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I have a question about my Politics Stack Exchange post: What does the West gain by not letting Russia swallow Ukraine?

I have checked the resources linked in the closure note and attempted to figure out what exactly makes the question fall under the cited reasons for closure:

  1. Possible lack of "Good faith effort":

    • "Be serious". Is the question playful? Doesn't look so to me.
    • "Defensible viewpoints": "if your question or answer contains nothing but unfounded assertions". I reckon the mod(s) may have discerned some "unfounded assertions". If so, what are they?
    • "Be careful of highly partisan sources". I reckon the Wikipedia isn't considered "partisan", is it?
    • "Explain your question". Did I not? Is the question not clear?
    • "Avoid bad (opinionated) assertions". Yes, I plead guilty of calling Russia "Mordor". Is that it?
  2. "The primary purpose of this question appears to be to promote or discredit a specific political cause, group or politician."

    Just guessing: my questioning of the stance of the West on the war in Ukraine is recognised as an attempt to "discredit" that stance. Right? Whereas I am not supporting this inference, I admit it could possibly be drawn.

    But, how to question the objective reasons behind the stance then?

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    Looks like you were basically asking what motivations the West might've had beyond those you'd already mentioned. Beyond that, most of the question looks to be extraneous; it went off in all sorts of scattered directions.
    – Nat
    Oct 4, 2022 at 17:52
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    There are almost 200 SE sites to choose from, and in my opinion Politics SE is among the most challenging to start with as a new SE user. Don't worry too much that your first question was closed and now deleted, but I recommend that you look around the site a bit for what makes a good question. It's an elusive concept for sure, but I suggest you start by asking questions that can be addressed with fact-based answers rather than "what were they thinking?" type questions.
    – uhoh
    Oct 9, 2022 at 0:11
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    "Over-moderation" is a frequent problem on this site. Apparently I can no longer read your question (page not found) to help make a judgement but that does reinforce my theory that this is another case of out of control moderators. I would maybe try asking the question again, but be sure not to over-explain the question. On the face of it, it is a real question with definite answers, explained by western and particularly American policy, particularly regarding the spread of Communism or authoritarianism in general.
    – JamieB
    Oct 11, 2022 at 14:28
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    @JamieB Actually, no moderators were involved. Five individuals voted to close it, and three to delete. Oct 12, 2022 at 19:17
  • @AzorAhai-him- Are you sure? I thought users could only flag. Moderators have to actually accept the flags. If any 3 users can band together and delete anything they feel like then someone hit the emergency meeting button because we have a serious problem.
    – JamieB
    Oct 12, 2022 at 19:25
  • @JamieB I am sure. Users can also vote to reopen and vote to undelete with enough rep. I do believe there was an attempt to reopen to question. Oct 12, 2022 at 19:30
  • Just a general observation (and without doing the statistics): I think that long questions should raise warning flags about question quality. The reason being that most situations can be laid out in at most 10 lines. Everyone beyond may be a disguised rant/essay/invitation to discuss which might be better reserved for an answer. Exceptions may exist of course. Oct 13, 2022 at 19:31

6 Answers 6

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I did not find the post/Q incredibly biased; some puns aside you've done a decent effort of presenting both sides of an argument. But consider what you're ultimately asking:

Was it really about standing on principle of what is right and what is wrong?

The main issue I had with your Q, which I noted in a comment:

I'm voting to close this Q because it fits the pattern "I don't believe the official reasons, what were the real reasons?" Answers to these kinds of Qs tend to be primarily opinion-based.

To expand a bit on that, consider what answers could look like:

No, the main reason was (take your pick, mix and match)

  • to bleed Russia in an endless war, like the USSR in Afghanistan
  • to eventually trigger regime change in Russia by domestic disgruntlement with the above
  • to trigger ethnic uprisings/separatism in Russia, bringing and end to it as a big country
  • to satisfy Biden's fantasy of a new semi-hot/cold war against authoritarianism
  • to show Americans how wrong Trump was to seek a rapprochement with Putin, discrediting Trump in view of the next US election
  • to reassert US dominance over Europe, i.e. show them "who's boss" again
  • to boost the production and profits of the US military-industrial complex
  • to boost US LNG sales
  • to bring and end to humanity (as we know it) by nuclear war, as Illuminati predicted
  • satanism

Etc.

Somewhat relevant: How does "Primarily Opinion-Based" work on this site?


Aside, but related, another recent Q asks

So, does the Ukrainian side really believe the far-fetched dream that they will go as far as to re-take Crimea?

It's pretty much long the same lines, just about a different actor and statement.


