Interesting points from Fred Kagan via John McCormack at the Weekly Standard. Sounds like a fairly clear victory for Russia at this point.
Victor Davis Hanson on the West’s instinct to turn on itself first.
A Cato Institute writer blaming NATO expansion. There may be a kernel of truth to his analysis, but Kennan had long since removed himself from the mainstream of foreign-policy thought relative to the USSR and Russia, arguing a hands-off approach virtually all the time. So even if he were right on the NATO issue, he’d been wrong enough about, say, Reagan’s policy of challenging the USSR, that it was likely seen as more of the same rather than an on-point analysis. Also, blaming NATO is conveniently liberatarian-isolationist for Cato. Again, doesn’t mean it’s wrong in this instance, but the fact that facts opposing the theory like why Russia went after Georgia—outside NATO’s auspices—rather than the Baltics or its ultimate prize, Ukraine, are left unmentioned.
A nice что делать? article from a former Defense Department official.
The Volgi’s Fallacy of Foreign-Political Egocentrism: that it’s our “declaring” a country “our enemy” that makes them into an enemy. Countries—especially centralized, authoritarian regimes—pick their enemies for a variety of reasons: calculations of national interest, ideology, prejudice, etc. Our actions play a role, but it’s rarely the central one. The Putinshchina is dominated by a revanchist nostalgia for Soviet-era “greatness,” defined as Great Russian imperialism, domination of its neighbors, and a leading role on the world stage based on military power. It’s also based on some Soviet-era (and traditional Russian) xenophobia and fear of encirclement. None of these are easily allayed by Western actions or inaction. If NATO doesn’t expand to Russia’s borders, to pick one example, it’s read as our giving them the green light to reoccupy their former possessions because either (a) we’re happy to see “stability” or (b) we’re worthless and weak, the pusillanimous, treacherous heirs of evil Latin Christendom, enemies of the Third Rome. If we do expand to their borders, it’s a “provocation,” not because we care for a stable, free international order, but because as the worthless, weak, pusillanimous treacherous heirs of evil Latin Christendom, we’re always bent on dismembering Mother Russia.
The FFPE deserves a full post, I suppose, but let me just mention here that Iran, China, and Russia, to name a few, have plenty of reasons to consider the United States an enemy, and almost none of them are amenable to diplomacy or geostrategic concessions. Yet, because we’re Americans and want to be loved by everyone, we persist in not seeing things as they are and figuring out ways to simply check the ambitions of countries which count us as an enemy and reward those who choose to ally with us. The goal isn’t to achieve utopia in our lifetimes, but to preserve our interests (including whatever fragile liberties we’ve been able to create at home and abroad) as well as we can for as long as we can. History never ends, Messrs. Hegel and Fukuyama.
Don’t ask impertinent questions like that jackass Adept Lu.