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Re: Supporting Strelets

Wow, Asher, I think I've just been Majorie Taylor Greened!

I really did not want to spark a debate, let alone participate further, but I am fascinated by what you said as it does go a long way to explain why you have reached certain conclusions. I appreciate the courtesy and the respect you have shown and will endeavour to reciprocate. I think it is safe to say, however, that I disagree with everything you have said(!). I'm not going to seek to dissaude you from your views - I suspect you are immovable and sincere in what you say - but I will seek to explain my point of view and, hopefully, you will at least appreciate that it comes from a place of good faith, and is equally sincere, even while you believe it to be misconceived.

First, though, I will sum up how your position comes across to me; domestic moral panic successfully mobilised in the service of a blood-soaked foreign tyrant. I am sure that is not your intention, yet it is the effect. The phrase "useful idiot" is a translation of a Russian concept from Soviet times to describe the well-meaning Westerners who unwittingly facilitated the USSR's dark agenda. And, yes, inadvertantly, you have been persuaded to advance the Kremlin's 'talking points'. I do not think you are an idiot - the demeaning part of the Russian phrase is merely a reflection of its profound cyniscism - but I do consider that such views are undoubtedly useful for Putin and hang Ukraine out to dry.

Further, even if I agreed with the various concerns you have about conditions in the US and the West, I would argue that the conclusion that we should not support Ukraine is a complete non sequitur.

That, in summary, is my position on your position. Now please indulge me further while I explain, as briefly as I can, how I get there. I will say again that I believe, with you, I am dealing with a sincere and honest person who cares about his society.

Let me start with some context. It is worth bearing in mind that, relative to the other nations that we might say form the "global West", the US is a startling outlier in a number of ways. These include such things as health care and gun ownership, but, more relevant to this topic, such things as the prevalence of fundamentalist christianity, the level and nature of patriotism, suspicion of Federal government and a recurrent strain of international isolationalism. Now I mention these things not to criticise them, but because, while they all seem to me to be underlying assumptions shining though your post, as dominant attitudes, they are uniquely US phenomena. Thus, while these attitudes might be the ones relevant to you, your starting point is not the same as that in most other western societies, including, so far, mine.

There appear to be two main themes that can be derived from your post. The first is in essence that Ukraine is an imperfect state, therefore undeserving of our help and support. The second is that the US has its own problems and needs to concentrate on those to the exclusion of aiding Ukraine. It will not surprise you if I say that I think both propositions are wrong, but I will attempt to tackle each in turn.

Is Ukraine perfect? No. It is a country that has to break the habit of decades, perhaps centuries, of endemic corruption under the tzars and communism. Yet it is trying. It is western-facing and understands it will have to clean up its act to join the EU, its cherished aim. It seems unduly harsh, not to say unrealistic, to blame it for not acheiving that overnight. When the 45th President of the US appears to be a patten of moral and financial corruption, it also might seeem a tad hypocritical. You can substitute Hunter Biden and his laptop if you prefer, and the point remains.

Ukraine is a new country and one that aspires to be free. In the face of an invading imperial power that seeks to take it back into its empire, it stands resolute and its sense of nationhood is being forged before our very eyes. To me that recalls to mind nothing so much as your own nation in the 1770s. Another parallel is the absolute necessity of foreign military support; in your case that was France.

Is the US perfect? On your own case, no, but does that lead you to conclude that it deserves to be invaded and be subject to genocide? What if revanchist Russian decided to take back Alaska? Should we, in the rest of the global West say 'well, the US is a basket case, people dress up as domestic pets for sexual gratification, so let it burn'?

Oh, and what if christain evangelicals, or, say, the Roman Catholic church in the US (which, one could argue owes ultimate allegiance to a foreign potentate), spied and progandised for the nation invading your country? Would it be wrong to tackle that?

Well, the US invaded by Russia is a ridiculous suggestion. Russia could not do that. The vast and much-vaunted US military would just end Russia. Yes, but if that wasn't so, should we in Europe or elsewhere leave you to burn? Thus, it seems to me, that your position is in a large part based on the knowledge that the US is too powerful and Ukraine is a long way away. That, however, should be recognised as a pragmatic excuse for not helping, not a moral reason why you should not help.

