from JC

The Wall Street Journal ran an ‘essay’ yesterday piling on poor Ukraine and topped by a photo of a smirking Vladimir Putin, headlined “It’s Time to End Magical Thinking About Russia’s Defeat.” More like, it’s time to get real about Ukraine’s defeat.

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The sub-headline revealed the shifting goalposts’ new position: “Putin has withstood the West’s best efforts to reverse his invasion of Ukraine, and his hold on power is firm. The U.S. and its allies need a new strategy: containment.”

Another new strategy!

For two years, the Journal has resolutely promised that Russia would crumble under Ukrainians’ fierce courage, dissolve under international sanctions, implode due to a lengthy list of allegedly-fatal Putin health problems (six different types of cancer, and counting), wither under a penetrating and glorious Ukrainian Spring Counteroffensive, and be wrestled to the bargaining table, where the former communist empire would be forced to cough up all its annexed territories and the Crimean peninsula to boot.

But um, nope. None of that happened. Not even close. It’s more like the reverse opposite.

Joining Time and NBC, the Wall Street Journal expressed plain pessimism over Ukraine’s plunging prospects:

Putin does not feel any pressure to end the war or worry about his ability to sustain it more or less indefinitely. As winter approaches, the Russian army has mounted a limited ground offensive of its own and surely will expand missile and drone attacks on Ukrainian cities, power plants, industrial sites and other critical infrastructure.
At the front line, there are no indications that Russia is losing what has become a war of attrition. The Russian economy has been buffeted, but it is not in tatters. Putin’s hold on power was, paradoxically, strengthened following Yevgeny Prigozhin’s failed rebellion in June. Popular support for the war remains solid, and elite backing for Putin has not fractured.
What Western leaders conspicuously haven’t done is level with their publics … They have indulged all too often in magical thinking—betting on sanctions, a successful Ukrainian counter-offensive or the transfer of new types of weapons to force the Kremlin to come to the negotiating table. Or they have hoped to see Putin overthrown in a palace coup.
Yikes. Like the Ukraine war itself, the Journal’s essay ultimately descended into an incomprehensible morass, a laundry list of lame suggestions about how, if Russia can’t be tamed in the short term, the U.S. should triple-down and punish Russia over the long term, invoking direct comparisons to the fifty-year Cold War (even while assuring readers they didn’t mean another Cold War, no, no, never), and waiting for Putin to eventually be replaced, assuming that whoever replaces him will see the wisdom of partnering with the West.

Um. The essay described magical thinking all right. Without naming names, it literally described the magical thinking of the U.S. State Department, the magical thinking of all the liberal war hawks, and by extension the magical thinking of the Corporate Media — which has obediently lapped up the official war propaganda like good little doggies. The article suggested a new narrative that, because Putin, we should expand the way we think about the war, to think far beyond victory in Ukraine. Let’s let the Russian dictator have his little victory — but then take a broad, long-term view of the situation and make Putin pay over time for every inch.

Oh. One more question. Since it’s now suddenly “magical thinking” to believe Ukraine can beat Russia, can we get our hundreds of billions of dollars back? Some of us knew it was magical thinking to start with and would like a refund