Notes of a Russophile: On War and Moral Certainty

Justin E. H. Smith in his Substack newsletter, The Hinternet:

A week ago I unrestrainedly used the phrase Слава Україні!/Glory to Ukraine!, and a few friends and readers were surprised to see me resorting to jingoism, even if for a country not my own. This struck some as particularly inadvisable, since the phrase is associated in some of its expressions with far-right Ukrainian nationalism, and with the handful of people in Ukraine who minimally justify Putin’s claim to be undertaking a campaign of “de-Nazification” there. The first time I used the phrase was in 2014, at a rally in Paris in support of the Maidan demonstrators in Kyiv, among a Ukrainian diaspora that was resolutely pro-democracy and worlds away from any far-right sentiments. But a rally is one thing, an essay another, and as the week wore on I admit my use of the phrase echoed in my mind, and came to feel increasingly like a mistake.

I have been taken aback by the sudden proliferation of blue and gold bicolor flags, the appearance ex-nihilo of a whole new class of people suddenly passionate about Ukraine’s freedom, people who appear able to think only in slogans, and far too impatient to bother to follow out the geopolitical consequences of any given strategy for reestablishing this freedom.

More here.