War in Ukraine is shocking and appalling. It is a deep, life inflecting historical moment. Certainly for me, a child of the Cold War and someone who not long ago believed in a generally hopeful view about the likely progression of history.
The uplifting dimension, of course, is that Ukraine seems to be winning, or at least repelling an invasion and preserving its national independence. This confounded just about everybody, collapsing the expectation that Ukraine would surrender in two days and consent to the installation of a puppet government.
So there is a new, believable narrative that contradicts an established and not very encouraging story line about how these things go. In Viet Nam, the US backed a putatively democratic, anti-communist government that was actually a corrupt proto-authoritarian state, which collapsed shortly after the US withdrew. It happened again along these same lines in Iraq and Afghanistan.
There was in fact little reason to believe that Ukraine would not quickly succumb. It didn’t. And that has me feeling just a little bit more hopeful about the coming era, in which there are many lurking Putins who need to be repelled.