The West Has Lost Already
I have this little game I play with the Google News search engine every other day, or so. So as not to bias the results, I just enter "Ukraine". My region is set to: US. In other words, I don't get many Interfax, TASS, or RT links in the results.
Before the successful Ukrainian counter-offensive in the Fall, you could argue there was a 65-35 split in the opinions between war hawks and doves, respectively. Then, after Ukraine had seemingly demonstrated the direct causality between increased Western military aid, and battlefield success, the tone in Western press shifted more to something like 90-10. In recent weeks I had to sometimes scroll to the second page of results, to find an opinion that would question the wisdom of further arming Ukraine, or that would express doubts re: its ultimate victory.
After Russia took Soledar and started seriously threatening Bakhmut and Vuhledar - the tone shifted again, slightly, toward the dovish direction, but not by much. Tanks and F-16 still dominate the discussion.
It's easy to miss the odd critical article, and I say this as a Russian cannibal looking for any cracks in the unity of the West. I can imagine that for a typical Western Joe, it may appear that in fact EVERYONE in the mainstream media supports escalating this war. This is peculiar, and potentially dangerous.
Here are some examples of recent critical articles that got lost in the weeds of the search results.
1) WSJ - "Some Western Backers Worry That Time May Be On Russia's Side", source: wsj.com/articles/some-western-backers-of-ukraine-worry-that-time-might-be-on-russias-side-11674969063
2) Asia Times, "All Is Not Well For Ukraine", source: asiatimes.com/2023/01/all-is-not-well-for-ukraine/
3) Foreign Affairs, "Kennan's Warning on Ukraine", source: foreignaffairs.com/ukraine/george-kennan-warning-on-ukraine
It's absolutely staggering to see how Western media reconstitutes itself in war time. I was relatively young in the lead up to the Iraq War, and did not get a chance then to really appreciate this phenomenon. I only was present for the long line of mea culpas by Western journalists 10 years later, with all their pronouncements of "never trust the CIA again", "never believe data coming out of the Pentagon", "the national security apparatus duped us", etc. Of course, from history we know that the same journalists made the same pronouncements after the publication of the Pentagon Papers by the NYTimes during the Vietnam War.
Somehow, journalists seem to get tricked by their governments into doing exactly what they need from them, during every single major war.
I don't feel depressed about this, because I know it is the same in Russia. Just curious to observe.
What we discuss here on these forum pages is the 3rd, 4th-level distillation of these conversations happening at the macro level. Nothing new, just people throwing pre-formed statements at each other.