With sadness let me note before it occurs, probably in under a week’s time, the causes of the next war that will usher in a new era of barbarism on the European continent and far beyond.
The current head of Russia, Vladimir Putin, is a serious man. The current leadership of the United States from top to bottom lacks any serious men or women. This is a problem because the non-serious cannot understand the serious. Vladimir Putin has decided, regardless of consequence, that Ukraine will not be allowed to drift into the Western orbit, and that if required, military force will be used to prevent that outcome. That is what serious adults do. They make a decision what is really important and sublimate all else to that decision.
The non-serious believe such disputes can be resolved with the equivalent of academic games. Assemble an alliance of friends to stamp one’s feet, impose some sanctions, lower the price of oil, surely that will scare off the big bad man. Also the non-serious do not know the concept of longterm planning. They think they can resolve the situation at a moment’s notice without years of planning.
And this is the trap I wish conservatives to avoid when the catastrophe occurs and Russia by force seizes large parts of the Ukraine if not all of it in the next month. The decision by Putin to go all the way had been made at least when the United States President irresponsibly described Russia as a mere regional power. No amount of saber-rattling is going to deter Russia when everyone knows the West will not go to war over the Ukraine. Serious people in the West would have needed to reach out years ago to cut a deal where Ukraine would have been Finland-ized, permanently barred from joining NATO but free to eventually join the EU and Eurozone. It’s simply too late for that now.
In contrast to 1914, this war will be mercifully short, but unfortunately it will only be the beginning of further Russian moves to seek to undermine the West in everything, and Russia will know there are almost no limits to what it can get if it is willing to use force. Let us pray that Russia’s campaign to extend its protection to ethnic Russians in Eastern Europe stops short of the real red line for NATO, the Baltic republics.