America just hasn’t noticed yet.

When the history books come to talk about World War III, they’ll start the discussion with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022; possibly with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2014.

The full invasion was really just a follow-up to invading Crimea, after all.

The phrase “annexing the Crimean peninsula” is going to be just as familiar to students 50 years from now as “annexing the Sudetenland” is to students today.

Germany’s invasion of Czechoslovakia is so similar to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that all but the hackiest of writers would reject it as far too cliche.

They even used the same excuses: ethnic similarity and historical possession.

And now we’re in the stage where multi-State alliances are settling in on both sides.

The U.S., E.U. and NATO have naturally been funding Ukraine since shortly after the second invasion, and Iran has been providing material support to Russia for almost as long.

But now Russia is using weapons supplied by North Korea, and China and India have been ignoring the U.S./E.U. sanctions and continuing business as normal with Russia. This is not surprising, since they both have smaller neighbors they claim to own as well, which makes for a natural affinity.

E.U. and NATO officials definitely seem to realize all of this, though they’re still speaking of the situation threatening a world war rather than of actually being one. It’s really only in the U.S. where this realization doesn’t seem to have cropped up at all.

To be fair, the U.S. joined the first two world wars a bit late as well.

We’re kinda slow that way.

There really is no end in this situation other than:

  • Ukraine gets too little support and Russia annexes the whole country; this will probably not satisfy the hunger for expansion, as success rarely does
  • Ukraine manages to push Russia back to the 2014 borders; this will probably take more than just financing and material support, it will mean foreign troops fighting on Ukrainian soil

It’s extremely unlikely that anything other than one of these two scenarios will end the situation, since everything else leaves both sides with a reason to keep fighting.

And Ukraine losing is not going to end the war.

It will just pause it for a while; it’ll just be a matter of time before Russia, India or China decides to move on to the next neighbor they think is theirs to rule. Taiwan, Nepal, Pakistan, the entire former Soviet Union: they all have targets painted on them already, as do many, many others.

Look at your country’s neighbors: are they bigger than you and used to rule the land your country is on? Be nervous.

As long as any country thinks it has the right to rule another, this will never stop.

Either everyone else gets together and stops this, or expansionist countries will expand over the ruins of their neighbors till they run up against each other. At which point they’ll probably start fighting each other.

It’s happened before, and it was stopped before. But that took real commitment and sending more than just money; it took actual people from all over the world showing up in person to make it stop.

That’s the futures you have to choose between: a boot on the neck, or boots on the ground.

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