Is there a moral imperative to help Ukraine?


#1

There is a lot of high-minded integral conversation these days to the effect that there is indeed a moral imperative to assist Ukraine (MIAU). It may be, we are led to believe, the most pressing imperative re the state of the world for integralists and, indeed, all morally serious persons everywhere. The recent series of Integral Life podcasts titled “The Moral Imperative to Help Ukraine” lays out the argument in great detail. I strongly recommend listening to those, but with your critical faculties on high alert. Here just a couple of points:

  • Any such conversation will be haunted by the shadow of racist bias. Why is there so little talk of the moral imperative to assist Palestinians, Yemenis, and Rohingyas who are also suffering from military oppression and have been for years? Could it be that we are more moved by the plight of people who look like us and share a Western identity (amber ethnocentrism). For that issue, which you might remember from recent news stories, check this report https://www.indiatoday.in/world/russia-ukraine-war/story/russia-ukraine-war-news-latest-racism-row-white-skin-blue-eyes-killed-1918857-2022-02-28

  • Obviously Ukrainians need and deserve a massive amount of aid. The Ukraine crisis is a humanitarian disaster for sure, but it is not the worst in the world. That ranking belongs to Afghanistan followed by Ethiopia and Yemen, all non-Caucasian populations. I contend that for relieving human suffering, the MIAU is not more pressing than the obligation to assist people who are even worse off than Ukrainians.

  • On a somewhat related topic, I have been asking myself, how will NATO led by the US (hereafter NLBTUS) manage the post-war situation in Ukraine after Russia is weakened sufficiently to satisfy the foreign policy establishment in Washington? Let us assume first that Ukraine will survive in some form as a sovereign nation and secondly that its political system will closely resemble what it was before the war. Just what kind of political system was that? A “fledgling liberal democracy” as the cheerleaders in the commentariat like to say? Don’t think so. Check out this from the Cato Institute, hardly a bastion of progressive thinking.

[https://www.cato.org/commentary/whitewashing-ukraines-corruption]

And how will Ukraine’s economy, in ruins after the war, be rebuilt with massive amounts of aid from the NLBTUS countries? For a clue to the answer, we might look to the last time the western allies guided a failed state to economic health, viz. Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union. For how that worked, out view this Youtube documentary:[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAMz5kgb7V4] Of particular significance is the film’s succinct description of the “Washington Consensus” playbook that US economists sold Pres. Boris Yeltsin as the guide to a brave new free market society in Russia. My prediction is that the same playbook will be offered free of charge (i.e. imposed by the IMF and World Bank) to the postwar regime in Kyiv, likely with the same results.


#2

I agree with you on this to a point, though I would term it race bias or even cultural bias. Not all bias is racist, though it could be and usually is. I personally feel very much more connected to Europe than the Southwest Asia. For me personally it is like my neighbor on my street (Europe) as opposed to someone across town (Southwest Asia). I’m also more closely connected economically and culturally to East Asia than to Southwest Asia. I recognize this, and for me personally I do not see this in the shadow.
At the same time, more than likely yes, the preference to help literal Caucasians is likely in many people’s shadow and also could be racist.
But I don’t think it’s necessarily so.

With Afghanistan, I feel like that is the bad self destructive Ex that the West just has to “let go” until they “figure it out”. Ethiopia is an ongoing 30 year problem and I do believe the USA has provided aid and even troops to the region. However, the US Military is not welcome there and there is a movie “Black Hawk Down” based on the events around why the US military pulled out in the 1990’s. Which, also, is why I do not think the US should send troops into Ukraine. Yemen is an interesting case where western aid workers would be unwelcome, and US troops would be seen as an invasion of the Satanic USA against Muslims - and Mecca is pretty close, so a bad idea to get involved in from start to finish.

