Former secretary of defense Robert Gates has unveiled his predictable answer to Russia’s war in Ukraine, calling for greater U.S. military power against both Russia and China. As CIA’s director of intelligence in the 1980s, Gates was wrong about every aspect of Soviet power and made sure that his agency would be wrong as well.
If Putin doesn’t reverse course in Ukraine, it will not be possible to resolve these significant geopolitical problems. Like its predecessors, the Biden administration wrongfully assumes that Russia is part of European culture and thinking, and ignores the deep currents in Russian history that separate Russia from Europe.
I’ve never been sure about the lessons of history, but since we only have the history of the past to go on, it may be a good time to reprise U.S. historical responses to foreign intervention in the Western Hemisphere.
The crisis over Ukraine, which may be facing an imminent Russian invasion, is an excellent example of the need for greater and more careful analysis of the history, issues, individuals, and institutions that are contributing to the problem—and not the solution—of the current turbulence. Unfortunately, decision-makers typically and unwittingly use the “lessons” of history to…