More Reflections on the War

Russian forces are withdrawing from the area around Kiev. This is a good sign on its face, and a testament to the will of the Ukrainian population, the courage and competence of their leaders, and the effectiveness of their military. Having said that, it is far from obvious to me that this retreat is an unqualified good, given that the man who ordered it is a totalitarian thug who knows what all thugs know, namely that losing face means losing everything. Is Putin prepared to accept losing everything — everything that matters to him, that is? I assume not.

The best interpretation of this retreat, then, is also the least likely. This leaves a number of less optimistic interpretations to explain what Putin is up to here, the worst of which, I suppose, would be that clearing the area of Russian forces is a precursor to striking the capital with some form of unconventional attack the “fallout” of which, as it were, one would not wish to affect one’s own forces. I am not suggesting that this is Putin’s plan at the moment, but merely that almost any scenario is more plausible than his acknowledgment of defeat. Surely even the most na├»ve excuse maker for the global status quo is now past the point of ever thinking, “Vladimir would never do that.”

Russian forces withdrawing from Kiev is a sure proof that Ukraine is winning the actual fight on the ground, to the dismay and heartbreak of Tucker Carlson, Colonel Douglas Macgregor, and Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, who would sell their own country to Putin without hesitation, and have in effect been attempting to do so for years, and to the embarrassment of the governments of the West, who pledged support to Ukraine when they assumed such a pledge would hardly come into play, and are now trapped by their own false promises into having to figure out what they will do with their “strategic partner” Putin in the aftermath of many weeks of atrocities.

The easy answer for those who favor a world with Putin in it, for whatever reason, is to go all in on the pro-Putin pep rally, as have many Trump supporters in the media, along with many Trump-backed Republican politicians, whether those currently in the U.S. House of Representatives or those running as candidates for the 2022 midterm elections. According to this view, Putin’s demands in Ukraine are reasonable and moderate — conveniently, his methods are typically left out of the equation — whereas Ukraine is the thug state overrun with fascists, whose oligarchs are buying off Western governments. Projection, of course, along with insinuating this projection into the West’s public discourse, were key propaganda strategies of the KGB, where Putin got his totalitarian training wheels.

For the Western leaders, on the other hand, who, unlike Trump and his fan club, are not prepared to openly align themselves with a man who undertakes massive military aggressions against sovereign countries and orders systematic war crimes against civilian populations, the situation is a little trickier. These reasonable, sober statesmen have to avoid appearing to condone unprovoked invasions, strategic attacks on maternity hospitals, and sniper murders of starving families running for water. But they have to do so without actually objecting so strongly against such things that they cannot also hope to sit at the negotiating table with the perpetrator of these outrages next year, as they work together to create new international mandates limiting carbon emissions, or share peacekeeping duties in the Middle East, or whatever other nonsense these globalist champagne-glass-clinkers believe they cannot effectively impose on the rest of us without Putin’s partnership.

There is a third option, of course, as easy as the first, but less pragmatically efficient than the second, namely to stand on principle against totalitarian dictatorship, to make no excuses for it, and to state as openly and as often as necessary that one is not only prepared, but eager, to live in a world that marginalizes and excludes such individuals at whatever cost, not merely this month, in some sort of delusional incremental surrender balancing act, but absolutely and without concern for the feelings or priorities of the tyrant. It has been more than a generation since the world had leadership inclined toward this option, a fact which is less a condemnation of today’s leaders than it is a revelation of the spiritual deterioration of the civilized world in general over recent decades.

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