I've read a number of articles and posts over the last twenty-four hours which have crystallized and also shaped my view that we should be approaching the crisis in Ukraine with more caution and deliberation than we currently are. As I wrote at the outset, you have to really squint hard to see Putin and Russia's current position as one of strength or one in which he's improved his position over what it was a month ago, a year ago or even five years ago.
One of the big questions so far in this crisis has been the stance of Germany, which was at first oddly silent in its response and then more leaning toward constructive dialog than confrontation. I was struck by a reader email to Andrew Sullivan's site in which the reader notes the striking contrast not just between German and US press reaction but the different historical metaphors they're employing. Here, as we know, everything is World War II, appeasement and containment, if not necessarily explicitly reference to the Nazis and Hitler. In Germany, however, they're focused on 1914 and the onset of the World War I, a relatively minor crisis pushing the great powers of the day to stumble into a cataclysmic war that destroyed virtually all the losing states and debilitated the survivors.
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