Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky’s most recent statement is, like many of the addresses he has made since the war started, a mess of contradictory remarks which call into question his ability to make reasonable and informed decisions. Zelensky has continued to despair at the impossibility of NATO rescuing the country and says that it is time to face reality, while simultaneously demanding that Russian troops give up and surrender.
Zelensky not speaking realistically
It’s always important to take care that you don’t start to believe your own wartime propaganda and that you instead recognize it as the useful tool it is.
Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels was the best in his field partly because he was capable of distinguishing between reality and what he was telling the public.
Western mainstream media has been shamelessly willing to uncritically publish anything the Zelensky and his government say, so they might be forgetting about the reality of the situation.
Zelensky’s demands for Russians to surrender do not match his pleas for help from NATO, but they do imply an unwillingness to negotiate an end to the war.
Ukraine has undoubtedly won the information war; in fact, Russia seems to have hardly bothered to try to present itself in a favorable light beyond its own borders.
Unfortunately for Kiev, overwhelming public support in the West and on social media cannot actually stop enemy tanks and airstrikes.
Is there a plan?
As a former actor Zelensky may just be playing his part for Western audiences which have already shown that this kind of rhetoric is very attractive.
The president might not even be making the important decisions; nonetheless, someone in Kiev has to make those decisions or the death toll will mount and more of the country will fall to the Russians.
Ordinary Ukrainian soldiers are fighting tenaciously to hold back the Russian offensive, but their political leadership has been almost exclusively focused on calling for help from NATO.
Now that Zelensky has repeatedly admitted that they will not be getting it, it’s difficult to see any reasonable explanation for the aggressive stance he still takes at other times.
The Ukrainians have shown no signs of having a comprehensive military strategy to defeat the Russians and there seems to be little enthusiasm for serious negotiations, as these will inevitably involve giving in to some of Putin’s demands.
With no apparent endgame in mind that doesn’t involve bringing NATO into the war, Zelensky and his government will eventually be forced to admit that they are dragging out the inevitable.