coauthored with Bohdan Kukharskyy (Metropolis College of New York), Anastassia Fedyk (UC Berkeley) and Ilona Sologoub (VoxUkraine)
Expensive Professor Chomsky,
We’re a gaggle of Ukrainian tutorial economists who have been grieved by a collection of your current interviews and commentaries on the Russian conflict on Ukraine. We imagine that your public opinion on this matter is counter-productive to bringing an finish to the unjustified Russian invasion of Ukraine and all of the deaths and struggling it has introduced into our house nation.
Having familiarized ourselves with the physique of your interviews on this matter, we seen a number of recurring fallacies in your line of argument. In what follows, we want to level out these patterns to you, alongside with our temporary response:
Sample #1: Denying Ukraine’s sovereign integrity
In your interview to Jeremy Scahill at The Intercept from April 14, 2022 you claimed: “The very fact of the matter is Crimea is off the desk. We might not prefer it. Crimeans apparently do prefer it.” We want to deliver to your consideration a number of historic info:
First, Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 has violated the Budapest memorandum (during which it promised to respect and defend Ukrainian borders, together with Crimea), the Treaty on Friendship, Partnership and Cooperation (which it signed with Ukraine in 1997 with the identical guarantees), and, in keeping with the order of the UN Worldwide Court docket of Justice, it violated the worldwide legislation.
Second, “Crimeans” just isn’t an ethnicity or a cohesive group of individuals – however Crimean Tatars are. These are the indigenous individuals of Crimea, who have been deported by Stalin in 1944 (and have been capable of come again house solely after the us fell aside), and have been compelled to flee once more in 2014 when Russia occupied Crimea. Of those that stayed, dozens have been persecuted, jailed on false costs and lacking, in all probability lifeless.
Third, if by ‘liking’ you check with the end result of the Crimean “referendum” on March 16, 2014, please notice that this “referendum” was held at gunpoint and declared invalid by the Basic Meeting of the United Nations. On the similar time, nearly all of voters in Crimea supported Ukraine’s independence in 1991.
Sample #2: Treating Ukraine as an American pawn on a geo-political chessboard
Whether or not willingly or unwillingly, your interviews insinuate that Ukrainians are preventing with Russians as a result of the U.S. instigated them to take action, that Euromaidan occurred as a result of the U.S. tried to detach Ukraine from the Russian sphere of affect, and so forth. Such an angle denies the company of Ukraine and is a slap within the face to tens of millions of Ukrainians who’re risking their lives for the will to dwell in a free nation. Merely put, have you ever thought-about the chance that Ukrainians want to detach from the Russian sphere of affect because of a historical past of genocide, cultural oppression, and fixed denial of the appropriate to self-determination?
Sample #3. Suggesting that Russia was threatened by NATO
In your interviews, you might be desirous to deliver up the alleged promise by [US Secretary of State] James Baker and President George H.W. Bush to Gorbachev that, if he agreed to permit a unified Germany to rejoin NATO, the U.S. would be certain that NATO would transfer ‘not one inch eastward.’ First, please notice that the historicity of this promise is extremely contested amongst students, though Russia has been energetic in selling it. The premise is that NATO’s eastward enlargement left Putin with no different selection however to assault. However the actuality is totally different. Japanese European states joined, and Ukraine and Georgia aspired to affix NATO, with a purpose to defend themselves from Russian imperialism. They have been proper of their aspirations, on condition that Russia did assault Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine in 2014. Furthermore, present requests by Finland and Sweden to affix NATO got here in direct response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, per NATO enlargement being a consequence of Russian imperialism, and never vice versa.
As well as, we disagree with the notion that sovereign nations shouldn’t be making alliances primarily based on the need of their individuals due to disputed verbal guarantees made by James Baker and George H.W. Bush to Gorbachev.
