Arming Ukraine is the path to peace

By | April 24, 2022

Nicholas Grossman writes:

As the United States and other NATO countries send Ukraine weapons to fight Russian invaders, some left-wing critics have denounced the effort as warmongering escalation.

For example, linguist professor and activist Noam Chomsky described American policy as “praising ourselves for heroism” while “fighting Russia to the last Ukrainian.” I fault no one for lamenting the destruction and hoping for peace, but that assessment misunderstands this war and America’s role in it.

The decision of when to stop fighting for Ukraine is up to Ukrainians. Helping them, while balancing other risks, is the best path to peace.

Chomsky, however, argued that America should push Ukraine to accept Russian demands: “You can sympathize with [Ukrainian President Zelensky’s] positions. But you can also pay attention to the reality of the world.” That reality, he says, is “neutralization of Ukraine, some kind of accommodation for the Donbas region,” and taking the status of Crimea off the negotiating table. He compares Russia to a hurricane, and argues that concessions are the “alternative to the destruction of Ukraine and nuclear war.”

The linguistics professor and longtime antiwar activist drew criticism for denying both Ukrainian and Russian agency, and for sounding like a Putin apologist, but he also has his defenders. Here’s how Ben Burgis explained it in a column for The Daily Beast last week:

“Chomsky’s analysis is that the options are, on the one hand, a serious push for Russia, Ukraine, the U.S., and other powers to sit down and hammer out a negotiated settlement to end the fighting or, on the other, continued escalation in which, at best, countless additional Ukrainian lives will be lost. At worst, the regional war could escalate into a broader conflict that could lead to World War III.”

That’s a false choice. The options are not serious diplomacy that ends the fighting or military escalation. Ukraine is the primary actor here, and its choice is acquiescing to Russian domination—with cities surrendering, the Zelensky government abdicating, and a pro-Russia leader installed (as Russia’s original push for Kyiv attempted)—or resisting. Ukraine’s elected leaders, and a large percentage of its population, chose to fight back.

At that point, it’s not diplomacy or war. It’s and. [Continue reading…]

Print Friendly, PDF & Email