I’m on-record as thinking we should be doing far more to defend Ukraine from the Russian invasion. See, for example, the previous post: Ukraine: Standing With Or Just Standing Behind.
But not under the banner of “defending freedom”.
Because by any reasonable definition, Ukraine is not really a “free country”.
Yes, Ukraine is a democracy and one that arguably is functioning better than our own at the moment.
(Their president is certainly hella cooler than any of our own recent failures. But an amazing president does not make a free country.)
Here are a few of the serious issues I’ve seen reported about Ukrainian freedom since the invasion started:
- conscripting fleeing civilians into the Ukrainian army
- calling for bans of a political symbol (the “Z” used by the invading troops)
- attempting to ban a social organization (the Russian Orthodox church)
- arresting a political blogger (who supports Russia)
Now, wanting to do any (or all) of these things is certainly understandable and I’m sympathetic to that. But no State that does any of them can reasonably be called free.
(I’m well aware that setting the bar this high probably means the U.S. shouldn’t be called a free country either; I’m OK with that.)
But we should still be all-in on defending Ukraine from Russia.
No country is perfect, and we all have our problems dealing with balancing individual freedom and the stresses of living together in a country. Ukraine is, at least, clearly trying.
Russia, on the other hand, is an autocratic police state engaged in an attempt to rebuild two empires that were both rightly consigned to history.
Which side is the baddies here is really not debatable.
Beyond all that, though, we should be defending Ukraine simply because not doing that is choosing to live in a world where only the strongest can be free.
And I don’t want to live in that world.