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Thursday, December 22, 2022

Ukraine and Saratoga

 President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine spoke to Congress last night:

We have artillery, yes. Thank you. We have it. Is it enough? Honestly, not really. To ensure Bakhmut is not just a stronghold that holds back the Russian Army, but for the Russian Army to completely pull out, more cannons and shells are needed. If so, just like the Battle of Saratoga, the fight for Bakhmut will change the trajectory of our war for independence and for freedom

.Back in March, Harvard professor Paul Peterson wrote at Education Next:

The parallels between Saratoga and the Ukrainian war burst from every page. King George III readily accepts General John Burgoyne’s sweepingly confident war plan: Shoot down the St. Lawrence river, cross Lake Champlain, capture Fort Ticonderoga, and, with Loyalist help, drive to Albany, sail down the Hudson River and meet Sir William Howe’s army coming up from New York City. Nothing could be easier—other than, perhaps, watching Ukrainian morale implode once Russian tanks pour down highways into Kyiv.


Yet the surrender of a British army at Saratoga provokes rising opposition in Parliament, triggers French entry into the war, and entrenches patriotism across the colonies. And, today, heroic Ukrainian defense efforts have stirred self-indulgent Europeans and Americans to reassess their true obligations to the defense of democracy.

Although Saratoga is the beginning of the end, a signed peace agreement recognizing the United States of America does not come for another six years. Time moves faster in the 21st than in the 18th Century, but one should rather pray for than expect a quick solution to the current war.

In the meantime, democratic patriotism is deepening. The Ukrainians are teaching us. Our civic lessons are being learned on the ground, in real life. Our schools and our students can profit by attending to the moment. One does not need to manufacture history to teach patriotism; one only needs to explain that history has not come to an end.