Ukraine War: Seems Like Old Times

Source: The American Conservative

In Bratislava earlier this week, I had dinner with some Slovak friends, and heard them talking about how old friendships are ending because of the Ukraine war. Those ending the friendships are people who support the war, and who will not tolerate being friends with those who are skeptical of NATO policy — this, even though none of the skeptics believe Russia was right to invade.

Last night at a dinner in Budapest, I mentioned this sad fact to a Czech and a Hungarian with whom I was speaking. The Czech identified himself to me as a skeptic about the war — meaning not that he supports Russia (he emphatically does not), but that he questions NATO policy. He told me that he has lost many old friends because of his views, and that this is quite common across Czechia today.


The Hungarian chimed in to say the same thing is happening here, and has even split families she knows.

All of it is awfully familiar. I told my interlocutors that in the period between 9/11 and the start of the Iraq War, conservatives like me were so gung-ho for war that we did not want to hear from anybody who questioned its wisdom. The Right excommunicated conservatives like Patrick Buchanan and Bob Novak, both of whom objected to the plans for war. Our collective refusal to listen to them, and to despise them for their treason to the cause (remember “unpatriotic conservatives”?), helped lead the United States, and the Middle East, into catastrophe.

This is what you get when dissenters are silenced. Maybe the Ukraine war policy skeptics are wrong. But maybe they see something the crowd does not. They should be listened to as friends. But that’s not happening. Back in Washington, the Republicans are just as committed as the Democrats to handing Kyiv an open wallet, and not pressing for peace negotiations. That Russia started this evil war cannot be disputed. But we desperately need to figure out a way to a cease fire and peace negotiations. There was a woman at dinner last night who recently returned from Ukraine, where she had gone to deliver humanitarian relief supplies with the charity she works for. She reported incredible suffering from ordinary people, and a deep desire among them for the damn thing to end.

When I got home last night, I shared all this with a Czech immigrant friend back in the US. His response: “Mark my words. There will be [wider] war. That’s the Zeitgeist.”

Look at this. If you want this war to end before it destroys even more lives and economies, and perhaps even spreads, you are therefore a Bad Person: