China and Russia are intent on destroying and remaking the existing world order. They’ve even put it in writing. Earlier statements might have attempted to cast that aspiration in a slightly more positive light than today’s speech. Putin is now acting and speaking, quite plainly, like a thug who intends to seize far more than Ukraine. Get in his way and he’ll kill you (or worse).
We should believe him.
If Putin wants an off-ramp now make him ask for one. We should take his words at face value and respond accordingly. And while we are at it, we shouldn’t limit our planning or preemptive actions to the current crisis. Today he shared a much more ambitious vision and we’d be wise to start countering it with an equally ambitious and long-range set of plans now. This battle will rage as long as Putin remains in power. The sooner we accept this reality and act on it, the better our chance to constrain him and limit the horrific potential of his intentions.
A few more thoughts on the subject from Twitter: