Wednesday, August 16, 2023

A War Not Only for Ukraine

It's a a contest of incredibility between the presidential contender who employs the phrase "actualization of their dreams" and an individual who claims to have been banned from Twitter in 2022 and "resurrected" in 2023.  The Jesus figure comes out on top because she chooses to believe comedian and political pontificator Jimmy Dore.

Dore slams the federal government for aiding Ukraine "while there are people living under every bridge in America."  Every bridge in America? The problem is particularly acute in temperate areas such as coastal Pacific Northwest.  Where I live, in an area more temperate than virtually everywhere in the USA outside of that region, not every homeless person lives under a bridge and not all bridges feature individuals living beneath it. Homelessness is too serious a problem to lie about.

In a variation of Donald Trump's "people tell me," Dore contends "$100 million which they say could end homelessness in the United States" is a much better investment than supplying weaponry to Ukraine. Where he gets the $100 million figure is anyone's guess, and he chooses not to tell us. Neither does he enlighten us as to the policies or programs, on the federal, state, or local level, which would accomplish that.  Moreover, as Williamson and Dore both understand- but as Dore pretends not to- if our nation's assistance to Kyiv ended tomorrow, that money would not automatically be applied to homelessness or to anything else. Little or none of it would be used to address the issue of homelessness- and "little" is on its way out-of-town.

But the crux of Dore's complaint is the war in Ukraine, a country which he unbelievably charges is "the most corrupt in Europe."  Ukraine is no paragon of virtue. In its annual Corruption Perceptions Index, Transparency International ranked 180 nations from 0 ("highly corrupt") to 100 ("very clean"). Ukraine is tied with six countries as the 116th cleanest and a score of 33. However, Russia is worse, tying two countries as the 137th best and a score of only 28. (The USA is 24th.)

So Ukraine is no paragon of virtue but is closer to it than Russia, whose President decided to have his forces invade Ukraine in early 2022. The threat from Russia is much more real to its eastern European neighbors than to Jimmy Dore or other fans of Moscow. This applies not only to the government in Warsaw but also to its citizens, who prior to Russia's invasion of Ukraine had been generally immigration-averse. It is significant that as of November of 2022, there had been 6.8 million border crossings from Ukraine to Poland and as "Poles rushed to welcome the newcomers"

Some analysts attribute the Poles’ change of heart to a cultural or ethnic similarity with Ukrainians and longstanding ties between the two countries. But when asked why they did what they did, many Poles talked about a sense of solidarity with opponents of their longtime adversary, Russia, perceived by many to have posed a threat since medieval times. “The enemy of my enemy is my friend,” one Polish man explained to the author. “Ukraine is fighting for Poland as much as for Ukraine, fending off both our countries’ age-old enemy, Russia.”

Poles realize Vladimir Putin has had his eyes on  their country.  If Poland were invaded by Russia, United States forces (as well as those of other nations) undoubtedly would be deployed to Poland under terms of  Article 5 of the founding treaty of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

American men and women would be killed, and a lot of them. Ukraine is putting up much more of a defense than most of us thought it could and can succeed only with continuing- probably increasing- support from the USA. That cost is high- but far less, in both physical and human capital, than the alternative.

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