Flat White

Let's not learn the wrong lessons from Ukraine

5 March 2022

1:00 PM

5 March 2022

1:00 PM

Russia’s aggression against Ukraine has not gone according to plan. A defiant, motivated, and mobilised Ukrainian populace has put up incredibly brave resistance. The willingness of Ukrainians to fight for their country was underestimated, so has opposition to the war in Russia itself.

The Ukrainian effort has been one of mobilisation of the population, harnessing a sense of national unity and patriotism irrespective of political party, ethnicity, or religious affiliation. It is accentuated by the courage of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and his predecessor Petro Poroshenko, in their willingness to stay with their people. Elected MPs have also been among those taking up arms to fight for their country. Far from folding, every sector of Ukrainian society has demonstrated a willingness to defend the nation.

Success in such a conflict – and Ukraine has been successful so far in its resistance to this invasion – depends on determination and motivation. The Ukrainian forces have shown ample motivation because they know what is at stake in an existential struggle. In common with other Central and Eastern European nations, Ukraine subscribes to a decidedly un-Woke form of patriotism forged by having had to live under communism for decades. The influence of nationalist and religious sentiments has no doubt motivated many Ukrainians who are determined to preserve their own national identity and way of life.

For the West, it is necessary not to draw the wrong lessons. Neither Ukrainians nor their neighbours who have come to help (above all else Poland) subscribe to the vision of much of the West’s contemporary political elite. They subscribe to a patriotism which education and media have worked to sap out of Western nations in recent decades. The aftermath of the second world war led to the wrong lessons being learned about national identity and patriotism, and a divisive Culture War launched by the Left paved the way to our current predicament.

Far from what its detractors imagine, the Ukrainian people have demonstrated that they share the very kind of patriotic spirit in common with other countries of Central and Eastern Europe, a patriotic spirit rejected by so many in the West which is undermining the will to preserve what is left of our civilisation. May Ukraine prevail!

David Votoupal can be found writing here.

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