Seems like a dumb question but it looks to me as though the Ukrainians, we, and, of course, the Russians have very different definitions of victory.
The Ukrainians have been pretty clear in their definition of victory: an ethnic state within the boundaries that existed prior to 2014 that isn’t under attack by the Russians and, presumably able to pursue those goals without fear of Russian attack.
Our definition is less clear. I think it’s for the Russians not to be attacking Ukraine but others have more expansive goals.
What the Russians’ goals are depend on who you ask. Some say it’s to reconstitute the old Russian Empire. The Russians say they’re defending ethnic Russians in Ukraine. I think it’s pretty clear that the Russians intend to hold Crimea and may think they’re defending ethnic Russians in Ukraine. Whether they’re accomplishing that or not is another question.
The direction in which we’re presently embarked appears to be to pursue the Ukrainians’ idea of victory. Should we support their desire to have an ethnic state within the pre-2014 boundaries? That’s something that has never existed before. I find the notion of Ukraine as an ethnic state antithetical to U. S. Interests. I don’t think that those goals are consistent with our values and are not worth risking 330 American lives to pursue. Other Americans see it differently.
I have not seen Ukrainians demanding an ethic state. Have I just missed that? Is it a frequent demand by credible people? Going back to pre 2014 boundaries I have seen.
I look forward to your interpretation of laws banning the official use of any language other than Ukrainian and disenfranchising non-Ukrainians. Those were among the first actions of the Ukrainian government installed by the putsch.
In bob’s tirades there is one recurrent true statement: the Yanukovych government was the last legitimately elected government of Ukraine.
Dave Schuler: Should we support their desire to have an ethnic state within the pre-2014 boundaries? That’s something that has never existed before.
Ukrainian national identity dates at least to Kyivan Rus in the tenth and eleventh centuries. They were also independent for a short while in the early 20th century, then from the disintegration of the Soviet Union to today.
But that’s not the issue at stake. There are many ethnicities that cross existing national borders. The rule, established in the aftermath of the scourges of the world wars, and to which Russia has bound itself, is a prohibition on wars of conquest. That’s why most wars since WWII have been cast as civil wars. That’s why the whole world rose up against Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. Russia even reaffirmed their respect for Ukraine’s borders in the Budapest Memorandum. If Russia is allowed to succeed in Ukraine, then it will mean the international taboo against aggression and the breaking of treaties has been crossed, and the international system will become destabilized. On the other hand, the very high price Russia is paying will serve to deter future aggression.
You’re changing the subject. Kyiv (or Kiev) was a city-state. The territory occupied by the present Ukraine was multi-ethnic then and is multi-ethnic now.
There are also rules against ethnic cleansing.
I think we have a narrow line to tread between encouraging Russian aggression and encouraging the creation of ethnic states via ethnic cleansing, backed by U. S. military and industrial might. Ukraine is demonstrating it’s a difficult line to tread. We are presently erring in support of ethnic cleansing which I think will come back to haunt us.
BTW, have you ever read Slovo o polku Igorev? I have. In the original Old East Slavic.
Dave Schuler: Kyiv (or Kiev) was a city-state. The territory occupied by the present Ukraine was multi-ethnic then and is multi-ethnic now.
It was a state that ruled over a large area. It was multi-ethnic, but it is still central to Ukrainian identity.
Dave Schuler: There are also rules against ethnic cleansing.
Sure, but Russia purposefully provoked ethnic conflict, including by deploying “little green men“. Nor has Russia’s actions been in any way beneficial for the ethnic Russians within Ukrainian borders. It’s been a disaster for everyone involved.
Once again you’re changing the subject. Unless you see some way to restore Ukraine’s pre-2014 borders without there being reprisals against ethnic Russian Ukrainian citizens. I don’t.
On this we are in agreement. Despite its being castigated as “letting the Russians win”, I don’t see any way to restore the pre-2014 borders.
And that’s the point of my post. What the Ukrainians have stated as their goals are not necessarily our goals as well and we need to be very careful in helping them to achieve them.
Dave Schuler: Once again you’re changing the subject. Unless you see some way to restore Ukraine’s pre-2014 borders without there being reprisals against ethnic Russian Ukrainian citizens.
The vast majority Russian-Ukrainians support Ukraine’s independence. Whatever goodwill they had towards Russia has evaporated in the wake of Russia’s brutal invasion. The Ukrainian government would probably not sanction widespread reprisals, if only to garner help from the West for rebuilding. That is not the say that some people won’t seek a rough justice for Russian ethnics who committed atrocities.
Requiring people to speak Ukrainian in the country of Ukraine means you want an ethnic state? That’s just awful.
