As a noted foreign policy expert, I am frequently called upon to weigh in on major developments taking place on this fragile blue planet of ours. It is therefore my solemn duty to tell you that I have seen the reports about the escalation of the crisis in Ukraine, analyzed and synthesized things from every possible angle, and have come up with the following suggestion: what if we, as a world, didn't do this?
It seems to me that, all things being equal, it would be better for human society if everyone backed down from where things stand now that Vladimir Putin has launched a de facto invasion of Ukraine by ordering “peacekeeping” forces into separatist areas. What if, for instance, instead of playing these sorts of imperial war games, Putin did the opposite of that, and pulled out? You can talk for hours about the roots of this crisis—maybe, for instance, all of that turbocharged NATO expansion was not the greatest idea!— but it is clearly Putin who is taking this to the next level right now. What if he did not do that? What if Russia was run by, oh I don’t know, a decent government, rather than a bunch of kleptocratic and oppressive nihilists? Just a thought I’ve been batting around.
What if this didn’t trigger sanctions that will surely do far more harm to ordinary Russians than to anyone on Putin’s level? What if this situation didn’t cause the usual macho braying from the pundits about how much we need to destroy Russia, rather than anything more sensible?
What if so much analysis of this mess didn’t act like the world was created literally yesterday?
Oh, this is the first time since the Cold War that the sovereignty of nations has not been respected, or that a country has decided it won’t follow international law? Please, tell me more as I look pointedly in the direction of Iraq, and Haiti, and Yemen, and about 15 other countries I won’t mention here. What if we didn’t have to pretend that the West is the equivalent of a newborn fawn, skipping innocently around the world, while an evil Russian bear mauls every passing hiker it finds?
What about being able to condemn Putin’s aggressive attempts to reassert his domination over what he sees as Russia’s natural sphere of influence while recognizing it as the same imperialist impulse that has driven U.S. foreign policy since at least the creation of the Monroe Doctrine? What if the lesson to draw from this is that this sort of interventionism is wrong wherever anyone tries to carry it out?
What if the Ukrainian people, who are not a monolith but will be made to suffer en masse if this escalates further, were able to decide their own future? What if Eastern Europe was not the perpetual plaything of imperial powers? Life as something other than a pawn in a global chess match—perish the thought.
What if we listened to cooler heads like my fellow foreign policy specialist Cardi B?
i am 6 foot 4 @IAmSixFootFourwonder what @iamcardib thinks about this whole Russia thing
What she said!!!! “What if we didn’t do this” might seem simplistic, but that is really what it comes down to in the end. What if our world trended towards peace and not constant war? What if we weren’t ruled by forces that see the domination of the earth as their mission in life? What if we weren’t on the brink of something desperately grim? Might be nice.
Jack Crosbie is still in Ukraine and he will have much more to report on what’s happening there very soon. Stay tuned.