Finally, as I suggested in another comment, a way to make such questions less reliant on the opinion of the answerer and/or (SE) voters is to ask them from someone's perspective. Then we can check what they said etc.

As a suggestion: if you're looking for alternative imputed motives, you should narrow it down to some POV, like: "what does the Russian government say is motivating the West's response?" Or substitute (Russia) with some other actor you're interested in hearing their viewpoint.

The latter can be a bit broader like "what does the far left press/parties in France say about ?", but no so broad as to be the kitchen sink of all ulterior motives someone can come up with.

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  • Makes sense. But the question is officially closed not for POB. The closure reason is different. Essentially, you are saying that even if it wasn't closed for that reason you would've voted to close it for being POB (which is good to know). Yet it doesn't answer the present question. Oct 5, 2022 at 15:45
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    @YetAnotherDude: The official close reason is chosen by majority. I was in a minority to vote to close for POB. I'll let those who voted for other reasons explain theirs. Oct 5, 2022 at 15:47
  • Hi Fizz is it possibly like the opposite of my question What exactly are the stated (political AND military) objectives of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine? - like if I ask 'What does Russia really want with Ukraine?' ?
    – BCLC
    Oct 9, 2022 at 3:59
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(Note: I neither downvoted, nor voted to close).

There are 3 things going on that would apply to many questions getting closed and downvoted.

  1. Your question, as mentioned, is of a type that is often problematic: "what are the real reasons?".

  2. You picked, or at least seemed to pick, the wrong side. I don't mean that judgmentally, I mean that the community has generally picked one side in this case, and will, at least sometimes, react harshly to people who stray from that narrative, even if the question is in good faith.

  3. My main problem with the question however is that you spend too much effort laying out the reasons why you think the answers should go one way. You clearly feel a certain way. Often people react badly when people feel that a question pushes a certain narrative however.

Trim down much of your advantages/disadvantages basket (answers can bring them back) and you may get a better reception. Let people run with the answers, don't channel them to the conclusion you want to hear.

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    I agree that the biggest problem is trying to address what the OP thinks the answer is in the question.
    – Joe W
    Oct 4, 2022 at 18:30
  • You actually provided a good answer in the first paragraph (re preventing the would-be precedent for forcible redefinitions of borders in the modern world). Good not because it convinces that the West does the right thing (whether it does so is irrelevant/off-topic), but that it convinces what the motive actually is, which is exactly what the question asks. I didn't have that possible answer in mind when asking. Can't that answer be objectively grounded/referenced so that it showproofs that the question can in fact be answered objectively (vs only speculated as many users claim here)? Oct 4, 2022 at 21:09
  • @YetAnotherDude that comment belongs more back on the actual question than it is for meta. However, I don't think it can be conclusively "proven" that rejection of border changes reduce wars long term. Probably there is some international academic that has written up stuff about that? But that would still be a theory, not a fact. Oct 4, 2022 at 21:12
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    "Let people run with the answers..." Not only this but also run yourself with an answer if you want to. Many people think they must put everything into a question, when they could easily move their own point of view into an answer instead. Asking a neutral question and answering it (say one day later) yourself is absolutely fine. Oct 13, 2022 at 19:23
  • What does the West gain by not letting Russia swallow Ukraine? is a valid question. Whatever happened here was stupid. The body of the question should have said (see title).
    – Mazura
    Oct 17, 2022 at 12:01
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You are asking what would the west gain for not doing what they have done many times over the past half century or so when one country invades another to take it over by force. You are asking what the west has to gain by abandoning a friendly democracy to be invaded by a country they consider an advisory and let its citizens be killed. You seem to be suggesting that it would be better for them economically wise to just abandon Ukraine and let Russia have its way with them and whatever other countries they decide to target next.

The way I read your question is it is suggesting that they should have just let Russia do what it wanted because it would have been more profitable.

