Biden’s Munich: Origins of the Ukraine War

If you’re the Russian president, Vladimir Putin—with oligarch billions tucked away in off-shore trusts, a few mistresses, ice time at the local rink, and dachas on the Black Sea—what’s left for your Soviet-era trophy room except the mounted head of the corrupt Ukrainian government, that which believes that Ukraine ought to remain independent from Russia?

When Putin says “Atakovat” to his military command, Russian tanks, bombers, cyber warriors, fighter jets, and missiles will wash over Ukraine as if it were Saddam’s Baghdad, and in short order a Russian puppet collaborationist government will be installed in Kyiv (the Soviet name was Kiev) to hoist the white flag and declare “an end to hostilities” with Russia—as if somehow Ukraine were to blame for its own invasion.

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Matthew Stevenson is the author of many books, including Reading the Rails, Appalachia Spring, andThe Revolution as a Dinner Party, about China throughout its turbulent twentieth century. His most recent books are Biking with Bismarck and Our Man in Iran. Out now: Donald Trump’s Circus Maximus and Joe Biden’s Excellent Adventure, about the 2016 and 2020 elections.

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