Heads You Win, Tails I Lose
Why NATO will be irrelevant no matter what the outcome in Ukraine
One of the more striking aspects of Putin’s decision to invade Russia’s peaceful neighbor Ukraine is the unanimity of narrative across the various governments of the Western nations.
According to the standard Western narrative, carefully reinforced by supposed “experts” and politicians alike, by standing back and doing nothing NATO is carefully avoiding potential escalation toward all-out war with Russia.
To an unbiased observer, of course, this is absolute nonsense. Weakness in the face of aggression always begets further aggression. But the key point, from a political perspective, is the beauty of the narrative. If Russia fails to crush Ukraine entirely and thereafter install a puppet regime, the West can pretend that masterful inaction led to the “peaceful” outcome. Conversely, if Russia does persist and reduces Ukraine to a smoldering ruin, the West can pretend that no other outcome was possible and that NATO involvement would merely have increased the number of casualties and increased the risk of an all-out war.
In other words, the narrative ensures that Western politicians will pay no meaningful price for cowardly inaction in the face of persistent aggression.
As politicians care primarily about their own personal political interests, this means the narrative is ideal for their purposes. While ordinary people may be outraged at Putin’s wanton slaughter of innocent civilians, Western leaders have a far more important goal to keep in mind: their re-election prospects. Blustering windy speeches are far safer than taking real action because speeches have no consequences.
And so, we get a seemingly endless series of fatuous pronouncements by Western leaders instead of any meaningful action. Indeed, Western countries have been very assiduous in preventing meaningful action by making it clear that anyone who goes to help Ukraine in its existential struggle will be prosecuted under anti-terrorism laws should they survive and attempt to come home afterward. The USA has blocked Poland from transferring some of its fighter jets to Ukraine. And NATO has been resolute in refusing to countenance a no-fly zone over Ukraine — an action that would…