This will be interesting. Surely, buy some popcorn for that event.
Ukrainians are still Ukrainians and lots of things will go wrong. If we place Slovenians at one end of the Slavic spectrum to represent “Western European” and Russians at the opposite end and call them “Russian”, Ukrainians are only 20% Western European and still 80% “Russian” (there’s no other term to really call it that I know). Well, that’s just me pulling numbers out of nowhere and isn’t based on any evidence.
But, on the other hand, the Latvians are doing it. They seem to be the least “Western European” and most “Russian” of the three Baltic former Soviet states, and the ethnic Russian population is almost as much as Ukraine. Estonia seems to have embraced western ideals the most, with 6% of the population ethnic Russian.

So yes, I agree that the United States will likely have a learning curve.

Actually, the most recent was Afghanistan.

Honestly, I tried listening to Corey’s discussion of the topic, but the discussion is just too “loose” for my tastes. I feel like an hour into these discussions and very little of substance is really covered considering the investment of time. So after an hour I get into something else and have to decide if I want to return to it and invest another hour, and I don’t.
I really appreciate a “tight” discussion. 30 minutes. Occasionally an hour for rocket science.


#3

Which discussion were you listening to? Some of them do run a bit long, I agree. Hell, Ken used to stretch our Ken Show episodes to 4+ hours, which is both awesome and kinda insane lol


#4

I think you bring a very good question for the Integral community.

When do we declare action required Moral Imperatives vs simply observing, assessing, critiqing global affairs?

Interesting article on our newest Moral proxy war…

" While Biden remains steadfast in assuring the public that there will be no “boots on the ground,” in point of fact, current and former officials have suggested that US paramilitaries are indeed on the ground, with military assistance being coordinated by the new appointee to the Biden National Security Council, retired US Army Lieutenant General Terry Wolff."

https://asiatimes.com/2022/05/biden-and-the-democrats-pivot-to-proxy-war/


#5

No doubt, Charles, Ukraine needs our help though you would think other countries would help share the cost. Aside from that, the question arises: How did this happen? It’s all too easy to point the finger at Putin, but it’s actually US foreign policy -going back decades- that fucked things up royally and Ukraine paid dearly for it.

In this, market analyst, researcher, trader and hedge fund manager Alex Krianer pointed out that https://renegadeinc.com/inflating-a-cold-war-state-of-mind/

I would remind your viewers that when the Bank of England was created in 1694, and then since between 1701 until 1815, England prosecuted 18 officially declared wars against its rival France at that time. Congressman Ron Paul, said that it’s no coincidence that the century of central banking has coincided with a century of total war. And we even had, in the more modern times the study published in the Journal of Public Health in the United States where the researchers tallied up all the wars that have been prosecuted in the world between 1946, so after WWII until 2001 and they found that the United States initiated fully 80 percent of all those wars. Every time there is a war scare on the horizon, there’s a rationale behind it. Saddam has weapons of mass destruction will have to kill him. Then we have to stop the madman Gaddafi. Then Bashar al Assad is killing his own people. Today, we have to protect Ukraine from the evil Hitler, Putin. But the fact that 80 percent of wars have always been initiated by one side in this equation needs an explanation, and the explanation is systemic. It’s not about Pu tin. It’s not about Saddam. It’s not about any of these leaders. It’s the fact that the West needs war and it seeks out war. And now we’re seeking out war against Russia. And war would be a beautiful distraction from all the other problems. War creates that kind of an emergency that allows the ruling establishment to get away with all kinds of crimes and the silencing of dissent, silencing of opposition, rationing food rationing fuel and so forth. You name it. Anything they want, they can get under that kind of an emergency.

