Two problems: Many readers will already be familiar with the American portion of this story. The U.S. spent a lot of its 20th-century fighting wars that it didn’t need. The U.S. continued to fight in Afghanistan even after Osama Bin Laden had left, and invaded Iraq after Hussein had been defeated. Both of these decisions were tragic failures that “undermined confidence in American intentions, competence,” as Damien Cave wrote.
These wars had a significant impact on American politics. Americans became warier of foreign intervention. The public has grown so cautious about a foreign intervention that not one prominent U.S. politician proposed to send troops to defend Ukraine. This was rare in a country so divided that there was a bipartisan consensus.
This new isolationism is unlikely to disappear soon. The U.S. will not be the world’s top police officer in the next decades, for both good and bad.
Antony Blinken (U.S. Secretary Of State), left, was in Brussels last week. Yves Herman/Reuters – The obvious candidate to shoulder the responsibility of Western Europe’s democratic leadership. Substack’s Matthew Yglesias noted that the region is large enough and wealthy enough. It has yet to do so. Although the E.U. has an economic output similar to the U.S., it spends 50% more on its military than does the E.U. The U.S., however, spends three times more.
But military spending is not the only problem. The combined military power of Western Europe was sufficient to change the balance between Russia and Ukraine. The E.U. never considered sending troops to Ukraine for deterrence. European leaders have been so dependent on the U.S. for decades, effectively outsourcing protection of their continent, that they couldn’t imagine the alternative.
Putin assumed that Ukraine was his to take. It was a modern version of appeasement.
European leaders have begun to shift their approach since the invasion. They have sent weapons to Ukraine, also Germany and Denmark announced increased military spending. It was too late to stop the war in Ukraine. The terrible reality of war could still alter global politics in ways that could deter future aggression, however.
Fareed Zakaria said that Europe has been the only passive actor in the geopolitical landscape so far. It would be deeply ironic if Vladimir Putin’s actions had not aroused the sleeping giant of Europe.
Zakaria stated that “if we are lucky,” he said, “what may we see is the emergence of a strong, strategically-minded, national security-minded Europe that is willing and able to defend the liberal system, which is an enormous shift in international politics.”
More about the war:
The Ukrainian resistance drove the Russian forces from Mykolaiv, the port city, this weekend. Russia launched an artillery bombardment there this morning.
Residents of Mariupol, in the south, are now without heat and starving after days of shelling.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy, President of Russia, stated that Russia had not honored cease-fire agreements.
A family was killed when Russian forces opened fire on a bridge near Kyiv.
More than 3,000 protesters were arrested by the Russian police in dozens of cities.
Many Ukrainians still believe that Russia’s propaganda minimizes war.
The U.S. has crossed the line into direct conflict by sending thousands of weapons and cyber corps to Eastern Europe.
Due to the disruption of energy markets, the average price of a gallon of gas in the U.S. has reached $4.
Today will be the third round of negotiations between delegations from both sides.