Why the US Does Not Want the Ukraine War to End is a fair treatment of the complex history of the Russia-Ukraine saga over the past 30 years. I recommend this video highly. I don’t agree with every point this YouTuber makes, but it is well-produced and more cogent and succinct than anything I have seen for its length. It is either a good primer or a refresher depending on your knowledge level of the Ukraine conflict. The thesis of the video is that this is a war the West wanted. NATO wanted a pro-western government in Ukraine, not to help Ukrainians, but to weaken and break up Russia. Therefore, the Western alliance does not want the war to end until this is accomplished. At the same time, the video does not whitewash the motivations and actions of Russia, but suggests that Putin’s actions are not those of a madman, but those of a reasonable president trying to protect Russia’s interests. The video rightly points out that America used our own military force to prevent Soviet influence near our borders many times in the past.
I have been to Russia and Ukraine 12 times since 1991. I learned about each of the Ukrainian presidential elections both through the news and firsthand conversations with Ukrainians. I was initially supportive of the Orange Revolution in 2004, which eventually brought Viktor Yushchenko to power. It seemed to be a people’s movement, but in truth both presidents on either side of that conflict, Yushchenko and Yanukovych, ended up being incredibly corrupt. I also followed the changes after 2014 to the current Euro-Maidan presidents, Poroshenko and Zelenskyy, and the beginning of the war in the Donbas regions. The common denominator is that each president promised to end corruption in Ukraine and better the economic situation. Each invariably ended up being at least as corrupt as his predecessor.
It is easy for an American to get confused between the names, corruption scandals, and alignments of the various presidents. Therefore, this video does a great job summarizing the politics with simple graphics that explain that the current conflict between the West and Russia with Ukraine as a proxy. The hybrid war began not in 2022, or 2014, or 2008, or even 2004, but in 1991. In fact, we could go back to 1917 and earlier centuries, but that would be a much longer video. A fuller history, an alternative to what we hear in the western media, is the Ukraine on Fire Series which I also highly recommend.
Although the Ukrainian people existed for many centuries Ukraine was never an independent country prior to statehood 1991. Before the modern era, the people we now know as “Ukrainians” were part of several Muslim Khanates and later the western parts remained part of the Poland-Lithuania, Austria-Hungary and Romania. Then after 1917 in the aftermath of WWI, there were two Ukrainian states for a brief time. These were not fully independent, but were cobbled together as communist “project” states of the Russians (the Ukrainian People’s Republic) and the Austrians (the West Ukrainian People’s Republic).
There were always ethnic Ukrainians as part of “Greater Russia,” just as there were Romani (Gypsies), Udmurts, Komi, Tatars, Chuvash, etc., each with their own ethnic culture and language. Russia is home to people from at least 190 ethnic groups and counts more than 20 different republics within its borders. Many of these smaller republics, although part of Russia, are federalized with a greater degree of autonomy to help facilitate local ethnic affairs. Ukrainians are in fact the third largest ethnic group in the Russian Federation today (after Russians and Tatars). Historically, they were the largest group during the centuries when Ukraine was part of the Russian Empire.
Likewise large enclaves of Russians and other nationalities currently live within the nation of Ukraine. Therefore, at the breakup of the Soviet Union, Alexander Solzhenitsyn and many others saw the folly of treating the Ukrainian Socialist Republic of the Soviet Union as one block without local referendums for each region to decide their destiny. In a previous article, I summarized the views of Solzhenitsyn who wrote a book in 1991, Rebuilding Russia, proposing a way forward, which would allow Ukrainian independence votes by region instead of nationally in order to avoid bloodshed.
