The old saying goes if you’re at the poker table and you don’t know who the mark is, it’s you. Nothing about the U.S. and NATO’s behavior in Ukraine betrays any realization of who the marks might be. From Ted Galen Carpenter at aspeniaonline.com:
It is increasingly evident that the top objective of the United States and its NATO allies is not to see the awful war in Ukraine come to an end through a negotiated settlement as soon as possible. Instead, the primary goal now is to inflict a humiliating geopolitical defeat on Russia by providing robust military assistance to Ukraine’s forces. That approach reflects a cynical determination to use Ukraine in a proxy war against Russia, no matter how much suffering the Ukrainian people will have to endure. Worse, it means flirting with triggering a direct war between NATO and Russia that could lead to a nuclear Armageddon. To put it mildly, it is an unwise and unworthy strategy.
Russia’s invasion has proven to be far costlier and more time-consuming than Vladimir Putin and other Kremlin officials ever anticipated, and that development has encouraged the West to expand its objectives. US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin openly states that NATO wants to “weaken” Russia to the point that it can never again menace any of its neighbors. President Joe Biden even asserted that the world could not let Putin remain in power. Western behavior suggests that the Alliance has not ruled out even regime change as a possible objective.