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Vladimir Putin, Strategic SUPERGENIUS

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The interview in which John Mearshimer gets Chotiner’d is truly remarkable, even by the standards of the genre. I don’t know how Paul even decided where to begin — there’s the discussion of nobody could think that bombing another country into submission and installing a puppet government was “imperalism,” taking Bush II’s claims that the Iraq War was about democracy after the WMD justification came up craps at face value and applying them to decades of American policy toward the middle east — the thing is a goldmine.

But even more than any of its individual components, what’s remarkable to me is the central claim that the invasion of Ukraine was inevitable because it was simply Russia making a hard-headed, rational decision to play Great Power Politics. This is holding up about as well as the claim that COVID-19 would kill only 5,000 Americans total:

Within a week, Germany has undergone a dramatic transformation, shedding its reluctant and dovish foreign policy and committing itself to drastically increase defense spending. The shock of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine spurred Berlin to send thousands of antitank and antiaircraft weapons to Kyiv. A country that has been criticized by its allies for doing too little, too late has jumped to the front of the pack to take on a leadership role in European security. Germany now seeks to isolate and punish Russia after decades of appeasing and accommodating it. What is more, Germany will strive for energy independence from Russia by creating new domestic energy sources while it weans itself off its Russian supply.

Even leaving aside how disastrous this invasion will be for Russia’s economy and its international status even if it “wins,” even from a narrow national security perspective the invasion has left Russia far worse off — NATO will almost certainly expand rather than contract, the value of being in NATO has never been more clearly demonstrated, and Germany is massively increasing its defense spending for the explicit purpose of countering Russia!

This invasion wasn’t a structural inevitability; it was an extraordinarily foolish decision by a paranoid dictator insulated from any accountability or rational decision-making process. It was the ultimate lose-lose proposition.

Meanwhile, in the parody-of-a-parody department:

Honestly, at this point Glem is doing the “Mr Putin, whose Unprovoked Imperialist War of Aggression I Do Not Support But Merely Abstain From Opposing” bit better than the original.

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