15 reasons why the world needs Ukrainian victory, by a historian of political atrocity

Originally published at: 15 reasons why the world needs Ukrainian victory, by a historian of political atrocity | Boing Boing


Snyder is on-point as always. The piece looks backwards toward a dark past and forward toward a better future (with some suggestions for personal action at the end).


Number 13 is on point too. This is also a resource war the rest of the world needs to ensure it wins and Russia does not.

  1. To guarantee food supplies and prevent future starvation. Ukraine feeds much of the world. Russia threatens to use that food as a weapon. As one Russian propagandist put it, “starvation is our only hope.”

I only wish the rest of the world, including some on-the-fence and Russia-supporting countries realised that if Putin gets Ukraine, the cost - and even the availability - of what Ukraine exports today will be dependent on his whim. And he WILL use those resources for political ends.


The general thrust is OK, but reasons 2 and 3 are on shaky ground, I think. Only someone with no memory span whatsoever ( and an inability to look a few hundred miles south) would cast the Russia-Ukraine war as the key driver behind “undermining the international legal order”, and to talk of the end of an age of Empire has a pretty large blind spot.

To what do you refer? The main thing a few hundred miles south is Turkiye. Do you mean their treatment of the Kurds? Or maybe Syria, where Russia has been propping up a dictator? Maybe to the south-west and the Balkans?

I really hope Russia calls it quits soon. While estimates are all over the place, it is pretty clear that ~60,000 Russians have died, and another 100,000 wounded, captured, or deserted. That is a hell of death tally for troops in modern times. I’m honestly surprised that Russians back home are OK with this, but they also seem to have a different… perspective… on the value of life.

Ukraine isn’t much further behind in losses, but they are getting new equipment at least, while Russia is pulling out mothballed tanks, or trickling in the newer stuff they were using for reserve/defense.

And the fucked up thing is - Russia has already lost. Like the goals of the are to exert influence are impossible. The best they can hope for his holding on to dirt, and Ukraine has made it clear, they aren’t going to let them do that.

Finally, when they do finally win, we need a Marshall Plan like program from the EU to get them back up and running.


13 posts were merged into an existing topic: The Shirtless Wonder’s Alternate History

Or their invasion and military occupation of northern Syria, and ongoing sponsorship of a proxy army of Jihadists there. Or go a little further south and we get to Iraq, which should get some bells ringing about the whole concept of the international order, imperialism and invading sovereign countries.


This. And it’s another reason to hope the hostilities end soon. How long until the international community gets tired of support for Ukraine? The sooner this conflict ends, not only will it mean fewer lives lost, but also the sooner, and at less cost, the rebuilding can begin.

  1. The use of refugees as a political weapon. Chechnya, Syria, Ukraine…

I don’t think that it’s just because Russia’s equipment is geared towards indiscriminate destruction of large population centers. Creating and throwing millions of refugees on the west is a deliberate political strategy.


I’m hoping that somehow Russia will be on the hook for a big part of the price for rebuilding Ukraine, since they are solely responsible for the destruction. Yes, I know about the whole Treaty of Versailles.


Also (for me)…

  1. To twist Trump’s, Carlson’s, the GOP’s, White Supremacists’, and Fascists’ nuts and make them eat shit.

@RickMycroft had dibs on “16”. My edit shows “17” now.

  1. To lift the threat of major war in Asia. In recent years, a Chinese invasion of Taiwan has been the leading scenario for a global war. A Ukrainian victory teaches Beijing that such an offensive operation is costly and likely to fail.

I’m not so sure on this one. Unless a Ukrainian win is strongly decisive, and really soon now, I fear the aftermath will be military, economic and political exhaustion by the West. Leaving China with strength to exert. And the West having little stomach for yet another costly and protracted conflict.

A second concern I’ve been having is the possible unintended consequences of pressing Germany to militarize, to “carry their fair share” in NATO and the EU.

Since losing on the wrong side of two world wars, Germany wisely avoided military investment for 70+ years. Sure a strong and democratic Germany sounds like a great idea, right? But don’t forget.

Increasingly all across the world lately, “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold.”

So what happens when Germany takes their next turn with a populist, racist, fascist leader like so much of the world is trending toward lately? And how more attractive would seizing power in a strong, militarized Germany become?


I do find it odd how nobody can seem to talk about the invasion of Ukraine without bringing up Taiwan. The situations are very different, and China is playing a very long game here, quite unlike the haste that Putin has shown.

As for Germany, though, I think that they have done more than enough to earn back the world’s trust after the two World Wars. And there are other countries that are already militarized and much more dangerous than modern Germany when it comes to the rise of populism, racism and fascism.


I don’t think the historical record supports your impression. It looks to me that the threat of invasion strongly motivated defense spending before 1990.


2 posts were merged into an existing topic: The Shirtless Wonder’s Alternate History

A post was merged into an existing topic: The Shirtless Wonder’s Alternate History

There’s also the purely pragmatic consideration that, unless non-militarization is imposed by some fairly profound structural factor, rather than just budgetary preference, it’s minimally binding on anything but the present and the immediate future.

In the purely hypothetical world where one could make or break Germany’s potential as a credible military actor permanently(or at least for some suitably long period of time) there’s probably some interesting cost-benefit game theorying to be done; but we don’t live in such a world.

If we presume that Germany could pretty much up military spending whenever the next procedurally relevant budget review occurs; and take immediate military steps if Scholz stopped being squeamish about a particular category of German industrial export sometime today; then we have little reason to assume that some less savory future leader couldn’t do much the same thing on the same relatively short timescale.

That makes putting up with the evident downsides now much less attractive when the only upside is mildly inconveniencing a potential undesirable future administration.


Say from 1933-1939.


A post was merged into an existing topic: The Shirtless Wonder’s Alternate History