A demonstrator at the White House in Washington, D.C., February 2022
Elizabeth Frantz / Reuters

Russia’s unprovoked assault on Ukraine did not come as a surprise. The United States and its European allies learned last fall what Russia planned to do, and even publicized the Kremlin’s plans to the world. Even so, they failed to prevent Russia’s onslaught on its much weaker neighbor. Once they ruled out direct military assistance to Ukraine, deterring a Russia bent on controlling its neighbors and upending the post-1990 European security order was always going to be a tall order.

The same threats that failed to dissuade Russia from invading before—severe sanctions, military assistance to Ukraine,

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