For those who decry Western support for Ukraine, everything is a precursor to World War III. But this couldn’t be further from the truth.
If you’ve been around the internet at all over the past year and a half of war in Ukraine, you’ve likely seen breathless claims that Western aid is pushing us to the brink of a third world war. These terrified statements are the bread and butter of those who wish to see military aid to Ukraine reduced or stopped entirely. Some are pure isolationists, others are useful idiots for Russia, more are skeptics of American military power, and yet others are more vituperative Asia-firsters. Regardless of their personal ideological predilections, these commentators are aligned in their fearmongering over drastic, rapid escalation of the Russo-Ukrainian War into a broad-based, global, nuclear-tinged Armageddon. Despite differences in motive, the Ukraine doves all sing from the same hymnal. The refrain is simple. Every Ukrainian advance: World War III. Every new weapons system delivered to Kyiv: World War III. Every response to Russian aggression: World War III. Every revelation of Western support – intelligence, economic, or otherwise: World War III.
They’re certainly consistent, but are they correct? That answer is a resounding nyet. This argument is merely a brickbat with which to attack Ukraine hawks; it has no relation to either the current day or the historical reality. This bedwetter caucus not only misrepresents the escalation dynamics of the Ukraine war, but also of both World Wars. On top of that, they fail to understand the significant differences between the present conflict and those of the past. In short, their argument is fatally flawed. Let us count the ways.
Magical thinking will not end the war in Ukraine, no matter how many times you click your heels.
The war in Ukraine has been raging for a considerable duration now – 500 days if you date it back to the full-scale Russian invasion of February 2022, or nearly a decade if you start with attacks on Crimea and the Donbas in 2014. Tens, if not hundreds of thousands, have been killed on the battlefields; civilian and solider, Russian and Ukrainian alike. Ukraine has been devastated economically, both by military attrition and deliberate, targeted Russian assaults on key civilian infrastructure. Genocidal massacres have been carried out by Russian forces, cementing names like Bucha in the historical record. Nations around the world have aided the Ukrainians in their brave resistance to Muscovite domination. Others have supported Russia’s revanchist claims. Suffice it to say, this war is as real as it gets.
Still, far too many distant observers of the conflict – politicians and commentators both – tend to engage with it on a purely fictionalized level. They do not conceive of the Russo-Ukrainian War as a real event impacting millions of lives every day, but as an abstract concept to be argued over on the internet. This abstraction from the ground level paints a flawed picture of reality and leads to magical thinking, an approach that is highly imaginative, yet entirely untethered from the realm of the possible or probable. This magical thinking is the antithesis of level-headed analysis and prompts the errors of bad strategy, foolish rhetoric, and visions of the war’s end that fail to take into account the realities of the conflict.
The Rational Policy Podcast is back with another installment of the Foreign Telegram! A lot has happened abroad in the months of May and June 2023, and host Mike Cote brings you all of the most important news. Three subjects really made a huge impact over the past two months: elections in Turkey, a potential US-China rapprochement, and the Russia coup that wasn’t. Listen in to get the key information and geopolitical perspective on these critical topics and what they mean for the United States and the world.
Whether you like it or not, the 2024 presidential election is ramping up. We are only a short while from the start of debates and voters will begin candidate selection in fewer than 9 months (crazy, I know). If you haven’t been paying attention – and good for you, that’s very healthy – now is the time to start. And this is the place.
Learn about each candidate on both sides of the aisle, hear the state of the race poll-wise, understand potential political issues which may dominate the 2024 cycle, and get a few predictions thrown in for good measure. Enjoy!
This site is not the only place to find my writing; I have been published at numerous other outlets across the web. In this recurring series, I’ll post some choice passages from these outside pieces and show you where to find the rest. Think of this as a mere tasting of the full smorgasbord. Without further ado, here’s Compendium #2, covering mid-April through early May 2023.
Hollywood Morphs The Incredible Story Of ‘Chevalier’ Into A Blah Black-Oppression Romance, The Federalist, April 26, 2023
In this piece for The Federalist, I reviewed the film Chevalier, a biopic of the 18th century composer/fencer/revolutionary Joseph Bologne, better known as the Chevalier de Saint-Georges. I broke down how the film distorts the incredible real-life story of Bologne in service of a modern progressive narrative.