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An excellent interview with Vijay Prashad (about Ukraine) (1 Viewer)

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Man, Vijay Prashad if one of my favorite progressively principled people to listen to. There are so many good points (even a counterargument to the progressively principled person that Mitch Jeserich interviewed yesterday).

Mitch asked if Vijay thinks that Russia is being imperialist. Vijay's thoughtful reply included something to the effect of 'No, I think Russia is being defensive.' Now, before you start flinging poo, you should actually listen to his entire reply. And his position that 'Russia invading Ukraine is wrong.'

He says more or less the same things here in >>> this article <<<: Wars are ugly, especially wars of aggression. The role of the reporter is to explain why a country goes to war, particularly an unprovoked war. If this were 1941, I might try to explain the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor during World War II or the Japanese assumption that the Nazis would soon defeat the Soviets and then take the war across the Atlantic Ocean. But the Soviets held out, saving the world from fascism. In the same way, the Russian attack on Ukraine requires explanation: the roots of it go deep to various political and foreign policy developments, such as the post-Soviet emergence of ethnic nationalism along the spine of Eastern Europe, the eastward advance of US power—through NATO—toward the Russian border, and the turbulent relationship between the major European states and their eastern neighbors (including Russia). To explain this conflict is not to justify it, for there is little to justify in the bombing of a sovereign people.


 
'No, I think Russia is being defensive.'
Guess Russia really embraced the saying, "the best defense is a good offense".

To explain this conflict is not to justify it, for there is little to justify in the bombing of a sovereign people.
I agree. But explanations can implicitly offer a justification. To pull an internet debate tactic and jump right to Nazis, if someone was explaining WWII to me and they said "the Nazis were only trying to protect themselves from Jewish influences and cultural collapse" then claimed that statement doesn't justify anything they did...that would be technically true. You can believe that the Nazis did think they were acting defensively in their own minds and that it wouldn't justify any of their actions anyway. But choosing to frame the conflict in that way does sort of offer this warped view that sort of implies there were some legitimate justifications.

You can keep saying you don't think Russia's invasion was justified, but you keep framing the conflict through THEIR narrative and by doing so imply you think their security concerns are legitimate. If I was talking about our war in Afghanistan and, despite claiming I believed the invasion was unjustified, continuously instisted the US did have some legitimate security concerns...well...it would kind of sound like I'm downplaying/justifying the actions of the US wouldn't it?

Since you love to cite your progressive principled people, let me site you one:

WARNING. For those not familiar with Slavoj Zizek...he tends to use intentionally inflammatory language.
It is easy to translate this situation into that of a rape. Russia, which is ready to rape Ukraine, claims it doesn’t want to do it — but between the lines it’s making it clear that, if it doesn’t get consent for sex from Ukraine, it is ready to commit rape (recall Putin’s vulgar reply). Russia also accuses Ukraine of provoking it to commit rape.
All of us from countries which have to witness the sad affair of Ukraine’s rape should be aware that only a real castration prevents rape. So we should recommend that the international community carries out a castrative operation on Russia — ignoring and marginalizing them as much as possible, making it sure that afterwards, nothing else will grow of their global authority.

And again from Zizek in 2014:
The protests were triggered by the Ukrainian government’s decision to prioritise relations with Russia over integration into the European Union. Predictably, many anti-imperialist leftists reacted to the news by patronising the Ukrainians: how deluded they are still to idealise Europe, not to be able to see that joining the EU would just make Ukraine an economic colony of western Europe, sooner or later to go the same way as Greece.

In fact, Ukrainians are far from blind about the reality of the EU. They are fully aware of its troubles and disparities: their message is simply that their own situation is much worse. Europe may have problems, but they are a rich man’s problems.
The Maidan protesters were heroes, but the true fight – the fight for what the new Ukraine will be – is happening now, and it will be much tougher than the fight against Putin’s intervention. A new and riskier heroism will be needed. It has been shown already by those Russians who oppose the nationalist passion of their own country and denounce it as a tool of power. It’s time for the basic solidarity of Ukrainians and Russians to be asserted, and the very terms of the conflict rejected.

