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Shelling is destroying buildings and art, while archivists scan documents around the clock for fear of Russian ‘archivocide’
The calamity that has taken place has been, then, an intellectual calamity first of all. It is a monstrous failure of the Russian imagination. And the monstrous failure has brought about the very collapse into barbarism and the danger to the ever-fragile Russian state that Putin thought he was trying to avoid.
After receiving a green light from Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his war in Ukraine in an effort to reclaim the old Russian empire. But both leaders appear to have misjudged the situation, raising the prospect of a global catastrophe – unless they are removed from power.
Overall, the Russian shock to the world economy will be nasty, but probably not all that nasty. If Putin imagines that he can hold the world to ransom, well, that’s probably yet another fatal miscalculation.
The U.S.-led coalition of liberal-democratic states should pursue three objectives. Vigorous and imaginative military support to Ukrainian regular and irregular forces; sanctions that will hobble the Russian economy; and construction of a militarily powerful European alliance.
It is no longer enough to express warm platitudes about the rules-based international order. We are going to have to actively defend it against a sustained attempt to rewrite the rules by force and other tools, such as economic coercion.
If the Russians are ever to withdraw, then a diplomatic agreement on the terms of withdrawal will be necessary. So what should the demands be?
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