Dialogue About Russia/Ukraine is an Antidote to War Fever Authoritarianism

I’m okay with acknowledging that I’m a very small fish in a much bigger pond. In part, this is the reason for why I’ve pushed for as much dialogue, and measured analysis as possible on the Russia/Ukraine subject.

There are, based upon an easy observation of social media posts, far too many unbacked assertions, and much too little engagement with the complexities. For instance, some criticism I’ve received telling me I’m wrong, comes without telling me why I’m wrong with evidence based reasoning.

There are also quite a lot of fallacies fed into these assertions. Such as the genetic fallacy, “it’s all a Jew driven globalist conspiracy”; “legacy media lie, therefore everything they say is false,” or “Ukraine is full of Nazis, they can’t be trusted.” This is alongside straw man “Zelenksy worshipper” or the red herring “but Ukraine is full of corruption,” and the oft touted special pleading, “America did “x” therefore Putin is right.”

These are among the red flags warning of the need for people to tread carefully on this issue. I’m not dismissing those points as wrong, I’m saying the logic and how those points are communicated is flawed.

The easiest example is the targeting of Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky. I neither idolise nor envy the man. I recognise, however, the office his holds, and what this office means to the Ukrainian people.

Focusing on the besieged leader feeds the attention (“obsession”) some are criticising.

Additionally, arguments that focus on the “rookie” president – particularly his Jewish heritage – are not just a red flag to a bull, they’re a red herring.

Fool or not, the Ukrainians voted for him. They did so over-against the previous president who has investment ties in East Ukraine, and therefore motive to protect those assets regardless of his office or delicate diplomacy. Ukrainians voted for Zelensky, appealing against this kind of corruption, while at the same time, booting out the “far-right” parties said to be influenced by neo-Nazism.

The alleged “WEF stooge” could also have thrown Trump under the bus, regarding the left’s staged impeachment. Instead, Zelensky choose to correct the left’s false accusations against Trump.

All these points are important caveats in the war fever frenzy that is affecting both sides.

The cool response to my first article diving into this subject on January 24th, entitled, ‘The Pending Russian Invasion of Ukraine Reflects the Biden Administration’s Incompetence, followed by an even cooler response to ‘Who’s to Blame for Ukraine?‘ indicated to me then that there was a lot of unqualified support for Putin, simply based on his anti-woke rhetoric. A lot of which has been reasonable, which explains why some jaded Westerners appear to unquestioningly gravitate to his narrative on Ukraine.

Tragically, this comes at the cost of dismissing – or worse discounting the plight of – Putin’s victims in Russia, as his authoritarian crimes against the Russian people appear to go conveniently unnoticed.

So intrenched are these pre-conceived ideas that they’re playing into Putin’s ability to take advantage of the West’s descent into an irreversible decay.

It is obvious Putin and the Kremlin know that when they push the right buttons, the right people will react – this goes for both sides of the political isle. It’s the old-school manoeuvring of Soviet agitprop. The Kremlin, and even China’s wolf diplomats, are veterans when it comes to deploying manipulative propaganda for political gain. During the 1980s (thanks to the Kremlin’s agitprop, and unthinking sympathisers on the Left) Soviet aid to Africa was falsely believed by many to be far greater than contributions made by the United States.

Both the CCP and the Kremlin are not stupid. They see the cultural suicide taking place in the West, and in its shadow are testing the waters to see just how much the rust of moral decay has compromised the West’s structural integrity – its willingness to uphold Burkean Bible based classical liberalism against authoritarian enemies both foreign and domestic.

As COVID-19 has shown, authoritarians know a people detached from God, will look to government as an alternative. These leaders know the West is adrift. A condition exemplified by government overreach during COVID-19, and a condition originating from the West being unanchored from its objective moral moorings.

Authoritarians see the West’s authoritarian tendencies a greenlight. Putin and Xi would rightfully argue that the COVID compromise on civil liberties by Western leaders, denies those leaders the so-called moral high ground.

There is an apparent embrace of authoritarianism in The West. During COVID it was the therapeutic totalitarians. Now it appears as though those who rejected authoritarianism for two years are jumping to defend it, while those in the West who are still practicing forms of authoritarianism are also condemning it.

Arguments such as, “Ukraine needs to be made neutral etc.” exemplify the former, while imprisoning pastors for keeping their churches open during COVID exemplifiers the latter.

Forcing a nation to accept restrictions mandating limits on their freedom to exist as a nation, is not far from freedom convoy protesters being cancelled, or hard-working, small church pastors being told their not essential workers. It’s the same devil. Same song, just different wing.

An odd phenomenon with one consistent theme: at the moment, this embrace of authoritarianism suggests the authoritarians are winning.

These are important factors in the geopolitical debate. It’s not so much a battle between right and wrong, Us vs. Them, as it is – and has been, at least for me since the same-sex marriage debate – a battle between truth and falsehood.

The only way to wage such a battle is to have all eyes open. Enter discussion with prayer-filled consideration.

Care must be taken in order to avoid committing the mistake of many leaders during COVID, who applied appalling one-eyed solutions, at great cost to the credibility of their office, science and the medical profession.

Hence the importance of carefully emptying the water, while ensuring that the baby isn’t thrown out with it. Put another way, no thinking person would willingly throw themselves into a raging river without first asking, which was the best, most balanced way to cross.

Being a defender of the Ukrainian people’s right to self-determination – the right for them to set their own foreign policy, defence arrangements, have their own constitution (the list goes on) – doesn’t mean blind allegiance to the Ukrainian government. Neither does this mean ignoring the historical issues with corruption therein.

One can be opposed to Putin’s aggression in Ukraine, without the fake posturing so entwined with virtue-signalling support for Ukraine. Likewise, one can support the Russian people, without supporting the authoritarian regime who has them gripped by the throat – so much so that any independent reporting on Ukraine or against the regime ends in a lengthy gaol sentence.

Dialogue is the antidote to propaganda.

Any reckless side-lining of people who seek reasoned and respectful dialogue will only serve to escalate falsehoods, and the emotive reasoning already dividing people up into “circles”, “tribes,” “Red-pilled or “woke” – Us. vs. Them.

©Rod Lampard, 2022.

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