At the Democracy Now website, Amy Goodman asked Professor Andrew Bacevich why he feels the U.S. is partially responsible for the atrocity committed by Putin. Said he

I think I would describe it as a U.S.-Russia connection, because it’s not necessarily limited to Mr. Putin. And the key issue here, I think, is when the Cold War ended. When the Cold War ended, of course, Russia was in a position of great weakness and vulnerability, and the United States and its allies chose to exploit that weakness. The most vivid expression of that was the eastward expansion of NATO. Let’s remind ourselves, NATO was an anti-Soviet alliance when it was created in 1949. Expansion of NATO basically moved it up to the borders of post-Soviet Russia. At that time, there were many Americans — George Kennan, the diplomat, would be perhaps the most prominent — that warned against NATO expansion as likely to cause us troubles down the road. We ignored those warnings, and I think that we’re kind of in a chickens-coming-home-to-roost situation right here.

Putin has — I am not a Putin apologist, and he’s the principal cause of this catastrophe that we’re experiencing. But Putin had been quite candid in warning that the eastward movement of NATO, and in particular the possibility of Ukraine joining NATO, constituted, from his perspective, a vital threat, a threat to vital Russian security interests. We ignored that. And I think, to some degree, this terrible, unnecessary war is a result of that.

As far as I’m concerned, US foreign policy has -and always will be- a disgrace to humanity.
Both Democrats and Republicans are out of their collective fucking minds hence have no idea what they are doing other than attack each other with displays of ignorance, stupidity, and arrogance. It is a bonafide shit-show in the halls of power and the American people are behaving accordingly. We can’t have a sane society if we turn the American people insane with all manner of lies and propaganda -thanks to Fox news and the liberal media who don’t give a royal fuck about seeking the truth of things.

Then we have our economic system that we stupidly bow to as the measure of all things as we allow the “invisible hand of the market” decide, for instance, how much the working class labor is worth when in reality this invisible hand does not give two shits about the struggles of the working class. Capitalism has become a Moloch hence as dysfunctional as our disgraceful politicians who are hell bent on driving Democracy into hell.

Alex and many other dissenting economist and researchers on the Renegade website and elsewhere know the bitter truth about about our broken economic system but no one is listening. Alex says that

You have inflation with healthy economic growth. But when you get very sluggish economic growth or no growth at all, but inflation keeps rising, that’s where you have stagflation. This is a typical outcome of monetary policy going overboard, printing far too much money, debt’s getting to unpayable levels, and the outcome is practically baked into the system from the beginning. But we are now at the point where the bankers are scrambling to do something about it. But all they can do, the only tool they have at their disposal, is printing money.

Ross: So more debt monetization, printing more debt to solve a debt crisis. Even the biggest cheerleader of this system knows that this is nonsensical.

Alex Krainer: Oh, they know that it’s nonsense. They just have no choice because if they stop printing, we get deflationary collapse, we get an economic depression. By printing, they gain time because the unravelling is is never, you know, it never happens overnight. Well, it usually doesn’t happen overnight, but it gives them time to finagle, to try to muddle through and think up some kind of another solution. Preferably, you know, they could get some kind of a war started to distract everybody away from their problems and to maybe blame all of the problems on the external adversary. But printing money doesn’t create prosperity. It doesn’t solve any of the economic issues. It only makes them worse. But for the central bankers, it buys them time.

We can never solve the problems in this world unless we solve our disgraceful economic system that we depend upon. If the American people really knew just how bad our political and economic system really is, we would have a revolution. But they will never know because they are asleep in their waking state all the while believing they are normal.
As Jonathan Haidt said, the American people have actually become uniquely stupid https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKRuvKtFvqo&ab_channel=AmanpourandCompany
and this stupidity is spreading like a virus. The American people take pride in freedom but lose sight that stupidity has them imprisoned. So how can we possibly make a difference in Ukraine and around the world if we go on as we are? As Krishnamurti said

“We were saying …how very important it is… to bring about in the human mind a radical revolution… The crisis is a crisis in consciousness… a crisis that cannot anymore accept the old norms… the old patterns… the ancient traditions… and considering what the world is now… with all their misery, conflict, destructive brutality, aggression, and so on… man is still as he was… is still brutal, violent, aggressive, acquisitive, competitive…and he has built a society along these lines”


#6

Excellent analysis. I see nothing in it I could disagree with.


