The final hawkish elements of Joe Biden’s State of the Union address this week must be challenged. He said Putin’s war was “totally unprovoked”. It’s not true. While Putin’s brutal invasion is certainly unwarranted, it can be said to be the result of 30 years of failed diplomacy and NATO goading.
He also said Putin “rejects repeated efforts at diplomacy.” It is not clear, even completely false. The problem lies as much in the failure of Western governments to recognize Russia’s genuine security interests as in Putin’s irredentist ambitions. It is clear that some Western leaders want a war with Putin.
Joe Biden also said that the US administration “countered Russia’s lies with the truth”. There is no doubt that Putin has a tendency to lie – most leaders do, especially totalitarians – but the US government can hardly claim to be a model of virtue on the truth front.
To help with our own discouragement, we have to imagine what happens when Putin declares his Pyrrhic victory.