Allow me to come clean: I worry every time Max Boot vents enthusiastically about a prospective military action. Whenever that Washington Post columnist professes optimism about some upcoming bloodletting, misfortune tends to follow. And as it happens, he’s positively bullish about the prospect of Ukraine handing Russia a decisive defeat in its upcoming, widely anticipated, sure-to-happen-any-day-now spring counteroffensive.
In a recent column reported from the Ukrainian capital — headline: “I was just in Kyiv under fire” — Boot writes that actual signs of war there are few. Something akin to normalcy prevails and the mood is remarkably upbeat. With the front “only [his word!] about 360 miles away,” Kyiv is a “bustling, vibrant metropolis with traffic jams and crowded bars and restaurants.” Better yet, most of the residents who fled that city when the Russians invaded in February 2022 have since returned home.
And despite what you might read elsewhere, incoming Russian missiles are little more than annoyances, as Boot testifies from personal experience. “From my vantage point in a hotel room in the center of Kyiv,” he writes, “the whole attack was no big deal — just a matter of losing a little sleep and hearing some loud thumps,” as air defenses provided by Washington did their work.
While Boot was there, Ukrainians repeatedly assured him that they would cruise to ultimate victory. “That’s how confident they are.” He shares their confidence. “In the past, such talk may have contained a large element of bravado and wishful thinking, but now it is a product of hard-won experience.” From his vantage point in a downtown hotel, Boot reports that “continued Russian attacks on urban areas are only making Ukrainians angrier at the invaders and more determined to resist their onslaught.” Meanwhile, “the Kremlin appears to be in disarray and mired in the blame game.”
Read the full piece in TomDispatch.