#7

This is true for many and also not true for many. Characterizing the entirety of the US as holding same views or same levels of awareness is a bit of a strawman construction. And seemingly to express disgust and loathing at the US.
Intellectually it’s worth asking ourselves who has a better economic and governmental system than the US? Who does it better?

Yes, what you have described is exactly what the current majority government promised, which half the nation felt would be catastrophic for the nation.
And here we are…
Not to worry too much, once we get a new government the economy will be right back on track.

Meanwhile, the majority government will continue to “bleed out” Russia by trickling support into Ukraine.

Based on actions, I’m assuming Ukraine is little more than a proxy to destabilize Russia for the current Administocracy.
Question to ask is who has the most to gain from a destabilized Russia?

Here’s a good, bit long, Hudson Institute analysis that has a more a geopolitical focus (US, China, Russia) than specifically on Ukraine (proxy, pawn,…).


#8

Completamente de acuerdo.
Nosotros que venimos de la visión integral sabemos que cada parte tiene algo de verdad. Por ello esta guerra solo se acabará si se escucha ambas partes, en lugar de lo que está haciendo la política norteamericana y sus títeres políticos de Europa, que intentan aniquilar a Rusia


#9

I agree with you that I was thinking in absolute terms though that was not my intention. Surely, not all Americans are misguided. However, it is my understanding that 74 million Americans voted for Trump and if he runs again and makes it to the White house. I fear the worst. As Dr. Joost Meerloo said in his book “The Rape of the Mind: The Psychology of Thought Control, Menticide, and Brainwashing”

Every culture institutionalizes certain forms of behavior that communicate and encourage certain forms of thinking and acting, thus molding the character of its citizens. To the degree that the individual is made an object of constant mental manipulation, to the degree that cultural institutions may tend to weaken intellectual and spiritual strength, to the degree that knowledge of the mind is used to tame and condition people instead of educating them, to THAT degree does the culture itself produce men and women who are predisposed to accept an authoritarian way of life. The man who has no mind of his own can easily become the pawn of a would-be dictator.

While Trump was not a dictator, I agree with Dr. Andrew Bacevich in that he believes Trump is a demagogue. Dr. Saul Levine would agree as he describes demagogues as narcissistic and authoritarian, as well as brazen, bombastic and belligerent. Their vitriol appeals to the vulnerable and darker places in psyches and hearts. They fuel emotional fires in their zealous followers with sentiments of prejudice.

If Dr. Merloo was alive, I believe he would agree, figuratively speaking, that what Covid-19 is to the body, demagoguery is to the mind. And just as a woman cannot perceive that she’s in an abusive marriage -as her family and friends have been telling her for a decade get out of it-, so too many Trump supporters cannot see just how toxic Trump actually is.

I agree with Max who said in another post that ignorant and stupid people have always existed throughout history but I’d say it’s a matter of degree. Unlike the past, millions of people are constantly being infected by all manner of lies and propaganda through social media and this has the potential to create an existential crisis so severe that it will destroy Democracy as we know it. In fact, there are quite a few book out there that make that claim. Anne Applebaum said that

> "We’ve all been convinced for many decades now that American Democracy is something inevitable. It’s like water coming out of the tap, or the air we breathe, that there is nothing special that we have to do in order to perpetuate it but the lessons around the world show that Democracies do die. People lose faith in them. Political parties with anti-democratic beliefs take over democratic countries. Our democracy, like every Democracy, requires work. It requires reform. It requires renewed commitment. It may require new kinds of politics. And it may be that all of us are going to have to be a lot more involved in politics and think a lot harder about how to ensure that our Democracy survives than we ever expected to"

I believe it’s not so much Democracy that is dying. It’s the inability of the vast majority of Americans -who are unaware of the degree in which they are all -more or less- in a state of arrested development.
Dr. Roger Walsh pointed that out in a talk he had with Ken Wilber some years ago.

