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Fanning the Political Fires at Home With War Abroad

Fanning the Political Fires at Home With War Abroad

Six months ago, the opening shots of the Russia-Ukraine conflict shook the world. Now, thousands of miles away from those of us in the United States, the two countries wage a vicious military, economic, and propaganda war over territories and populations which the region’s power players have contested for centuries.

But that’s not the impression you’d get reading the comments on any bit of news relating to the conflict. If anything, you’d think the fighting was happening right here at home, and that everyone was personally on the front line. Whipping themselves into a frenzy, people gloat over the propaganda which both sides have been pumping out, often without the flimsiest bit of sourcing.

How did Americans get to the point where they triumphantly wave the flags of foreign countries—or at least put them in their Twitter usernames—as a statement of their own political identity?

One possible reason is that we live in a society where politics seeps in and poisons every sphere of life. As a result, we look at any issue, regardless of its actual context, and try to place it within the ongoing broader political conflict. We also project our own agendas and fixations on the issue. This creates a toxic chain of thought: What’s going on? Does it validate my personal feelings? And how can I use this to attack people I don’t like?

Consider one of the common narratives used to explain the Russia-Ukraine conflict: Ukraine, a country which brands itself as a democracy and aims to join the liberal Western world, is up against Russia, which attempts to project tradition, authority, and an old-fashioned conception of power. Most would likely agree with this assessment regardless of which side of the conflict they support.

But such a narrative conveniently matches the conflict within our own country. On one side, an emerging liberal majority wages a cultural war against traditional values in order to build a world free of hierarchies and distinctions. On the other, a conservative remnant fights to restore a society which values morality, order, and the strength of the nation.

In this way, faraway battles become a proxy for our domestic conflicts.

To a liberal, any critic of America’s support for Ukraine becomes an insidious Russian propagandist. Add in the residual tension from the 2016 and 2020 elections, and the critic also becomes a treasonous insurrectionist.

Meanwhile, embattled opponents of America’s military adventurism abroad, and its cultural agenda at home, risk becoming deaf to those who point out Russia’s genuine problems. At worst, their ideology becomes a mirror image of the left’s reflexive hatred of the West and its values. None of the factions gain anything from their online firefights with their opponents, emerging angrier, less rational, and more entrenched in their echo chambers.

I have no illusions that “finding common ground” or “listening to one another” will solve this problem. Our society is well past the point of allowing genuine, two-way reconciliation efforts between hostile factions.

But each of us as individuals can steel ourselves against a deteriorating political climate by not allowing a complex, distant conflict to impact our critical thinking abilities. It’s good to be informed about world affairs, and it’s fine to have an opinion on them—even a passionate one. But we should allow current events to affect our behavior and our state of mind only when those events directly affect us, those close to us, and our communities.

After all, there is a nation that’s having its sovereignty violated and its borders breached. There is brutal violence happening in cities across that nation. And there’s a corrupt, increasingly authoritarian government allowing it all to happen—right here at home. Maybe that’s the crisis we should truly be worked up about.

Image Credit: Pexels


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  • Avatar
    September 16, 2022, 11:23 pm

    "And there’s a corrupt, increasingly authoritarian government allowing it all to happen—right here at home. Maybe that’s the crisis we should truly be worked up about."
    No truer conclusion

  • Avatar
    September 17, 2022, 12:20 am

    Well said.

  • Avatar
    James Hanemaayer
    September 17, 2022, 12:35 am

    Wow, as a conservative with extensive knowledge of the conflict, I couldn’t disagree more. I am tired of arrogant commentators who simply are ignorant about the strides Ukraine has made to tame corruption and give its people a free society while next door the large neighbor is much more massively corrupt and certainly not free while hiding behind a facade of "traditional values." Having lived and worked in both of these countries, as a conservative and very anti-socialist person, I will choose Ukraine without hesitation.

    • Avatar
      PJ Byers@James Hanemaayer
      September 17, 2022, 11:24 am

      Thank you for your clarity & common sense. This is about an autocratic dictator attacking a sovereign nation. Let’s be careful not to confuse what’s happening to millions of innocent civilians with our current political situation. History and Putin’s own words indicate Ukraine would be just the beginning of a power grab if he were to succeed. Ukraine has not asked for one drop of American blood to be shed, but like David vs Goliath they only require the weapons to have a fighting chance. I can appreciate the author’s plea to keep our focus on the battle here at home, but as an American conservative that values liberty I cannot turn my back on any nation’s fight against tyranny. I stand with Ukraine in this sense: give them what they need to defeat this former KGB agent , keep our troops out of it & stay focused on the fight for liberty right here at home.

    • Avatar
      Richard@James Hanemaayer
      September 20, 2022, 11:59 pm

      The argument isn’t about Ukraine is right/Russia is wrong.
      "But we should allow current events to affect our behavior and our state of mind only when those events directly affect us, those close to us, and our communities. "
      The focus of the article points to the irreconcilable differences between the cultural Marxists/Marxists destroying America Vs the patriots attempting to preserve Western Civilization of this nation.

  • Avatar
    September 17, 2022, 3:22 pm

    The war – like the pandemic – is anything but organic. Instead, the war is the crescendo of the NWO dialectic as it will manifest gargantuan systemic problems demanding systemic foundational solutions.

    The conflict will decimate what remains of our supply chains at their most basic level, wreaking absolute havoc. Currencies – already on their last legs – will be deliberately hyper-inflated away all over the globe in order to pay for it. Our lives will be intentionally and irrevocably flipped upside-down.

    Everyone will be demanding something be done and the pre-planned solutions will be one-world-government and CBDCs (Central Bank Digital Currencies). These CBDCs will link with your social credit score, vaccine status, and carbon footprint in order to determine your eligibility – in real time – to participate or not participate in the economy.

    The globablists’ have successfully utilized the Red vs Blue, East vs West, Vaxxed vs Unvaxxed dichotomies to exploit our innate tribal nature, and in doing so are dividing and conquering us. This ‘us-vs-them’ separation makes us easy to control and direct with simple angry thoughts about “the enemy” who isn’t really our enemy – while blinding us to the actual enemy behind the curtain pulling the puppet strings. If we could collectively recognize this for what it is the NWO wouldn’t stand a chance.

    more here: https://tritorch.com/united

  • Avatar
    September 17, 2022, 3:39 pm

    This conflict is complex to say the least. I am still uncertain as to how the “bad guys” are. I am not foreign policy expert just an regular American trying to sift through the deluge of “news” trying to find the truth.
    A couple of weeks ago I stumbled upon this episode of the Martymade and I am now wondering how much we (USA) are to blame for the current situation (=mess) in Ukraine.
    Below is the link, if you do not use apple podcast, search “ martyr made thoughts on Ukraine” and the search results will give you the episode, in a few different players.


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