No Greater Love Has A Man


At a certain point a man can become a prisoner to his ideas. He can also become a hostage to his ideology. Then no amount of ransom will do.

What bothers me in this war, as with many issues, is not the issue itself but the surrounding discussion, or lack of it. In the greater conversation, it reveals what is important to us as a society.

Maybe I am as fascinated by the reaction as the event itself. Either is disturbing. I could make a list of items that bother me about this war, as provocative and unjustified as it is.

For example, we value peace and Russia values war. You could not have two things more diametrically opposed. We value security and they value war of might.

Might makes right in their minds.

We value life; they affix value to the cost of killing and particularly innocent civilians. We strive to limit conflict and prefer resolution; they strive to escalate conflict to achieve their goals and deter resolution. They don’t care about the methods used to achieve their desired ends. We make moral judgments where they endorse immoral means. Morality is not a principle to them but only a tool to use against their enemy.

We value saving lives and they put value on killing lives. Maybe it is inherent in their DNA, but that is further than I want to go here.

So in the conversation or reporting on the details of this evil war, without a wider discussion much gets lost in the details. That is not to minimize the details of the war at all. They are critical to the record. However, one has to rise above that to ideals that bind people and unify them. A lack of that today is what does bother me.

You think of Churchill and others who rose to the times, but then you look at leaders today. That is what people see in Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelenskyy – regardless what you thought of him before – a man who could speak on moral grounds without fear. That in the face of a brutal war is commendable. It is real not a façade.

There is a complete lack of that by our leaders today. Since they are so used to speaking on political terms, win or lose, they lost touch with moral principle or just plain don’t care. Politics has become the only unifying ideal to them. That is what is wrong with us.

But we are still the same people at heart that we were in past times. Most of us are capable of seeing moral principle even if they don’t. We can’t dismiss it. That principle still unites, as Trump proved.

We long to hear someone like Ukraine’s president talk of moral terms about war, speaking to the justification of peace not might. It still stirs the passion of people, so all is not lost. A pity our own leaders could not take a cue from him to rise above political or ideological narrative. Churchill did it but they later tossed him out, used and discarded.

You wonder what Zelenskyy’s future will be whenever this is over, if it does end? But he will be known as one who rose to the times, not fled from them, stood firm in the face of aggression not appeased it. One who made use of his voice for a higher purpose than a self-serving political career. Now who could fault him for that? Who could fault Churchill for what he did?

Another problem evident in this whole mess is a concept. When we say no one likes war that is not entirely true as we see with Russia. Some of us wish we could abolish war. Would that we could. (enter hideous Jennifer Granholm laugh here)

Something has changed since WWII, not to exclude the wars since – even if they did not call them that. Somewhere the entire debate and problem turned into a diatribe about WWIII. We are to avoid it at all costs. It is always noble and good to avoid war, except that alone has become the overarching goal. Anything to avoid a world war or WWIII. Avoiding WWIII is not a policy.

But that translates into allowing anything under the auspices of avoiding a WWIII. And Russia is very attuned to that sentiment. Translate that to “these people will accept or endure anything rather than have WWIII.” So WWIII has become the enemy, not real circumstances. It has turned into the main problem not a solution. But WWII is what finally ended the rise of Hitler. No one wanted it, even at the time, but it became the means to end Hitler’s final solution.

I only say that because today it has become the central problem. That is not fair to the legacy of WWII or the people that fought it. A lot can be learned about the brutality of war, and we should wish to avoid it. And weigh the cost carefully. Maybe much has changed because of the nuclear deterrent. But can it not be used negatively in the same way? I think it already is, at least by Russia. They extort it.

So World War as defined has become the greatest enemy. But when World War is the chief enemy, everything else becomes acceptable and tolerable. That even allows for threats of nuclear war, as Putin is demonstrating. It is now a cudgel. Could a mushroom cloud be preferable to a World War? That is the provocative calculation they are making.

We now hear that Russia’s doctrine is escalate to deescalate. What a twist. They believe in escalating as a means, in order to to force appeasement. Put nuclear weapons into that doctrine and you have a toxic mix.

So instead of World War being a deterrent, it becomes an excuse for any type war short of that. Just as long as it isn’t, or certainly must not lead to a World War. It is hard to wrap your mind around the rationalization for war. A World War turns from ultimate solution into the high bar. That philosophy should seem scary.

I mean we have lived in a post World War world for decades. It’s like telling a cop that he must never confront a killer because we know where that might lead. Can’t be too safe, you know. And if we don’t believe in the process of charging him, it may be best to let it be.

If Washington is not going to do anything about our spending problems, then maybe we should not worry about spending. In fact, that sounds like an ideal excuse to do more spending. See the way deterrents and accountability work, or should work? Take away that deterrent and you have chaos. If you simply say that we will never have world war again, we have compromised the deterrent. If we say we would never fire a nuclear weapon under any conditions, then we lost the deterrent. When there is no justice there can be nothing but chaos.

Some may not like that system but those are the guidelines to preserving a civilized world. And some don’t like it.

Whatever the stakes, whatever it takes, we must accept anything to avoid World War 3. A new doctrine has emerged.


Right Ring | Bullright | © 2022


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