Shocking failure of West on display in not preventing Ukraine war - analysis

The US appears unwilling to really sanction Moscow, even fearing Moscow could profit because it is an energy exporter.

 NATO and member states flags flutter during German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht's visit to German troops in Rukla military base, Lithuania February 22, 2022 (photo credit: INTS KALNINS / REUTERS)
NATO and member states flags flutter during German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht's visit to German troops in Rukla military base, Lithuania February 22, 2022
(photo credit: INTS KALNINS / REUTERS)

The continued failure of western democracies to come to a clear consensus on how to deter Moscow a few days after it invaded Ukraine is showing that the US-led world order is coming undone.

This is because – despite months of warnings – Russia went ahead with its unprovoked attack without fear of consequences. While there have been some repercussions, they are mostly symbolic or cosmetic. The US appears unwilling to really sanction Moscow, even fearing Russia could profit because it is an energy exporter.

That Russia has carried out its attack with no fear of repercussions is driven home since Moscow did this openly, without even needing to pretend it had an excuse. The most extraordinary thing about the attack on Ukraine is that it was done without even a pretense of Russian ultimatums or pretending to invade based on some “false flag” or reason.

Russia has now threatened Sweden, Finland and other countries and has warned the West about interfering, claiming that it is reaching some kind of point of no return in relations.

Meanwhile, the Western states are fumbling. The UK has shown leadership in confronting Russia; stories about the US or NATO providing defensive weapons still lack actual evidence that arms will flow to Kyiv, which is being bombed and attacked without any chance of better defenses.

This was because Russia knew there was nothing standing in its way and no chance of retaliation. In wars of the past, there was usually a pretense that total war would follow, that both sides would trade blows, that even weak states might retaliate, but modern war has generally shifted that to totally one-sided conflicts. In one sense, Russia is trying to show it can do to Ukraine what the US did in the 1990s, basically laying down a new Russian-style world order of Moscow’s own making.

In the 1990s though, the US at least had some pretense of “reason” behind various conflicts the US jumped into, such as in the Balkans. Today countries don’t even pretend to have a pretense for war, they just invade. Turkey invaded and ethnically cleansed Afrin in Syria and then attacked other parts of Syria with impunity. There was no chance that Kurds could retaliate.

 US PRESIDENT Joe Biden speaks on Tuesday at the White House about the situation in Russia and Ukraine. (credit: KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS) US PRESIDENT Joe Biden speaks on Tuesday at the White House about the situation in Russia and Ukraine. (credit: KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS)

And this happens again and again. There is total impunity. What we see is a world in which we were misled about the “rules” and the “human rights council” and the story of the UN doing anything. Where is the UN today regarding Ukraine? There are no human rights being enforced; there are just countries that choose to bomb and then the countries and people who get bombed.

The West believed in diplomacy as a way to prevent this. But diplomatic solutions never seem to work. Diplomacy is an empty shell; the bombs go right through it; as we have seen in Ukraine. While there is talk of a “rules-based international order,” none of the rules are enforced.

Meanwhile, some voices on the far-left and far-right in the West condemn the US and claim the Americans “provoked” Russia.

The ice cream company Ben and Jerry’s slammed US President Joe Biden a few weeks ago saying “you cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war. We call on President Biden to de-escalate tensions and work for peace rather than prepare for war. Sending thousands more US troops to Europe in response to Russia’s threats against Ukraine only fans the flame of war.”

Where was the same ice cream company on February 24 when the invasion began?

Biden said two years ago that he would stand up to Russia and he promised over the last year that the US would be “back” on the world stage. He said back during his campaign that “Vladimir Putin doesn’t want me to be president. He doesn’t want me to be our nominee... If you’re wondering why – it’s because I’m the only person in this field who’s ever gone toe-to-toe with him.”

Today, many are asking where this “toe-to-toe” US policy is.