Why I Am Antiwar (And What That Means)

As the post-Russian-invasion phase of the war in Ukraine approaches the end of its first year (its previous, lower-intensity, phase blazed into military flame in 2014), I continually find my own position pigeon-holed into convenient categories by those who hold other positions on it.

Some who claim to be “antiwar” accuse me of supporting Russian aggression, while others say I support Ukrainian Nazism or US imperialism. Still others, more openly “pro-war,” find me “soft” on the various actions of [insert regime of choice here].

Clarity being among the obligations of a writer, I tend to blame myself to at least some degree – perhaps I’m not communicating my position clearly, and that’s why it’s misconstrued so often and such diverse ways. For that reason, and because I suspect others find themselves in one of both of the same boats (misunderstood, or unable to understand), I’ve been working on a taxonomy of positions on the war in Ukraine, and the US regime’s role in it, to help everyone untangle this ball of yarn.

Here are some terms I’ve used or seen used, and my thoughts on those terms:

Pacifism is the belief that violence of any kind is immoral. Not just war, but any kind of violence, theoretically extending even to individual self-defense. Pacifists, obviously, oppose this war like all others.

Non-interventionism is the belief that regimes (or at least some particular regime or regimes) shouldn’t intervene in disputes between other regimes. If Switzerland and Bulgaria go to war, a French non-interventionist would oppose France supporting either side (and might oppose ANY regime interfering in any way).

Isolationism often gets conflated with non-interventionism, but they’re not precisely the same thing. An isolationist is noninterventionist, but also tends to oppose other relationships (for example, free trade) between regimes.

And, finally, antiwar. War is organized, violent conflict between nation-state regimes. To be antiwar is to oppose such conflict, period, end of story.

One might be antiwar on pacifist, noninterventionist, or isolationist grounds, or for other reasons, but it’s a specific orientation. If you oppose war as such, whatever your reasons, you’re antiwar If you support any war, for any reason or based on any justification, you’re not antiwar Because words mean things.

I’m antiwar

I’m neither a pacifist nor an isolationist. I’m noninterventionist, but non-interventionism is corollary to, not the basis for, my position.

And my antiwar position is, in turn, a product of my position on nation-state regimes as such. In my view, they are simply violent criminal organizations. Their disputes are of a piece with turf wars between mafia “families” or brawls between street gangs – the difference is one of degree, not kind.

Joe Biden, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and Vladimir Putin are just Corn Pops or Tony Sopranos with bigger crews and better public relations departments.

They’re no-goodnik psychopath crooks, and my sympathies are reserved for their victims, not for their turf claims or their lame excuses for calling out their hired – or conscripted – guns.

I don’t and won’t support them. Or their wars.

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism. He lives and works in north central Florida. This article is reprinted with permission from William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism.

45 thoughts on “Why I Am Antiwar (And What That Means)”

  1. It’s nice to be able to say you are antiwar, but some wars have consequences that go beyond the two combatants. In the Russia/Ukraine war the possibility of WW3, and the nukes that come along with it, is very real. If me wanting an outcome in that war that will avoid WW3 means I’m not antiwar than I can live with that.

    1. All wars have consequences that go beyond the two combatants.

      Saying that there’s a difference between being anti-war and being pro-war-if-the-regime-you-want-to-win-wins is not an argument against the latter position. It’s just pointing out that they’re not the same position.

      1. Yes, but not WW3 and a nuclear war. And I personally don’t want either regime to “win”.

        1. When we got the news that Russia had invaded Ukraine, I told my wife that no country should be larger than 50 people, and that way we wouldn’t have this kind of crap. Overpopulation is the root cause of virtually every war, going back to the beginning of civilization (See Derrick Jensen’s writings on this for more details).

          So no, I don’t support either regime, because I totally oppose nation-states. But we have to greatly lower our population to get back to living properly, and that will take hundreds of years to accomplish.

  2. You have outlined some useful distinctions, although they are not as clear cut as I am sure you realize. I believe the anti-war title is the least ambiguous. As an anarchist and anti-statist I don’t have ethical objections to all violence as a pacifist would since I regard its use in self-defense as just and appropriate. And although this is true even when done in a collective sense I nevertheless see a distinction between such defensive resistance to invasion when conducted by individuals or groups of individuals as categorically different than ‘war’, which I see is as violence organized and directed and controlled by a ruling entity. In this same sense I would have no ethical problem with individuals choosing to be involved in the support or even the action of fighting for an oppressed group in another country while however still condemning the State and its directed military from one country conducting a government ‘Intervention’ in a civil war or secession in another country, even for supposed (sic) humanitarian reasons. I consider WAR as specifically a State conducted social variety of violence that is not only wrong in all instances, but never a prudent or successful means of settling conflict because ALL participants are losers in it, admittedly, some more than others.

