The history of imperialism and war diminishes our moral standing to oppose Russian aggression.
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I was described as a pacifist the other day.
I’m not pacifist. But I’m old enough to hate war.
I hate this one. Who cannot be upset by the television images of Ukrainian citizens, men, women and children, taking cover in church basements and subway stations as Russian jets drop bombs from the sky?
I have watched these same images since I was a small boy. Different countries. Different planes. Same images.
In last night’s State of the Union address to Congress, President Biden joined with those who have tried to paint this war as one which draws some kind of moral distinction between the humanitarian West and the brutal, war-mongering East led by a psychopathic barbarian.
I am not buying it.
President Joe Biden spoke of nations having a right to sovereignty.
I wanted to reach into the screen and remind him that the United States is the only government in the world to formally recognize Israel’s illegal annexation of land belonging to its neighbors.
If Biden really believed what he said about Ukraine then he would support Palestinian self-determination and oppose the horrors of the Israeli attacks on the Palestinian citizens of Gaza.
Biden’s fine words about territorial integrity would surprise Yemenis, Lebanese, Palestinians, Cubansx, Venezuelans, Vietnamese and Cambodians.
A long list.
What is the difference between the recent Russian veto of the U.N. Security Council resolution condemning the invasion of Ukraine and U.S. vetoes of U.N. resolutions against the U.S. invasions of Grenada and Panama, interventions in Nicaragua, and Israel’s multiple invasions of Lebanon?
Biden is right that big powers are not privileged to invade other nations.
But Biden supported the U.S. invasion of Iraq based on the lie of weapons of mass destruction and that Iraq was somehow connected to 9/11.
As Obama’s vice president he was the closest advisor to twenty years of death, destruction and ultimate U.S. defeat in Afghanistan.
The Russian war on Ukraine must end. Ukraine has a right to exist as an independent nation.
I don’t know how it will end.
Maybe the sanctions will work. Maybe talks will succeed. Maybe Ukraine can declare its neutrality with no NATO expansion.
But our own history makes it more difficult for us to stand as a moral leader in the world to make any of that happen.