28 February 2023

A year into the war in Ukraine and I am still left totally baffled by the utter stupidity of the ongoing “debate” occurring within NATO countries. I put debate in quotations because there really isn’t a debate to be had in the first place, which is what makes the whole situation so absurd. These folks who say ‘no more weapons to Ukraine’ and ‘peace talks now to end the war’ are truly, incomprehensibly, stupid. Their stupidity is morally reprehensible, incredibly dangerous, and cannot be permitted to subvert our political discourse any longer.

To be clear, Russia has zero interest in peace talks, so there goes that idea. You can’t negotiate with someone who just wants to keep killing you. This brings me to the more salient detail, the Russians are engaged in genocide in Ukraine, when did the West decide that we find these things acceptable? Anyone opposed to full intervention is quite frankly an immoral asshole. To allow others to come to harm to prevent a potential harm to oneself is an immoral act. It’s also an incredibly remote potential harm at that. Telling the Ukrainians to cede territory for our security disregards their sovereignty as well as ignores the reality that it will not save them or us in the long term following this “plan.” This position of accepting genocide and demanding sacrifice of victims to aggressors to keep some imagined peace a little longer reveals the West as morally bankrupt, plain stupid, and undeserving of the world they have inherited.

The threat of nuclear war used as an excuse for this position is nonsense, based on an irrational fear that plays into Putin’s hand, indeed that was his ambition. It needs to be shouted down, dismissed and ridiculed until it stops being brought forward. The threat of use is low risk and high reward for the Kremlin; its aim, the reward, is to achieve precisely what it has, hesitation at intervention. The greatest risk Putin faces in making the threat is that we won’t believe him, which he calculates as low, and costs nothing. He has nothing to lose in making the threat. Inversely, the actual follow through and use of nuclear weapons is high risk low reward. A tactical nuke, even a large-scale nuke for that matter, could at best take out a single city, it would not end the war, and it would immediately force the entire international community to wake up and finally label the regime in Moscow as an existential threat to the global community (which it already is) that must be immediately confronted. Russia would in effect surrender its sovereignty, although I argue it did that the moment it invaded.

Beyond the question of whether or not Putin and his thugs are in fact bat shit crazy enough to launch a nuke and in effect suicide in their country (which they are already doing, to be fair), there are a few other things to consider. A war with NATO is an absolutely absurd suggestion to fear, Russia can’t even secure eastern Ukraine. It doesn’t take a PhD to figure out what would happen to a country with a GDP smaller than Texas facing off against an alliance of what is now in effect 30 of the most advanced countries in the world, which include 4 of the world’s top arms produces and many very serious smaller ones, as well as possessing an industrial capacity that would make China envious. The EU represents 1/5 of the world’s economy alone, never mind what happens when you add Canada and the United States to that metric. It almost certainly won’t happen, and if it does, even with a bumbling, confused, and divided NATO, Russia would immediately collapse.

This is the real issue, the mess left behind in Russia is what should concern us. Unfortunately, we are dammed if we do and dammed if we don’t. Either way Russia is almost certainly going to collapse and we will be faced with the same problem regardless of whether we end it quickly or let it end itself via attrition. That problem is a brutalized, indoctrinated, radicalized population that lives in a North Korean-style alternate reality that has never been forced to confront or move past its vicious history of imperial conquest, both Tsarist and Soviet. Make no mistake, this is not Putin’s war, it’s Russia’s war, the people are all in, and either way, we’re going to have to confront that in the end.

There is no option, if we do not end this we are signalling the rules-based international order is at the end and a lunatic can crown themselves emperor by simply using force or arms and nuclear threats. This endangers the West and everyone else for that matter. If Russia can win (I wouldn’t bet against the Ukrainians), hell, even if Russia just simply doesn’t lose and can carve out a chunk of Ukraine allowing Putin to retain power, we are all screwed. This will continue to happen again and again until eventually we are drawn into a major conflict at much worse odds. The longer we wait the more dangerous the situation gets. We are already facing depleted stocks of military equipment as we “support” Ukraine piecemeal, with what represents just enough to survive but not enough to win. It would be one thing if we honoured the time Ukraine is buying us to rearm and gear up, but we’re not, so what we are doing is both a betrayal of Ukraine as well as being ultimately self-destructive.

This is not a question of simply doing what is quite clearly the morally just thing of ending genocide and restoring Ukrainian sovereignty. This is also a question of whether we are willing to stand up and defend what we have created or let it all go, surrendering our long-term security for a temporary reprieve from what is hard. We have become chicken shit, short-sighted idiots that can’t seem to see the bigger picture, and are so afraid of anything hard that we are willing to let our forbearers’ legacy, a more prosperous, peaceful, global community be burnt to ashes, all to avoid a little discomfort. Keeping the peace means being peacekeepers, and that means occasionally having to beat back a threat, NATO is (like it or not) the world’s best hope on this front and needs to fulfill its role.

This all makes me think back to times of greatness when humanity made massive leaps forward. America’s founding fathers, particularly Jefferson and Franklin, come to mind, I wonder, what do you think they would say? It’s time to wake up, and it’s time to step up. Do not allow what has taken so much blood to build to be torn asunder because of cowardice. Democracy and Freedom both require and deserve more from us. NATO should have been in Ukraine a year ago, we should be going now, before more innocent Ukrainian civilians are killed by hoodwinked wretches of Putin’s dystopic Russia who threaten to tear down the whole bloody thing on all of us.

Slava Ukraine!


Feature Photo: ‘Ray of Sunlight’ Dmytro “Orest” Kozatskyi. May 2022.

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By Chris Murray

Chris is the Assistant Editor at DefenceReport and Senior Analyst. He holds a PhD is Defence Studies from King’s College London, an MA in War Studies from the Royal Military College of Canada, as well as both an Ba in Anthropology and an HBa in History from Lakehead University. He specialises in irregular conflicts, guerrilla insurgencies, and asymmetrical warfare. His areas of focus include the Caucasus, and Eastern Europe, but are primarily aimed at the Balkans. Chris is an Associate Member of the of The Corbett Centre for Maritime Policy Studies at King's College London, a Member of the Second World War Research Group at King’s College London, as well as an Associate of King’s College London. Chris has formally served as a defence and foreign policy advisor in the Canadian House of Commons to the office of a Member of Parliament. [email protected]