I've never been to Ukraine or Russia and I don't study the area closely so consider that when you read my response.So do we just commit to ending Russia at this point? That’s not hyperbole, I would also like the opinion of someone who has been on the ground.
I know we (America) have our skeletons in our closet regarding invading and generally interfering in the affairs of other nations. I do feel like, post OIF and OEF we have collectively said “that was a phase, our bad.”
Russia has been, for hundreds of years, doing shit like this. Is this when the West, plus’s maybe India, says it’s time to demilitarize?
@pardus and @Marauder06 (the resident professor) what do you guys think?
Like many people, I'm torn on this issue and my views are clouded by the shadows cast by my limited experiences. But I think we have a really, really poor track record when it comes to getting involved in other peoples' conflicts. Vietnam, Korea, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria... lots of blood and treasure for what was, in almost every case I just listed, some very limited results.
At the same time, as I've said many times here on the site, appeasement never works. That's the same if the bully is here on the page, or is the leader of a nuclear-armed country. So by not intervening as we have, an emboldened Putin might be even stronger by the time he goes after something that we decide we do care about.
At the same (same-same?) time, we are throwing A LOT of money we don't have, at a fight that's not directly ours. Our focus should be on China. They're the ones who are going to upset the US-led world order, not the f'ing Russians. So yeah, I'm conflicted...
The thing I respect the most about Ukraine is that they actually have the will to fight. And (with extensive help from us) they are good at it. Like most people who (unlike me) are actual experts in the region, I expected Ukraine to fold in a matter of weeks. It's refreshing to me for us to be supporting a side that actually has the will to not only fight, but to win.
When it comes to regime change in Russia, I'm not sure that's in our long term interests, at least not if it's a sudden cataclysmic change. I think Putin is a terrible human being and the Russian regime is a bad one. But we saw in Iraq, Syria, and Iran (and many other places) that sometimes stability is better than having a good (by Western standards) national leader. In addition to geography and people, another major difference between Russia and the Middle Eastern states I just named is that Russia has nukes. Like... a lot of them. And given the level of corruption in that country, a lot of that material, as well as mass-casualty conventional weapons, might find its way into the black market and be used against our interests. I've seen what happens when you take down a regime and don't have the means and/or will to install something better. Three times. I'm not looking for Round 4.