As I recall, Ukraine had agreed to the UE pact but Yanukovych refused to sign it, probably since he was being paid off by Russia. And you have now decided that every following election is invalid? Is that really how we do things? Russia had some invalid elections in the 1900s, therefore none of its current elections are valid. So did Germany, so its current admin is illegitimate? Why dont you just point me to some prominent Ukrainian politicians who claim they want to have an ethnic state or something at least close to that.
Finally, Russia invaded right after Yanukovych was kicked out. When you have a bunch of foreigners invade your country is it unexpected that not make it easy on them by continuing to use the language of the invaders?
Israel is a self-proclaimed ethnic state. And they have done quite a bit of ethnic cleaning. Is that in US interests? We also supported independence for Muslim Kosovo, another ethnic state. I fail to see how a Ukrainian ethnic state in reduced area is not in our interests.
Of course, “our” is the problem. The interests of the regime in Washington are in opposition to the interests of the American people.
As to Ukraine, Yanukovych was the legitimate, democratically elected President, and it was his prerogative to negotiate agreements with foreign countries. He had two deals on the table, and he chose Russia’s offer. The result was that the US engineered a coup, and installed the current illegitimate fascist junta.
The only possible outcome that avoids a world war is a negotiated partition of Ukraine. The US is actively preventing negotiations, because our goal is not the defense of Ukraine but the weakening of Russia. The US could not care less about Ukraine or Ukrainians.
As to the Kievan Rus, they were Vikings. No Ukrainians, Russians, Poles, Lithuanians et al. existed then.
I don’t think so. I think we should maintain distance between the U. S. and Israel as with any explicit theocracy, e.g. Saudi Arabia.
I think a Ukrainian ethnic state in reduced area would be tolerable. Presumably, you mean further reduced since there are Hungarian, Romanian, and Tatar sections as well. However, I’m aware that not all Americans feel that way, cf. the reaction to Hungary’s striving to keep itself an ethnic state.
Yanukovych’s election was certified free and fair by international observers including Jimmy Carter.
On the language issue AFAICT they didnt address it on radio and TV until 2017. Even then it only required 75% of programming between 7AM and 10PM be in Urkainian so no night time restrictions. For local TV only 50% needed to be in Ukrainian. So it really doesnt sound like it was the firs thing the new govt did and when they did it they is pretty half assed.
In the case of Israel there is no shortage of politicians claiming they want the place to be an ethnic state.
bob sykes: As to the Kievan Rus, they were Vikings.
That’s like arguing King Charles of Great Britain isn’t British, because he’s a descendant of Vikings. The Varangians were Vikings who became rulers of Kyivan Rus, but quickly adopted Slavic culture, just as other Vikings adopted French and English culture.
National identities are developed from shared origin stories. For Americans, it’s 1776 and Gettysburg, or 1619 and “I have dream.” The stories don’t even have to be historically well-founded, such as the Greek’s gift to the Trojans, or Moses and the burning bush.
For the Ukrainians, Kyivan Rus and the Cossacks represent these founding myths.
@Dave, language is not ethnicity. A lot of Ukrainians are Russian speakers first. I also don’t think official language laws are that unusual, or now that relevant. Some outside force is bombing cities that are majority Russian-speaking, forcibly conscripting young Russian speaking men, and forcing people in Russian-speaking areas to flee the country. Putin is solving the problem of Russian language in his own way.
@Zachriel, I think Ukrainian identity takes more from the Cossack Hetmanate, than Kievan Rus. What people think of as Ethnic Nationalism in the European sense emerged from the Napoleonic wars and the collapsing legitimization of monarchy by divine authority. The Cossack state represents the distinctiveness of a people, and underscores a state of continual conflict and small-state balancing with all of the neighboring empires that sought to control it (Ottoman/Polish-Lithuanian/Russian).
I’m not suggesting Kiev isn’t important, but it’s more important to narratives of Russian imperialism in establishing Russia as the heir to Kiev, the Third Rome, gatherer of Ruthenians, and protector of the (Orthodox) faithful.
PD Shaw: What people think of as Ethnic Nationalism in the European sense emerged from the Napoleonic wars and the collapsing legitimization of monarchy by divine authority.
You are correct that state nationalism is a fairly new phenomenon. For instance, Germany and Italy didn’t become coherent states until the nineteenth century. Nevertheless, the East Slavic nations all find their roots in Kyivan Rus.
Specifically, Ukraine sees its origins in Kyivan Rus. From their 1991 Act of Declaration of Independence of Ukraine: “-continuing the thousand-year tradition of state development in Ukraine . . . “