Wednesday January 11, 2023
US and NATO officials routinely contend that assisting Ukraine in its war against Russia is a moral as well as a strategic imperative. Ukraine is supposedly on the frontlines of a global struggle between democracy and freedom on one side and brutal authoritarianism on the other. That justification lacks credibility for two reasons. First, Ukraine itself is a corrupt, repressive autocracy, not a freedom-loving democracy, even if one uses the most flexible, expansive definition of "democracy." Second, the Russia-Ukraine war is a nasty turf fight over mundane stakes, not part of an existential global confrontation between good and evil.
It is hard to determine how much Western political leaders and their media mouthpieces actually believe their own moralistic propaganda. Some likely have drunk the Kool Aid, but others clearly have more practical (and less savory) reasons for wanting Washington to wage a proxy war against Russia. First and foremost, the financial benefits to the military-industrial complex are enormous. The United States has already provided more than $100 billion in aid to Kyiv, and a major portion of those funds are going to pay for Ukraine’s purchases (now or in the near future) of weapons systems from Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, or other manufacturers. Those firms also will benefit from the destruction of weapons already provided to Kyiv, since US stockpiles supposedly must be replenished. The usual collection of hawks already are sounding alarms that the arsenals of the United States and its NATO allies have become significantly depleted.