An iron maxim of war is to imagine what your enemy most wants you to do, and not to do it. Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is floundering. He has lied to the Russian people to justify it. He has told them it is not Ukraine but Nato and the west that seek their defeat and his overthrow. That is why they must support him in his fight. To a large extent they have done so.
Nato has so far been scrupulous in not playing Putin’s game. It has stood aloof from active military support to Ukraine’s President Zelenskiy, as have its individual member countries.
For all the war-dancing, defence-boosting and cheerleading in western capitals, Nato discipline has held. This is a conflict between Russia and its neighbour, its origins deep in east Europe’s histories and insecurities.
Nothing could therefore be more dangerous than to agree with Putin’s narrative, to accept the revival of cold war antagonism between Russia and the west. Moral and logistical…