There are many narratives concerning the war in Ukraine, and most of them are terrible. In this short analysis, we’ll rank the various opinions in order of nuance, knowledge, and accuracy.
Trash-Tier Opinions & Pravda Propaganda
These ideas are a sure sign that someone’s either been spending too much time on Twitter, or relying on mainstream media for their information.
Putin Is Literally Hitler
The analogy to WWII is easy, since it’s the one war that everyone’s studied at school. The narratives of WWII are also simple: the attacker is evil, the attacker is irrational, and any attempt at negotiation is futile appeasement.
However, unlike everyone’s least favourite Adolf, Vladimir Putin does have a case for war. That case has several holes in it (which we shall discuss in subsequent analyses) but it appears to be predicated on legitimate national grievances and security concerns. The ‘literally Hitler’ crowd are unlikely to have even heard these concerns, let alone engaged with them.
Ukrainians Are Actual Nazis
No, they’re not. There is a significant minority of neo-Nazis in Ukraine, which has allegedly been responsible for crimes against ethnic Russians, particularly in the east of the country. Yes, western media is reprehensible for pretending this minority doesn’t exist. But the country at large is not a Nazi country. (There are also ultranationalists and neo-Nazis in Russia, for the record).
WWIII Has Already Started
No, it hasn’t. We are still a long way from nuclear armageddon. There are only two belligerents in this conflict. Hysterical rhetoric about Russian tanks rolling all the way to the Rhine is ridiculous; they’ve clearly not seen how much difficulty those tanks have experienced in rolling halfway to the Dnieper.
The War Is A Conspiracy by the WEF/the Freemasons/the Jews/etc
Wrong again. There are clear enough geopolitical reasons for this conflict to have started without resorting to shady and conspiratorial societies, even if those societies exist and cause problems elsewhere.
The Russians Are Evil War Criminals
Civilians die in war. It happens. In the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, plenty of civilians bit the dust, and the line between ‘combatant’ and ‘civilian’ was often rather blurred.
The Russian invasion has seen both murder and ‘war crimes’. The latter are so strictly defined, however, that both sides are definitely guilty. For example, did you know that posting or sharing photos of POWs online can constitute a war crime? That’s right, you might be a war criminal on Twitter without even realising it.
Starving a city out by cutting off its utilities is also a war crime, despite being a legitimate and much-used strategy since the beginning of cities themselves.
The Russian way of war is indiscriminate. They simply don’t have the benefit of massed precision-guided munitions, which only a handful of countries in the West maintain in large numbers. Despite this, and despite the constant claims of western media, they appear to be attempting some degree of restraint. Modern technology is capable of causing far more damage to urban areas than we’ve seen so far.
But They’re Targeting Civilian Buildings!
Buildings which soldiers are perfectly capable of entering and firing from — as we’ve seen in numerous videos and images from the conflict. Firing at an apartment block by itself does not constitute a war-crime. Without knowing the full context of the situation on the ground, it’s often irresponsible to judge.
They Russians Are Using Illegal Thermobaric Vacuum Bombs
So are the Ukrainians (specifically the RPV-16 rocket, and also their own MLRS systems). Thermobaric weapons are not illegal. They are ordinary, conventional weapons, used by every modern military, which the media has simply seized upon to drum up emotions over the conflict.
This Is the New ‘Winter War’
It isn’t, but the Winter War (USSR vs Finland, 1940) makes for a better comparison than WWII. You’ve got a large Russian country attempting a land-grab from a small neighbour, and suffering a spectacular failures in the field due to a dysfunctional military culture. However, here the comparison ends. Putin has a better casus belli than Stalin did. Ukraine has received far more training, equipment, and international support than Finland did.
NATO Expansion Caused This War
One of Putin’s major contentions is that NATO expansion caused this war. Many who are skeptical of western media have chosen to accept that narrative, because it makes sense: the gradual eastward expansion of NATO, the militarisation of Russia’s neighbours with NATO weapons and training… All of these movements would be unacceptable against America’s borders, but for some reason western commentators expected Russia to tolerate them.
However, there is more at play than simply the expansion of NATO — important though it is in laying the groundwork for the current conflict. Russia is also expansionist, and has a long history of destabilising its neighbours by supporting separatist movements, ultimately leading to a ‘managed conflict’ in which Russia gains some territory. The seizure of the Crimea in 2014 and of South Ossetia in 2008 both fit this pattern. The choice of East Donbas separatists to bear the flag of Novorossiya is a telling sign of Russia’s ambitions: the Imperial province of Novorossiya stretched all the way to Odessa. Its recreation would mean a land-grab of Ukraine’s entire Black Sea coast.
We Can’t Know What’s Happening In Ukraine
It’s true that there’s a lot of misinformation floating about, and the fog of war is a real and pervasive thing. Nevertheless, in the modern day we possess a wealth of intelligence sources that are freely available, since millions of civilians and soldiers in the conflict zone are connected to the internet and carrying smartphones. We can make reasonable deductions from the information available.
Gold Tier Galaxy-Brain Opinions
The better an opinion gets, the less it is categorical; and the less useful it becomes to the holder.
It’s All A Bit ‘Israel vs Palestine’, Isn’t It
People making this comparison have generally delved into the weeds of the causes of the conflict. Like the Middle Eastern conflict, both sides weave the same events into a completely opposite narrative. One side ‘acts’, the other ‘responds’; one ‘attacks’, the other ‘retaliates’ or ‘pre-empts’. Each side chooses a starting point for the history of discord which casts their opponents in an uncharitable light.
For example, western media tends to begin the Ukraine saga in either 2022 or 2014, with the occupation of the Crimea by Russia. Russian accounts tend to begin the story in 2013, with the Euromaidan ‘coup’, or all the way back to the fall of the USSR. Putin himself grounded the invasion of Ukraine in a mostly accurate historical narrative that went all the way back to the pre-Soviet Russian Empire. Knowledge of events is one thing; constructing a fair and balanced narrative is quite another.
The ‘International Rules-Based Order’ Is An Unpopular Western Construct
Many in the west have been outraged by what they see as Putin’s flagrant disregard for the rules. However, geopolitics has no rules, and has never had any rules. What we see as an ‘international rules-based order’ is a system of norms that were decided first by the British Empire, and then radically rewritten by the USA following its victory in WWII. When the USSR collapsed, the USA doubled down on its global hegemony, with the expansion of the multiple economic and diplomatic rules systems that underpin the global economy.
Is it any surprise that these rules systems heavily favour the West? That, at least, is how they are perceived in the East. Intellectual Property (IP) regulations simply prevent poorer countries from catching up with richer ones. Smaller countries like Greece (and Ukraine) are defenceless against the dictates of international financial organisations like the World Bank and the IMF. They are essentially held in a form of debt-based subjugation by corporations and supranational NGOs until their national cultures are liquidated by the globalist ideology which the west sees as ‘economic development’. There are many similar grievances.
This ‘rules-based order’ will only be challenged from the outside, by states such as Russia, China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and much of Africa and South America. And each time it happens, it will cause shock and disbelief.
War Is Bad
It ‘s rather messy, isn’t it. The sooner a peaceful resolution is reached, the better.