Sample #4. Stating that the U.S. isn’t any higher than Russia
Whilst you admittedly name the Russian invasion of Ukraine a “conflict crime,” it seems to us that you simply can not accomplish that with out naming in the identical breath all the previous atrocities dedicated by the U.S. overseas (e.g., in Iraq or Afghanistan) and, finally, spending most of your time discussing the latter. As economists, we aren’t able to right your historic metaphors and, for sure, we condemn the unjustified killings of civilians by any energy up to now. Nonetheless, not bringing Putin up on conflict crime costs on the Worldwide Prison Court docket within the Hague simply because some previous chief didn’t obtain related therapy could be the fallacious conclusion to attract from any historic analogy. In distinction, we argue that prosecuting Putin for the conflict crimes which might be being intentionally dedicated in Ukraine would set a global precedent for the world leaders making an attempt to do the identical sooner or later.
Sample #5. Whitewashing Putin’s targets for invading Ukraine
In your interviews, you go to nice lengths to rationalize Putin’s targets of “demilitarization” and “neutralization” of Ukraine. Please notice that, in his TV deal with from February 24, 2022, marking the start of the conflict, the verbatim aim declared by Putin for this “army operation” is to “denazify” Ukraine. This idea builds on his lengthy pseudo-historical article from July 2021, denying Ukraine’s existence and claiming that Ukrainians weren’t a nation. As elaborated within the ‘denazification guide’ revealed by the Russian official press company RIA Novosti, a “Nazi” is solely a human being who self-identifies as Ukrainian, the institution of a Ukrainian state thirty years in the past was the “Nazification of Ukraine,” and any try and construct such a state must be a “Nazi” act. In keeping with this genocide handbook, denazification implies a army defeat, purging, and population-level “re-education”. ‘Demilitarization’ and ‘neutralization’ indicate the identical aim – with out weapons Ukraine won’t be able to defend itself, and Russia will attain its long-term aim of destroying Ukraine.
Sample #6. Assuming that Putin is interested by a diplomatic answer
All of us very a lot hoped for a cease-fire and a negotiated settlement, which might have saved many human lives. But, we discover it preposterous the way you repeatedly assign the blame for not reaching this settlement to Ukraine (for not providing Putin some “escape hatch”) or the U.S. (for supposedly insisting on the army moderately than diplomatic answer) as an alternative of the particular aggressor, who has repeatedly and deliberately bombed civilians, maternity wards, hospitals, and humanitarian corridors throughout these very “negotiations”. Given the escalatory rhetoric (cited above) of the Russian state media, Russia’s aim is erasure and subjugation of Ukraine, not a “diplomatic answer.”
Sample #7. Advocating that yielding to Russian calls for is the way in which to avert the nuclear conflict
Because the Russian invasion, Ukraine lives in a continuing nuclear risk, not simply because of being a major goal for Russian nuclear missiles but in addition because of the Russian occupation of Ukrainian nuclear energy vegetation.
However what are the options to preventing for freedom? Unconditional give up after which elimination of Ukrainians off the face of the Earth (see above)? Have you ever ever puzzled why President Zelenskyy, with the overwhelming assist of the Ukrainian individuals, is pleading with Western leaders to offer heavy weapons regardless of the potential risk of nuclear escalation? The reply to this query just isn’t “Due to Uncle Sam”, however moderately because of the truth that Russian conflict crimes in Bucha and lots of different Ukrainian cities and villages have proven that dwelling underneath Russian occupation is a tangible “hell on earth” taking place proper now, requiring rapid motion.
Arguably, any concessions to Russia is not going to cut back the likelihood of a nuclear conflict however result in escalation. If Ukraine falls, Russia might assault different nations (Moldova, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Finland or Sweden) and may also use its nuclear blackmail to push the remainder of Europe into submission. And Russia just isn’t the one nuclear energy on the planet. Different nations, resembling China, India, Pakistan, and North Korea are watching. Simply think about what’s going to occur in the event that they study that nuclear powers can get no matter they need utilizing nuclear blackmail.
Professor Chomsky, we hope you’ll take into account the info and re-evaluate your conclusions. When you actually worth Ukrainian lives as you declare to, we want to kindly ask you to chorus from including additional gas to the Russian conflict machine by spreading views very a lot akin to Russian propaganda.
Must you want to have interaction additional on any of the above-mentioned factors, we’re at all times open to dialogue.
Bohdan Kukharskyy, Metropolis College of New York
Anastassia Fedyk, College of California, Berkeley
Yuriy Gorodnichenko, College of California, Berkeley
Ilona Sologoub, VoxUkraine NGO