As I may have mentioned elsewhere on this site, ignorance and stupidity can be just as deadly as a virus -if not more. I believe that our cultural conditioning from politics, religion, mass media, family, and education, even our own self created deceptions- has impaired our capacity to think deeply and critically and from different perspectives. I believe that, if we had a device that could measure where we are in our state of arrested development we would be utterly shocked to see just how bad it really is and especially that we allowed ourselves to be subjected by it. I’m reminded here of Hanna Arendt.
In Dr. Steven James Bartlett’s book Normality Does Not Equal Mental Health: The Need to Look Elsewhere for Standards of Good Psychological Health he said

“In one of her essays, Arendt made clear what the phrase was intended by her to mean-namely, the inability of many people to think:”
Some years ago, reporting the trial of Eichmann in Jerusalem, I spoke of the “banality of evil” and meant with this no theory or doctrine but something quite factual, the phenomenon of evil deeds, committed on gigantic scale, which could not be traced to any particularity of wickedness, pathology, or ideological conviction in the doer, whose only personal distinction was perhaps an extraordinary shallowness. However monstrous the deeds were, the doer was neither monstrous nor demonic, and the only specific characteristic one could detect in his past as well as in his behavior during the trial and the preceding police examination was something entirely negative: it was not stupidity but a curious, quite authentic inability to think.

What Arendt is implying is that we are all Eichmann’s because we, as humans, often have this inability to think and we see this madness blatantly displayed, respectively, among Democrats and Republicans 24/7. Maybe I’m the only one who feels this way but I am vehemently outraged by our politicians. If I had the power, I’d fire all of them with few exceptions. I find it depressing, at an existential level, at the chaos and stupidity they generate as the media displays it 24/7 and mindless Americans sniff it up like a drug. To me, this can only be described as madness.

Aside from the above, and as I watched the first 10 minutes of Rebeccah L. Heinrichs video she makes no mention of Putin’s legitimate concern of eastward movement of NATO which he regarded as a vital threat to Russian security interests. She instead blames everything on Putin. With someone of her credentials, I cannot understand why she did not point that out.

8:24 the Russians really have been disingenuous with their complaints about about NATO. It’s very hard to argue that that NATO countries have acted in a way that’s been aggressive towards Russia. But the Russians really do suffer from this deep-seated paranoia about what the west’s intents are towards Russia and it’s it’s been impossible to overcome in trying to build trust between the united states or Russia. The Obama administration tried it, the Trump administration kind of hobbled along to try it, but then you had the Russia collusion accusations going on which made that very difficult and then you had the Biden administration that was really determined to to try to reach out to the Russians again and none of that worked because the Russians really were not interested in an understanding between the united states and the Russians. So a long history where mistakes um i think were the night the united states and the west made mistakes along the way but really in the last you know decade or so or more um it has been an intractable problem and the fault of that really i think is at the feet of the of the Russians

Here she said that

Ultimately, it is American military preeminence, in cooperation with our allies, that can credibly deter China (or Russia or rogue states). Credible deterrence requires the United States maintain the right mix of nuclear, conventional, and defensive weapons and deploy them in such a way that major powers are perpetually faced with complex calculations about how the United States might respond if they act out against U.S. interests. That is not cheap, but it is worth the price of relative peace.

While a robust military is needed for any country to defend themselves, Dr. Andrew Bacevich said in his books and lectures, we can no longer rely on military solutions for world order. He said that the US penchant for adventurism, for “forever wars” has to end. Or as Arendt would most likely say, the banality of evil has to end.


#10

As a side note, the Biden administration has reversed Trump administration policy and is sending troops to Ethiopia.
I’m on the fence about Ethiopia. Are the cultures able to progress beyond genocidal tribalism, and if the are able - are they willing? I’ve had long discussions on this forum that are symbolic of how completely impossible it is to “force” an individual or group to a “higher” level of understanding.