  3. I really liked this, Tom. Nice work. I’m currently reading Abelow’s book (which is advertised here at Antiwar.com), and he presents the “shoe on the other foot” scenario (i.e., what would the US regime do if the Russian regime had military installations on the Canadian border?) Got me to thinking, would I support a defensive war with my regime launching the first actual strike if it was potentially protecting me? That’s a tough one…

    1. Some of us faced this question in 1962 when USSR stationed missiles in Cuba. I sat in my high school principal’s office to protest Kennedy’s reckless ultimatum. Kennedy’s threat of nuclear war was a worse threat to my security than Russian missiles in Cuba. As far as I am concerned, Cuba, Canada and Mexico are sovereign countries. If one of them chooses to align with China or Russia, that is their business.Big countries bullying small countries is a rough definition of imperialism.

      1. Good to see you’re consistent in your position. My counterargument is that while these are all sovereign countries, the U.S. behaved the same way during the Cuban Missile Crisis. So as an American, you’re being hypocritical by condemning Russia for reacting the same way that the U.S. did. My opposition to Russia’s invasion is strictly because I’m anti-war, but this war is the fault of the U.S. far more than Russia.

        1. My opposition to the Ukraine war is based on my conclusion that the Ukrainian people oppose the invasion and that that Ukraine has the right to self determination and self defense. In the early weeks of the invasion I was muted in my criticism because I was testing Putin’s hypothesis that Ukrainians were in the grip of a Nazi dictatorship and that Ukrainians would welcome liberation by their Russian brethren. I tried to ignore the propaganda on both sides and instead looked at the calendar, the map and images while giving credit to statements by the Russians, the Ukrainians and US/NATO that were against the interest of the party making the statement. For example, the Russians admitted to 1,381 troops killed in the first month of the war. That showed me the war was a bloodbath and that Russia had lost at least that many troops. I paid attention to the almost unanimous opposition to the invasion by Ukrainian expatriates and cultural figures and the widespread expressions of opposition among Russian expatriates. I reasoned the expatriates were not compelled to back the narratives of their governments. I paid attention to the pictures of destroyed of Russian tanks on the road to Kyiv to demonstrate the tenacity of the Ukrainian opposition. In the early weeks there were documented atrocities committed by both sides. But I paid attention to the failure of the Russian backed separatists and Russian media to produce credible evidence of killing fields or mass murders in the Donbas. If there had been a genocide in Donbas I have no doubt Russia would have publicized forensic evidence of the mass murders. I studied the background of Zelenskyy and found it implausible that someone with his religious affiliation would lead a neo-Nazi government. I also paid attention to the Hassidic community in Ukraine and New York. The orthodox members of their faith hate the Nazis. Their support for Zelenskyy’s government and resistance to the Russian invasion was more evidence debunking Putin’s Nazi hypothesis.
          I paid attention to the pictures of Ukrainians rejoicing when the Ukrainian army liberated their cities and towns from the Russians. There were no similar outbursts of joy from the areas seized by the Russians. The forced deportations in the Russian conquered regions and the imposition of martial law were additional evidence that the Russian invasion did not have widespread support among the Ukrainian people.
          In asymmetric wars of national resistance the decisive force is hearts and minds, not force of arms or dollars and cents. No amount of US military aid has ever been able to prop up a phony nationalist movement or else the US would not have lost to the Taliban or the Vietnamese communists.

          If the Russians were liberators, the war would have been over quickly. The calendar belied Putin’s hypothesis as did the map that showed that Russia has not been able to defeat the Ukrainian resistance or hold territory. And pictures showed happiness when Russians were driven from previously occupied towns and cities. When the Ukrainians launched their September offensive, they proved that the resistance had won the hearts of minds of the Ukrainian people. The war is effectively over. As with the 1968 Tet offensive in Vietnam, it may take years for the Russians to give up and leave Ukraine. But in the end they must leave because the vast majority of the Ukrainian people don’t want to be ruled by Russia. Even if Russia defeats the Ukrainian army, the Russians will be a foreign occupier fighting an intractable indigenous resistance. The thing about legitimate national resistance movements is that fighting them fuels the resentment of the invader and makes the resistance stronger.

