The Atlantic Daily: Why Ukraine Is a Nation Worth Fighting For

With Russia’s advance into Ukraine stalled, two writers make their cases for focusing on a Ukrainian victory.

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With Russia’s advance into Ukraine stalled, two writers make their cases for focusing on a Ukrainian victory.

In yesterday’s newsletter, we highlighted an essay by Eliot A. Cohen arguing that Ukraine is, in fact, winning the war against Russia.

Now the West “should focus on a Ukrainian victory,” our staff writer Anne Applebaum argues. “Once we understand that this is the goal, then we can think about how to achieve it, whether through temporary boycotts of Russian gas, oil, and coal; military exercises elsewhere in the world that will distract Russian troops; humanitarian airlifts on the scale of 1948 Berlin; or more and better weapons.”

That goal—Ukraine’s continued existence as a sovereign democracy—is made more achievable by what our staff writer David Frum identifies as a new national narrative that has already emerged from the conflict: that Ukraine is a true member of the democratic world.

Sometimes, David observes, “a war for ideals and principles can challenge a society to become what it says it is fighting for, even if it does not yet wholly live up to the ideals it espouses.”

  • Ukraine’s win is the only acceptable endgame. “Citizens of existing democracies and members of the democratic opposition in Russia, Cuba, Belarus, and Hong Kong will all be emboldened” by a Ukrainian victory, Anne writes. “A month ago, nobody believed this war would matter so much, and I’m sure many people wish it did not. But it does.”
  • Ukraine is a nation worth fighting for. “In Ukraine, a new national myth is being created. It’s a myth of collective resistance to violent foreign tyranny,” David proposes. “If Ukraine survives and prevails, this new myth will propel the country toward a better future.”

Read all our coverage of Russia’s war on Ukraine here.

Today’s dispatch: In this week’s edition of Brooklyn, Everywhere, Xochitl Gonzalez explains what it means to gentrify your cleaning products—and why she refuses to do so.

A break from the news: What does The Batman reveal about the state of superhero movies? Three culture writers discuss Robert Pattinson’s portrayal on our podcast The Review.

Tonight’s Atlantic-approved activity: Slip away for a weeknight visit to the movie theater. X, David Sims writes, is a thoroughly modern slasher film.


Every weekday evening, our editors guide you through the biggest stories of the day, help you discover new ideas, and surprise you with moments of delight. Subscribe to get this delivered to your inbox.