The Tortured Path of the Ukraine Debates

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(by John Blumentstiel)

The US “left”  and the country, in general, disagrees on both the causes and the potential solutions for ending the war in Ukraine.

This, accompanied by the lack of open public debate concerning the potential of nuclear war with Russia and China, should be a cause of great concern to all.

Our current political leadership has failed in governing on behalf of the well-being of the people.  The only means we have to constrain the malfeasance of our government is an aware and aroused populace.  The only means of achieving that is to foster an environment of open public debate on issues relevant to the well-being of the people. This is tragically absent regarding the war in Ukraine.

To address this problem, we need a disciplined, public debate based on facts relevant to this war.  This will encourage all sides of the issue to address it from verifiable evidence as opposed to historically embedded attitudes.

I propose this simple outline be considered to structure a more disciplined, objective debate:

  1. Question to evaluate:  "What are the causative factors that brought about the War in Ukraine?"  
  2. From initial observation and research, what hypotheses can be developed?

             Two primary possibilities:

a. The Ukraine war grew out of a Russian national desire, driven by their president, Vladimir Putin, to reclaim the power and prestige of the former Soviet Union and the consequent war was launched, unprovoked, for this purpose.  OR

b. The Ukraine war grew out of a decades-long provocation driven by the US and supported by European allies due to its steady encroachment of NATO military forces up to the Russian border and thus creating an existential crisis for the Russian Federation. 

 These two hypotheses seem to capture the fundamental views of the situation. Can either one, after being carefully evaluated be utilized as predictive of future actions/outcomes, thus demonstrating its validity?  

            3) Data gathering:  Adherents of each hypothesis undertake a careful evaluation to determine which can be supported by verifiable facts and be accurate in predicting future occurrences, or in hindsight, has been previously demonstrated with the current one being merely a replication.

            4 & 5) Analyze, compare, and draw conclusions.

Here is a link to a previously utilized events timeline provided under a previous post.  It is now presented again as it serves well the data-gathering process in support of hypothesis 2b.  To flesh out this discussion, anyone who would like to provide data in support of either hypothesis or an additional one is encouraged to add it in the comments section below.

 The goal is to open up the debate,  not just among the progressive movement, but in the population in general.  There is no democracy without dialogue. And there is no dialogue if the citizenry shuts down and refuses to engage civilly with one another on matters of critical public policy.         

The progressive movement should not err by allowing itself to be divided on this war.  We must find common ground based on a common truth to direct our opposition to this war as well as the one waiting around the corner in Taiwan.

ALSO: Here is a recent piece on the Ukrainian Timeline by Joe Lauria for Consortium News.

Showing 11 reactions

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  • John Blumenstiel
    commented 2023-07-08 08:16:36 -0400
    As the original author I would like to add to this discussion. I will attempt breivity to encouragfe readrship.
    1) Part of the goal of the article was to encourage sharing of views. This is not being done publically thoughout the country. That goal has been partially met. The more crtical goal was to encourage a “fact based” discussion that transcended personal opinions and historically programmed attitudes. That has not been accomplished.
    2) Where I have criticism is that the anti-Russian"attitude, so hostily expressed, is not one of achieving peace. It unfortunately exacebates the problem and does not lead to a path of stopping this war. It is the expression of ones feelings, clearly, but eschews the neccissity of rationale, civil discussion which needs to happen at a national level as well as the grassroots level.
    3) A fundamental point that I wish to make is: the Russian people are no diffeetn than the American people. Most across the world want peace and security. By promoting a “fact based” discussion, vs and emotionally driven one we can prmomte the cause of peace.
    4) I still hold out the hope that someone will responde to this article with a fact based review that explores either hypothsis presented or an additional one. This conflict will only end when rationality and respect become the driving force.