          1. I disagree with your conclusions, and would go so far as to say that they’re provably wrong. Almost everything you wrote is U.S. propaganda and lies, and looks like it came straight from the CIA. I’ll address one issue, I’m not wasting any more time on this.

            Ukraine is the only country in the world with a Nazi battalion, and the head of their national police is also a Nazi. While a fairly small minority, the Nazis get what they want, because they’re the most aggressive and violent faction in Ukraine and everyone is afraid of them. The Nazis, with U.S. backing and instigating, are the ones who committed the coup in 2014 that deposed a democratically elected president. The Nazis are also the ones who attacked the Donbas, killing about 15,000 people, all because the ethnic Russians there wouldn’t accept the U.S.-imposed president who was not elected by anyone. In my view, anyone claiming that Ukraine doesn’t have a strong if not overwhelming Nazi influence is either a Nazi themselves, or badly misinformed, as the vast majority of Americans are.

          2. About 14-15k people did die in the Donbas between 2014 and February 2022.

            Some of them were, no doubt, killed by Ukrainian regime troops.

            But according to the UN, the biggest category killed WAS Ukrainian regime troops. Did they all commit suicide or something? Or were they perhaps killed by the third and fourth largest categories of dead, separatist troops and Russian troops, both of which also no doubt engaged in killing the second largest group, civilians?

  4. I pretty much agree with this. I’m anti-war too, and that’s why I oppose Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. On the other hand, it’s the only reason that I oppose that invasion. The U.S. has been provoking Russia for over 30 years, and some people argue, “what was Russia supposed to do?” I don’t have an answer for that question except for possibly teaming with China to pressure the U.S. and its tool NATO to back the f off.

    There are no good guys in this war, and Russia was wrong to invade. But the war is otherwise the fault of the U.S. I’m not going to blame a cat for scratching a child who pulled the cat’s tail; instead, I’m going to admonish the child not to pull the tail.

    1. The only good guys in this war are the Ukrainian people who have the right to self-determination and to work out their problems themselves, not under military occupation by the country that used to be Ukraine’s imperial overlord.

      1. The Ukrainian people are very far from being good guys. Ukraine is the most corrupt country in Europe, and while most of the people there are not Nazis, the Nazis in that country pretty much say what goes there. I think you’ve been brainwashed by American propaganda.

      2. Sure and when those traitors Alexei Navalny, Vladimir Kara
        Murza and Ilya Yashin are all executed for treason who will take their place. No one. Russia is done with the West and NATO for good. The days of Boris Yeltsin are gone forever. That’s why Russia is now with the Non Aligned Movement and has long left the so-called “Council of Europe”!!!!!

        1. Russia should ally with any enemy of the real terrorist states the United States and the genocidal Jewish State of Israel. Both Benjamin Netanyahu and Itmar Ben Gvir are satans.

          1. Do you believe that states are created/born terroristic, or become terroristic?
            And if they become, is it possible to avoid becoming? Or, is it inevitable?

          2. A state is a criminal gang that utilizes terror to get its way. States are usually larger and successfully claim more turf the the Crips, the Bloods, or MS-13, but other than that the main difference is that states invest in public relations to convince us they’re something other than what they are.

        2. Yes. Russia is now with the non aligned movement. 24 years ago Putin wanted to join NATO but was rebuffed. He was even a member of the anti-China G7/G8 until he got kicked out 9 years ago. Putin is a racist chauvinist who is looking to revive Russian imperialism. The smart people in th enon-aligned movement and China know what they are dealing with. But they can use Russia’s support in the struggle against US/NATO imperialism.

          1. Yep But remember Russia after all this is over will never ever ally with either the G7 or NATO ever again. Because you know that the real terrorist states of the US and Israel. Instead it’s going to be the BRICS, SCO and the NAM. Period.

          2. “24 years ago Putin wanted to join NATO but was rebuffed.” Gorbachev and Yeltsin also tried to join NATO. And the U.S. also promised Russia multiple times not to expand NATO eastward past a unified Germany, which promise it of course violated.

            So, who’s the bad guy here? Russia has been trying to play nice, and the U.S. has been telling it to go f itself. Seems pretty clear to me. Again, I’m no supporter of Russia but between it and the U.S. it’s rather clear which is worse.

