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The War in Ukraine and America

Critical Reflections


In this timely treatise, McLaren’s eloquent reflection and analysis on the war in Ukraine exposes the contemporary fascistic madness that is strangling the very soul of our humanity. But rather than succumb to utter despair, he creatively bears witness to the radical intellectual, political, and spiritual power that must be more fully activated in our collective struggles to overcome the brutal machinations of imperialism today.  

Antonia Darder, Professor Emeritus of Ethics and Moral Leadership Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles

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Quote from Pesa Agora Review
Kelsey Roach

Peter McLaren uses The War in Ukraine and America to serve as a warning in that ‘Ukraine is handing the West a mirror with which to examine our collective morality’

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From the moment the first shots were fired by Russian soldiers in their invasion of Ukraine, Peter McLaren began writing about what has turned out to be the deadliest conflict in Europe since World War II. Putin's invasion caused McLaren to think about his father, a World War II veteran who served in the Royal Canadian Engineers, and his uncle, a World War II hero who served in the Royal Navy and played a leading role in sinking the battleship Bismarck.  Fearing the conflict would escalate beyond Ukraine, McLaren furiously put pen to page and published 25 articles in the New Zealand journal, Pesa Agora, and wrestled with some of the moral dilemmas surrounding the conflict, including the possibility of a World War III nuclear catastrophe. McLaren made the decision to support Ukraine during the first few weeks of the conflict. In writing about the war in his signature literary style, which inspired the late Joe Kincheloe to name McLaren  "the poet laureate of the educational left",


McLaren was also closely following political events in  the United States. Years before, McLaren had predicted that his adopted country would soon be treading towards fascism, as he watched with increasing alarm Trump operatives such as Steve Bannon put into effect propaganda efforts redolent of those crafted by the Third Reich leading up to World War II. The chapters in this book have been taken from McLaren's contributions to Pesa Agora, with some brand new material.  McLaren's voice has often been described as prophetic, in consonance with the prophetic tradition of theology, and his approach in this work can be likened to the 'problem-posing' approach of the Brazilian educator, Paulo Freire, in that his writings are meant to raise provocative questions for discussion, with solutions to follow after intense and extended dialogue. It is in this sense that the book attempts to make the political more pedagogical and the pedagogical more political--and theological.  Most disturbing for McLaren in writing about the war in Ukraine were the number of supporters for Putin's bloody war, typically among Trump supporters but also including some factions of the ultra-left. McLaren's own approach is dialectical, passionately supporting Ukraine while at the  same time scathingly critical of Putin and United States foreign policy.

This book is not meant to be a scholarly incursion into the debates about the war in Ukraine.  It is a compilation of  columns written in order to draw attention to some of the key issues surrounding the invasion and meant to provoke further debates among readers.  The columns first appeared in the New Zealand journal, Pesa Agora, with some brand new material. One of the limitations of the columns is that they used hyperlinks to indicate references, which do not work in a book format.  For those interested in locating references, please refer to the hyperlinks in the original columns. See:

This book is thick with content, critical analyses, and a smart writing style that is classical McLaren, a prophetic voice that is especially needed during precarious times such as these.


---James D.Kirylo, University of South Carolina

The Ukraine War and the philosophy of war - this is vintage McLaren fresh from the trenches in America with a clear eyed examination of the issues as they happen on the front line of politics. A compelling read open to everyone. A fine example of philosophical journalism.


Michael Peters, Distinguished Professor, Faculty of Education, Beijing Normal University.

I was very impressed by Roman Polanski’s film “The Pianist”. To the sounds of Chopin’s Nocturne in C-sharp minor on the screen, we see manifestations of humanism under the conditions of fascist dictatorship. There are no such officers as in this film among the Russian invaders in Ukraine. We have butchers to whom Chopin’s music and other music is alien, like humanism itself. On the one hand, McLaren is “cleansing” our history from imperial mud, on the other hand, he is showing the sprouts of fascism in the United States and its danger. And he is a General in the information war and fighting for Ukraine on the American continent! 


Iryna Predborska, Ph.D. , Professor Emeritus, Member of Editorial Board of Philosophy of Education (Kyiv)

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Peter McLaren is Distinguished Professor in Critical Studies and Co-Director and International Ambassador for Global Ethics and Social Justice, The Paulo Freire Democratic Project, Donna Ford Attallah College of Educational Studies, Chapman University. He is Emeritus Professor at UCLA and served as Chair Professor (the highest rank given to foreign professors) at Northeast Normal University in Changchun, China.  Professor McLaren is the author and editor of over 50 books and hundreds of journal articles and book chapters.  His writings have been translated into 25 languages.


Professor McLaren is one of the original architects of what has come to be known as critical pedagogy. Professor McLaren serves on numerous editorial and advisory boards, including the International Advisory Board of The International Marxist-Humanist,  journal of the International Marxist-Humanist Organization, and Philosophy of Education (Ukraine).  He has been ranked by among the  top 15% of the world's leading social science and humanities scientists.  

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