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Sunday, March 6, 2022

I can't be the only one wondering about this...

Russians, are you listening?

The hostilities in Ukraine—more than any other in recent memory—are threatening to become a direct conflict between nuclear states. The reason that this is such a test is that Americans have grown used to thinking of our power through the lens of endless proxies, wars that never really impinge on us directly.

Another way to put all of this is that we are trapped in a cycle of multiple unrealities, all of which make us sluggish now that our own security is much more at risk. On the one hand, we have grown accustomed to using abstract ideals of rights and international order to distance ourselves from the fragility of life. On the other—and in part as a response to the excesses of the first—realists (despite their name) tend to sidestep just how much the dynamics of life and politics do, in fact, depend on values: what we care about, why we care about it, and how much we are willing to sacrifice in response… —Samuel Kimbriel
Eliot A. Cohen:
Russia is in many ways a functioning fascist state, in the grip of a nationalist ideology and an all-powerful leader. For that reason, then, and barring a new Russian revolution, the Western objective must be to leave Russia profoundly weakened and militarily crippled, incapable of renewing such an onslaught, isolated and internally divided until the point that an aging autocrat falls from power. Targeting Putin alone is not enough.

… the West has the opportunity, and faces the necessity, of changing the story of democratic decline and weakness to one of strength and self-confidence. Europe’s remarkable response to the invasion is a long step in this direction, as is the American leadership that has rallied so many to oppose Russia and stand with Ukraine. China is watching the invasion of Ukraine; so, too, are Iran and lesser authoritarian regimes, waiting to see whether such opportunities are available to them, or too perilous to attempt. The Western powers must induce them to take the latter view by the visible successes that they achieve. There are internal audiences as well, particularly in the United States. After a decade of deeply self-critical contemplation of America’s internal divisions, this is the moment to restore confidence in the ideals and beliefs that have made the United States at once powerful and free...

We must fix this mess.

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