This isn’t racist, in my opinion - just an understanding that trying to force peace through force of arms when multiple parties are determined to strike out at anything is just bad policy from start to finish.

The saying here may be deemed racist, but it’s true regardless of ethnicity. I could easily apply it to the Ukraine-Russian conflict. If you fight a pig you both get covered in shit and the pig enjoys it. We can apply this to three or more parties - if you see two or more pigs fighting each other, let them fight. If you join into their fight, you will get covered in shit and they will enjoy it much more than you. If you want one of the pigs to win - sure, give one of the pigs a bigger stick to win, but don’t set foot in the pig pen yourself.


#11

Demagogues, populist movements, Liberal Democracy, Democratic Republic, Communist Regime, Democractic Socialism, Integralism, Cult of Ken, can all fit this description. Integralism might swivel it’s deck guns at Trump and blast away with philosophical arguments or blow mighty wind into the sails of the DNC, but what do they actually do for the people.

I see several layers - Philosophical arguments (several degrees removed from the physiosphere/real world) cascading to Political Ideologies (language of negotiation and alignment) to Elections (actions taken) to Policies developed (legislation passed) and Administration of Policies (exec orders, departments executing or not the laws) by the Administocracy (the swamp).
And at each layer we analyze, pass judgements, declare moral high grounds or decay, then sadly forget to look at the actual impact on real people living in the world. And the vast majority of these people “outsource” to varying degrees the decision making (legislators) and management (administration) of their governance.

Reality is most people vote with their bellies, their gas tanks, the pay checks, their 401K’s, their kids’ educations, their homes. In the end our Philosophical arguments are many levels removed from the reality of putting food on the table.

And I absolutely agree that “The man who has no mind of his own can easily become the pawn of a would-be dictator.”

So here we are. Does your philosophical ideology align with a specific political party? Do you have any issues with the political party you support? Why do you support that political party when they are out to destroy your livelihood, opportunities, and life itself? Do you want for yourself and your family more options or fewer? Simplicity or flexibility?

What would you say if say Twitter and Facebook have been using a very large percentage of Bots to disseminate their agendas (likely paid for) to therefore manipulate the population?

What if EVERYONE feels the way you do with respect to almost every politician?
Do Republicans and Democrats KNOW that they are both Eichmann and St Theresa?

Don’t be depressed or enraged. It’s the game of life.


#12

I believe there are marked differences between a sovereign, operating democracy that is mislabeled as a Nazi hotbed as an excuse to annihilate the population, and getting involved in (un)civil wars. I further believe that a chip on one’s shoulder about leadership in government (I am a child of the Vietnam, era, so the chip is rightfully earned), is not an excuse not to let objective truth cause objective actions. If Putin is sick, as is reported lately, maybe we can let him die. If not, he will still have nukes and a propaganda machine in 5 years, so we might as well let Switzerland, Sweden, AND Ukraine join Nato and see if we can’t get Putin gone.


#13

Every American military officer does (or at least damn well should) know these two conflicting quotes about war:

  • Claustwitz: war is a continuation of politics by other means.

  • Sun Tzu: The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting. The greatest victory is that which requires no battle.

The biggest problem with the United States and war is that is it a Republic, so we have people who haven’t the foggiest idea about anything who are voting for people who know only slightly more who then establish policy for those who know it best.
World order REUIRES strong military solutions.
Not willy-nilly just whenever armchair quarterback keyboard warriors want to feel strength and accomplishment through the works and deaths of men greater than them.
The whole problem is that the layman believes the only solution a military can offer is by actually attacking, which is absurd.

A straw man.

A global solution required requires both military action and military nonaction - which can only be administered by well trained, professional and restrained men and women who have made warfare and strategy a lifelong study.