What to do with war

posted by Jeff | Friday, March 11, 2022, 6:24 PM | comments: 0

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is a sad and horrible thing. I don't have any coherent thoughts about it, just observations and connections.

I've worked with a number of Ukrainian immigrants over the years. I even worked with an off-shore software team from there, and they were pretty good at what they did. Kyiv isn't an abstract place to me, as I had video calls with them, at their office and in their homes. One of their leads even visited us in Orlando and brought us chocolate. Ukraine isn't a place on the map to me, it's people that I've known.

One of those former coworkers, who has permanent resident status here now, has reposted awful things on social media. They're scenes that look like they're from a war movie. She says she doesn't know if she'll ever have her mother's cooking again. Her hate for Russians is intense. Her frustration that the rest of Europe has not come to their aid is justified. The only thing that I can think of is the way I would feel if someone invaded Ohio. It's heartbreaking and terrible.

If you're my age or older, you grew up with the Soviet Union and the cold war, and the Russians being the "bad guy" is nothing new. But after decades of diplomacy and de-escalation following the breakup of the Soviet Union, we're in an unimaginable place. The experts game this out, and there's no good outcome for Putin. Russian mothers are receiving their sons in boxes, if they're even brought back at all. Their economy is being obliterated not just by western governments, but countless corporations and individual behavior. All of this hardship comes down to the decisions of one man. I don't know that any wave of nationalistic feeling can overcome that.

Two million people have fled Ukraine, and even if they are able to return to their country, what will be left of it? I'm glad that people are paying attention to this, but it's also frustrating that it's partly because it's a European nation. Over the years we've seen millions collectively flee Syria, Sudan, Afghanistan and a number of countries in Central America, without much bother. I've gotten to know refugees from Syria and Kuwait pretty well, and both are American citizens now. Hearing their stories, I can't even imagine what it would be like.

The economy is global, there's no getting around it. This will affect our economy. It's already messing with energy costs. As is now custom for Americans, we don't seem interested in understanding it, we're just looking for someone to blame. It doesn't occur to some people that the only to blame is Putin.

We're just emerging from the pandemic (mostly), and now this. There's nothing I can do about it, but sometimes it feels icky just to have the privilege of it not affecting me directly. You can't solve every problem or even impact it, but it makes me grateful for the birth lottery I won.

That's my brain dump on the war for now.


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