… I had framed the duty of diplomacy and statesmanship at which Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has failed so miserably and with such grave consequences for his countrymen as realpolitik.
Realpolitik is practical politics, the art of getting along, differences and all, in a real world in which reality, especially power differentials, is accepted and dealt with. The onus was on the Ukrainian president to practice realpolitik with his powerful neighbors, the Russians, I argued. Zelensky ought to have shown Putin respect and negotiated an agreement with him, one that would have appeased Russia with respect to Ukraine’s outsized, idiotic NATO and EU aspirations. Promise the Russians “a non-aligned, neutral Ukraine,” is how Col. Doug McGregor put it.
What I call realpolitik, political scientist John Mearsheimer terms “great-power politics.”
“When you’re a country like Ukraine and you live next door to a great power like Russia,” he posits, “you have to pay careful attention to what the Russians think, because if you take a stick and you poke them in the eye, they’re going to retaliate. … States in the Western hemisphere understand [great-power politics] full well with regard to the United States.”
With his fatigues, simplistic jingoism and facility with TV optics and social media—Zelensky certainly appeals to the war channel females (Fox News) and to distaff worldwide. But he has been worse than useless in the grander scheme of things. As Mearsheimer points out, matter-of-fact, Ukraine is going to lose more territory, its economy has been wrecked as are its cities and infrastructure in ruins. Eastern Europe is becoming more unstable. China and Russia have been thrust into each other’s arms.
The West claims the blame lies solely with Putin, to whom are attributed assorted phantasmagoric expansionist programs and projects. According to this angels-and-demons Disneyfied storyline, Putin plans on claiming the Baltic states of Eastern Europe “out of a longstanding desire to resuscitate the Soviet Empire,” even though the Russian president has disavowed the creation of a greater Russia and certainly doesn’t have the economic wherewithal to mount protracted invasions and occupations. …
UPDATED (3/11/022): Curiously, Ukraine the “free” and “democratic” had mounted, a la the USA, its own January 6 kind of offensive on its opposition, whom the Zelensky state had placed under house arrest. Check it out.
Coverage of Ukraine before the war is also instructive. Of course, nothing justifies a war of aggression, but a lot explains it.
UPDATE (3/12/022): Once a banal neocon; always one. Douglas Murray, ConInc darling of FoxNews, offers, on Fox News, not a balanced analysis of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, only the rah-rah, Zelensky’s sexy; Putin’s a commie nonsense. Murray’s fan boys continue to claim magnificence and originality for their boy. Nothing Douglas Murray says is magnificent or original or particularly inspiring. You could say that about, say, the late Christopher Hitchens. But this guy? What’s wrong with people! He always manages to miss the very important point. Like here: https://www.ilanamercer.com/2020/10/wake-systemic-anti-whiteness-deadly-witness-south-africa/
David and I were right about shallow Murray:
Musil Protege summed Douglas Murray up truly originally. Put it this way: Murray could not summon such prose as this:
A real poseur, no? Another soi disant Oakeshott heir who hasn’t yet heard that he was never in the will. A Mute-button pundit. His hectoring style has all the suavity of the schoolmarm of distant memory. 80 years ago he would have been teaching Silas Marner to 5th Graders.