The manner in which parts of Russia were ceded to the Soviet Republic of Ukraine under Stalin and Khrushchev did not foresee the offer to Ukraine in the 1990s to join NATO and align against Russia. US and European meddling is only part of the problem, but even that would not have been a cause for war if the the ethnic Russians had been given the right to self-determination as guaranteed in the UN charter — at very least some sort of sovereignty or federalization in the east and south. It is not so simple to say where the lines of the nation-state of Ukraine should have been drawn. It’s a Gordian Knot that can’t be solved with ease. There exists a legal agreement according the the Minsk Accords, but this was never implemented due to faults on both sides — and the video explains why.
Meddling by the West took the form of turning the Ukrainian ultra-nationalists into violent militias and a political movement as an attempt to destabilize Russia, This was the main cause of the war. The conflict won’t be solved until Western leaders acknowledge that mistake. The video is fair in that it agrees that there is corruption on all sides. That is a historical fact.
The video gives the varying points of view. Russia of course wanted Ukraine aligned with itself to serve its own interests. Since a large part of Ukraine is Russian, this seems more of a natural alignment. Except for several heavily Ukrainian oblasts in the west bordering EU countries, Poland, Hungary and Romania, most of Ukraine is historically, culturally and economically aligned with Russia. There cannot be a stable Ukraine without Russia or a stable Russia without parts of Ukraine aligned with it. The video does a good job of explaining the dilemma between east and west.
The difference between Russian and Ukrainian nationality is not distinct as it is blurred. Many people have both Russian and Ukrainian ancestry. Beyond the language and some cultural differences, the difference has become determined mainly by politics. Up until recently, most of the country was allowed to be bilingual. In fact, nationality was legally determined in the Soviet Union in a different way than it is now. A Soviet citizen could choose their nationality on the basis of where his or her parents were born. This nationality would appear in their passport, but now all people living in Ukraine are expected to assimilate into the use of the Ukrainian language and culture. Everything Russian is banned from public life. Prior to 2004, there was not a problem with violence by Ukrainian ultra-nationalists on ethnic minorities. All groups encounter discrimination and even violence, Jews, Poles, Gypsies, Romanians, Tatars, Russians, etc.
Now there is full-fledged war. It is not between Russia and Ukraine, but between historic Russia (including parts of recently seceded Ukraine) and the collective West. The West does not want to end with peace talks until Russia is sufficiently weakened or destroyed. The practicality of that plan is shortsighted and poorly conceived. However, Western ham-handedness in foreign political projects is nothing new. The US has promoted “astroturfing,” color revolutions and regime changes in dozens of nations throughout the world. Now many of these nations are turning against the US and toward the BRICS+ economic alliance. The problem with attempting this within Russia is that it is not a backwards country that can be easily manipulated by the West. It is the richest nation in natural resources by far. It has the first or second most powerful military, the ninth largest GDP, the ninth largest population, etc. This is not some third world country of the global south in which we can force regime change and install a puppet regime of the West.
The only glaring factual error that the video makes is in stating that the “whole world” is against Russia and therefore this dooms the Russian economy. This is out of date. The video shows a picture of the 15 percent that make up the European and Anglo-Saxon states as the “whole world.” Meanwhile, the 85 percent are now aligning with one or more of the BRICS+ nations in a multipolar world — even countries like Japan and South Korea are jumping western alignment ship for economic and geographical reasons.
Nations that win wars nearly always become stronger and more prosperous afterwards. Nations that lose wars become weaker and less prosperous. As the United States has already all but lost yet another proxy war, we ought to be aware of the worldwide populist uprising. Populism and nationalism will be synergized by global de-dollarization and the destabilization of western economies — both trends feeding of one another.
The current crisis could either be a good thing for America. It might birth a movement that brings reform and turns our nation back to God, family, church and patriotism — or it could cement liberal modernism and further destroy the moral fabric of our republic.
I am persuaded that Liberalism as a political theory has collapsed and we are now in an era of post-liberal postmodernism where everything weird and unnatural is celebrated in the strongholds of politics, media, entertainment and education. This is the time of the scary monsters when we need to war against all forms of modernism and postmodernism to restore our once great Christian civilization in America.