On Just War

I am knot shocked by Russia’s actions— maybe because I know that is the reaction they want. Shock is a strategy to destabilize people from responding in a coordinated way. We will not be thrown off balance by this.

Those who did not see this attack coming are those who have not been paying attention to politics on these regions for the last decade (some because they aren’t old enough to have had enough time to understand and some because they’ve been paying attention to politics elsewhere). The relationship between Russia and Ukraine has been tense for a long time. Back on 2014 we saw a dangerous escalation of their relationship.

Unfortunately many of us saw this coming. Why else would we have increased our military budget so drastically just before this occurred besides the want of playing war too?

Unfortunately, Knowing this does not make it easier to except an unjust war that we did too little to prevent. We’ve been too busy fighting our own unjust wars to not be hypocritical.

Unfortunately, knowing that Putin is an egomaniac trying to establish a legacy does not make it easier to accept or resolve. Putin, like many politicians, is a big boy playing with his big toys. That our cultures around the world have glorified war as a means of establishing power does not help bring a peaceful resolution. That we’ve glorified war as power and now we pretend to be shocked is heartbreaking arrogance.

The unethical strategies and tactics of the Russian political regime and their military are not new, are not surprising, and yet it does not make it easier to news to swallow.

That this is happening 3 years into a pandemic, which has weakened the global community towards conflict, is not a coincidence but a strategy.

Many people want to compare this to WW2–this comparison is not entirely as that war is often associated with conflict of ethnicities and this war between a Russia and Ukraine is not a war about ethnicity this is a war about power, especially nuclear power but also political power. It is similar to WW2 in that like Hitler, Putin is trying to take over land, starting with Ukraine and potentially moving in towards Romania and Moldavia. Really, maybe no comparison is all that utilitarian, yet this global conflict also seems closely comparable to the Cold War with the tension of nuclear energy in the mix.

A war of power can be just as destructive (not necessarily more deadly) then a war about ethnicity as every country, every leader, every person in the world wants power. In this type of war, to give up power is to lose and that puts NATO allies, as well as its axis, in dangerous positions. Russia is poking the bear by poking at the ego of hegemony. The only way to win this war is to strengthen multilateralism, the way to win this war is to let go of our ego and think of each other and strengthen each other’s powers. Call me a pessimist but I believe we will lose this war as a globe just as we are losing a war of climate change. I hope I am proved wrong.

In the United States, the media might lead you to believe we have a “difficult time” understanding Russia’s rational. Yet, deep down we do understand. We’ve seen, felt, and been warned about Putin’s influence on the trump administration. We’ve felt how irrational and divisive it has made our country. The power, the ability, of Russia to destabilize a country and a region through propaganda and political interference is palpable to us. The strategy Russia used in the United States with Trump has been used in Ukraine for decades. This physical attack on their country is the escalation after long term political interference.

I do not feel bad for Putin, or the wealthy class who’ve made money on the backs of everyday people. I feel empathy for the everyday people of Russia as NATO allies intensify sanctions and as everyday citizens around the world may begin boycotting Russian products, including oil, gas, and nuclear energy. Though these sanctions are temporary I hope it will prompt us to diversify our energy portfolio and trade routes. I hope this war prompts us to think about how we respond to the refugee crisis, International policies, and the racism therein. May this war be a mirror to our own hypocrisy and racism in our policies towards conflict in the Middle East and Africa.

And maybe that is truly how Putin will win his legacy – By being the linchpin that forces us to take a deep look at the climate—not just the weather but our political and social climate. I hope we make the necessary changes.

Russia may be fighting unethically, however, i hope we will not sink to their level. Social and economic sanctions can be more powerful then weapons in the long run. Yet I’ve no doubt N. America will continue to make millions while selling arms to many regions in conflict.

I urge everyday people of every nation to take your power back. Realize how resilient and resourceful you are as we temporarily sacrifice Russian comforts in an effort to disarm Russia’s oligarchs economically and socially.

The everyday people of Russia know we’ve nothing against them personally, however their leader is an abusive asshole. I hope we refuse to do business with Russian companies until they find a path to remove their head of state, ego, and find someone to succeed him who will not act unjustly on behalf of their people. Establishing new political leadership in Russia is the job of the people of Russia, not N. Americans.

Telling other countries what form of politics to practice is not my business. I am only a philosopher, I am not selling democracy as it has its own issues with ethics and is only so successful as a political method. What I am proposing is that everyday people find, and take back, their power.

I am a pessimist when it comes to politics yet the hope we have is that the people of Russia will rise up and get their head of state under control. We know this is not an easy task and yet it is truly their task, all we can do is support them and the people of Ukraine in their efforts as we try to wrap our heads around why we aren’t supporting Syrians, Yemenis, Eritreans in the same way. Will we be able to look at how we are responding here and apply this response more broadly with refugee crises elsewhere? What I would also care to know is being neighbors with Ukraine and having significant influence across Central Europe—are Turkish officials planning on making a statement about this war or have we just not heard from them because N. American media tends to ignore predominantly Muslim or non-Christian countries?

Thanks for reading with your eyes, ears and hands. Stay safe and Raise hell peacefully,

Anne Arkhane

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