Thursday, April 21, 2022

At the End of Passover, 4 Questions About Ukraine

Passover ends Saturday evening, but four questions remain about the war in Ukraine:

Why is this war different from other conflicts around the world?

Unlike civil wars underway in countries such as Yemen, Central African Republic and Congo, Ukraine is fighting the unprovoked aggression of an outside power that desires its conquest, its territory, its resources. In that regard Ukraine is similar to Kuwait when it was invaded and taken over by Iraq. Both Iraq and Russia were led into war by autocratic despots. The only difference is that Russia really does have weapons of mass destruction including nuclear and chemical arms.

Why are Ukrainian refugees seemingly more welcome in foreign lands than refugees from conflicts in Africa, Asia and South and Central America?

It cannot be denied, racism is part of the reason Europeans and Americans are more open to Ukrainian refugees than their counterparts from Syria, Libya, Myanmar and Honduras. Apart from the color of their skin, Ukrainians also are perceived to be better educated, more skilled, more industrious. And less of a risk of bringing with them embedded terrorists or gang members.

Has anyone in the United States benefitted from our support of Ukraine?

No doubt our military industrial complex has raked in huge revenues from replenishing the stock of equipment the United States has provided Ukraine. In March President Biden signed off on a $13.6 billion emergency aid package passed by both houses of Congress. Non profit humanitarian organizations, as well, have benefitted from this tragedy.

Will the American public say “dayenu”—enough!—to the non stop aid provided to- and news about- Ukraine, just as it has tired of Covid mask requirements even as nearly 400 Covid-related deaths occur every day?

It is impossible to accurately forecast an end date but our history of fatigue with world, and even long term domestic, events is extensive. As long as American lives are not lost the public’s attention span will get progressively shorter, especially if Ukraine devolves into a pattern similar to when the USSR occupied Afghanistan and the Afghanis (the Taliban) fought a guerrilla war to force a Soviet retreat from their homeland. It took the Taliban 10 years to secure victory.

The Passover story ended with freedom for the Israelites, their maturity from slaves to a nation on a journey to a promised land. In many ways their departure from bondage in Egypt provided a template for other peoples trapped by oppression. Ukrainians are struggling to remain free and not become a nation and people dissolved by a modern day pharaoh.