Regular readers will know that I have been decidedly sceptical of the idea that the Russian Federation is about to launch a full-fledged assault on the Ukraine. To be quite frank, I don’t want to believe it, as it would be an act of criminal folly – both criminal and folly, to be precise.
It would also be a humanitarian tragedy, as such an assault could not but result in a large amount of completely unnecessary death and destruction. Let us be quite clear, if it happens, I will condemn it totally and unreservedly. At that point, I will terminate this blog, as its mission to contribute to more rational discussion of both Russia and foreign policy in general will have failed absolutely and without any hope of redemption for many a year. It will be time to call an end to it all. Following a Russian invasion of Ukraine, no even remotely nuanced discussion of things Russian will be conceivable for quite possibly the rest of my life. It will be time for me to drop all punditry, cut all ties with Russia (including ending my relationship with RT), and return to being a historian safely digging in the archives of the past.
I’ve often criticized all those politicians, journalists, and think tankers who backed the disastrous invasion of Iraq, the wars in Afghanistan and Libya, and so on, and yet who keep on pumping out hawkish screeds. They will have won the day. I’ve always said that there should be accountability. Well, I will hold myself accountable, and withdraw from public life.
To be honest, it’s hard to remain sceptical about the ‘Russian invasion’ in the face of the absolute certainty of the predictions of impending doom coming out of the United States, and to some degree the UK. I don’t trust such predictions, but things don’t look good. Komsomolskaia Pravda correspondent Aleksandr Kots reports that there has been heavy fighting today in Donbass. Meanwhile, the leaders of the rebel Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics have appealed to Vladimir Putin for help to resist the alleged Ukrainian attack. I can’t say that Putin won’t respond as requested. The result might not be a full-fledged assault on the entirety of right bank Ukraine, and might just be an offensive to drive Ukraine out of Donetsk and Lugansk provinces, but even that would be, in my view, unacceptable. I have repeatedly condemned the West’s wars of aggression in recent years. A Russian war against Ukraine would be no worse than, for instance, the invasion of Iraq, but it would be equally criminal.
Let us hope that it doesn’t happen. If it does, you’ve seen the last of me.