Honor and the Ukraine Crisis

A sad addendum.

The XX Committee

Honor is an easily overlooked aspect of international relations among post-moderns. Although Thucydides told us that the three big motivators for war are fear, honor and self-interest, in recent decades the West has found little use for honor, while still grasping some of the importance of fear and self-interest. Indeed, to mention honor as a serious motivation for conflict, even war, is sure to generate mystified looks and perhaps snickers among the smart set that passes for our foreign policy-making elite of late.

This has not always been so, and until recently honor was indeed a serious motivation for war among European countries. One example was Poland in 1939. Remember that Hitler, like Putin now, did a commendable job of smash-and-grabbing regions and then whole countries under the guise of “restoring sovereignty” and “protecting ethnic kin.” First came the Rhineland, which Hitler reoccupied with the Wehrmacht in March 1936, getting…

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