The reasons why you should help are many. They include the moral imperative of upholding international law, but they are also deeply pragmatic. If Russia and China are allowed, piece by piece to dismantle the international rules-based system in the face of a demonstrably impotant global West, then I'm afraid it's all over, and even the US will find it is not powerful enough to survive in isolation. However, I don't want to dwell on this as my focus is on what you have raised as talking points.

The second major theme in your post seems to be that 'we have big issues in the US we need to tackle these and cannot and should not help others instead'.

I have a couple of thoughts on this. First, some of the issues you identify in the context of your US in crisis thesis I would acknowledge as problems, though I would beg to differ as to their cause. Other issues are not, for me, problematic at all and I would dismiss as 'moral panic'. I do not think this is the main point here; as I say above for the sake of argument I could accept everything you said regarding this and still maintain that your conclusion, that the US cannot and should not help Ukraine is an erroneous non sequitur. So, I will just take a couple of examples. First, you describe a good deal of poverty and associated crime. The assumption is that this is attributable to the "disgusting hypocrisy and corruption" of the Federal government. I would question whether it is more likely to be the inevitable result of the particularly unbridled form of capitalism that is the American Dream. I don't know, but does it not suit the rich in your society to blame the Federal government, liberal values and the poor themselves for problems that might actually proceed from their own wealth accumulation? Who do these people rely on to persuade hard-working Americans of this view? Self styled anti-establishment types like Trump and Musk, the fake billionaire and the actual billionaire. Unpleasant charlatons both.

Second, the other type of criticism is one that many others in the West, particularly Europe, would not see as a problem, and this is the recurring theme of US 'moral panic'. You single out gay and trans people. Of course, flying a pride flag and the stars and stripes are not mutually exclusive, and many in the West simply think it obvious that people should be allowed to be who they are and have an equal chance at happiness. It does not diminish me, as a cis-gender straight male, for any of the LGBTQ+ community to live their lives as they choose. The particular factor in the US seems to be the dictates of evangelical Christianity. Here I will not persuade you, but two points occur. First, much of the global West is either broadly secular or less fundamentalist in its christianity, so is at least broadly tolerant. Second, we should interrogate how much of the US evangelical condemnation of LGBTQ+ is, in fact, doctrine, rather than the Word of God. There are misreadings of scripture, cherry picking of scripture and an insistence at taking scripture absolutely literally, but, again, on a highly selctive basis. It does rather look like faith shaped to justify prejudice, just as once your country used it to justify slavery with much the sense of certainty you evince. You will I know, disagree, but my purpose is merely to say there are broadly successful, free and happy western societies that thrive despite not using religion to persecute or condemn people who are different from you.

But, the final point is the decisive one. Accept everything you say, and your conclusion that it is too expensive to help Ukraine, remains flawed. Apart from the fact that the boost in US arms sales globally alone is likely to pay for the support given to Ukraine, billions of aid is nothing in the context of the mighty U S of A. You have sent something like 0.5% of your tanks (IIRC, it's a tiny percentage) and the total cost so far, one commentator I heard last week say, is the cost of running the US for 27 minutes.

Possibly, just possibly, the politicians whose views you reflect are the ones lying to you.

Re: Supporting Strelets

Edwardian, I love reading great comments like yours, but there are some moments that I wonder if you are truly serious about what you write, or not.

'The reasons why you should help are many. They include the moral imperative of upholding international law, but they are also deeply pragmatic.'

Are you actually asking to fight those who are not following 'international law'? With my very marginal knowledge about the nonconformity of using automated killer drones against civilians and non-military combatants around the globe with 'international law', I hope that you are merely joking.

For the sake of the innocent people who are getting killed during the Ukraine conflict, I feel that we should rather pursue a pragmatic approach, to defund and delegitimize the attempt of reconquering what used to be Eastern Ukraine/Crimea, and is now inhabited by several million families that speak, pray and think pro-Russian.

If 'upholding international law' is meant to justify ethnic cleansing, which such a Reconquista of lost territory ultimately and the violent expulsion of its population means, then I feel that as a civilized society, we can do better than that.

