There Is No Democracy In War

Max Rottersman
3 min readFeb 13


A few days ago I created a YouTube rant which I copied over into Medium as The President Thinks We’re Idiots! My brain is freezing up lately so I figured I’d loosen it up. To my surprise, another Medium writer, Dylan Combellick took exception and dusted me up in the comments.

The conversation he, and others, and I, had in the comments is worth a story. If you’re only interested in the balloon situation, let me point you to my favorite analysis, posted as a comment from Christopher S. Miller.

Okay. Normally, I don’t believe Dylan would have paid any attention to my rant. Political diarrhea isn’t his thing. I beleive what pricked his balloon — I can’t help but make bad jokes — is that I was attacking Ukraine’s source of support.

I justified my rant by pointing out that heating up the war with China takes the focus away from Ukraine. He wasn’t interested in that angle.

Our conversation brings into focus what has been bothering me lately. There is no democracy in war.

Everyone is supposed to support Biden so he continues to send weapons. This isn’t the time to question his judgment.

Loyalty to the fight takes precedence over criticism. As long as there is war, we must pull our end of the rope with all our might. The Russians are forced into this by laws — and the police who enforce them.

We are free to criticize, but after a while, if we don’t, is there any difference? We’re all authoritarians.

Last year, it was easy for me to dismiss Russian apologists. Today it is not so easy. Their argument, that the war is all about NATO encroaching on Russian security, about an anti-Russian government in Ukraine, is harder to dispute.

They point out that the U.S. is more interested in weakening Russia than restoring Ukraine’s sovereignty. There are many Ukrainians who see that too, they say, but they’re as afraid to speak out as Russians.

I don’t know what the truth is there. But I can’t argue that if it’s true, that there is no democracy in war —

There is no freedom of speech either.

Coming onto a year’s anniversary, a strong argument can be made that without weapons from the West, Ukraine would have to sue for peace. If they’re not suing for peace then they can only continue the war because they’re now fighting with the West’s weapons and material.

I can’t ignore this growing question. Who is really killing Russians in Ukraine? And what responsibility for the Ukrainians killed, fighting those Russians, do those interests have?

I spent much of last year criticizing Russia for not having a good reason to invade Ukraine. C’mon Russian, dispose of Putin and make amends. I still don’t get why that hasn’t happened.

I try to understand my side. What is our goal and end-game here? Have we given Ukraine enough support to push Russia completely out of Ukraine? Based on the evidence, the answer, so far, is NO. It might be YES, next week, month or year. But so far, it’s NO and that deeply disturbs me. How long can we ignore that question?

How many poor-fuck Ukrainian and Russian men, forced to be soldiers, must die?

I see no clear policy from the Biden Administration. I have to call it as I see it. The West is no more articulate about why the war should continue (not start) than Russia. To me, why the war started is now completely immaterial. Whatever it is, it can only be discussed during negotiations — whenever they happen.

Do we have any idea? I’d rather hear that from our government than mysterious “objects” over Montana.

The balloon incident is making us all uneasy because if the Biden Administration can’t handle a balloon incident with China, which is really no threat to U.S. security, how well is he handling Ukraine?

Maybe Dylan is right that it just takes time. I need to trust the process. All his arguments are arguments I’ve made in many Medium pieces.

There is no democracy in war. I must crush my doubts?



Max Rottersman

I too, find much of my writing incomprehensible.