Published in Responsible Statecraft
Main Argument: The absence of US and allied forces in the Ukraine conflict has highlighted that Putin is his own worst enemy.
NATO’s decision to forgo direct intervention in Ukraine is proving to be a wise strategy for opposing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It immediately robbed Russian President Vladimir Putin of the ability to blame the United States and the West for its lack of military progress, thereby highlighting Russia's inability to wield its own power against a much smaller neighbor. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has instead dragged into an ongoing siege against a surprisingly resilient Ukrainian defense that underscores the hollowness of Putin’s stories that he would liberate Ukraine from Western influence.