The next step is a public display of fraternity, with organisational networks established between Ukrainian political activists and the Russian opposition to Putin’s regime. This may sound utopian, but it is only such thinking that can confer on the protests a truly emancipatory dimension. Otherwise, we will be left with a conflict of nationalist passions manipulated by oligarchs. Such geopolitical games are of no interest whatever to authentic emancipatory politics.
 
What progressive principle is he using?
The next step is a public display of fraternity, with organisational networks established between Ukrainian political activists and the Russian opposition to Putin’s regime. This may sound utopian, but it is only such thinking that can confer on the protests a truly emancipatory dimension. Otherwise, we will be left with a conflict of nationalist passions manipulated by oligarchs. Such geopolitical games are of no interest whatever to authentic emancipatory politics.
He's pulling heavily on self determination, international political organization, and anti-imperialism.

I mean, calling on a cross-national people's opposition to take down Putin's regime to avoid war is about as progressive as it gets. Emancipatory politics are a core progressive value.
 
Guess Russia really embraced the saying, "the best defense is a good offense".


I agree. But explanations can implicitly offer a justification. To pull an internet debate tactic and jump right to Nazis, if someone was explaining WWII to me and they said "the Nazis were only trying to protect themselves from Jewish influences and cultural collapse" then claimed that statement doesn't justify anything they did...that would be technically true. You can believe that the Nazis did think they were acting defensively in their own minds and that it wouldn't justify any of their actions anyway. But choosing to frame the conflict in that way does sort of offer this warped view that sort of implies there were some legitimate justifications.

You can keep saying you don't think Russia's invasion was justified, but you keep framing the conflict through THEIR narrative and by doing so imply you think their security concerns are legitimate. If I was talking about our war in Afghanistan and, despite claiming I believed the invasion was unjustified, continuously instisted the US did have some legitimate security concerns...well...it would kind of sound like I'm downplaying/justifying the actions of the US wouldn't it?

Since you love to cite your progressive principled people, let me site you one:

WARNING. For those not familiar with Slavoj Zizek...he tends to use intentionally inflammatory language.



And again from Zizek in 2014:


Part of theprupose of pusbback would be to counter a narrative that Russia is doing g something extraordinarily evil, the ki d of thi g we wouldn't dare do. They are the bad guy we are the good guy etc.

It's true they are acting bad though.but some perspective is needed or else we are flami g hypocrites. It's the same kind of thing we do and might do again.
 
Part of theprupose of pusbback would be to counter a narrative that Russia is doing g something extraordinarily evil, the ki d of thi g we wouldn't dare do. They are the bad guy we are the good guy etc.

It's true they are acting bad though.but some perspective is needed or else we are flami g hypocrites. It's the same kind of thing we do and might do again.
Well, ultimately this is a conflict between Russia and Ukraine. We have certainly made which side we support in that conflict clear, but the prior crimes of the US are pretty irrelevant to this case.
 
Well, ultimately this is a conflict between Russia and Ukraine. We have certainly made which side we support in that conflict clear, but the prior crimes of the US are pretty irrelevant to this case.
It's irrelevant irrelevant to the case of support.

It's not irrelevant to some of the rhetoric in our support.
 
It's irrelevant irrelevant to the case of support.

It's not irrelevant to some of the rhetoric in our support.
Yeah, I agree with that statement. That's a good way of putting it.
 
Well, ultimately this is a conflict between Russia and Ukraine. We have certainly made which side we support in that conflict clear, but the prior crimes of the US are pretty irrelevant to this case.
Or ultimately this is a conflict between certain people who support democracy and certain people who support or are under authoritarianism, and this is one battle between them. I'd like to say it's also about people who believe in laws against invasions, but the US has undermined that with its invasions.
 

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