A Modest Appreciation of Vox.com

Do be sure to check out this brilliant, marvelous, incandescently stupendous piece by our very own Messiah of the Moment, Max “I used to be Otto von Bismarck in a previous life” Fisher, in which Fisher discusses the Obama administration’s attempt to deter Vladimir Putin from gobbling up any of the Baltic states. Especially wonderful and heartwarming is Fisher’s tendency to breathlessly explain the principles of deterrence to his audience as though (a) he just learned about those principles and (b) Fisher’s audience consists exclusively of two-year olds. Consider the following excerpt:

President Obama gave a speech on Wednesday, in a city most Americans have never heard of, committing the United States to possible war against Russia. He said that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, a Western military alliance better known as NATO, would fight to defend eastern European members like Estonia against any foreign aggression. In other words, if Russian President Vladimir Putin invades Estonia or Latvia as he invaded Ukraine, then Putin would trigger war with the US and most of Europe. 

Obama’s speech from the Estonian capital of Tallinn, though just a speech, may well be America’s most important and aggressive step yet against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. While the speech will do nothing for Ukraine, it is meant to stop Russia from invading, or perhaps from sponsoring rebellions in, other European countries — so long as those European countries are part of NATO, as most are.

And this one:

Obama was making a promise, and a very public one meant to reverberate not just in European capitals but in Moscow as well: If Russia invades any member of NATO, even these small Baltic states on the alliance’s far periphery, then it will be at war with all of them — including the United States.

And this one:

The idea, though, is not that Obama wants to go to war with Russia, it’s that he wants to avoid war with Russia — this is also why the US and Europe are not intervening militarily in Ukraine to push back the Russian tanks — but that avoiding war with Russia means deterring Russian President Vladimir Putin from invading these Baltic states in the first place by scaring him off.

And this one:

Here is Obama’s dilemma, and Europe’s: They want to prove to Putin that they will definitely defend Estonia and Latvia and other eastern European NATO members as if they were American or British or German soil, so that Putin will not invade those countries as he did in Ukraine.

And this one:

This all started when NATO invited a bunch of former Soviet states, such as Estonia, to join in the 1990s and 2000s because it wanted to keep them safe from Russian aggression, and wanted to isolate Russia. The entire point of NATO is as a military alliance, and mostly an anti-Russian one, in which declaring war against one member means you are at war with all of them. So the idea is that this will prevent Russia from invading Estonia, because this would trigger war with the US, UK, Germany, France, and many others, which Russia would lose.

And this one:

That’s why Obama went to the Estonian capital of Tallinn this week, and why he stood up with the Estonian prime minister to pledge as clearly as possible that he would definitely go to war against Russia if it came to it — precisely so that it never will come to that.

(All emphasis mine.) So, now we know that President Obama’s tough rhetoric is meant to deter Vladimir Putin from trying to annex any or all of the Baltic states, because the Great and Glorious Max Fisher saw fit to say so seven separate times in his piece. It is so tremendously nice of Fisher to write his piece as though it were issued by the Repetition Department of Repetition, just in case there is one reader out there who is still unclear on what the Obama administration’s aims are. And congratulations to Fisher for discovering deterrence theory. He obviously got a huge kick out of writing about it.

To think that Jeff Bezos missed out on having all of this concentrated intellectual firepower at the Washington Post. Surely, he must be kicking himself for his shortsightedness.