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The West Is Prosecuting Its Crusade Against Russia with Stunning Naïveté

American and NATO efforts to assist Ukraine in its conflict with Russia have escalated alarmingly since Putin launched his invasion almost one year ago. We began by doing virtually nothing to help Ukraine, except rhetorically and by way of offering Ukrainian leaders a one-way flight into exile. Since then we have imposed history-making economic and financial sanctions against Russia, and we have progressively taken on the responsibilities of funding, supplying, training, and providing intelligence for the Ukrainian security forces. It is an open question whether the average Ukrainian soldier now serves under Volodymyr Zelenskyy or Joe Biden.

Needless to say, the more deeply the United States and its NATO allies intervene in Ukraine, the greater the risk Russia will perceive the conflict, as indeed it already seems to, as a proxy war between itself and the West.

Putin will argue that the United States and NATO are “in” Ukraine for one reason and one reason only: to weaken Russia, which is the greatest obstacle to Western hegemony worldwide. The West will regard this assertion as the purest nonsense, of course, but the problem is that, from the Russian perspective, it seems eminently plausible.

If Putin’s compatriots think he’s right about the stakes, then the danger of major escalation on the Russian side, even the use of nuclear weapons, becomes unacceptably high—or, rather, any sane, rational observer in the West might be tempted to conclude as much.

This week the West crossed several red lines, bringing us closer to this nightmare scenario.

The United States decided to authorize the shipping of M1 Abrams main battle tanks to Ukraine, which, from the Russian perspective, is bad; but worse was to come. The Germans decided to send their own Leopard tanks to Ukraine. As if to underline the message that Germany, and German arms, “stand with” Ukraine, the German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock declared: “we are fighting a war against Russia.” This contradicted numerous other statements that had come out of the German government, reassuring Germans and their international partners that Germany was not a belligerent in the conflict. Baerbock’s idle boast may have been primarily a poor choice of words, therefore, but its impact in Russia was profound. The Russian Foreign Ministry accused the West of prosecuting a premeditated war against Russia and added ominously: “Don’t say later that we didn’t warn you.”…



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