Being anti-war isn’t naive, but a serious, considered, and humane position. The left has good answers on Ukraine.

By Elizabeth Bruenig, The Atlantic

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has forced the American left to fight on two fronts. Critics of American foreign policy—and I number myself among them—are making an urgent case against escalation, or the United States allowing itself to be drawn into open conflict with Russia. But instead of engaging our arguments on their merits, some people in the center and on the right are singling out versions of leftist anti-war sentiment, no matter how atypical, for ridicule.

The left has good positions on Ukraine

A case in point: In late February, the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) released a position statement on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The short, five-paragraph letter instantly inspired outrage—primarily because of a single sentence in its fourth paragraph. After condemning Russia’s invasion and urging diplomacy, de-escalation, and an immediate cease-fire, the statement’s authors added that the DSA “reaffirms our call for the US to withdraw from NATO and to end the imperialist expansionism that set the stage for this conflict.” Further remarks about American obligations toward refugees and preparing for a long-term response to this crisis followed, but so far as the majority of the reading public was concerned, the DSA might as well have said nothing else at all. Backlash followed swiftly.

Per the New York Postthe DSA had “blame[d] US imperialism” for the invasion; the article acknowledged that the organization had specifically condemned Russia for the brutal invasion only after a break punctuated by a prominent picture of Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the group’s most notable public member. Fox News had a field day with the “Squad” connection, and, evidently fearing that the Democratic Party might be wrongly associated with the group’s statement, White House Rapid Response Director Mike Gwin quote-tweeted a link to the release with a curt dismissal: “Shameful.” On the left, the statement drew both defenses and condemnation. So significant was the controversy—especially relative to the scant power represented by the release itself—that it wound up with its own congressional denunciations and write-up in The New York Times.

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