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All Wrong: A Final French Takedown On The Iraq War

Op-Ed: This week marked a bad end to a bad war, which European critics of US policy had long predicted. The 2003 invasion left vast destruction, undermined America’s standing and deprived Iraqis of a role in their own history. Reverberations are still aro

Protests accompanied the nine-year war, like this one in 2007 (Andrew Ciscel)
Protests accompanied the nine-year war, like this one in 2007 (Andrew Ciscel)

PARIS – Nearly nine years after it began, the American intervention in Iraq ended this week. This war was a disaster.

The last soldiers have left, 500 men from the 1st Cavalry Division of the 3rd Brigade. They leave Iraq in poor condition, with many years still needed before the country gets back on the path to stability. And it will likely be even more years than that before the image of the United States can be restored in the region.

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Geopolitics

The Days After: What Would Happen If Putin Opts For A Tactical Nuclear Strike

The risk of the Kremlin launching a tactical nuclear weapon on Ukraine is small but not impossible. The Western response would itself set off a counter-response, which might contain or spiral to the worst-case scenario.

An anti-nuclear activist impersonates Vladimir Putin at a rally in Berlin.

Yves Bourdillon

-Analysis-

PARISVladimir Putin could “go nuclear” in Ukraine. Yes, this expression, which metaphorically means “taking the extreme, drastic action,” is now literally considered a possibility as well. Cornered and humiliated by a now plausible military defeat, experts say the Kremlin could launch a tactical nuclear bomb on a Ukrainian site in a desperate attempt to turn the tables.

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In any case, this is what Putin — who put Russia's nuclear forces on alert just after the start of the invasion in late February — is aiming to achieve: to terrorize populations in Western countries to push their leaders to let go of Ukraine.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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