Mittell: Strategy for Ukraine

Building in Kyiv hit by Russian rocket on third day of attack. (Daniel Leal/AFP). Although it matters very little, it is my impression from TV coverage that while Russian air attacks have damaged cities extensively, little damage has been sustained so far by the more beautiful examples of Ukraine’s architecture.

This is another guest post from David Mittell, my former colleague from the Providence Journal. He has agreed with my desire to point out that his two guest posts (and maybe more) are published as a favor to a dear friend. This blog has not suddenly become the Ukraine Here and There blog.

Nor, for what it is worth, do I fully agree with the negotiating strategy David suggests. I could be wrong, but I think that if President Zelensky heeds some of the voices David mentions coming (at least) from some Americans, then perhaps it might be more likely that a cease-fire could be arranged and Russian troops withdrawn from Ukraine. To my mind, this would be a victory for Ukraine, not for Putin’s Russia.


Politicus No. 1454

Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory

By David A. Mittell Jr.

In America one hear’s voices saying, “Zelensky should give up on joining NATO, give up on getting Crimea back, give up on Russian-speaking Ukrainians” – and so forth.

Such thinking is understandable. But it is quite wrong. Ukrainians are winning this terrible war of one man’s misguided egomania. When the war is over Ukraine must be secure in her borders, east and west, and by no means is it reckless to hope that Georgia and Moldova – two countries currently without the protection of alliances – will have their territorial integrity restored.

These are the outcomes victory should assure. Anything less bespeaks the outcomes of defeat. In the case of America it also bespeaks weariness with watching the war on television. Shameful stuff, and inconsonant with the bravery Americans are capable of and usually demonstrate.

About David Brussat

This blog was begun in 2009 as a feature of the Providence Journal, where I was on the editorial board and wrote a weekly column of architecture criticism for three decades. Architecture Here and There fights the style wars for classical architecture and against modern architecture, no holds barred. History Press asked me to write and in August 2017 published my first book, "Lost Providence." I am now writing my second book. My freelance writing on architecture and other topics addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to employ my writing and editing to improve your work, please email me at my consultancy,, or call 401.351.0457. Testimonial: "Your work is so wonderful - you now enter my mind and write what I would have written." - Nikos Salingaros, mathematician at the University of Texas, architectural theorist and author of many books.
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4 Responses to Mittell: Strategy for Ukraine

  1. Dominique Gregoire says:

    Hello David, I could not agree more with the opinion presented by Mr. Mittell. It is critical that Ukraine join NATO and the EU and not give up any territory otherwise: why fight? Why did so many people give their lives? Finally, we must be able to disconnect Russia from its tyrant and return the Russian people to its original culture which is European think of Tolstoi,Tchekov, Rachmaninov, Stravinsky…Abandoning Russia is, in the end, agreeing that it could become a vassal of China on the outskirts of Europe. Dominique Gregoire  


    • Half of me wants to take the U.S. Army and USAF in and blast that convoy to smithereens, along with all the rest of the Russian incursion, and lead the Ukrainian army on to Moscow. But with our GIs sunk deep in the study of white privilege I’m not sure they’d be up to it. Furthermore, I like the rest of us am worried about what a cornered Putin might do with his nukes.


  2. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for giving us Putin’s view, LazyReader.


  3. LazyReader says:

    Namely Russia is wasting it’s military resources which were already in piss poor shape.

    We are risking nuclear war with Russia over what? Ukraine’s borders? The country of Ukraine was dominated by foreign powers for hundreds of years. After World War I, the eastern part of Ukraine was one of the constituent republics of the Soviet Union. All of Ukraine was united in 1939, only to remain under the control of the Soviet Union after World War II behind the “Iron Curtain.” In 1954, the Soviet Union transferred Crimea to Ukraine, which regained its independence in 1991 after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. After being controlled by the Mongols and the Ottoman Empire for hundreds of years, Crimea was conquered by Russia in 1783 under Catherine the Great. The Crimean War (1853–1856) was fought between Russia and an alliance consisting of Great Britain, France, and the Ottoman Empire. Ukraines borders have been revised for centuries, today is no different.


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