          3. The bad guys are the imperialists. Whe Putin was using diplomacy, I supported his reasonable demands. When Putin turned over the chess table and invaded Ukraine, I realized that Putin crossed over to the Dark side. NATO expansion was wrong and a threat to peace. The invasion of the Ukraine was a breach of the peace that was worse than NATO expansion. Ironically, Putin’s invasion has made it virtually impossible to build a peace based on Ukrainian neutrality and friendly relations with Russia.

            A year ago Putin had no good choices. Diplomacy wasn’t likely to work. It is understandable that he chose a war of aggression against Ukraine. But war made things much worse for Russia. The war is unwinnable because Putin, like Nixon in Vietnam, is at war with the spirit of a nation. I think Russia will eventually defeat the Ukrainian army (I am amazed they haven’t done that yet). But then Russia will be an occupying power fighting a national resistance movement that will grow stronger the harder Russia fights it.

          4. We agree that “Putin had no good choices,” though I think he could have tried to work with China and maybe India to pressure the U.S. Let’s just leave this at that.

          5. China is Ukraine’s biggest trading partner. It would have been genius if Russia and China took a carrot and stick approach with Ukraine. China could even have diverted the Northern branch of the Belt and Road corridor from Russia to Ukraine in return for a friendship and non-aggression treaty with Russia. And China and Russia could have offered Ukraine most favored nation status. It might not have worked. But the blowback from the war ended any possibility of Russia getting what it wanted from Ukraine. Even if Russia defeats the Ukrainian army, they will be a hated occupying power fighting an intractable resistance movement until they ultimately leave. I someone who fought Nazis in the streets in California, it saddens me that Putin’s invasion turned the Azov Batallion into national heroes and Azovstal became the Ukrainian Alamo legend. In post WWII wars of imperial conquest, blowback wins every time.

            Of all the empires, the British were the only ones to accept their decline with some measure of grace. After the first World War the British avoided bloody colonial wars that they realized they could not win. All the other imperialists had to learn the hard way. There was a time when I thought Putin understood and learned from the mistakes of the USSR. But it is apparent that he will lead his country to defeat in Ukraine while inflicting a catastrophe on the Ukrainian people and earning their undying hatred.

          6. My idea was for Russia to work with China and perhaps India to pressure the U.S. I think that your idea of working with Ukraine also would have been a great counterpart.

            I don’t understand how you can acknowledge that the U.S. provoked Russia and say that Russia didn’t have any good choice, but then blame Putin and say that he’s acting as an imperialist. This is not logical. Russia clearly felt threatened and had been warning the U.S./NATO for years, to no avail. While I oppose the invasion and wish Russia hadn’t done it, I lay the blame squarely on the U.S., not Russia.

  5. Your article omits a fifth position. I am an anti-imperialist. I identify with the victims of imperialism and support their liberation and self determination.
    I believe that war is the worst thing that human beings do. Only three things justify war: (i) self defense against an actual or imminent armed attack, (ii) a proactive response to stop or prevent an ongoing or imminent holocaust level genocide (with hundreds of thousands of casualties) and (iii) a war of a national liberation against a colonial or neo-colonial oppressor.

    In almost every war, the consequences of war are worse than the causes of the war. For example, in the Ukrainian civil war from 2014 to 2022 about 14,000 people were killed in the Donbas fighting. In Putin’s war many times that number has been killed, the entire country’s infrastructure has been severely damaged and millions of Ukrainians have become refugees. There is no doubt that Ukrainians, Russians and the entire world would be bertter off if Putin had stuck to diplomacy. War almost always makes things worse.

    Most of the time anti-imperialism means I oppose US imperialism But I recognize that the US is not the only imperialist power, even though it dominates the world system. Putin’s Russia is a declining imperialist power and Putin aspires to restore the power of the Soviet Union and the glory of the Czars be resetting the geo-political balance by re-establishing Russia’s sphere of influence over the former dominions of the Czars and satellites of the Soviet Union.

    1. Good catch.

      I considered including anti-imperialism, and one very rough draft was working through history from e.g. the American Anti-Imperialist League to the America First Movement to the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam, etc. to examine the different motivations, coalitions, etc. But I write to length, and this one was exactly the maximum (500 words).

      1. Is the 500 word limit self-imposed or a rule by the editors?. Your columns are almost always thought provoking. I wish you would exceed the limit when appropriate.

