Freddie is getting some pushback in the comments on his latest article I’ll Be Against the Next “Good War” Too, regarding the Russia-Ukraine situation.
As some have noted in the comments, there is little to no indication of the US actually going to war against Russia or sending troops to defend Ukraine. Parallels to Vietnam, Iraq, Korea, etc. do not apply here, or at least are way too premature. I agree though that ‘nation building’ is at best a mixed-bag, and that Russia is entitled to self-determination (or that we should not be surprised when Russia acts in what it perceives to be in its own best interests, just as the US acts in its own self-interest).
Again, I emphatically believe that the situation will be self-limited and contained between Russia and Ukraine, and that the media is greatly exaggerating the threat of Russia, both for ratings [ Americans like war; they like going to war or seeing other countries go to war. War movies are a staple of Hollywood.] and to distract from the high inflation rate and other problems facing the Biden administration.
I don’t see Russia, at all, using much force, because if they do it increases the likelihood of US involvement. I think it’s mostly just bluster. Given that Putin has been intimating war for as far back as Jan 25th, leads me to believe that he’s not intent on following through with it. Upon entering resistance he may change his mind or reach some sort of negotiation.
It’s very unlikely it will ever get to the point where it becomes a war, if by ‘war’ we mean not only troops are deployed in Russia, but like Iraq, the US seeks to topple the existing leadership and install its own. But we’re so far from that. At worst, all the US can do is try to impart its influence in some indirect way, but I don’t see the impetus to actually repeat the wars of Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, or Korea. [Of course, if word got out that Putin was not respecting people’s preferred pronouns, then it would be war.]
Whereas the mainstream-web/left is strongly anti-Putin, hardly anyone on the intellectual-web/smart-web is siding with the US on this. Everyone believes that the US is somehow culpable or brought this upon itself by its arrogance.
All of us have grown up into an American psyche that, curiously, remains convinced that our military is all-powerful. Various misadventures in the jungles and the deserts have not made much of a dent in that belief, even if most people know better than to speak it out loud. But at some point, a graying empire experiencing an inevitable relative decline and increasing competition from rapidly-advancing competitors is going to have do some prioritizing. If Israel decides to attack Iran, and China sends gunboats to Taiwan, are we really going to defend Ukraine’s eastern flank in perpetuity?
As discussed earlier on the blog, there little to no evidence suggest the ‘US empire’ is in decline, dying, losing influence, etc. US dominance is not only felt militarily, but also culturally and economically. It’s not so much that the US needs to win, but that the US always stands ready to impart the full weight of its military if needed, but it’s never supposed to get to that point, as it’s mostly a deterrent. Losing Vietnam only saw the US become more powerful in the nearly half century that followed, not weaker. People seem to have this notion that the world is like Age of Empires or some other strategy computer game, in which the goal is to win by defeating your enemies, accumulating the most resources, or having the ‘biggest empire’, but it’s not at all like that, in which superlatives are goal. Countries can thrive, be competitive, and carve out niches even if they are not dominant or even major players at all. Like Switzerland (finance, banking), Ireland (tax loophole), Monaco (tax haven), New Zealand (safe haven), Liechtenstein, etc.
Regarding comparisons of Putin to Hitler, this too falls on its face. It’s not even close. For one, it’s been over 7 years since Putin established two ‘federal subjects’ in Crimea, which barely counts as having taken over a country. At the rate things are going, Putin will be dead before he even takes Ukraine, let alone rebuilds the USSR. By comparison, Hitler wasted no time taking over multiple countries (not just districts), those being Czechoslovakia (specifically, starting with the annexation of the Sudetenland in 1938) and Poland, within a year of each other, and with considerably more force and casualties (by employing the so-called Blitzkrieg, a strategy in which Germany overwhelmed its targets with force). There have been a total of just 14,000 deaths since 2014 when Putin annexed the Crimea peninsula, compared to millions of deaths during the German invasion of Poland. It’s clearly evident that Hitler was many, many magnitudes more ruthless than Putin, and also was never was open to any sort of negotiation with allied forces.