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The Ukraine Crisis
Wisdom Letter #130 | The many faces of war
I never allow myself to have an opinion on anything that I don’t know the other side’s argument better than they do.
Until earlier this week, we had no opinion on the Ukraine crisis.
But since last Thursday, ever since Russia waged war on Ukraine, murmurs of world war 3 started to surface, it became imperative that we read more about it.
Before holding any opinions, it’s necessary that we do the work required to hold an opinion.
And like most things in life, once we put in the work, we realized that the situation isn’t as black or white as it’s made out to be. As a 3rd party with no direct impact, it’s hard to pick sides.
There are many sides to this conflict, and we’ve tried to bring to you the perspective of all the sides involved.
Hello and welcome to Wisdom Letter #130, today we’re talking about the Ukraine crisis of 2022, and the many faces of war.
We’re trying to share as few opinions as possible here, just curating as many sources we could gather.
This is the population divide in the country -
Eastern Ukraine supports Russia. (Fuelled by separatists groups supported by Russia)
Western Ukraine supports Europe and NATO.
In 2014, a Pro EU-NATO government came into power in Ukraine and has been ruling since.
What’s NATO? 👉 North Atlantic Treaty Organization. (NATO Wikipedia)
It’s a military alliance between 30 countries - the USA, Canada, and 28 European countries.
They have a mandate to come to each other’s defense whenever any 1 of them is attacked by an enemy.
Over the years NATO has added more members and expanded eastwards, closer and closer to Russia.
Russia has strict reservations about its neighbor countries joining NATO.
The post-2014 Ukrainian government has aspirations to join NATO. And it has received positive signals from the other side as well.
But Ukraine is not yet a member of NATO, so they aren’t obligated to come to its aid.
Read more about NATO’s role -
Ukraine has acted as a buffer state between Russia and the west over the years. Russia doesn’t want NATO armies at its borders. And NATO wants to set up bases along Russian borders to keep its’ growing power in check.
Russia wants to become the great power it once was.
At the least, it doesn’t want the single power system we have in the world today. The US is the one great power and everyone else just follows their lead.
Putin believes that through NATO, the US is planning to line up its army right next to Russia, and in the long term threatens Russia’s sovereignty.
This may sound a bit paranoid, but given USA’s history, it’s not too far-fetched.
The US has been known to go around the world, toppling dictators and installing pro-western democratic governments. Not something a dictator would appreciate.
So of course, Putin sees Ukraine’s possibility of entering NATO a strategic threat.
It’s a matter of long-term existence for Putin, he feels he’s been forced into this war.
He makes it very clear in the address to his countrymen from 24th February 2022.
Watch the whole thing, but if you’re busy, don’t miss the 18-21st minute -
#3 US - NATO - EU
Many EU countries depend on Russia for gas. (BBC report)
If Ukraine gets included in NATO, the US can use its influence within NATO to threaten Russia.
NATO is not obligated to come to the rescue of Ukraine as it’s not a member yet.
They have imposed economic sanctions on Russia. But they also import gas from Russia, so they risk losing that.
And they are playing the wrong game. As it’s obvious from Putin’s statements, this is not an economic fight for him, this is a fight for existence.
A Fight for life will always take precedence over a fight for money.
NATO and the US may have played the wrong hand here. Ukraine doesn’t have such high strategic importance that they risk a full-blown war with Russia. (Nuclear weapons and all!)
They may have pushed Ukraine into an unwinnable war. Economic sanctions might not be enough.
Ukraine might have to face the ramifications of NATO’s miscalculations.
Watch this video from 2015, it almost predicts what’s happening today -
#4 The Citizen’s side
The average Ukrainian citizen is scared for his life, he doesn’t want war, he doesn’t want to fight.
The women and children are allowed to flee, but the men are forced to fight, and it’s heartbreaking.
Fuck war indeed -
Many citizens are fleeing to neighboring countries. Taking on enormous hardships to do so -
But the Ukrainian government is forcing civilians to fight. (NY Post)
There just aren’t enough soldiers left.
Ukraine is getting arms from NATO, but it can’t get any soldiers.
Ukraine’s president has ensured that all civilians will get arms.
But when you hand out weapons to civilians, you risk instability in the long term. Insurgent groups can rise from the civilian soldiers that are minted in this conflict.
Ukraine is losing the long-term war here, you can look at it from any side you want.
This doesn’t end well.
#5 Rest of the world
What do we do from the rest of the world?
First, learn as much as we can before forming any strong opinions.
Not glamorize war, not fantasize about World War 3. This is not a game!
Support the innocent citizens who are suffering the most in the crisis.
Find out ways to help here 👉 RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR: INFO AND WAYS TO HELP
You can donate to medical supplies, for saving children, you can even donate to support the Ukrainian military!
Should you do that? Should you buy guns for Ukrainian soldiers? Should we crowdfund war?
This is a tough one, it raises many complex moral, ethical questions.
Tolkien might guide us -
“War must be, while we defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour all; but I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers, Lord of The Rings.
Help the people, but don’t pour more weapons into the war.
So what’s the solution here?
It’s too early to say anything, but it looks like it will be hard to push Russia out of Ukraine any time soon.
Russia might end up toppling the current regime and installing a puppet government in Ukraine. That might be the most peaceful solution at this point!
Disinformation will prevail over the next few months. It will be hard to trust the claims from both major sides.
Both sides will claim they’ve won.
But any victory will be a pyrrhic victory.
Nobody actually wins a war!
Thank you for reading 🙏
If you think there’s been a mistake in this post, feel free to reach out, we will correct it promptly.
If we think there’s a need for more independent opinions we will read and write more about this issue in the coming week.
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