The Atlantic Daily: Is the West in Denial?

The West has been united in its response to Russia—so far.

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Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has reinvigorated Western alliances. The European Union, the United States, and other countries swiftly applied sanctions, triggering an unprecedented economic blackout. And yet Vladimir Putin is pressing on with more brutal tactics.

Leaders and experts in the West are now contemplating scenarios such as Putin’s fall and a wider war (including the use of tactical nuclear weapons), and weighing how to avoid undue escalation. Three writers, including a journalist currently in Kyiv, offer differing perspectives on what can—and must—be done as the war grinds on.

  • Don’t assume Russia will stop at Ukraine. “What if World War III has already started?” the Ukraine-based journalist Veronika Melkozerova asks. “Sanctions work, but they have not stopped Putin’s rockets falling from the skies … What if they come to your land next?”
  • America needs to think bigger. “As the leader of NATO and of the free world, the United States needs to think much bigger than it has thus far,” the writer and professor Eliot Cohen argues. “The stream of arms going into Ukraine needs to be a flood.”
  • The West may need to give Putin a way out. “Analysts and diplomats that I spoke with said it is possible to defeat Putin while finding a message that Putin can tout as a victory at home,” our staff writer Tom McTague reports from London. “But the fact that the West might need to give him something to sell weakens its ability to sell its own victory.”

For more on Russia and its war on Ukraine:

Find all of our coverage here.

Tonight’s Atlantic-approved activity:

The sick poet peels / fruit, watching the city wake / from the hotel glass. Spare a moment for “The Body Fails in a Foreign City,” a poem by Zeina Hashem Beck.

A break from the news:

Astronomers have cracked a mystery 1,000 light-years from Earth.


Every weekday evening, our editors guide you through the biggest stories of the day, help you discover new ideas, and surprise you with moments of delight. Subscribe to get this delivered to your inbox.