“Is the hero of a given state or people what we need today, when the whole planet should be our field of concern?” ~ Joseph Campbell
America’s proxy war against Russia continues to rattle the world, and now with the possibility of being drawn into a further conflict with China, the United States has plenty to lose and almost nothing to gain.
The war in Ukraine will be remembered as a disaster for American foreign policy. This is practically guaranteed by the failed leadership of the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, who could teach a master class in manipulation.
Zelensky’s arrogance has no end: although he may be considered a rock star by superficial cultural standards and admired for such things as his shirt, he is no friend to democracies anywhere.
He relentlessly promises his people false hope of an unattainable victory, and has continuously insulted anyone who suggests an end to the war, going so far as to label them Russian propagandists.
Amnesty International recently experienced this after their conclusions that the Ukrainian military were positioning their soldiers near civilian areas proved to be highly controversial.
Those who support sending endless weapons to Ukraine declare it is the only legitimate path of peace. The perennial Orwellian paradox of “War is Peace” finds a fresh start in these arguments.
At the heart of this approach is a variation of the Domino theory, the belief is that Ukraine must win or Russia will destroy all neighboring countries in an unstoppable chain reaction, ending all hope for democracy and freedom in the world.
It sounds very convincing as a frightening possibility, but it lacks even the slightest analysis of Zelensky’s leadership- which is absolutely essential to understand this war.
Zelensky’s ability to lead his country was keenly on the minds of Ukrainians before the war, nearly 60% of Ukrainians polled did not have much confidence in his leadership skills as a wartime president.
The chief editor of the English language Kyiv Independent even expressed her disappointment in his communication skills two weeks before the war.
Zelensky seems thrilled to bask in the glory of his role as president of a country at war, he continues to meet with famous celebrities and relished the opportunity to appear in Vogue magazine, which he argued was necessary to keep the war relevant.
Apparently the war is not much work for him considering he found the time to be interviewed by Piers Morgan and laughed nearly to the point of tears in response to a joke about his marriage.
A conversation one would expect at a dinner party, not during the worst war in his country’s history. Perhaps this is why some Ukrainians have considered him “tone-deaf.”
Even if Zelensky has no power to end the war on his own, he should still try not to make things worse. At every opportunity he has tried to escalate the war that is obliterating his country, something he consistently does when he’s not laughing at his own jokes.
The Ukrainian president excels as a manipulator, a month before the war he ridiculed those who were concerned about an impending conflict as giving into “bogeyman stories.” Now scaremongering has become Zelensky’s strategy to keep the war going.
In April, Zelensky gravely suggested that people should start building bomb shelters to survive a nuclear war, and at the same time did nothing to de-escalate tensions with Russia.
His race to acquire the most and the deadliest weapons are nonsensical alongside his hope that the war should end by Christmas. None of this is meant to disparage the Ukrainian people, they deserve a better leader.
The unimaginable tragedy is that Ukrainians are stuck with a comedian president who has proven his poor leadership. Zelensky refuses to take reasonable steps toward de-escalation, and has instead blamed “the whole world” for this war, a statement that is utterly ridiculous.
Volodymyr Zelensky has been propped up with propaganda which paints him as the greatest president of our time, but Zelensky is perhaps the most failed leader in modern history.
He may legitimately be the underdog in this fight, and he may appear to be doing his best with the cards he’s been dealt, but Americans would be wise to question his words because they are the words of a man willing to sacrifice his country to be in the spotlight.
War is a big business, Pope Francis had a point when he said the war in Ukraine is merely an excuse to test new weapons.
If people are sincerely against appeasing dictators, they should also disagree with sending Zelensky weapons. This is an unwinnable war, sending weapons to the Ukrainian president is not the path that will lead to peace.
Whether these weapons are begged for or demanded, it is foolhardy to assume that they will lead to victory. The willingness to supply these weapons is endangering the world. Diplomacy is the only path forward; it may be unpopular but it’s not impossible.
Edward Alvarez writes from San Diego.