Sunday, August 31, 2014
Why Can't the West Acknowledge the Russian "Invasion" of Ukraine for What It Really Is?
To call Russia's invasion of Ukraine "an invasion" would call for a response that neither NATO nor Washington is ready to give. So the West equivocates, as it dithers and delays, incomprehensibly dismissing a mass movement of Russian troops into neighboring Ukraine as mere "interference."
Putin perpetuates this status quo by his repeated use of "lying" about his illegal military actions in an independent nation, making statements that both he and the West know to be untrue, in the process reviving the use of propaganda, a favorite tool of the former Soviet Union.
Yet no one dares to challenge him, to call a spade a spade, to call invasion for what it is. Even President Obama himself refers to the invasion as an "incursion."
This implausible denial of an invasion that has been occurring for the past few months is indeed a novelty I have not yet seen in Western politics. It is nothing but a form of cowardice. After all, to accurately name things, brings with it an ethical and moral responsibility to see them accurately, for what they are, and then for taking the necessary and appropriate actions -- a responsibility the West has repeatedly shown itself shamefully unwilling to accept.
So Putin plods on, plowing further into Ukraine, in large part only because we allow him to do so....
We all know what the truth is, yet the West not only keep hesitating, but also keeps searching for euphemisms, instead of simply stating and therefore acknowledging what is actually occurring.
And no, what has been going on in Ukraine has never been a "civil war," as it was formerly termed, so implying that the military actions there were arising spontaneously from within, rather than as a result of outside Russian provocation. (Also, with the use of the term "civil war," came the implication that what goes on within the nation was its own problem, making a similar shoddy case for Western inaction.)
I have even heard the Western media previously refer to the Ukraine situation as "The Ferdinand," implying that all the invasion is just an insignificant territorial dispute involving a major power and a largely unknown nation, and is therefore better left ignored, lest it become a powder keg that will set off a nuclear war.
What does the use of all these misnomers and euphemisms and equivocations imply? Is the simple straightforward truth no longer relevant? And what is all this use of newfangled milquetoast terms like "incursions" and "interferences" really all about? After all, we all know good communication requires clear and precise diction and avoids the use of vague, imprecise words that serve more to obfuscate than to communicate. Are we really no different from the former Soviet Union in that we no longer seem to be able to speak freely, clearly, and with conviction but express ourselves in some sort of distorted doublespeak.
Have we all become puppets trying to appease Putin?
For how long will the West allow Putin to continue with his obvious lies in his war of aggression? For how long will we indulge him in his yearning for a return to Soviet times and in his quest for territorial expansion, as we dilly dally about sanctions and choose to not only ignore but remain oblivious to the larger implications of his actions and to the the humanitarian dictates of international law? For how long can the West deny its ethical and moral imperative to act decisively in the name of freedom, human dignity and justice?
In the meantime, I am just getting more and more worried about Ukraine....
(c) Olya Thompson