Anti-Imperialism/Foreign Policy

The War Is Right And Just. But Is It Prudent?

A year later, the end-game of the war in Ukraine is dangerously murky.

Ukrainian flags are placed on the graves of soldiers at a Kharkiv cemetery on January 24. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

There are so many ways in which the West’s defensive war against Russia is a righteous cause.

It is right and just to defend a sovereign country from attack by a much larger neighbor; to fight back against an occupying force committing war crimes on a massive scale; to oppose the logic of dictatorships and defend the foundations of democracy; to uphold a post-Cold War international order which forbids the redrawing of borders by force; to unite democratic countries in Europe against a resurgence of imperial Russia; to defang and defeat a poisonous chauvinism that despises modern freedoms for women and gay people.

It is indeed right and just. But is it prudent?

That’s the question I’m still grappling with, in a week which saw the conflict deepen and the two sides entrench their positions further. President Biden’s trip to Kyiv and his speech in Poland have heightened the stakes, turning this into a more obvious proxy war between the United States and Russia … edging gingerly but relentlessly toward something more direct.

He’s all in now: declaring that Ukraine “must triumph” and that Russia cannot win a war that the Russian leader deems existential. NATO armaments are pouring into Ukraine at an accelerating rate. The training of Ukrainian troops is happening across the Continent. Germany is sending tanks. Pressure is building on Britain to send fighter jets.

The US is ratcheting up arms production as fast as it can, while seriously depleting our own Stinger surface-to-air missiles, 155mm howitzers and ammunition, and Javelin anti-tank missile systems. These are good times for arms producers:

The Army is planning a 500% increase in artillery shell production, from 15,000 a month to 70,000, according to Army acquisition chief Doug Bush … and intends to double the production of Javelin anti-tank missiles, make roughly 33% more Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems surface-to-surface medium-range missiles a year, and produce each month a minimum of 60 Stinger anti-aircraft missiles — which were “almost not in production at all,” according to Bush.

When Ukraine’s effective military is made up almost entirely of NATO equipment, and trained by NATO forces, there surely comes a point at which claiming NATO is not actually at war with Russia gets fuzzy.


Leave a Reply