I’ve completed my investigation into what the heck is going on with Russia and Ukraine.
But before we get to the results, I want to share what was fun about the investigation.
First, I learned or re-learned that I like history more than advice.
The first major reading I did was of a series of three essays and the first essay was history, whereas the third was advice for stability etc. History of the region? Exciting and interesting. Compelling too. I never have known much about Russia. And I had totally forgot, if I ever knew, that Ukraine is on the west side. Reading the history brought back memories of when I looked on a map for Moscow after reading Tolstoy’s War and Peace. He had made the big point that Napoleon turned around when he got to Moscow. Boy was I disappointed to see how near Europe Moscow really is. Napoleon really did peter out.
Anyhow, similar thing this time. Ukraine was in a totally different spot than I had pictured. Knowing the geography actually helps the headlines make sense.
Secondly, I randomly had extra time to read with A- the other night and was feeling like one hour of Swiss Family Robinson would be a bit much, so we switched to the Book of Knowledge Children’s Encyclopedia thirty minutes in, specifically to Volume 1’s first sections on World History. There, in an early paragraph, we came across this sentence, “While the whole of Russian history shows the effort of a landlocked people to reach the shores of the seas, which were for thousands of years the only really convenient highways of trade and communication.”
What fun! Reading really does invigorate the soul. “…the effort of a landlocked people to reach the shores of the seas…”
So, now, here’s the result of my investigation: Russia wants to get to the Black Sea in a bigger way. On the other side, the West believes the people of Ukraine should get to rule themselves by virtue of their being human beings.
Regarding Russia’s desire, that Ukraine was or was not previously a part of Russia or the USSR or whatnot is besides the point. Put differently, to be faithful to reality we must acknowledge that Russia wants something tangible, something that all parties can agree is or is not real. Either Russia has ports in the Black Sea or not. Either Russia’s boundaries extend to the Black Sea in Ukraine’s place or not.
Also, we need to say Russia isn’t crazy for the wanting-the-Black-Sea bit. But Russia is maintaining an un-Western, and specifically un-American, belief when it brings force to Ukraine instead of a soapbox or a stump.
Conversely, the West, specifically America, isn’t wrong for choosing to oppose Russia’s action, but if America cannot get Russia to engage us on our terms, then everyone is literally talking past each other. And if this is the case, it truly is a fight.
For all I care, the country Russia can have access to the ports it wants. But if this desire is not the result of representative votes of its people, then we’re really not talking about Russia, but about some one leader—Putin.
Next, I want to know, “Is there some reason for the West instigating the Ukraine-join-NATO stuff right now?” I don’t know. But it surely is a move that I’m convinced that everyone who is read-in would have known would result in being interpreted as provoking Russia/Putin.
The question, then, is what do we, the collective West, believe? Is conventional war truly a thing of the past? Or will there be conventional war once again?
I think conventional war is a thing of the past. So my money is on the West easing up whatever pressure it has recently placed on the idea of NATO and Ukraine marrying. And this then would result in Russia/Putin backing down.
Lastly, President Biden has a speech impediment. Never, never give that man a line which sounds powerful only if delivered well.
I mean, I ask you, dear reader, “Who in the LORD’s name does Putin?”