The Psychos Are Trying to Drag Us Into World War III
Maybe we don't want to start a mega-war with a nuclear-armed behemoth???
A couple of things are clear about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. One is that it is a catastrophe, both morally and in terms of its wider geopolitical implications. That is not a hard call to make, and being opposed to Vladimir Putin’s war doesn’t turn you into a tool of the West. It’s very possible to think that Putin has committed a grave crime here, and also think that the U.S. and its allies have little to no moral authority when they denounce that crime. (George W. Bush condemning Putin’s “unprovoked and unjustified” attack was especially rich. You would know Dubya!) It’s possible to think that there are deep layers to this crisis, and plenty of blame to go around for how it has spiraled out of control, and also think that launching a full-scale war in Europe is a terrible and dangerous thing. This is not that complicated, really. Sometimes there are simply no good guys—except, of course, for the innocent civilians who are caught up in this endless imperial power struggle. (If you want more on that part of the story, read the dispatches from our own Jack Crosbie, who is in Ukraine right now.)
The second clear thing is that a further escalation of this conflict—particularly in the form of a direct U.S. or NATO military intervention in Ukraine—is a completely insane idea. Triggering what could essentially turn into World War III with an unpredictable nuclear-armed behemoth—maybe this is not something that should happen! There is ultimately only one way out of this, and that is de-escalation and diplomacy.
Try telling that, though, to some of the psychos currently putting their two cents in about Ukraine. There is a group of people who are never satisfied unless the U.S. is engaged in permanent warfare everywhere around the world. Unfortunately, a lot of these people occupy high-profile positions in the media. Take, for instance, this truly mind-boggling story from Politico about how Joe Biden might have made a grave error by refusing to commit American troops to Ukraine (emphasis mine):
But Biden’s position also raises the question: Would Putin have made different calculations in Ukraine this week if Biden had raised the possibility he would deploy American troops? Or should Biden have stayed mum about what he’d do — adopting a strategically ambiguous position that could have deterred Putin?
Critics of Biden’s stance say it’s impossible to assess exactly what alternative history might have transpired had Biden kept alive the military option. Putin has, after all, had a presence inside Ukraine since 2014, when he first invaded, and he appears intent on taking more of the country.
But the Russian leader’s takeaway from Biden’s unwillingness to deploy troops is that he can get away with a lot, some critics argue, and China is learning the same as it weighs how to deal with Taiwan.
“The message we’re sending Russia by rushing U.S. troops out of [Ukraine and] closing the embassy is that we’re afraid of getting into a conflict with any Russians,” said Kori Schake, director of foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, who criticized Biden’s stance in a searing op-ed earlier this month.
Add to Biden’s reticence on Ukraine his withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, and China’s communist leaders will believe “that we’re not willing to fight for anything,” Schake said in an interview.
I’m sorry…we should be launching an open-ended mega-war with Russia so that…China stays scared? Are you out of your mind??? I, personally, am very afraid of getting into a conflict with any Russians, because millions of people could die!!!
Politico’s Nahal Toosi does concede that there might be a couple of reasons why the U.S. should stay out of Ukraine (emphasis mine):
Aside from worries of a nuclear war, U.S. officials privately point to other reasons to avoid deploying troops in Ukraine, chief among them that the United States has no treaty responsibilities to Ukraine or critical national security interests at stake there. Ukraine isn’t located along America’s border, it doesn’t host U.S. military bases and it’s not a major trade partner, among other reasons.
But apart from all that it’s a great plan, I guess? Toosi then points out that none of these facts were barriers to American interventions in Iraq during the Gulf War or in Libya during the Obama administration. Can I suggest that “what about the Libya invasion” is maybe not your best material?
Pour one out also for NBC’s chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel, last seen melting down over the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. (Hopefully he’s been equally agitated about the U.S.-fueled starvation of Afghan civilians.) The Russian assault is barely a day old, but Engel is already crying betrayal because NATO hasn’t bombed Moscow to a pulp or something:
Setting the justification for the Gulf War to one side, could there be a reason that engaging in a massive conflict with Russia might be a little different than attacking Saddam Hussein? I could give 4,477 reasons—that’s the number of nuclear weapons that the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist estimates Russia possesses. The United States has been drawn into endless, bloody wars with countries whose military it could wipe out in about 14 hours. Where might war with one of the world’s biggest and most powerful armies lead? Hey, I think it might not go so well! (For good measure, Engel then botched his reporting about the Russian move into Chernobyl—cue grimace emoji.)
Trying to pull the U.S. and NATO into a wider European war because you have World War II or Cold War fantasies (or whatever it is that drives these sorts of responses) is the opposite of virtuous, or serious. It is reckless in the extreme. It doesn’t show that you care more than anyone about human life. It shows that you are willing to play with the most incendiary kind of material, and risk an untold amount of suffering. There will surely be more of this stuff spreading through the discourse in the next few days. Everyone has to resist it with all of their might.