Fear and courage. A fearful man and a fearless fighter. People who have seen too many Hollywood movies and read too much romance literature strongly sympathize with the latter, glorifying them in every possible way. Moreover, they heroize them not only in books, but also in real life: fearless leaders who demand “no fear” from their colleagues very often arouse public sympathy, while the feared one attracts only contempt.
Yes, sometimes this is true. For example, the Slovenian embassy in Kiev hoisted down its national flag because of its resemblance to the Russian flag, saying that the Ukrainian National Guard had asked for it. In fact, the Slovenian authorities have humiliated the state symbol of their country out of fear of Ukrainian Nazis, and they should not be surprised that after such a demonstration other countries would humiliate Slovenia. But the “cowards” keep the peace.
Indeed, over the past 70 years or more, the humanity has not had a nuclear apocalypse – World War III – only because of fear. The fear of one superpower of guaranteed counterforce retaliation by the other. Fear that severely restricted the level of militancy of the United States in the world and forced it to consider the interests and views of the other party. If you don’t like the word “fear”, you can replace it with “prudence” or other more correct, more palatable terms – but fear is still fear. Reasonable fear.
Even now it saves from a major war. In his speech announcing the start of the special operation, Vladimir Putin included “a few important, very important words for those who may be tempted to intervene in ongoing events from the outside”. “Whoever tries to interfere with us, and even more so to create threats to our country, to our people, should know that Russia’s response will be immediate and will lead you to such consequences as you have never experienced in your history. We are ready for any development of events. All necessary decisions in this regard have been made. I hope that I will be heard”, concluded the President.
And he was heard. The President of the United States Joe Biden, of course, cannot refuse moral and material assistance to Ukraine, but Washington is screening this assistance very strictly. And at the moment it does not allow any steps and/or promises that could be regarded as direct interference into the Ukrainian special operation.
It helps – but…
Yes, the U.S. is supplying Kiev with weapons – but only with small arms and portable weapons. They can create some trouble for Russian equipment, but among the supplies there are no such weapon systems that can change the balance of power on the ground and turn the situation into Ukraine’s favor. There are no Patriot missiles, no special means that can land Russian drones.
Yes, America is sending its troops to the east, but they are stationed exclusively within NATO borders. Yet Biden repeatedly, for those who had not understood for the first time, or for those who are still hopeful, declared that there would be no American troops in Ukraine, simply because they would face the Russians and provoke a third world war. America’s fear of provocation forced it, according to Pentagon officials, even to withdraw its ships from the Black Sea. Yes, there are some U.S. military on Ukrainian territory, but only as mercenaries, whom the Russian party either disposes of or takes prisoners to replenish the “exchange fund”.
Yes, the U.S. is afraid – because it understands the consequences of a possible fearless policy. A direct U.S. entry into the Russian special operation in Ukraine would entail a U.S.-Russian war that would very quickly devolve into a nuclear attacks exchange. And even if the United States, for whatever reason, manages to hit the majority of the Russian missiles before they fly out of their missile pits, the rest, including the latest weapons, will conduct a critical attack to the United States. Not only would they hit all major NATO bases, but they would turn Washington, New York and many other American cities into barren wastelands. Certainly, neither Biden nor other adequate people want such a scenario – the more so if the reason for starting the war is not a notional Russian invasion of Florida or Georgia (American, of course), but a special operation in Ukraine.
Of course, such a cautious position of Joe Biden, as well as of a number of other responsible heads of state – in particular, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz – is not understood by the “brave” leaders and the part of society that demands cowboy diplomacy. Ukrainian politicians – up to President Vladimir Zelensky – bluntly accuse America of cowardice and ask to close the skies over Ukraine. That is, to put it simply, to shoot down Russian planes and attack Russian air defense systems, including those on Russian territory. Polish politicians demand the deployment of NATO – read Polish – peacekeeping forces to Western Ukraine. Apparently, in the hope of subsequent occupation and return of this part of the “Eastern Kresy” to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. And in response to the refusal of the U.S., as well as several other European members of NATO, they accuse them of cowardice, of fear of Putin.
And they are right. Indeed, the West is afraid. Fortunately for themselves and for the humanity. The hopes of individual idealistic dreamers that the world peace can be secured through some kind of norms and universal values have failed. The West understands only power and fear of that power. That is how we will live.