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Original Message Nearly a year after Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the western narrative of an ‘unprovoked’ attack has become impossible to sustain.

Hindsight is a particularly powerful tool for analyzing the Ukraine war, nearly a year after Russia’s invasion.

Last February, it sounded at least superficially plausible to characterize Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to send troops and tanks into his neighbor as nothing less than an “unprovoked act of aggression.”

Putin was either a madman or a megalomaniac, trying to revive the imperial, expansionist agenda of the Soviet Union. Were his invasion to go unchallenged, he would pose a threat to the rest of Europe.

Plucky, democratic Ukraine needed the West’s unreserved support – and a near-limitless supply of weapons – to hold the line against a rogue dictator.

But that narrative looks increasingly threadbare, at least if one reads beyond the establishment media – a media that has never sounded quite so monotone, so determined to beat the drum of war, so amnesiac and so irresponsible.

Anyone demurring from the past 11 months of relentless efforts to escalate the conflict – resulting in untold deaths and suffering, causing energy prices to skyrocket, leading to global food shortages, and ultimately risking a nuclear exchange – is viewed as betraying Ukraine, and dismissed as an apologist for Putin.

No dissent is tolerated.

Putin is Hitler, the time is 1938, and anyone seeking to turn down the heat is no different from Britain’s appeasing prime minister, Neville Chamberlain.

Or so we have been told. But context is everything.

End to ‘forever wars’

Barely six months before Putin invaded Ukraine, President Joe Biden pulled the US military out of Afghanistan after a two-decade occupation. It was the apparent fulfillment of a pledge to end Washington’s “forever wars” that, he warned, “have cost us untold blood and treasure.”

The implicit promise was that the Biden administration was going not only to bring home US troops from the Middle East “quagmires” of Afghanistan and Iraq, but also to make sure US taxes stopped flooding abroad to line the pockets of military contractors, arms makers and corrupt foreign officials. US dollars would be spent at home, on solving homegrown problems.

But since Russia’s invasion, that assumption has unraveled. Ten months on, it looks fanciful that it was ever considered Biden’s intention.

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