Doing The Wrong Thing, Again
Why the Western posture over Ukraine encourages the worst possible outcome
Recently US President Biden responded to the question of what the USA would do if Russian forces use tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine. Presumably imagining that “strategic ambiguity” would keep him out of trouble, Biden didn’t respond directly. He merely said that his advice to Putin is “don’t.”
Let’s pause for a moment to consider what signal this really sends to the puffy little dictator in the Kremlin, whose entire world is now a self-reflecting funhouse mirror filled with images of Ukrainian “Nazis” and heroic Russians dying for the homeland — or, to be more precise, dying purely for Putin’s program of self-aggrandizement. Will Putin regard Biden’s words as a sign of strength and determination, or as a sign of weakness and indecision?
Putin has every reason to adopt the latter posture. When Russia invaded Georgia in 2008, the West did nothing. When Russia invaded Ukraine twice in 2014, the West did nothing — despite the USA having signed a treaty with Ukraine in 1994 that commits the USA and the UK to guaranteeing Ukraine’s territorial integrity. And when Putin massed his invasion forces on the borders of Ukraine from November 2021 to the day of the invasion itself, the West — once again — did nothing. After Putin invaded, the West continued to do nothing of substance. For all the media babble about sanctions and HIMARS, the reality is that Western aid has consistently been far too little and far too late, of promises made for the sake of media appearance but quietly reneged upon afterward. Most of what has been sent to Ukraine has been equipment that’s long out-of-date, and all of it has arrived far later than it should have done. A lot of equipment used by Ukrainian forces is off-the-shelf, provided by volunteers and a great many small donations. A lot of the recent advance has relied on technicals (flat-bed pickup trucks with a hastily-mounted 12.7mm machine gun on the back), something more commonly seen in third-world civil wars and insurrections.
Why is this? Given the shambolic nature of Russian forces and their clear policy of committing as many atrocities as possible in the territories they occupy, and given that the West is suffering from the high energy and…