While I love to read about history and war, the times of colonialism are over, and forcefully implementing our way of life onto the rest of the global population will not work, unless we wish to start WW3.

For the sake of the children in Ukraine, and for the sake of all toy soldier collectors in the world, who need their sculptors, manufacturers and their families to be alive and unharmed, let's make peace. Forget about 'upholding international law' this time.

Re: Supporting Strelets

I am completely serious. I'm afraid you will not stop this revanchist war, let alone restore the internationally recognised borders of Ukraine by "defunding", only when the supply of Putin's 'single-use soldiers' runs out will it end.

This war might not be the fault of ordinary Russians, but it is their responsibility. When a people hands control of the levers of power to a dictator and that dictator brings the whirlwind down on them, as happened to the German population in 1944-5, then they, the people, pay a terrible price, just as Russian Mobiks and their families are paying one now. Of course that is sad, but I feel for the non-agressor population and its brave defenders more. Knowing that peace can only follow victory in the field, I find I am unsentimental concerning enemy casualties.

Glory to Ukraine.

Re: Supporting Strelets

I am completely serious. I'm afraid you will not stop this revanchist war, let alone restore the internationally recognised borders of Ukraine by "defunding", only when the supply of Putin's 'single-use soldiers' runs out will it end.

This war might not be the fault of ordinary Russians, but it is their responsibility. When a people hands control of the levers of power to a dictator and that dictator brings the whirlwind down on them, as happened to the German population in 1944-5, then they, the people, pay a terrible price, just as Russian Mobiks and their families are paying one now. Of course that is sad, but I feel for the non-agressor population and its brave defenders more. Knowing that peace can only follow victory in the field, I find I am unsentimental concerning enemy casualties.

Glory to Ukraine.

Re: Supporting Strelets

I feel that not only our British friends, and of course the Ukrainian government, feel like this, but also the 'other side'.

They see that neither the government of Ukraine, nor the UK, and their European buddies, are willing to stop the war. They feel morally entitled and are willing to kill, kill, and kill some more. Soldiers, Civilians and children alike. They will be walking in the blood of their victims, like the Huns, the Avars and the Mongols before them. (Now allied with the heirs to the Persian and Han empires...)

Do you really want to fight them?????????? Are you ready for this?????

I know the Brits are very brave, very smart and very ruthless. They celebrated victory many times over many enemies, by wiping out the tribes of Native Americans with Smallpox infected blankets, enslaving the populations of Africa and India, the Middle East, by committing Genocide against Maori and Aboriginal tribes on the Australian continent, by carpet bombing the cities of France, Italy and Germany, and by killing over a hundred thousand Boer and African Civilians in concentration camps.

Of course I do hope that the Brits, and their Ukrainian allies, would succeed against the Russians and their allies as well, if they cannot come to a peace agreement. Just I cannot imagine such a victory would occur.

When you write: 'Knowing that peace can only follow victory in the field, I find I am unsentimental concerning enemy casualties.', have you considered that the UK+EU+Ukraine might not be on the winning side???? WW3 would be hard to win. There might be nobody left to watch the victory parade, besides drones.

I respect your decision to fight, if that is what you choose to do. I will vote for peace in the next elections. That is all I can do.

Re: Supporting Strelets

"have you considered that the UK+EU+Ukraine might not be on the winning side????"

Don't make me laugh.

Jan, the Russian Federation frightens no one these days. We all thought it had the second best army in the world, but now we know it has the second best army in Ukraine. There is a tragi-comic irony there as the RF's revanchist aggression was fuelled by resentment that the West did not take it's mightiness seriously! It took 10 months and tens of thousands of casualties to take the last city they captured, so no there is no possibility of them winning anything but their own rigged elections. Poland alone could end them (and is probably quite looking forward to doing so), but no Western country is alone; the only one alone here is Russia. Leaving aside Putin's pet dictator Lukashenko, if your only friends are the Taliban, the Ayatollahs, Kim Jong Un and Elon Musk, well, you truly are the kid no one talks to at parties.

