Former U.S. President George W. Bush speaking about Iraq while aboard an aircraft carrier, April 2003
Larry Downing / Reuters

One month into the Ukraine war, a broad consensus has formed among American commentators about why Russia has failed to achieve its goals. Trapped in an emotional and ideological bubble, the argument runs, Russian President Vladimir Putin made several basic strategic blunders. He convinced himself the war would be quick and easy, that foreign troops would be welcomed as liberators, that he could shock or crush any resistance, and that he would be able install a friendly local government to protect his interests once the fighting stopped. Soon after the invasion began, however, these fantasies ran into reality. Ukrainian forces

Finish reading this article for free.

Enter your email and we'll send a paywall-free link directly to your inbox.

In addition to your unlocked article, you will receive our flagship weekly newsletter Foreign Affairs This Week, as well as occasional updates and offers from Foreign Affairs. You can unsubscribe at any time. For more information, visit our user agreement and privacy policy.

Get unlimited access to all Foreign Affairs. Subscribe now.

Are you already a subscriber? Sign in.