Have you heard the news? The U.S is in the process of abandoning another country to an enemy power when we didn’t need to. At this moment, over 100,000 Russian troops have amassed on Ukraine's eastern and northern border (where Russian troops are being stationed in her satellite state of Belarus). Orders have been issued by the State Department for the families of U.S officials in Ukraine to evacuate (Britain has issued a similar order). Arms and armaments have begun to trickle into the Eastern European nation. However, the Germans seem to have a problem with this affair and have been resistant to such measures so far. Not to be outdone, the cheese-eating surrender monkeys (technical term) to their west have also been reticent to any type of aid. The little Russian-loving NATO member (that would be what we call a paradox) Croatia has outright refused to send any troops against the Russians if war were to arise.
Do not worry, panicked citizens (or slightly exacerbated, or miffed, or confused…) President Biden has declared that a “small incursion” into sovereign Ukrainian territory (you know like Crimea and the Donbas) is acceptable. No use crying over spilled milk, you see. His handlers quickly walked this accident back (Recipe: disinfectant, baking soda for several hours, and then vacuum). But look on the bright side: at least the Whitehouse (movie set or otherwise) is finally telling the truth. We don’t give a damn about Ukraine. We didn’t give a damn about Afghanistan. We didn’t give a damn about Hong Kong. And we won’t give a damn about Taiwan (Don’t think the Chinese aren’t watching this sh*t show (technical term) and not licking their lips).
The truth is U.S policy for many years now (with minor realizations and repentance here and there) has been a long series of abandoning people when they become the slightest bit inconvenient. This is not to say we have to engage in forever wars (although I’m still not sure how 2,500 troops in Afghanistan is a forever war), but it should mean that when we leave a place, it shouldn’t look like a foreclosure (with roof tiles and dog food bags in the floor. If you know you know.) And it certainly does not mean literally handing it over to our enemies when the alternative does not need to be anywhere near that catastrophic. Worse yet is when we don’t fight at all (read Hong Kong).
Ukraine is that special kind of stupid. The war in Ukraine has been going on since 2014. This turn of events is not the furthest possible world regarding probability. Why does Putin think he can win this fight? Well, he saw the U.S flee Afghanistan for no apparent reason. And he has the EU by the cajones (technical term) via the EU’s reliance (looking at you Germany) on Russian gas (apparently it's going green if you just buy the gas from another country. Who knew?). It’s only going to worsen since the Biden Administration refused to stop Nord Stream 2, which would send Russian gas directly to Germany, bypassing Ukraine. Is it any wonder the Germans are terrified to stand up to Russia (according to these same Germans, it’s also a great time to shut down their remaining nuclear power plants)?
At the same time, the U.S and CO. have not only (until quite recently), refused to send lethal armaments (you see, if you send guns to Ukraine so that they can protect their own country, it might provoke the Russians who are attacking them) but the U.S and NATO are by all appearances not ready for a land war in Europe. The U.S has too few troops and no quick way to get more to Eastern Europe quick enough to stop Russian tanks from rolling through Kyiv.
In Europe’s defense (not words I say often), they are preparing, it would appear, for war. Although I have serious doubts it will be enough. Michael Brendan Dougherty of National Review put it best when he states,
Russia has flipped over the table. Putin has put pressure on Ukraine. The only useful response from NATO and the Western powers would be to clearly signal precisely what they are willing to do and what they are not willing to do for Ukraine in the near term and medium term. Without this, Ukraine cannot sensibly conduct a diplomatic effort to avoid catastrophe. Instead, Putin’s desperate gamble in Ukraine is revealing that the West has no idea what it wants anymore. It wants all the high ideals of freedom for everyone. But the burdens that come with it? Not so much. (Dougherty, The Alarm Bells of Europe)
That last point from Dougherty, I believe, hits the nail on the head. We talk of international orders, norms, and laws, but those terms are left opaque, ambiguous, and vague as we stumble, fall, and collapse under the slightest pressure from our foes.
We have taken the easy route for too long in the West. The Germans, the U.S, and the Europeans more broadly knew that being too reliant on Russian gas would lead to Putin’s Russia being able to put undue pressure on the West. But you know what? It was cheaper and easier for us to just pretend that Russia wouldn't dare challenge the hegemony of the West. NATO member states maintaining adequate militaries? Spending 2% of their GDP on defense? Nope. The U.S will do it. And how dare we demand they pick up the slack. Standing up to the Russians the moment they stepped out of line in Ukraine back in 2014 when they ANNEXED sovereign Ukrainian territory and continued to sponsor and directly support separatists in the Donbas? Nope. We in the West are going to pay dearly for our laziness. Our greed. Our idealism. As Jordan Peterson stated in 12 Rules for Life, “To suffer terribly and to know yourself as the cause: that is Hell.” Boy, if that is not true.