October 27, 2022

"At the time the war began, Ukraine wasn't seriously a candidate for membership in NATO."

A Just Cause

Talking time around the war in Ukraine may be approaching. This radio hour may be a moment in that trend: reaching out for strong views we hadn’t heard, in head-on disagreement about the morality and the meanings of the war. Ukraine can be hard to talk about, not least because the blind killing since the Russian invasion and the risks of nuclear escalation are almost unspeakable. The risks of talking, and not-talking, are there, too. 30 self-styled progressives in Congress wrote (and then withdrew) a letter to President Biden this week, urging pro-active talks now to end the war. If Republicans win control of the Congress, it is said, they will start cutting expenditures on military aid to Ukraine. So, strong talk of all sorts is on the way.

What we’re hearing this hour is seriously different ways of thinking about the war in Ukraine. James Carroll is the novelist, historian, former Catholic priest and peace activist; Andrew Bacevich is the writer, fighter, and university-based historian. When Jim Carroll went off to the seminary as a teenager, Andy went off to West Point as a soldier and then to Vietnam, but he came round to a strong antiwar conviction and activism in the form of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, which is our collaborator in this radio series. James Carroll started this conversation with a six-part essay published last month with the New School in New York, in their online Public Seminar. He called it: “an anti-war activist’s personal and political reckoning.” The big surprise was his realization, from last spring, that for the first time in decades, he said: “I was unabashedly in favor of war.”

This is the latest installment of In Search of Monsters, our limited-series collaboration with the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft.

Guest List
Andrew Bacevich
President of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft.
James Carroll
Author of Constantine's Sword.

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