Silence is not an option, and sending weapons to Ukraine perpetuates the war – Middle East Monitor
As is usual in long wars, the warring parties and their media affiliates in the Russia-Ukraine conflict have painted each other using uncompromising language, making it almost impossible to provide an unbiased view of the an ongoing tragedy that killed, wounded and displaced. millions of people.
While it is understandable that such horrific wars and complete disregard for the most basic human rights often heighten our sense of what we consider moral and just, parties involved and invested in such conflicts often manipulate morality for political and geopolitical reasons. This logic is taking place in Ukraine. Both sides are convinced that nothing less than a comprehensive victory is acceptable. Western countries fully support Ukraine’s attitude in word and deed, sending billions of dollars worth of modern weapons that have done little but worsen an already bloody conflict. They support the war, they don’t end it.
The Russians hardly see their war in Ukraine as a war against Ukraine itself. In his speech on the centenary of the war, Russian President Vladimir Putin presented the war as an act of self-defense. “They are the ones who started this war, and we are using our forces to stop it,” Putin said in a joint session of the Russian Parliament and Kremlin officials.
NATO members also used similar language to the war. “We are fighting Russia,” said German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock. Although his statement was later retracted, Baerbock was in fact honest: NATO and Russia are, indeed, at war.
The stories on both sides, however, are both complex and polarizing. Trying to even give a third opinion on the war, or even approach the subject in a purely analytical way, immediately qualifies someone to be accused of being “biased” in one way or the other. Each side believes that its version of the truth is moral, historically justifiable and consistent with international law. As a result, many reasonable people retreat into silence.
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Silence is an immoral position, especially in times of war and human suffering. Anyone who thinks otherwise should think again. In Islamic theology, it is accepted, “Anyone who refrains himself from speaking the truth, is a dumb devil.” This maxim is shared by most modern political philosophies and ideologies. Among many such statements that addressed the subject, one of the most powerful declarations was by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “The day we see the truth and stop talking is the day we start dying.”
However, there is no single truth about the war in Ukraine that can be completely true after putting it in a larger context. The war on Ukraine is indeed illegal; but the previous civil war in Donbas and the Minsk agreements violated at the behest of the Western powers — as former German Chancellor Angela Merkel admitted — were also immoral and illegal. In fact, none of these actions can be accurately analyzed or fairly understood, without considering the others.
A year after the war started, more fuel has been added to the fire, as if the main goal behind the war was to prolong it. At the same time, very few proposals for peace talks have been advanced or are being considered. Even a proposal made by former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who was hardly a pacifist, was almost immediately dismissed by the pro-Ukraine camp. When someone like Kissinger is accused of being a compromiser, we can be sure that the political discourse on war has reached a level of extremism that has not been seen before in recent years.
Apart from the morality of speaking out against the ongoing war, and the immorality of silence, there is another matter that deserves our attention. It is not just a dispute between Russia and its allies on the one hand, and Ukraine and NATO on the other. It is affecting us all.
A comprehensive study carried out by researchers from the Universities of Birmingham, Groningen and Maryland examined the effect of the war on family income in 116 different countries. The study created a model for the future, based on what millions of people around the world, especially in the Global South, already have. It looks grim. The fact that energy prices could force a single household to spend between 2.7 and 4.8 percent more is enough to push 78 to 114 million people into extreme poverty. With hundreds of millions already living in extreme poverty, a huge portion of humanity will no longer be able to afford proper food, potable water, education, healthcare or shelter.
Therefore, our silence on the inhumanity and uncertainty of the war in Ukraine is not only immoral, but it also amounts to betraying the fate of hundreds of millions of people around the world. This is why the war in Ukraine must end, even if one party has not won completely and comprehensively; even if NATO’s geopolitical interests are not served; and even if all of Russia’s goals are not achieved, whatever they are.
The war should end because, regardless of the outcome, long-term instability in that region will not end completely anytime soon; and because millions of innocent people have suffered and will continue to suffer, in Ukraine and around the world as a direct result of the conflict. And because only political compromise through peace negotiations can end this horror.
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The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.