- In war, truth is the first casualty. As a realist, I believe that national interests do more to determine the behavior of a nation state than do domestic political factors. But realists certainly don’t dismiss domestic politics out of hand. And unfortunately, since Russians are being lied to by their own government about what is happening in Ukraine, they are in no position whatsoever–even after factoring in the amount of political repression that occurs in Russia–to pressure their leaders to make smarter foreign policy decisions.
- Pro-Russian separatists are making a bad situation worse. I am sure that Moscow is pleased, as it is incontrovertible that the separatists are acting on Moscow’s instructions.
- Political and economic chaos are the order of the day in Ukraine. Even before tensions between Ukraine and Russia reached a fever pitch, Ukraine had to face a dire economic crisis. Now, it has to face a dire geopolitical crisis as well.
- NATO is working to deter further Russian aggression. One hopes the alliance succeeds, but right now, Moscow believes that the West simply doesn’t have the will or the incentive to do much about its bullying of Ukraine. And it may yet be right.