As early as December 2021, the White House released intelligence findings that a possible invasion was looming. Two weeks before Russia’s attack on Ukraine in February, foreign diplomats began pulling out of Kyiv. The world took these as omens of war. (Photo: Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam)
“War sometimes takes place in dramatic sites, like the beaches of Normandy; or with a legacy of ruin left behind as a reminder, like the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in Berlin; or in places proudly commemorated by later generations, like the monuments of Gettysburg. And sometimes war happens on a lonely hill. You might pass by without noticing the blood …
As Russia blasts its way through Eastern Ukraine via artillery, it is worth remembering that there is a more elegant and efficient way to wage war, and one that often spares life and property, namely, the indirect approach. Consider the Battle of Hattin, for example.
As the fighting in Ukraine shows, wars look clearer in retrospect than they do in real time.
Will it happen fast enough to stop China? And will Taiwan’s friends, above all, the United States, be willing to pay the price to protect it? We may well find out, and soon enough.
While we might crave information, we are right to be suspicious of the sources that provide it.
“The West is like an old man waking up and discovering, to his surprise, that he still has some youthful vigor left. But it’s not stirring fast enough.”
Here’s my review of Guy Maclean Rogers’s excellent new book on the Great Jewish Revolt, For the Freedom of Zion.
My take in The Daily Beast on our historical ignorance and its danger: “Americans may be amnesiacs but there is a whole world out there that never forgets the past.”
Here is my interview with Spencer Kornhaber of The Atlantic.