It’s hard to look at images from Ukraine, but it might be even harder to acknowledge three uncomfortable truths we usually tend to ignore.
Nobody likes to see suffering. But everyone suffers in a different way: some are trying to escape Russian bombs, others complain about gas prices, and many folks are worried that this confrontation could turn into World War III.
And, of course, there are folks who still try to defend the actions of Putin and blame NATO for this war. Many people feel that parts of the Republican party and anchormen on Fox News are taking sides with Russia.
There are many perspectives, explanations, and opinions when it comes to this war.
Let’s take a look at three uncomfortable truths we cannot ignore any longer:
1. Dependence on dictators
Our lifestyle depends on fossil fuels and other natural resources. As much as we want to sanction Putin, we also see outrage about rising gas prices.
Not only that, but we also see Western governments negotiating with countries like Iran and Venezuela. Let’s also not forget about our ties with Saudi Arabia. Do you remember the controversy after Jamal Khashoggi was killed?
We all know that we shouldn’t do any business with these folks, but we also know that this would have severe consequences for our lifestyle—and it seems that that’s where we draw the line.
2. International community
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, political scientists like Francis Fukuyama fantasized about the end of history.
There was widespread optimism that dictatorships, wars, and power politics would come to an end and get replaced by human rights, international law, and cooperation between nations.
Every time a country broke the rules of the so-called international community, the United Nations condemned these actions.
But who is this international community everyone in the West is referring to?
— Ermi (@ermidejene) December 18, 2021
3. The Problem with Pacifism
You might have heard the saying, “Imagine there is a war, and no one goes.”
This idea is lovely, but unfortunately not too helpful right now.
“Imagine there is peace and one person doesn’t play along” seems to be the more realistic approach at the moment. How much does it help if the international community insists on non-violent solutions while another nation decides to use military force?
If I see someone beating up another person, I feel the urge to help—the situation in Ukraine is not any different than that. We can watch Russia bombing Ukraine into pieces or take action.
I am aware that there are good reasons for Europe and the United States not to join this war. But I also have to admit that there are possibly even better reasons to step in.
I don’t have the ultimate answer on what’s best to do, but I am 100 percent sure that insisting on a non-violent approach is a bit naive in this context.
I hate myself for saying this, but it’s the sad reality we witness when watching the news.
Again, there are no simple solutions to this conflict. But maybe it’s time to acknowledge that taking the easy path got us into this.
We always knew that some of our international business partners are dictatorships. Most of us were aware that not every country on this planet cares about human rights as much as we do. And almost everyone experienced situations in life where taking the high road wasn’t possible.
It’s not about blaming anyone for this. We enjoyed lower gas prices and the ability to travel to countries where everything seems to be cheap as f*ck. Not to forget about clothes, technology, and food from countries that violate human rights when producing these products.
The war in Ukraine brutally reminds us of these three problems that need to get addressed as soon as possible. We have to open our eyes to our new reality and find solutions that might not always be easy.
From our Western perspective, life was so easy and fun before the pandemic hit us, but that already wasn’t the case in most places on this planet. We are shocked about the war in Ukraine but almost forget about all the other wars happening right now.
And that is the most uncomfortable truth in this; these wars are mainly about natural resources, economic interest, and nationalism.
I still believe that it’s our duty as Europeans and Americans to insist on international law and give more power to the United Nations. But it’s also time to acknowledge that this won’t stop dictators from breaking the rules from time to time.
The only way to stop these dictators is not to depend on them.
Read here: The Easiest Way to End (almost) all Wars.