Gary Kasparov over at The Dispatch is pretty vehement about disagreeing with Fox News in general and Tucker Carlson in particular, about Ukraine. For the record, he likes neither what Trump nor Biden nor Obama has done about Putin, and I believe I recall he didn't like what Bush 43 did either. He doesn't have much confidence in Americans getting this right.
The best thing that could be said about Tucker Carlson’s love letter to Vladimir Putin on his show Tuesday is that it didn’t sound any better in the original Russian. It sounded much more like a work of translation than anything original, because we’ve been hearing it all from Russian state TV for years.I don't pretend to be good at understanding international relations, nor when a firm approach versus a cooperative approach is better in dealing with countries which seem aggressive. I do have a few things worth noting. There is a strain of conservatism that sees Putin as a strong leader whose primary interest is in what is best for Russia, which we should generally respect as a self-interested party we "can do business with," as Margaret Thatcher once said of Gorbachev. If he is ruthless, that is regrettable, but frankly, we've seen worse, and we don't have to get into a standoff over these things. I have no special insight into Vlad, but I think that is never the way to look at dictators. They may start out as concerned primarily for the nation they love, but that goes south, quickly or slowly. Ceausescu was likely not just blowing smoke when he stated he wanted Romania to be great in the late 60's, and Saddam Hussein was probably sincere in his original desires for Iraq's place in the world. Even those such as Castro, who wanted "the people" to be able to protect themselves from the rapacious capitalists, can be seen as something other than a person with a desire for power. With someone like Hitler it is harder to tell, as he was already paranoid when he started. But certainly his speeches played to that sentiment of Greater Germany, and that is what attracted people.
But unchecked power makes people desirous of control over ever-greater territory, whether the physical terriotry of other people's countries, or the internal territory of the daily lives of citizens, and this leads - inevitably? - to paranoia. Also, people doing everything you say, or even things they think you might have hinted at, or they suspect you will be happily surprised at rather necessarily builds arrogance and entitlement. So I don't buy the idea that Putin is just trying to do what is best for Russia, because his actions against his own people speak against that. He is not merely fending off the implied aggression of NATO, whatever else is motivating him. Russia as a whole tends to be paranoid, in its international affairs, and Putin fits that picture.
I don't know what to do about any of it. There as been a suggestion that we at least be prepared to use nukes. Sure, what could possibly go wrong with that?