to our borders”.

        I mean in order to deter Russia from capturing Ukrainian territory you can go the hard way or the easy one. The former is to deploy troops and wait for the war, the latter is to draw red lines and mutually agree not to cross them. The current administration goes for some reason between these options making things much worse. CNN calling Kharkiv a “Russian city” is one of the obvious examples.

        If you think this position is pro-Russian, I am really puzzled. You don’t have to take sides in every conflict, and being impartial has a great value generally. Russia was the obvious aggressor in Crimea, but discarding the chain of events that led to the annexation is myopic at least. Taking into account Russian total inability to conduct any meaningful large-scale military operation, provoking them by crossing one red line after another is probably the worst that can possibly be done by “the West”.

        You have to know that these red lines exist and ignoring them could lead to dangerous consequences, alas.

        Sorry for my broken English, and please don’t count me among the Russian bots that swarmed your blog. 🙂 [we are your friends from Israel and following you on Facebook for a long period of time ]

        PS
        Re you attitude to Communism comment.

        Of course, those who _left_ fUSSR hate communists (us included) 😉 but your sample is biased because you haven’t been talking to anyone who stayed. Those who stayed may have some more mixed feelings about former USSR and there’s nothing wrong to admit this fact.

        People had very hard times in the 90s, and in East Ukraine the things were only slighlty better recently. And it’s not only Russia’s fault. Take for example Ukrainian broken monetary system. It wasn’t Russians who intimidated the Head of the local Central Bank by sending a coffin to her entrance door, but [Jewish] Ukrainian bankers. My in-laws have their best friends still residing in Stakhanov. And by no means these ethnic Ukrainians see themselves joining Ukraine again.

        No one needs a captor, I am sure, and I wish we will see deescalation as soon as possible.

        PPS I also think that your Holocaust remark is kind of inappropriate. There’s no parallels between Holocaust and Holodomor except that it was conducted by a totalitarist leftist state. Heads of the Ukrainian Communist Party in the 1930s were no Russians but ethnic Ukrainians and it was directed against all the peoples on those lands, Germans, Jews, Greeks, Russians and Ukrainians included.

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