The Ukraine War has now become part of the background news cycle.

by David Bromwich, Tom Dispatch

A new war, a new alibi. When we think about our latest war — the one that began with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, just six months after our Afghan War ended so catastrophically — there is a hidden benefit. As long as American minds are on Ukraine, we are not thinking about planetary climate disruption. This technique of distraction obeys the familiar mechanism that psychologists have called displacement. An apparently new thought and feeling becomes the substitute for harder thoughts and feelings you very much want to avoid.

Every news story about Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s latest demand for American or European weaponry also serves another function: the displacement of a story about, say, the Canadian fires which this summer destroyed a forest wilderness the size of the state of Alabama and 1,000 of which are still burning as this article goes to press. Of course, there is always the horrific possibility that Ukraine could pass from a “contained” to a nuclear war, as out of control as those Canadian fires. Yet we are regularly assured that the conflict, close to the heart of Europe, is under careful supervision. The war has a neatly framed villain (Vladimir Putin) and — thanks to both the U.S. and NATO — a great many good people containing him. What could possibly go wrong?

Burial of the remains of 13 unidentified and two identified people who were killed in the Bucha district during the Russian occupation

A fantasy has taken root among well-meaning liberals. Ukraine, they believe, is the “good war” people like them have been searching for since 1945. “This is our Spain,” young enthusiasts have been heard to say, referring to the Spanish Republican war against fascism. In Ukraine in the early 2020s, unlike Spain in the late 1930s, the Atlantic democracies will not falter but will go on “as long as it takes.” Also, the climate cause will be assisted along the way, since Russia is a large supplier of natural gas and oil, and the world needs to unhook itself from both.

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