Putin has made Russia a pariah for a generation, impoverished it, weakened it and slaughtered or driven away enough of its youth to exacerbate the problem of its aging population. For all his callous ruthlessness, Putin is demonstrably incapable of realising his imperial dreams and has only succeeeded in making the Russian Federation a joke.

For months Putin has been snubbed by countries the Kremlin thought of as friends or client-states. The leaders that Putin made wait for him now leave Putin waiting, if they'll see him at all. At least a couple have indicated they would arrest him! When Lavrov went to India, they laughed in his face. The 'friendhip without limits' is no more than being Bejing's be-atch, for China has bought the RF at the cost of a few barrels of cut-price oil. No one wants to buy Russian armaments; no one wants their jack-in-the-box exploding tanks. The RF has even lost all influence in its own back yard. Armenia has found Russia's version of NATO fell apart the moment it was needed, and has turned its back on the Kremlin. Azerbaijan feels free to take the territory it claims and to ignore or kill any Russian peacekeepers that get in the way.

The only question is how long, and how much blood and treasure it will take, for Ukraine to defeat the Russian Federation and drive its forces out of Ukraine. Arguably Germany spent longer losing WW2 than it did winning it to begin with, these things take time. However, the German army in WW2 was the best army with best doctrine and equipment, whereas the Russian Federation's army has pre-1918 tactics, rusty Cold War armaments that it cannot replace and the war-fighting capability of a reluctant snail. It's just that there are, still, rather a lot of them and Putin cares not how high their bodies are piled.

And Jan, you do sound like a Kremlin bot when you present a false equivalence between things one country did in the distant past and the evil another country is perpetrating now. How the f- the fact that Britain once ruled an empire justifies Russia waging a war of agression in Europe today ... well, it makes as much sense as flat earth theory. Modern Britain remains an influence for good on the world stage, and you should be grateful for that and for the other nations that share its values and committment to the international rules based system. All countries did bad stuff in the past, some of them, however, have learnt from past mistakes. It's the ones still doing evil I'd worry about.

Ukraine understands that, however terrible war may be, there are yet worse things. I for one would not wish upon Ukraine the sort of 'peace' Stalin visited upon Poland, the Baltics etc at the conclusion of WW2. Really, peace-at-any-price is a shameful doctrine. We are lucky that Uhraine and enough people in the West have the backbone to fight for a world that gives us the freedom to espouse our views, even those views that undermine our very freedom to hold them!

We, the global West, face war in Europe, we did not want it or start it, but we do need to help Ukraine to win it and wars are won with determination and sacrifice, not by hand-wringing, moaning and indulging in navel-gazing, appeasing Russia and selling-out Ukraine in the name of "peace".

Vote how you want, Jan, but remember, those in the occupied territories of Ukraine don't get to vote as they choose. Will your vote be cast to help change that for them?

Re: Supporting Strelets


all humans make mistakes. Every day. All the time. Regardless of our national origin or of our cultural heritage, we fail on a regular basis, to uphold our own moral values, and to treat others in the same way that we would like to be treated ourselves.

The tragic loss of our beloved Strelets sculptor is still very painful for me, and I cannot help but mourn, whenever I look at my Strelets figurines. I do not want any more people to die, no matter if those people are Ukrainian, Russian, or holders of other countries' passports.

Committing ethnic cleansing to drive out millions of pro-Russian (former) Ukrainians from the disputed territories in Crimea and the Donbass would not be any better than committing mass killings of Civilians at any other point in time in history. I oppose such actions strongly.

Looking at the role of Britain in the Ukraine conflict, I cannot help but being sad and disappointed, as the UK seems to promote aggressive nationalism, interethnic violence and intercultural hatred in Eastern Europe. Look at Crimea, for instance. Historically a part of Russia for many hundreds of years, it was given as a 'gift' to Ukraine in 1954 by the Communist Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, himself a Ukrainian, a bolshevik terrorist, and a mass murderer. Now we see British soldiers in Ukraine, training Ukrainians to kill their neighbors, to 'take back' Crimea, in support of Nikita Khrushchev's political decisions. I am surprised to see that the UK acts as enforcer of Soviet political doctrine, but this is what is happening in 2023. Mr. Krushchev would have loved it!!!

