What I Know and What I Don’t — War, Russia and Ukraine, and the Moral High Ground
“Kill one of ours, we’ll kill one of yours / With some friendly fire, that’s a funny term, like civil war” — Sage Francis, Slow Down Ghandi
“It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.” ― Voltaire
I can’t sit here and tell you I’m some foreign policy expert with the in-depth ins-and-outs of the Russia / Ukraine situation. To get that, I recommend Balancing Act, a Ukrainian American providing real-time updates and insight far beyond anything I can muster up. I also can’t pretend to make an argument as to what the U.S. should do next. Game theory analysis might seem cold, but it works, and Tim Andersen has done some detailed calculations that make sense.
Further, I don’t know what confluence of events led to Russia invading Ukraine, or if we could’ve done anything to prevent it. I don’t know what Putin was thinking, or what his next move might be, though I recommend Jason Deane’s analysis on this front. Along those lines, I can’t tell you if Russia can “win” this war, or what a Russian victory might look like, though I recommend Adebayo Adeniran’s surgical takedown of spurious nonsense predictions about the outcome.
Russians are protesting this war, at potential significant risk to themselves, but I can’t read their minds and tell you what they all think about it, though native Russian Alexei Sorokin, now living in the U.S., has wonderful insight. Truthfully, given the careful control of all narrative rendered through our media, I am not at all certain what Americans really feel about this war either, but brian g gilmore, aka bumpyjonas (who is quickly becoming one of my favorite writers on this site), has compiled perhaps the best thing written about this war thus far, capturing the full range of uncertainty and absurdity.
As more information comes out, and things progress, I will have some thoughts, for sure. Even so, I am mostly faced with all the things I don’t know.
What I know is this, and I know it unequivocally, without caveat, disclaimer, or modification — war is bad.