We’ve been hearing the phrase “black lives matter” a lot lately. Some seem to object to the phrase, and respond with a phrase of their own–namely, “all lives matter.” Assuming both sides uttering these phrases are genuine and acting in good faith, I wanted to unpack what these phrases mean, and where the disconnect may occur.
I really enjoy the experience of coming across a new idea that changes my perception or understanding in a significant way. I’ve been thinking about four pieces of writing that did that for–all of them crucial, I would say, to Americans. I list those articles, with a brief description, in the first comment. (Note: The title is more of an attention-getter than something I literally believe.)
Thoughts on the trial.
Part of the current impeachment hearings involves Trump withholding congressional approved military aid to Ukraine, who is now engaged in a war with Russia. (My understanding is that Russia invaded and has annexed Crimea, which is a territory in Ukraine.) I think most Americans can agree that this act of aggression is wrong, and I think they can understand, on some level, that withholding aid to a U.S. ally like Ukraine, in their current situation is troubling. However, I’m not sure most Americans understand how helping Ukraine is in the interests of average Americans. I was going to write a post to make a case for this, but I think the following Time article is a good start. Here’s a key excerpt:
…an effective Ukrainian defense against Russian aggression raises the cost of that aggression and (crucially) raises the perceived cost of future aggression.
A Russia that can simply walk over Ukraine is a stronger Russia – a nation that one day may feel emboldened to take even greater risks to secure regional dominance and strain the western alliance. A Russia that is bogged down in a fight against a well-armed foe is less likely to seek another fight – especially a fight with much higher risks.
In my opinion, what the author, David French, is talking about is a lesson from World War II–namely, when one country invades or annexes another, that act of aggression must be rebuffed quickly at the beginning. If not, the aggressive nation will likely act aggressively in the future–until another country(ies) push back hard. The thing is, if you wait too long, the initial aggressor might become really powerful–powerful enough to be a threat to the U.S. In the case of WWII, the U.S. eventually had to join the war–paying a significant price in blood and treasure.
Instead of sending U.S. troops to fight in a massive war, wouldn’t it be better to arm Ukrainians, helping them stop Russian aggression before it escalates? I believe this is one reason helping Ukraine–in terms of helping them defend themselves against Russian aggression–matters to average Americans.
There’s also another, more abstract, but no less important, reason. And I’ll try going into that in the next section later.
Thread to discuss the House of Representatives impeachment inquiry. Public hearings started today.
References and Resources
The Just Security website has page with links to transcripts of public testimony. See below.
NEW to Ukraine deposition transcripts:— Just Security (@just_security) November 16, 2019
1. Tim Morrison
former Deputy Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Europe and Russia, National Security Council
2. Jennifer Williams
Special Adviser to Vice President Pence for Europe and Russiahttps://t.co/YQNLKUGyXZ
I can’t believe I’m reading the transcript of this testimony, which occurred behind closed doors with House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. (I think members of two other committees were also present or allowed to attend.) I say, “I can’t believe,” because I didn’t have a strong interest in reading this. But I just took a peak and got hooked. (We’ll see how long the transcript holds my interest.) These are some notes as I read the transcript.