Apparently random events may not be random at all. A look under the surface may reveal a pattern that points to a larger truth. That is especially true in politics. The politics of the Russo-Ukraine war, combined with climate hysteria in the West, speaks volumes about the sorry state of US politics and the internal contradictions of progressivism.
Consider Russia’s war against Ukraine, the US response to it and how it is characterized by the mainstream stenographers who call themselves journalists. They are covering it like a basketball game with almost no serious thought about the geopolitical ramifications of the war and its conduct.
To recount: In February of 2022, six months after America’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, Vladimir Putin launched an invasion of Ukraine after massing Russian troops on the border. In response, the Biden Administration issued threats of sanctions against Russia and its leaders that would take effect if Russia actually launched an invasion.
All the while President Biden kept (1) assuring Putin that the US wouldn’t present a serious military challenge to Russia, while (2) simultaneously supplying Ukraine with military hardware, which the US gradually escalated in its reach and lethality.
In the event Russia launched its invasion and to the surprise of “experts” Ukraine did not fold in a few days. Instead it fought back aggressively to the point where those same experts are now saying that Ukraine has the upper hand. Meanwhile the Biden Administration refuses to articulate American goals for the effort that are not immediately walked backed by White House staffers.
Remember Biden’s ruminating about the difference between a small incursion vs an invasion? Or perhaps Biden calling Putin a war criminal (which he undoubtedly is); or how about Biden announcing on March 26, 2022 that Putin “cannot remain in power” in the Kremlin, only to have the White House announce a day later that Biden was not seeking regime change in Russia.
Putin, who has presumably taken his measure of Biden, has doubled down on his war aims and has taken to renewing his nuclear saber-rattling. In turn, Biden, who routinely blurts out whatever is on his mind, offhandedly referred to the possibility of nuclear Armageddon at a Democratic Party fund raising cocktail party. Publicly (and privately if he is to be believed) Biden has warned of “serious consequences” if Putin were to order the use of a tactical nuclear weapon in Ukraine.
The problem is that nobody on planet earth really believes that Biden would respond in kind were Putin to deploy tactical nukes in Ukraine. After all, Biden routinely folds when confronted by the slightest progressive pressure. What are the chances that he would seriously consider trading the destruction of New York for Kiev? To ask the question is to answer it.
It may very well be the case that the stakes in the conflict for Russia are large while the stakes for the United States are small. That raises several possibilities, some of them quite unpleasant. First, as a result of differing perceptions of costs and benefits, there is the real possibility of miscalculation leading to the catastrophe of a nuclear exchange.
Second, the presumed unwillingness of the US to risk a nuclear war with Russia over Ukraine may result in a frozen conflict that is locked in place for years to come. Third, the prospect of a long drawn out proxy war with Russia exposes the folly of the West’s war on fossil fuels. Fourth, the US political commitment to Ukraine is unsustainable over the long run given the current environment.
The commitment to Ukraine is unsustainable because its underlying rationale is in direct conflict with the dominant strains of policy making in the US. Those strains are isolationism and progressivism. JD Vance, Republican candidate for Ohio’s open Senate seat epitomizes the isolationist right. He has said “I gotta be honest with you. I don’t really care what happens to Ukraine one way or another.” That pretty much sums up the isolationist position.
The progressive position is even more problematic, for 2 reasons. First, progressive ideology posits the United States as being irredeemably racist, sexist, borderline fascist, a threat to democracy, and worst of all, capitalist. The progressive mindset is utterly incapable of seeing beyond its own delusional rhetoric and is therefore unable to support a defense of Western liberalism in general and the United States in particular.
Secondly, progressive policymaking is so dominated by climate hysteria that progressives are unswayed by the very real prospect of a cold dark winter in Europe as Russia shuts down its gas deliveries to the West. One likely consequence of a European continent facing a severe power shortage is a revolt by angry citizens who would be perfectly happy to drop their opposition to Russia in return for light and heat. Another likely consequence is a rupture between the US and continental Europe leading to a weakening or a breakup of NATO. That is a goal long sought by Putin.
A third possibility is a total collapse of Neo-liberalism which leads to a strengthening of autocracies around the world. Western liberalism is now under assault by China, Russia, Iran, their various minions, and useful idiots in academia. And yet, the Biden Administration continues to use Russia as a go-between in negotiations with Iran, not to mention begging Saudi Arabia and Venezuela to increase oil production while suppressing production of fossil fuels in the United States.
The underlying problem is that progressive ideology is trumping reason, as it usually does. And as surely as night follows day, the progressive caucus has begun to voice its lack of support for Ukraine. It did so by releasing (and then un-releasing) a letter suggesting that Biden negotiate with Putin, over Ukraine’s head, to end the war.
The progressive position in one sense is entirely consistent. The only way it makes sense for the US to support Ukraine is a whole hearted embrace (or re-embrace) of Neo-liberalism and the commitment of the resources needed for the job. That implies a large scaling up of the US Defense budget. It also implies abandoning climate alarmism, utopian income redistribution schemes, while shoring up international free-trade agreements and defense alliances like NATO.
These policy changes are all anathema to the progressive left; some are despised by the Neo-isolationists on the right. But they are nevertheless necessary if the West is to remain free and prosperous.