David Sacks wrote an excellent column in Newsweek, critiquing the ideologues who prevent us from discussing a way to end the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Excerpts:
David Frum established the neocon standard when he called the few Right-leaning pundits who opposed the Iraq War “Unpatriotic Conservatives” from the beginning of the strategic disaster. Now, anyone suggesting that NATO expansion might have contributed to the current Ukraine crisis or that sanctions imposed upon Russia aren’t working and have backfired against a soon to be-shivering Europe or that the U.S. should prioritize avoiding a global war with a nuclear-armed Russia is dismissed as a Putin stooge.
This way of waging the debate allows for contradictory and delusional thinking to continue unassisted. We get the argument that Putin will kill anyone he wants to, but he is also blatantly lying about nuclear weapons. He’s only calling it a bluff to win the war, but if he doesn’t stop in Ukraine, he will conquer all of Europe. Putin’s regime must be overthrown because he has executed or imprisoned all liberal reformers. However, he will be replaced when his regime falls by a liberal reformer.
This is absurd, and a debate about it would expose some of these delusions. We aren’t allowed one.
We will see a one-way ratchet towards a greater and more dangerous escalation as long as the woke-neocon coalition is allowed to decide the terms of the discussion.
America won’t have any role in the negotiations, so there will not be a peaceful solution to this conflict. We should lead the effort. Instead, we have been listening to the Ukrainians with their extreme demands and increasing sanctions against Russia while Putin raises his rhetoric about the West. To ensure that Germany, another important nation, might be willing to negotiate, someone blew up Nord Stream. Now we’re playing nuclear “chicken”, with a Russian leader, who, if his unhinged speech “War against the West,” last Friday is any indication of, has given up the steering wheel.
Because all sides made maximalist demands and assumed that others were lying, a regional war became the First World War. It could happen again, especially if media, social media and the foreign policy elite combine forces and use woke cancel tactics to prevent discussion of alternative options. We are currently on an escalatory course, with Woke War III as our destination.
Take a look at it and then share it with others.
Yesterday, I was telling new friends that the Iraq War was my adult life’s most important political event. As I have said many times here, I am amazed at how ignorant I was about the pro-war propaganda being put out by our government. I also marvel at how I, as a journalist, could participate in it without realizing what I was doing. It’s impossible to emphasize my confidence in myself and my side. I didn’t want to hear from people opposed to the war. They were not “unpatriotic conservatives” or unpatriotic liberals. But I didn’t want to confuse when the war was clearly for Truth And Democracy. This is a joke. I learned from bitter postwar regret that we are fools if we silence dissent or fail to take it seriously.
We are here again, not having learned a thing. We are being pushed further and further to direct war with Russia by the same people who pushed us into the Iraq War. Some liberals, who were rightly skeptical about the Iraq War, now have no reservations because they believe they are fighting Slavic Hitler.
The US Embassy in Budapest joined the fun by posting this tweet to Twitter to troll the Orban government.
Well. Hungarians may not agree with some of the tweets from the Embassy. I also question the US Embassy’s blaming the Hungarian government for content in government-funded media. Is Joe Biden responsible for all comments made on NPR by others? No. However, some of the statements made by Hungarians are true or worth considering. Americans must understand that not only a few Europeans view America’s actions as being imperialistic. With increasing bitterness, they wonder why European countries must become poorer to allow Washington to achieve its anti-Russian foreign policy goals. It will be difficult to find Hungarians that are pro-Russian. However, it is not difficult to find Hungarians skeptical about America’s goals here. This is because they are the ones who have paid and will continue paying a hefty price for this war.
My Hungarian friend, a mother, and wife told me the sad news that wartime inflation had wiped out any modest financial stability she and her husband had achieved. This is a common story. A Hungarian told me last night that he had spoken with the owner of a historic pastry shop. This bakery has been baking sweets and cakes for more than 150 years and has survived two world wars and Communism. They are now on the verge of collapse due to high energy prices.
Imagine this story repeated millions of times, and you will get an idea of how many Europeans think. People from all across Europe, not just Hungarians. Many of them are walking the streets. It’s not going to get any easier: As winter approaches, people will be more tired of being hungry and cold. Recently, a Polish friend texted me that he and his Warsaw friends plan to help each other in the coming civil unrest. Polish has a garbage burning to keep warm.
What would you think if this were your family? If your grandparents or parents were forced to burn trash to heat their homes, how would that affect your feelings about the war on terror?
There are many willing to sacrifice to help Ukraine. How can Americans, seated in America, be indifferent to Europeans who are witnessing their national economies collapse and their finances fall? Do you want to incite anti-American hatred? You should do things like what the US Embassy does.
Viktor Orban has long been discussing the need to reach a ceasefire and negotiate peace. He has been called a Putin stooge. He has been a statesman, looking out for Europe’s best interests and his people. Orban could be wrong in his judgment. My problem is that using epithets such as “Putin’s lapdog” and suggesting that criticisms of American policy are disloyal will only prolong a war that has a catastrophic effect on European economies.
We were marching to the Iraq War in 2002/early 2003. None of us pro-war Americans wanted any information about what would happen to Christian minority communities once Saddam was gone. We did not want to hear any negative things about it. We wanted to believe. If maintaining belief meant that we minimized the sacrifices other people (foreigners) would have to make for the US to achieve its goals, fine. We were fine with sneering at war critics and calling them disloyal and unpatriotic if we had to maintain belief.
What happened? What about Iraq? For the Middle East? For the rest of the world?
It’s happening again. It doesn’t take much to believe about Vladimir Putin or his unjustified, monstrous war against Ukraine. Washington has to prolong the war in its interest. This is also in Washington’s best interests (and the interests of US defense contractors who will make a fortune manufacturing replacements for all the equipment sent to Ukraine).
I am typing this while sitting on a train going through northern Hungary. It is not far from the Ukraine border. Just now, the train stopped in a rural village. A group of teenage boys got on board. They are poor, with battered faces. Many of them are Gypsies who live hard lives. What future are these children going to have? Although it was hard enough before the war, what happens if their country’s fuel crisis causes a collapse of its economy? What about the UN’s claim that 71 million people are falling into poverty due to the war’s effects around the globe? Although they are not combatants in the war, this war is indirectly dramatically affecting them. Who advocates for their interests? It’s not the US Embassy. Not the American pundit classes.