Yves here. This article by Andrew Bacevich on Ukraine is revealing, and not in a good way. True, Bacevich does challenge the wild-eyed claims about a loss in Ukraine having catastrophic outcomes. In fact, defeat would diminish US power and NATO’s even more so. But it is hardly clear that the emergence of a multipolar world would be a bad thing save for US arms merchants, financiers, and our surveillance state. In the unlikely event we got over our hegemonic aspirations, the US could redirect some of its supersized military spending to domestic needs.
However, while Bacevich does call out the most rabid of Russia-haters, using Timothy Snyder as his object lesson, he still depicts Putin as evil: “…he is indeed a menace of the first order and his reckless aggression deserves to fail.” Bacevich ignores that Putin repeatedly rejected the request of the separatists to join Russia, and that he muscled them into accepting remaining in Ukraine via the Minsk Accords, which Ukraine, France and Germany have confirmed for them was just a ruse to buy time for Ukraine. Nor is there a peep about the idea that even if we put aside the question of Western provocation (would the US have tolerated a hostile major power training and arming a country on its borders) and concede that Putin is responsible for the decision to invade, it was the West that scuppered the peace talks in Istanbul. Their breakdown, and the continuation of the war beyond that point, is on us.
The inability to consider the concerns of the other side, which Bacevich demonstrates is strong even in the supposedly enlightened left when the other side is Russia, is fatal to diplomacy. This piece is yet another proof that the odds of a negotiated end to the war are effectively zilch. The Collective West has done such an effective job of demonizing Russia that any treaty acknowledging Russia’s security interests would be dead on arrival. And that’s before the wee problem that Russia has learned we don’t honor our commitments.