The Insanity of Russia Hawks
Farkas is proposing waging a war on Russia’s doorstep where they have virtually every advantage.
Evelyn Farkas, a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, goes full alarmist:
The world will watch our response. Any subsequent acceptance of Russian gains will spell the beginning of the end of the international order. If Europe, NATO, and its allies in Asia and elsewhere fail to defend the foundational United Nations principles of sanctity of borders and state sovereignty, no one will. Any appeasement will only beget future land grabs not only from Putin, but also from China in Taiwan and elsewhere. And if the world’s democracies lack the political will to stop them, the rules-based international order will collapse. The United Nations will go the way of the League of Nations. We will revert to spheres of global influence, unbridled military and economic competition, and ultimately, world war.
A new Russian attack on Ukraine would be illegal and destructive, but we should be very wary of claims that it will have such massive effects. Major powers have waged illegal wars against other countries many times since the end of WWII, but somehow the international system did not come crashing down as a result. The “principles of sanctity of borders and state sovereignty” have been violated on many occasions over the decades, and in many cases our government was the one doing the violating, but the “rules-based international order” didn’t vanish because the rules have sometimes been broken. Hawks have to exaggerate the stakes like this, because if they didn’t they would never be able to sell their extreme policies.
Farkas’ warning has to be so extreme because she is calling for going to war against Russia:
The horrible possibility exists that Americans, with our European allies, must use our military to roll back Russians—even at risk of direct combat.
When she says “roll back,” she means not just repelling any new Russian attack but going beyond that to expelling Russian forces from the territories they currently occupy:
We must not only condemn Russia’s illegal occupations of Ukraine and Georgia, but we must demand a withdrawal from both countries by a certain date and organize coalition forces willing to take action to enforce it.
Farkas refers to “coalition forces,” but there would be very few other states crazy enough to join in launching offensives against Russians in Crimea, South Ossetia, and Abkhazia. Like the advocates of rollback during the Cold War, Farkas is talking like an ideological fanatic. She is essentially calling for rolling the dice on starting WWIII.
“Rolling back” Russians means going to war with Russia, and a war with Russia could very quickly escalate into a nuclear exchange. Even if the war remained “limited,” which is doubtful, Farkas is proposing waging a war on Russia’s doorstep where they have virtually every advantage. It is folly to suggest that the U.S. and its allies should risk everything to defend a non-ally, and it is insanity to try to reverse the results of 2008 and 2014 with a massive war.