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  • I accept that the question may subjectively seem to be suggesting what you impute it does. But how can such a question be asked without seeming to suggest that? Questioning what various parties gain by doing something is common and on-topic, isn't it? So, do you imply that questioning the motives of this particular party (the West) is forbidden just because it may seem suggesting something politically unacceptable in the West? Oct 4, 2022 at 2:36
  • @YetAnotherDude Asking for motives is one thing but your question appears to be making suggestions about what you think the motives should be. It also appears to be ignoring all the history of how the group of countries have reacted to this type of situation in the past. As I said in my answer I see your question as more of a suggestion of what you think should be done. The type of question you are asking can be tricky to get right as it can lead to a lot of speculation about motives and other issues.
    – Joe W
    Oct 4, 2022 at 3:07
  • So, do you see a way to ask the question without seeming to be suggestive? Or is that kind of question inherently bound to be? Oct 5, 2022 at 15:49
  • @YetAnotherDude I can't speak for others but I don't think I would vote to close the question for this reason if you just stuck to asking why they might let Russia take over. I can't say for certain until I see the question but it would have a better chance at least.
    – Joe W
    Oct 5, 2022 at 16:15
  • @YetAnotherDude "...how can such a question be asked without seeming to suggest that?" Very simple. Just ask what the West says why it supports Ukraine. Wait for answers. Then ask about the stated reasons if they are actually true. And additionally you can also ask how the populations of the West polls or who is suffering/profiting how much. The only thing you cannot ask about is if everything is mistaken. We simply don't know. There is no objective right and wrong (or it strongly depends on what you believe). Oct 13, 2022 at 19:26
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I did not see this question when it was active, and didn't vote on it either way. But looking at it now, the problem of 'good faith' jumps out at me where it says:

And, arguably, Russia wouldn't have continued invading further in Europe.

First, there are several significant European nations that are not part of NATO — Finland, Sweden, Belarus, Moldova — and any number of nations in central Asia that could be next on the agenda. If Russia took over Ukraine with little resistance:

  1. they would be emboldened
  2. their armed forces would be largely intact
  3. they would have secured new ports, transit routes, resources, and conscripts

The suggestion that Russia would say "Eh, that's all we wanted, so we'll go home now" flies in the face of historical precedent; it's what Neville Chamberlain kept suggesting each time Hitler invaded someplace new. That is such a prominent part of the lead-up to WWII that I find it hard to believe you weren't aware of it, and if you honestly weren't aware then you piously did not make any 'good faith' effort to research your question before posting it.

You know you were posting a question that many would find challenging, if only because you knew you were arguing the side of the apparent perpetrator. If you're going to challenge people you need to have your ducks in a row, otherwise you end up looking like a troll. And simply skipping over the obvious and tragic problem of appeasement implies some very disordered ducks.

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I have voted to delete this question now. And I downvoted it.

It essentially makes all the Russian arguments while paying lip service to the notion that it opposes those arguments.

It does not demonstrate any effort by the author to research, or even reason out, why those argument may not have merit. It mocks them, but it certainly attempts to portray them as the only "adult" or "realistic" positions.

At least, that's my reading of how the question is written.

One could argue that it is only my subjective opinion. And one would be correct. But my opinion is what I use to make my judgement calls.

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    "It does not demonstrate any effort by the author to research..." This is typically only a reason to downvote, not to close vote or delete vote (deletion is only for such a bad content that it really should not be displayed any minute longer). A negative score would be sufficient here to show that this question is probably not a useful one, I'd say. Oct 13, 2022 at 19:27
  • @Trilarion maybe by itself. But not if it's used as part of the evidence that it is a push question.
    – wrod
    Oct 13, 2022 at 19:50
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    I voted to undelete. Highly negative score is okay for such a poorly researched, loaded question and closing too but deletion is like the nuclear option and should be reserved for the really ugly cases, I say. I would give the asker here the benefit of the doubt, i.e. somebody is very lazy and only partly interested in discussion but still deletion would be an overreaction. Oct 14, 2022 at 18:30
  • @Trilarion well, it's a judgement call. Like I said, this is subjective. It's ok to disagree.
    – wrod
    Oct 14, 2022 at 18:47
  • I agree with Trilarion on this one (+1 undelete). While the question has several flaws, its form suggests that some effort and research were put into it. I have also heard this type of question (sadly) among several folks I know, and the answer clearly explains why not helping Ukraine is a very bad idea.
    – Alexei
    Oct 15, 2022 at 9:23
  • Just because a question has a similar line of reasoning to russia isn't reason enough to VTC, the question has to be promoting Russias views. Oct 18, 2022 at 18:21
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» I don't believe the official reasons, what were the real reasons? « is a good starting point. But its not sufficient.

You see you question the western narrative but not the western framing.

In the spirit of Prof. Lakoff it may be good to examine the various frames involved. A key element of framing is the time-frame chosen to narrate the history. Put differently, the history that is relevant to the situation. So when you say "... Russia swallow Ukraine..." the implication is so outrageous that it must be rejected -- at least if you're 'decent' -- out of hand without further consideration and never allowed.

