I have been struggling to rationalize my realist reading of the war with my sense of the brutality and utter irrationality of Russia’s assault on the nationals, the nation and the very nationhood of Ukraine. I even stopped posting my views on this crisis due to the imcommensurability of these two responses within myself. I understood the dichotomy but had not found the language or image by which to articulate the schism., and then I found an article by Richard Falk titled Why Ukraine?
According to Richard Falk, who is Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University and Visiting Distinguished Professor in Global and International Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, there are two wars going on – the first is what he describes as the “traditional war between the invading forces of Russia and the resisting forces of Ukraine” and the second – a “geopolitical war between the U.S. and Russia.” In this scenario there are two aggressors, two villans if you like. Just as as Russia is the aggressor in the traditional war, it is the U.S. that is the aggressor in the geopolitical war. He explains that “it is the prosecution of this latter war that presents the more profound danger to world peace” and that this danger has been obscured by its being treated as “a mere dimension” of the prior, ‘traditional’ confrontation.”