In Ukraine, right-wing neo-isolationists are at war in the last war.
They have warned of a return to the belligerent mood that led to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, no matter if they are warning of the wrong country.
If the US had launched a large-scale military intervention 20 years ago without properly calculating the risks of the country it would occupy or without understanding the political and cultural implications it would occupy, it is the Russians, not the Ukrainians, Europeans or us, who are now repeating themselves. that mistake.
The shooting of armored javelins at Ukrainians by Ukrainians is far from taking over a large Middle Eastern country with no clear exit plan.
The idea that the US national mood is similar to that of 2003 omits something very important – September 11th.
We would not have invaded Afghanistan or Iraq if it had not been for the coup of one of the most violent and destructive attacks on homeland in American history. No foreign event on our TV screens can match the rawness and emotional force of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
However, the neo-isolationists, who call themselves realistic or “restrictive”, want to believe that we are on the threshold of a dangerous escalation in Ukraine. While there have been prominent voices calling for a no-fly zone that would mean such a climb, President Joe Biden has been adamant and the balance of left and right views is also the opposite. If there is no event that really changes the game on Ukrainian soil, it is not a viable option.
What we are talking about, realistically, is to increase material support for Ukrainians and to impose more sanctions on Russia. Both need to be done carefully, but neither is the beginning of World War III.
Jacob Heilbrunn said in a statement to Politico from an “emergency” conference in Washington, DC, that their preferred policy approach was to allow Ukrainians to be conquered by the Russians as soon as possible. , the Russians will stop rocking their cities to rubble.
The citizens of Bucha would find this a very strange demand. Just imagine what kind of advice it would be for Greek city-states to face the advances of the Persian Empire in the 5th century BC, the Carthaginians in the Punic Wars, or the Russians in the Napoleonic invasion.
Submitting to foreign leaders who want to occupy or divide your country and destroy a democratically elected government is not the advice that many nations ever want to take.
In fact, for writers and analysts who consider themselves realistic, limiters show a profound lack of how motivated people feel, even if they are badly overwhelmed, when an invader comes to try to impose foreign rule to defend their culture and homeland.
It is certainly true that the foreign policy of the Bush administration has become much more idealistic, bordering on the other world, over time. This does not mean that we should reject all moral discernments in foreign affairs as a reaction. Yes, Ukraine is a rotten and somewhat corrupt democracy, but there is no doubt about Vladimir Putin’s dominance over the real dictatorship, or Russia’s guilt about launching a horrific war of aggression.
In other words, to ignore all the differences in this conflict is between the aggressor and the defender, between those who hate the West and those who want to join it, between those who abandoned nuclear weapons a few decades ago and those who are making nuclear threats. and by the way, he’s winning against the odds and his embarrassed military machine has been repeatedly embarrassed.
In an attempt to avoid the 2003 mistake, the delimiters are making the 2022 mistake.
Rich Lowry is on Twitter @RichLowry.