Zelensky Lectures Americans, and You Probably Won't Like It

Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP
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Trying to figure out exactly what’s going on in the conflict between Ukraine and Russia is a bit like trying to interpret quantum physics as explained by Joe Biden. There are so many claims from so many sides, that one would be forgiven for being completely confused.


Is Ukraine winning? Is Russia winning? What exactly are the battlelines and how have they changed? The answers are murky at best, though it’s at least clear that Russia’s initial gambit hasn’t gone to plan. The word “stalemate” comes to mind given the stagnation on the eastern front of the war, where most of the fighting has occurred. That could change in the spring, as both sides have promised coming offensives.

Regardless, what’s not in question is that Americans have been incredibly generous in the amount of money and war materials that have been given to Ukraine to help them hold off the Russian threat. With that context, perhaps lecturing them on the supposed dangers of merely having questions isn’t the best posture to take.

Ukrainian President Volydymr Zelensky did just that, and it’s probably not going to be popular.


I look at this in the same way I look at Biden’s recent trip to Ukraine: There’s no point to it.

Biden went to Ukraine simply to bolster his fledgling domestic prospects. Nothing was accomplished by him cosplaying as a world savior. The money was going to keep flowing either way. Russia was even notified ahead of the trip, which means there was no danger whatsoever. It was a photo-op that didn’t change the status quo at all.

Moving back to Zelensky’s comments, Americans are a world away from Ukraine. Many rightfully hold skepticism about the history of corruption there, and they wonder what the end game is compared to the massive investment being made. Zelensky seems to think it’s the total destruction of the Putin regime and a return of all Ukrainian territory, including Crimea. That’s fine, and you’d expect him to think that, but American interests are not Ukrainian interests, and the definition of “victory” may differ significantly between the two.

With that said, Zelensky doesn’t need to stoop to the emotional blackmail of Americans in order to win the war in his country. Russia is not going to invade NATO countries. Why? Because it can’t. Putin’s armed forces do not have the operational capacity to even take a country like Ukraine swiftly, and they certainly don’t have the ability to do anything but get obliterated in a hot war with NATO. Russia’s aggression is wrong, but it’s measured.


This attempt by Zelensky to constantly paint what is factually a local conflict as a world war for democracy rubs many people the wrong way. Further, it’s completely unnecessary. The aid is going to keep flowing because the Washington power class overwhelmingly supports it. There’s no need to alienate American taxpayers in the process. Simple gratitude will do.


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