Zelenskii To Neoconservatives: ‘No, YOU Drop Dead!’

Whelp — it didn’t take 30 minutes before the latest neoconservative trope collapsed in a heap of dead bodies, did it?

The reaction of the neoconservative left?  Wailing and gnashing of gums, the teeth having been ground down to nubs by now.  Let’s start with the litany of errors:

For instance, the insistence that the Ukrainian military “is getting crushed.” That would be news to the combatants and analysts, who, as I’ve mentioned earlier, are in agreement that Putin has not achieved what he hoped he would right now.

Let’s go to the map:

Strike eight hundred and fifteen.

They’re also asserting that NATO “aren’t united even a little bit” – which would come as a surprise to them after Germany joined the rest in sending anti-tank missiles and Sterlings to Ukraine.

500 Stingers and 1,000 RPGs… but are still selling Gucci bags to Russia.

Then there’s the small remaining problem of bloodlust on the neoconservative left.  Simply put, they still want mass civilian casualties to justify the war:

First, Putin’s current failure in taking Kyiv and Kharkiv doesn’t remove the successes he is scoring in the southeast of Ukraine. Second, if Kyiv falls (and apparently Moscow wants it by Monday no matter how many Russians die in the process), it will be a bigger psychological blow than a strategic one. Last but most, it completely ignores the fact of western Ukraine, which by the Corbynservatives’ own metrics has little or no affinity to Russia (Lviv was Polish, then Austrian, and then Polish again, until Stalin seized it in 1939).

First, the war is only four days old — not sure it’s the foreign policy realists who are rooting for war as much as the neoconservative left — who unironically find common cause with UK Labour leaders such as Jeremy Corbin, “Red Ed” Milliband, and Tony Blair — is actually rooting for mass civilian casualties.  This shouldn’t be easily scanned by the reader: the neoconservative left desperately wants Putin to kill Ukrainian civilians.  That’s the insurgency they desire in order to pull NATO into Ukraine, which if they want that they should quit beating around the bush and simply make the argument as to how many Americans should die for Kiev.

Second, should Kiev fall — regardless as to whether or not Putin wants it by Monday, Russia will only get it if and only if Zelenskii decides that the cost of Ukrainian civilian lives is too great to defend it — the blow will be both psychological and strategic.  Crack open your history books to 1920 — nothing stops the Russians from Kiev to Lvov at that rate.

Third, the vast majority of the Ukrainian Armed Force is fighting Russia in the east.  Once again, the baying for civilian casualties in western Ukraine is precisely what the neoconservative left wants (and what the Ukrainian Army is fighting to prevent).  This ends in no other endgame if the neoconservative left intends on prosecuting this war.

Nevertheless, one should remind the neoconservative left that they have been wrong about this conflict from 2013 to the present day.  They continue to be wrong about it.  What’s more, their solutions — and one will note that they never really do get around to answering the question “how many civilian casualties?” — isn’t peace but a massive Syria-style civil war involving 43 million Ukrainian mothers, children, grandparents, orphans and non-combatants.

That strikes most observers as utterly barbaric.  As one commentator wrote privately:

Well put.  Real people are dying in Ukraine.

It is perhaps easy to forget this, especially to the masters of war.  But real people — real faces — are indeed dying for a cause they cannot win.

Let’s underscore that.

The Ukrainian people were tragically underprepared by intention for this conflict.  Ukraine could have been given drones, Javelins, Stinger missiles, heck — 12-24 Apache helicopters and the crews to train them — and turned the 41st CAA tank columns into a turkey shoot.  Ukraine was left out to dry.


Simple answer?  Some folks know that human lives are cheaper than Apache helicopters.  Other folks just don’t give a damn.

From the perspective of organizations such as the Red Cross, Red Crescent, Catholic Relief Services and Caritas International — an expensive peace is always preferable to a cheap war.  Human lives — real people, real children, real mothers, real grandparents — are at stake for what the neoconservative left will not bleed for themselves, but are perfectly happy to profit from.

Yet once again, it is a tragic misreading of the Russian public and the Putin government if we believe they will be governed by rational self-interest in the Ukraine.  Once again, for the Russians keeping Ukraine in their orbit is a matter of existential need and not mere national interest. 

Unless one grasps this fundamental core fact?  The refusal to recognize this single solitary fact will be measured out in Ukrainian civilian deaths.  Obstinacy should not absolve the neoconservative left’s bloodlust — it is a moral failure to shovel civilians into the maw of warfare whether it is the Ukraine, Syria, Libya, Iraq or anywhere else the neoconservative left has been so tragically wrong all the time.

In the meantime, as options grow fewer in the Ukraine and geopolitical realities begin to set in, NATO countries are indeed beginning to see the wisdom of Trump era policies to bolster their defense posture.  Already, Germany has now agreed to honor its commitment to spend 2% GDP on national defense — something the neoconservative left derided (because Trump proposed it, obviously).  Poland is now looking at the right sort of Finlandization that would make them defensible in the event of any Russian incursion.  Romania is dumping weapons into the Ukraine as if it were Christmas in Stalingrad.  The Baltic nations are watching Russian logistical failures — and the Russians still seem to be fighting as if it were the 1970s — and probably looking at Apache weapons systems as one hell of an investment.

We can moralize and dream up any what-could-have-beens in the Ukraine at this point.  The simple fact of the matter is that the Russians want Ukraine back and are willing to bleed Russians for it in a way NATO will not bleed for the Ukraine.  The United States alone continues to buy 600,000 gallons of oil per day from the Russians despite the Ukrainian conflict.

Of course, the neoconservative left is in cahoots with the environmentalist left.  We all know who funds them.

What the neoconservative left owes the rest of us in the United States is a serious “what’s next?” that doesn’t involve a second Syria in Eastern Europe.  Should Zelenskii consent to a partition of his country under the threat of arms, NATO should provide the weapons systems and training we refused to provide just six months ago.  Yet the Putin government is in a position to impose its will on the entirety of Ukraine at the cost of mass civilian casualties.  Should “neutralization” or a return to a post-2013 pre-Maidan order occur, the position of NATO should be (1) resolute strength and (2) some degree of rapprochement that respects the Russian Federation’s position as a world power while (3) actively seeking out what a post-Putin Russia might look like — not a liberal democracy, but a traditionalist autocracy that could become a Russian-version of liberal democracy in 20 years.

Notice what none of this involves?  War.

If that scares the neoconservatives, it shouldn’t scare the families of Eastern Europe.  Better an expensive peace than a cheap war.

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