Carleton College's student newspaper since 1877

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

A response to calls for intervention in Ukraine

We have grown up in an age of unprecedented peace and prosperity, an age which has allowed economic growth for every country of the world, an age in which poverty, famine and disease have been consistently decreasing. Last week’s Carletonian featured a demand for U.S. intervention, a call to not let Ukraine “become the next Bosnia.” While I am sure that this demand is sourced in empathy, the equation of these two situations is dangerous and threatens to throw all of the progress made in this era of world peace out the window. I have nothing but empathy for the people of Ukraine, but I write to condemn the calls for military intervention. The state of relative world peace, without wars between superpowers, should not be thrown away for the sake of any one country.

It seems to me that rather than have Ukraine become the next Bosnia, those who call for intervention would have Ukraine become the next Poland: the central point and inciting incident of a world war. Falsely equating the two situations is dangerous, because Russia is not Serbia. Russia is a superpower in possession of one of the world’s strongest armies. Have we grown so conceited in our own military strength that we think intervening against this army would be trivial? The fact is that despite U.S. military successes in Iraq, we have not made conventional war against a superpower since fighting China in the Korean War, which settled in a stalemate. The notion that U.S. victory in an intervention against Russia is assured is only an expression of our society’s hypermilitarist conceit. In reality, we do not know that victory would be easily achievable, and even if we could have a war between nuclear superpowers without nuclear annihilation (a fact I am not convinced of), even a conventional war could be devastating for the whole European continent. Not only that, but such a war would mark the end of the rules-based international order that has created this age of peace in which we live. I will remind the audience, especially those who desire intervention, that it is only this age of peace and international rules that has allowed notions like universal human rights to develop and be enforced.

I do not want to make this article a personal attack, but in reflecting on last week’s editorial, I am in fact enraged by the blasé attitude toward American military intervention. Will students at Carleton be volunteering for this war? Doubtlessly they will not; rather, their contribution will be sitting comfortably at Carleton writing about the war’s ideological necessity while America’s military service people fight and die on foreign soil. To those who believe that intervention is justified, I ask: Would you die for Ukraine? If not, then do not ask others to do so for you. If so, then you will be happy to know that they are accepting foreign fighters. If you believe intervention is morally imperative, by all means do it yourself, but do not ask potentially millions of others to die for the sake of your righteous indignation.

View Comments (1)
More to Discover

Comments (1)

All The Carletonian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • J

    Jane DoeApr 27, 2022 at 6:12 pm

    It’s not as simple as “would you die for Ukraine.” Ukrainians are already dying, for Ukraine, for Europe, and for OUR security. From that view, it’s morally reprehensible to ask them to continue to die for our safety without risking our own lives. And I think you’d have a different view on the necessity of defending “one country” if it was 40 million of your own people at risk.