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It's Time to Debunk Putin's Existential Fallacy

Added 11-24-22 10:34:04am EST - “One key to securing peace in Ukraine will be exposing the faulty argument for the war's necessity.” - Foreignpolicy.com

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Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From Foreignpolicy.com: “It’s Time to Debunk Putin’s Existential Fallacy”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

Analysis: It’s Time to Debunk Putin’s Existential Fallacy It’s Time to Debunk Putin’s Existential Fa... | View Comments ()

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war against Ukraine has provoked—with one notable exception—every imaginable form of policy pushback from the United States and its allies. In the last month alone, Western governments have significantly increased their military, economic, diplomatic, and moral support for Ukraine. Kyiv keeps getting more (and better) weapons, training, and intelligence, even from NATO members that earlier dragged their feet. The European Union and the United States have imposed new sanctions on Russia, moved closer to a price cap on Russian oil exports, condemned Russian nuclear threats, dismissed Moscow’s claim that Ukraine was planning a “dirty bomb” attack, organized an overwhelming United Nations majority to reject Russia’s annexation of four Ukrainian provinces, and more.

This extraordinary international response makes the one exception to it all the more puzzling. Western governments and senior political leaders have had almost nothing to say about the bizarre theory with which Putin justifies the war in the first place. He insists that Russia is at war with the entire Western world, that it is an all-out struggle for survival that his country cannot afford to lose. By ignoring his claim, as well as through actions and statements that can even seem to validate it, Western governments miss a crucial opportunity to stir second thoughts in Russia about the entire enterprise. Promoting internal division in a country so rigidly controlled is hard, but staying silent lets Putin off too easy. How and when the war ends may well depend on the strength of Russian second thoughts.

It doesn’t always matter, of course, whether the parties to a war agree or disagree about what they are fighting over. Usually, in fact, they agree. Iraq’s Saddam Hussein wanted Kuwait; the United States made him give it up. France wanted Algeria to remain part of France; the Algerians didn’t. An old joke of introductory international relations courses captures the zero-sum nature of many conflicts, especially territorial ones: “We don’t disagree about anything—we both want Italy.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war against Ukraine has provoked—with one notable exception—every imaginable form of policy pushback from the United States and its allies. In the last month alone, Western governments have significantly increased their military, economic, diplomatic, and moral support for Ukraine. Kyiv keeps getting more (and better) weapons, training, and intelligence, even from NATO members that earlier dragged their feet. The European Union and the United States have imposed new sanctions on Russia, moved closer to a price cap on Russian oil exports, condemned Russian nuclear threats, dismissed Moscow’s claim that Ukraine was planning a “dirty bomb” attack, organized an overwhelming United Nations majority to reject Russia’s annexation of four Ukrainian provinces, and more.

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