    John Blumenstiel
  • Violet Zitola
    commented 2023-07-06 04:54:50 -0400
    George. Good question. The best answer I can give is that you don’t. I think it’s very likely that all who have the opportunity to try have done so and failed. That’s why I think the best answer is to make connections with people inside Russia in any way possible. It’s our best hope to not only end the war, but get closer to a lasting peace.
  • George Chudolij
    commented 2023-07-05 09:41:46 -0400
    Miss Zitola, I basically agree with your stance on this issue but tell me, how does one negotiate with a killer like Putin, a mass murderer like Prigozhin? It’s like trying to have cooperate a snake that’s poised and ready to strike. Remember the adage, empires that are created and maintained by force are eventually toppled by force.
  • Violet Zitola
    commented 2023-07-05 01:48:04 -0400
    I just realized that some of my responses were going to a specific person and not to this group. I didn’t mean to leave anyone out. To be clear, I’m NOT suggesting we support genecide. I am NOT suggesting we support the annihilation of Russia. I am however respectful of people who are faced with the horrifying actions of Russia upon Ukraine. Those of us who are not faced with those actions should listen to those that are under attack and look beyond our own perspective. The current options being pursued to end the war are military and economic, and both of those will likely lead to the annihilation of Russia. I’m suggesting we find another way. Ukraine has a fundamental right to exist as a sovereign nation. Ukraine has a fundamental right to self-determination. I believe that the people of Russia would prefer to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty over Russia’s annihilation. I don’t know how to make this happen but we have to try.
  • Jack Swindlehurst
    commented 2023-07-04 10:27:11 -0400
    Such bigoted attitudes, George, are a primary cause of oppression and wars. I have no respect for it.
  • George Chudolij
    commented 2023-07-04 10:21:29 -0400
    The Ukrainian people ( of which I am one) have suffered for too long over the decades, first under the rule if the czars then under that of the communists. The analogy is like cancer – to cure someone if it every single malignant cell has to be destroyed ir it will grow back. Similarly, every single Russian has to be taken out to solve the problem for good. I advocate a full-scale invasion of this gas station masquerading as a country ( to quote one of our senators) and totally anihilate it, using any means necessary. Moscow, St. Petersburg, Stalingrad, etc. should all be reduced to rubble. Ethnuc cleansing should be carried out on a massive scale. Innocent Russians? There are none; Russians are no good because they’re seemingly content living under oppression. If they had any courage and moral values they’d rise up and storm the Kremlin. And the so-called Orthodox Church is no damn good either, otherwise it would denounce the criminal government’s invasion from every pulpit.
  • Violet Zitola
    commented 2023-07-03 04:03:25 -0400
    I think Jack asks the right questions. Who and why are piece talks being blocked. I think we already know the answers. I think the best solution is to subvert the governments of Russia, the United States, Ukraine, and countless others, and we the people of the world launch into having those talks….in every home, every neighborhood, every mall, every theater, every town commons, every town state and national capital…. everywhere and everytime people can interact with each other, physically and virtually. Take every opportunity to connect across physical, geographic, and political boundaries. Ignore the blocks and move ahead. Now.
  • Jack Swindlehurst
    commented 2023-07-02 13:22:05 -0400
    It is with great sadness that I feel compelled to comment here.
    I have sympathy for the innocent people of Ukraine. I find that sympathy lacking if I do not ALSO extend my sympathy to those innocent Russians suffering under those Nazi forces in southern Ukraine. Those Nazis are, largely, the recipient of “US arms to defend the innocent Ukrainian victims.”
    Furthermore, the US and its allies have admitted that those arms are intended to prolong the war to exhaust Russia.

    If we are going to succeed in HAVING peace talks, and if those talks are to succeed in bringing peace, then it is essential to understand WHY peace talks are being blocked and by whom.
  • Violet Zitola
    commented 2023-07-02 04:48:55 -0400
    Focussing the blame on the US/NATO only serves to give justification to an unjustifiable war. The basic premise that this is a proxy war between superpowers with Ukraine caught in the middle is a poor weak foundation for achieving an ongoing peace. This is not a war between superpowers. They are both complicit. The war is between the concentrated wealth of both countries and the people of the world who are suffering and bearing the cost of this and all wars. An end to this war will come from neither more nor fewer weapons. It will come from direct personal connections that foster respect for the humanity of all people on this Earth.
  • Violet Zitola
    commented 2023-07-02 04:31:20 -0400
    On the first question, it’s clear to me that both are true. It’s not a binary left/right east/west issue. Trying to force an oversimplification of this war is as naeve as the idea that the Green Party is a tiny grain of sand trapped between two linear extremes. Opposing military aid to Ukraine will only increase suffering and prolong the war. The solution is an immediate ceasefire, and negotiations based on the principles expressed in the Vienna Peace Summit of June 11, 2023. I live in Massachusetts but my focus is the national party. I hope to see you at the party meeting next week.

    -Violet Zitola
    NWC, IC, co-chair PCSC
  • Jack Swindlehurst
    published this page in News 2023-07-01 17:52:38 -0400