But I have long found this story instructive. At a strategy discussion in the early days of victory, when fresh invasions were being contemplated, the man ( I have long forgotten his name ) stood and said 'The tea in this cup represents our strength.' Then he dashed it out on the wooden floor. 'You see it only goes so far.'
Fights must be chosen, and choice should be guided by both what is at stake and whether success can be achieved. This is necessary, because there is a limit to strength, to energy.
The matter of Ukraine is not a fight worth making, certainly not if cast as a fight against imperialism and aggression, and definitely not if these are taken to be attributes only of the West, of U.S. and E.U. policy. The flash-point of hostilities there is that Russia refuses to leave go of a former colony, which it wishes to hold in dependent status, in part in hopes it can be recaptured into satellite orbit. It would better suit financial powers in the West, possibly, to incorporate Ukraine into the E.U. sphere, perhaps as a labor pool, including skilled labor at lower wages. Viewed on the largest scale, it is a fight between two imperialisms over who will get the benefit of exploiting the place and its people. It is by no means a fight between a demon and an angel. The conduct of Russia, which has been to invade Ukraine, first in the Crimea, and then to create an armed secessionist movement based on Russian special forces operatives, and to back these by further invasion, cannot be taken lightly. I am utterly unmoved by bleats of 'CIA coup' and 'Nazis in Kiev', not because I think the U.S. has never arranged coups nor because I think Kiev's armed forces do not include a number of people I would consider best euthanized as a public health measure. I am utterly unmoved by them because they are quite beside the point. The thing of greatest importance here is the use of military force in Europe by one sovereign state to seize territory from another sovereign state. This is a matter of serious importance; it is deeply destabilizing and threatens the peaceful order that has held more or less in Europe since the final spasms of WWII. Russia is, in fact, acting exactly as the fascist powers did in the thirties, and from a similar calculation: Russian leadership is certain the West will not oppose them with military force, and that the only check on what they can do is their own ambition and appetite, because they are virile and strong and the West is decadent and weak. The idea that 'NATO threatens Russia', or even that 'the U.S. wants war with Russia', though staples of Russian propaganda, and bread and butter for a certain strain of leftists, does not connect to the reality of the situation at any point.
For people on the left to take events in Ukraine today as a place to pitch a fight, and a place to pitch a fight against the U.S. and E.U. and NATO, ranged alongside Russia in struggle, is foolish to the point of insanity. The idea that Russia today is morally superior to the United States, that it is a leading light for progress and ought to be heeded as a guide, is quite simply bizarre. To believe that supporting fascist Russia in its imperialist venture in Ukraine is opposing imperialism and fascism and protecting peace and order in the world is positively delusional.