One Month On

Published at 21:24 on 24 March 2022

It’s going significantly better for Ukraine, and significantly worse for Russia, than I had imagined, and I had imagined it wouldn’t precisely go well for Russia. (This is, in fact, why I incorrectly predicted Russia would not attempt a full-scale invasion: because such an invasion was so unlikely to work out well for them.)

I am not going to strut around and make predictions of an imminent Ukranian victory any time soon, as much as I would like to see such a thing, and as much as some sources are predicting . Mostly, this is because the fog of war is very real: yes there are some encouraging reports that make it look like a big Russian retreat is imminent, but the accuracy of those reports is difficult to verify, and both sides lie in wars.

But still, I was expecting the formal government in Ukraine to fall pretty promptly. (I was then expecting an armed resistance to make life hell for the occupiers.) I certainly didn’t expect the Russian side to stall out so soon, and to still not have taken any major cities a month in. I would have in fact waved off any such predictions as Pollyanna-ish in the extreme.

It bears keeping in mind, however, that “going significantly better” than expected is still in the context of there being a war going on, and war is a very ugly thing.

As bleak as the latter point is, though, we are still in a much better place than if Putin had been rewarded, once again, with a very cheap price to be paid for his aggression. That would have not only encouraged Putin to launch follow-up actions, it would have probably encouraged other dictators, particularly the one in Beijing.

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