In the 21st Century, we should strive to coexist in harmony with those who don't share our values, instead of killing them to take their land, and we should certainly not spend our tax money on enforcing the will of cruel communist dictators.

Please correct me, if you feel that what I write is wrong.

Re: Supporting Strelets

The tragic loss of our beloved Strelets sculptor is a focus for the sadness many of us feel.

However, I believe it necessary to respect his sacrifice and respect the decision of his country to resist invasion, repression and genocide. You should too. Sadly, as I have said, they are things even worse than war and there will be no peace or freedom until Russia is defeated and driven back within its borders.

Alas I see you merely doing the Kremlin's job for it and if I have not convinced you of the error of your naive and dangerous views by now, I never will, so will waste no further time.

Better, I think, to read the spoof adds. Despite the somewhat po faced reaction - which shows that this community is, inter alia, just too humourless for me - I have found them hilarious. Well done to the poster(s), who I think does better than I have with my earnest essays, because they have realised that the one thing tyranny cannot stand is mockery.

Truly, this community never fails to dissappoint me. You fiddle with toy soldiers while the world burns and live in denial, impatience when reality has the temerity to intrude into your cosy delusions. I was right to leave you sad ostriches.

Re: Supporting Strelets

Dear Edwardian,

on the 'other side' of the Ukrainian-Russian conflict we have civilized human beings as well. Needless suffering, unnecessary killing, destruction and devastation of human life is never ok.

As toy soldier collectors, we too have a shared responsibility towards our fellow humans. And I do believe that many of us have a very thorough understanding of global politics, warfare and its impact on humanity. Personally, I believe that most of us are much better human beings than the average guy on the street.

Of course the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation was wrong. Nobody disputes that. That is not the point, and we cannot turn back in time to reverse that.

Now it is about making peace, and to avoid greater destruction, greater suffering and greater loss of human life. Setting realistic expectations and looking at all aspects of the truth can only be helpful. The truth is not usually determined by only looking from one single perspective.

As for you, I do hope that you stay. I value you as an honorable fellow toy soldier friend. No matter some minor differences that we may have on ONE subject, we probably agree on many others. So Cheers to you, and THANK YOU for entertaining us with your perspective of events. Our hobby is going through rough times, due to a horrible war, and analyzing those events helps to heal our wounds, which will hopefully help us to get us back to better times.

Re: Supporting Strelets

Dear Edwardian,

Your posts are well written and extremely articulate. Thank you for writing them.
It is true that sometimes in life we need to choose sides. As they say, for evil to succeed, it is enough that good men do nothing. Thankfully people and governments are standing up and supporting Ukraine. I pray for peace, but peace can only come with a Ukrainian victory. If Putin's invasion of Crimea had been opposed, maybe he wouldn't have invaded Donbas. If the world had done more to punish him after Donbas, maybe he wouldn't have invaded Ukraine in 2022. Whether or not Crimea was Russian in the past, Ukrainian, Turkish, Tatar, etc, is irrelevant. It belonged (and still legally belongs) to the nation of Ukraine. If countries feel that they can just redraw borders by invasion and force then it will not end well. Glory to Ukraine and glory to the heroes.

Re: Supporting Strelets

It is clear Edwardian that we will not change each others minds, but I did appreciate hearing your side of the argument. I simply think that there are far too many societal issues at hand right now, to blindly support the “victory at all costs” camp in Ukraine. You would also be correct that I am incredibly suspicious of the federal government, but I have absolutely no reason not to be. And lastly, the Bible makes it quite clear to us the Lords thoughts on homosexuality. You can read the entire book of Leviticus if you think it’s all “being taken out of context.” One verse states “If man lies with another man as he would lie with a woman, both men have committed an abomination and should be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them.” But I take the same stance on all sexual sin. Hookup culture, adultery, premarital sex… it’s all the same. We can’t simply let people be “who they actually are.” At some point we have to draw a line with logic and reason on what is normal and what isn’t. And things such as changing your gender are quite literally impossible. It’s time we stop pretending like it is.

Re: Supporting Strelets

I don't like black people. What's a Strelet?