But this phrasing only makes sense if one makes some strong framing commitments:

  • American time-frame: Time started on Thursday 24th Feb 2022. Prior to that everyone was in the garden of Eden living happily ever before. And then the evil Putin invaded a harmless neighbouring democratic state simply because it was unarmed.
  • Russian time-frame: Time started in Februrary 2014 when the elected government of Kiev was overthrown in a coup d'état by the Obama-Nuland duo with a cumulative payout of 5 billion dollars who then went on to install a pro-US bellicosely anti-Russia puppet regime. When this anti-Russia bellicose puppet regime becoming a NATO member became a serious possibility it was all too much to sit back and watch.
  • The Russian frame viewed in the American frame: 1991. Putin considers the fall of the Soviet union the greatest calamity of the 20th century. So Putin wants to rebuild the Soviet/Russian empire. Since this is outrageous, everything the Russians want is outrageous. To be fair there are a large number of very eminent Americans -- Mearsheimer, Chomsky, Jeffrey Sachs, Kissinger ... who dont align with this "American view of the Russian view" but this is the most widely seen view (in the west).
  • East European time-frame: Early twentieth century at the latest or much earlier... centuries, maybe a millenium -- England 19th, Poland 18th, Sweden 17th, Lithuania 14th.... Byzantium 10th centuries Long list here To get some taste of this East European ancient entanglement with Russia just hear Sikorski, whose Russia-hatred is so visceral it became an embarrassment for ally-US when he tweeted Thank you USA for the pipeline blasts!!

Never mind the Rest of the World frame for whom the great powers are attacking each other in a hegemonistic war, shredding Ukraine and causing a serious threat to the whole world: Sachs. There is not too much question in the minds of people outside Europe/USA that Russia-USA are at war and everyone starting from the poorest countries are being made to foot the bill for this mega Hollywood blockbuster. Peace or war is not upto the Ukranians but Washington DC: Sen. Richard Black

So when you say "... Russia swallowing up Ukraine..." you are swallowing hook, line and sinker the American frame that we must start time=0 in Feb of this year and as George Lakoff would say thereby making this question unacceptable.

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    If one is unwilling to even concede that Ukraine presently exists as a separate (or remotely legit) political entity, which seems to be thrust of your post, then it's indeed impossible to ask anything about it without offending this ultra-nationalist Russian POV. Just like it would probably be impossible to say "Arunachal Pradesh" on this site if it were overrun by Chinese nationalists. Or even "Israel" if the site were overrun by a certain kind of Muslims (given the official stance of some Muslim countries). But pandering to the extreme POVs in questions doesn't seem useful advice, so -1. Oct 5, 2022 at 15:24
  • @Fizz As for Ukraine as not legit. political entity here's the title on veteran American senator Ron Paul's site Ukraine is a fake nation. Before you impute this fake-country view onto me please see my response to Elon Musk' suggestions for peace on twitter 1, 2, 3
    – user44167
    Oct 5, 2022 at 15:37
  • Interesting @Fizz that you dont distinguish wish non existent from is non-existent! In any case Ron Paul was not part of my answer, it was my response to you that all manner of Americans do espouse way more extreme views than mine
    – user44167
    Oct 5, 2022 at 15:54
  • Ron Paul isn't a good source to use as he appears to have some strange connections to Russia and Putin. thedailybeast.com/… and businessinsider.com/…
    – Joe W
    Oct 5, 2022 at 16:49
  • @JoeW this is getting a messy discussion. Ron Paul was not in my answer, it was in a response to a comment. That comment accuses me of pushing a viewpoint that Ukraine is not a "legit. political entity". [There was some later addition about Israel -- dunno what or the relevance; comment now disappeared]. So it was simply an example that there are many many very eminent Americans with more extreme views than mine. For mine I draw your attention again to my twitter post above to Elon Musk in which I suggest return to pre-Feb 22 Ukraine borders.
    – user44167
    Oct 5, 2022 at 17:17
  • Yes, Ron Paul wasn't in your answer but you did cite him in a comment and it should be noted about the connections between him and Russia. And the people you are linking to in that comment have been accused by multiple sources of pushing pro Russian talking points and agendas. Just because someone shares the same point of view as you doesn't mean that they are a good person to reference to even if they are very well known and famous.
    – Joe W
    Oct 5, 2022 at 17:20
  • @JoeW As it happens RonPaul was in my answer re. the 5 billion to engineer the Maidan coup. Ive changed it to politifact.com/factchecks/2014/mar/19/facebook-posts/… which says $5 billion were spent across years on regime change efforts.
    – user44167
    Oct 5, 2022 at 17:30
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    As a side note you should not be attempting to answer the question in this meta question and you do not appear to have a answer on the question in the main site so none of that really matters.
    – Joe W
    Oct 5, 2022 at 17:48
  • I was not answering the question @JoeW. I was pointing out why it did not work and stay open.
    – user44167
    Oct 5, 2022 at 17:50

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