        The roots of my personal anti-imperialist framework come out of Marxism-Leninism, Pan Africanism, the Bandung/Non-Aligned Movement following WWII and the Black Panther Party of the 1960’s and early 1970’s.

        In the 1960’s I learned that anti-imperialism is a science, not a sentiment. It is frustrating and painful to see imperialists and wannabe imperialists like Putin play out the same inevitable scenarios year after year in war after war. Putin lost his war but how long will it take for Russia to get a leadership that recognizes the mission failed?

        1. The 500-word limit is self-imposed.

          Or, rather, imposed by the director of the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (who happens to be me) on its writers (who happen to be me and one other guy), because 400-500 words seems to be the “sweet spot” for getting the maximum number of newspapers to use our columns.

          We write these pieces (three a week) for newspaper publication and submit them to between 1300 and 2500 newspapers and non-libertarian political publications (the former number is for US-centric pieces, the latter for pieces of global interest). When they’re about foreign policy, I also submit at Antiwar.com.

          I already consider this one a success because it’s been picked up by the Orange County Register and its associated chain of southern California papers.

    2. I agree about being anti-imperialist. I’m both anti-war and anti-imperialist. But that said:

      There is no doubt that Ukrainians, Russians and the entire world would be better off if Putin had stuck to diplomacy.

      While I also oppose Russia’s invasion because I’m anti-war, I’ll ask you the devil’s advocate question that I’ve been asked for taking this position: Considering U.S. provocation and encroachment toward Russia for decades, what was Russia supposed to do?

      You seem to lay the blame for this war on Russia, and I couldn’t disagree more. It’s utter BS that Russia’s invasion had anything to do with Russian imperialism. It was caused by U.S. provocation, and the latest admissions by the former leaders of Germany and France — that the Minsk Accords were phony and just used to delay Russia long enough for Ukraine to arm itself — make it clear that the west (i.e., the U.S.) wanted this war. The war is fundamentally the fault of the U.S., with Russia only getting blame for finally succumbing and invading.

      1. The war was absolutely caused by US/NATO provocation. But Hitler’s 1939 invasion of Poland was equally caused by deliberate UK, French and Polish provocation. Versailles was an unfair treaty that was designed to weaken Germany, much like NATO with Russia. The alliance between UK, France and Poland was intended to encircle and contain Germany. And Germans in Silesia felt persecuted and wanted to be reunited with Germany.

        The Russian empire is in a long range decline. So is the US/NATO imperial system. It happens that US/NATO got the upper hand in Europe and Putin decided to launch a war to reset the geopolitical balance that shifted against Russia.

        Hitler did the same thing. They were both wrong and need to be stopped. Putin has already been stopped by the Ukrainian resistance. But it may take years or even decades for Russia to finally give up the invasion. Even if Russia ultimately defeats the Ukrainian army, Russia will be an occupying power in a hostile country bedeviled by an intractable indigenous resistance.

        As a human being, I am not aligned with the US, Russia or Ukraine. As a human being who believesin self determination and liberation and who recognizes the limitations of empire in the Post WWII world, I support the Ukrainian people’s right to self-determination and independence. As for inter-imperial competition between US/NATO and Russia, I don’t care. I am against the US NATO imperial system and the Russian imperialist system. They are both declining.
        All this being said, I would like to see a peace where Ukraine is neutral, with friendly relations with both Russia and the EU. Unfortunately, Putin’s invasion is making that peace less likely. That is the ironic thing about imperial wars, they tend to accelerate the decline of the invader. It is called blowback.

        To summarize, as a human being I support the right of the Ukrainian people to self determination. I oppose wars of choice, wars to gain teritory and wars to reset geopolitical balance. After a decade of war in Vietnam, the US had to accept defeat and recognize the limits on the US empire in the post-Vietnam world. Russia will have to make a similar adjustment. But we who care for justice for all people cannot become advocates for any imperial system.

        1. I agree with you until you start your anti-Putin and anti-Russia rants. All leaders are bad, because they have oversized egos (leading them to be overly aggressive, materialistic, etc.). But compared to U.S. leaders, who have more blood on their hands than the leaders of all other countries combined since WWII, Putin is very small potatoes. Therefore, as an American, it’s totally hypocritical to complain about Russia or Putin. And I’ll add that with the exception of one somewhat deranged speech shortly before Russia invaded, I agree with just about everything I’ve heard Putin say in public about international affairs. I’d say pretty much the opposite about U.S. presidents.

