Polemics & Exchanges

The May Issue

I was delighted to see that the May issue was focused on Ukraine, the largest European country.  While there is no point in polemicizing with those of your contributors who believe in an amoral Realpolitik—after all, if force trumps ideas, what is the point of words?—most of their analyses of Ukraine merit a response.  I would like to remind those who agree that politics is a human and therefore ethical enterprise of four pertinent facts.

First, Ukrainians are not the passive pawns of some Russian-American chess game.  They are capable of forming their own political views and acting on them.  To assert that “Maidan” was a creature of the United States rather than of the Ukrainians themselves is to give the former too much credit, and the latter far too little.

Second, Ukraine is a real country.  Her historical divisions are no greater than those of such recently formed nation-states as Italy, Germany, and, for that matter, Russia.  Her borders are no more arbitrary or subject to revision than the borders of those states.  Moreover, language, culture, ethnicity, and political affiliation are not coterminous.  Generalizations are thus particularly perilous.

Third, Ukraine is a traditionally Christian society, albeit with Jewish and Muslim minorities.  Her Catholic minority of some five million shares the Byzantine-Slavonic liturgy and ecclesiastical culture of her Orthodox. ...

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