The Myth Of The Woke Model Army
See the news today that Maj. Jamie Lee Henry (above), the first openly trans military officer, was arrested today on charges of being willing to spy for the Russians? And you thought the Penis-Proud Putinists were transphobic!
Phillips Payson O'Brien teaches strategic studies at St. Andrews, and says that diversity and wokeness really is our military's strength. No, really. Excerpts:
Ukrainian forces have learned to skillfully use advanced weaponry—in this case NATO-standard systems such as HIMARS and HARM missiles—to neutralize the brute strength of the Russian army. They have accomplished this because Ukrainian society is more flexible, technologically conversant, and willing to learn than the Russian invaders are. They have shown more cleverness and wisdom, and over time that advantage has allowed them to start taking the initiative.
Hang on. Ukrainians are fighting in part as our proxies. If we sent US-grade weapons systems, and US trainers, to help Russian soldiers, does Prof. O'Brien honestly think that the Ukrainians would be doing as well?
Here's where he really gets into glue-sniffing:
Just as the ability to absorb information is better than lunkhead hypermasculinity in a modern army, diversity and societal integration also bring major advantages. As Ukraine has become more diverse and tolerant, its army has benefited. In contrast with Putin’s homophobic military, the Ukrainian armed forces include LGBTQ soldiers who have incorporated “unicorn” insignia into their uniforms. The valor of these soldiers, and the rallying of the Ukrainian people around a vision of a tolerant and diverse society, have led to an overall increase in Ukrainian support for gay rights—and it underscores the belief that everyone has a role to play in the country’s defense.
Oh? The Ukrainians are just about as socially conservative as Russians. For heaven's sake, they have actual neo-Nazis fighting for them (the Azov Battalion). When your country is invaded, it's all hands on deck to defend the homeland, so I'm not criticizing the Ukrainians for this. But it's bonkers for O'Brien to claim that Ukraine is winning because it is ideologically enlightened according to the standards of Western liberal academia. The Ukrainians are fighting like hell because they are defending their homeland, not "a vision of a tolerant and diverse society". Come on! This is why the radically un-woke Taliban ultimately beat the US military, you know.
Did you know Russia is losing because he's mean to teh geyz? That's what Prof. O'Brien thinks:
The Russian experience could not be more different. Putin has made suppressing gay rights one of he hallmarks of his rule. Determined to capitalize on culture-war tropes of the American right, he has portrayed Russia as a victim of cancel culture. He has retained rigid control over Russian society. While the Ukrainians are opening up, he is clamping down—with what we are now seeing as rather extreme results.
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This is ridiculous, and tells us much more about pro-war Western elites than it does about Ukrainian and Russian combatants. Western elites want this to be a war for wokeness, with Ukraine as Athens to Russia's Sparta (or more precisely, Greece vs. Persia). As you know, I am totally unsympathetic to Russia's invasion, but I also believe that the West, led by the United States, bears some responsibility for provoking this war by trying to bring Ukraine into NATO's sphere. I don't think the Russian hawks are entirely wrong that the West won't be satisfied until Ukraine is Western and Russia is humiliated, and even partially subjugated. Hear me: that does NOT justify Russia's invasion, but people like Prof. O'Brien, with their ideological wet dream of shipping advanced weaponry to queer the Donbas, and their fantasy that Ukraine is suddenly an enlightened liberal state up against a tribe of Slavic orcs on the Wrong Side of History -- well, they make me angry that our ruling class is dragging the United States closer to a shooting war with a desperate and humiliated nuclear power.
The best offramp now is a peace conference in which Russia withdraws to the territory it has already taken, and the borders are redrawn. Ukraine swears off NATO membership, but otherwise Russia has to accept Ukraine's independence. Ukraine won't like having to cede this territory, and Russia won't like having been fought to a standstill, and having to accept that Ukraine is going to be more oriented towards the West ... but what is the alternative? More war? Staggering closer to the nuclear red line?
Anyway, O'Brien's peace is in part about the Atlanticist national security class convincing itself that it is not only not harming readiness, but enhancing it, by woke-ifying the military. By this logic, America might have beaten the Taliban if only it had deployed more LGBT and female soldiers. Right?