          I totally disagree about the reasons that Russia invaded Ukraine. You even admit that it was due to U.S. provocations, but then go on to make claims that the reason was Russian imperialism. So which is it? And BTW, analogizing this to Germany’s excuse for invading Poland is completely wrong. Germany’s claims were all admitted to be pretextual after the war, while Russia’s claims are obviously true.

          As to self-determination, ideally I also agree. But you have to also deal with current reality, not just the way you want things to be, and that reality includes geopolitics. What do you think that the U.S. would do if Russia or China placed major weapons in Mexico? Ideally, human population should be much smaller and we should be living tribally, not in these immoral nation-states. But that’s not reality right now, and you have to consider how things are, not just how you want them to be.

          1. I consider myself a human being who happens to live in the USA. I try to follow Malcom X’s precept of supporting what is best for the human race as a whole. t support self-determination which means that I almost always oppose US foreign policy. US imperialism is the greatest evil in the world in our time. But Russian imperialism, reflected in Putin’s chauvinist February 22nd speech, is also a threat to human freedom. usually I am on the same side as Russia because Russia is in an inter-imperialist competition with the US and usually supports the side opposing the US. In 60 years of activism, I believe the only times I opposed Russian or Soviet imperial wars was in Afghanistan and Ukraine.
            As for Putin’s pronouncements, they sound good. But I remember Putin when he was extolling the greatness of European civilization when he was aspiring to be part of the anti-China bloc. I pay a lot more attention to what the Russian army does than what the Russian president says.
            According the Naftali Bennett, Putin doesn’t really care about Nazis in Ukraine. The war is purely about geopolitical

            balance, not de-Nazification or the condition of ethnic Russians in Donbas.

          2. I have basically the same attitude regarding U.S./Soviet or Russia conflicts. However:

            The leader of Afghanistan at the time asked Russia for help fighting the religious fanatics in his country. Russia’s military in Afghanistan had nothing to do with imperialism.

  6. Great article, Thomas. I have similar views, but not identical.

    You state, “If you support any war, for any reason or based on any justification, you’re not antiwar.” I consider myself “antiwar” but I also do believe there can be, at least theoretically, a justification for a war. If Country A were to invade Country B, then Country B could have a justification for going to war (or more precisely, to fighting back in the already-started war). This, in my mind, distinguishes pacifism from antiwar: a pacifist would not consider even self-defense as a legitimate case for war, whereas someone who is antiwar could.

    Now I think in modern times truly justified wars are few and far between, if they even exist. But at least on the level of theory, even someone who considers himself antiwar (but not pacifist) could defend the possibility of self-defense at a national level.

      1. Thank you for the response!

        I guess I’m struggling to see the difference, in your mind, between the pacifist and the antiwar person. If Country A invades Country B, the pacifist would of course believe that Country B cannot violently resist that invasion (i.e., go to war with Country A). But it sounds like the antiwar person also would believe that. So how do they differ? Is it the philosophy behind how they reach their similar conclusions or something else?

        Sorry if I’m being dense in understanding your position!

        1. The anti-war person might be just fine with forms of violence other than war. I could rob banks and strangle prostitutes (I do neither, just to be clear) and still be anti-war.

          The pacifist opposes violence entirely.

    1. I fully agree with Thomas. If you’re anti-war, you can’t support any war. Just like being non-violent means that you don’t fight, including not defending yourself if you are attacked.

  7. The distinction of the scale of violence is invalid. Individuals defend themselves against violence as a matter of course, by force as necessary, and this extends to groups of individuals, there being no moral distinction of scale. On the other hand, civilization does not permit an individual to use violence against another individual for their own purposes, and the fundamental misconception, or con, is that this stricture is inapplicable to groups of individuals, when in reality there is no distinction of scale to be made. The flags, uniforms, theme songs, etc., help with this ruse.

    On a more prosaic note, we should long ago have thrown NATO in the dustbin of history where it belongs. This war is our fault for letting NATO relentlessly expand eastward and letting the US government violently subvert Ukraine. NATO isn’t a debate society or a gardening club, it’s a massive military machine for waging war on Russia, period, and it was stupid and irresponsible to let it expand to the point of threatening Russia. We should have put it down when we had the chance. The war in Ukraine is our fault.

    1. Fully agree about NATO. Should have been disbanded as soon as the Soviet Union was. The failure of the west — mainly the U.S. — to do so is the root cause of Russia’s invasion.

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