Did Russia Strike Poland?

Immediate Consequences

Since it has been more than a week since the missile strike, we can, I think, safely rule out this incident spiraling into a general war between NATO and Russian forces. This is excellent news, since such a conflict might well involve nuclear weapons.

What has happened, however, is that the international community, which has already been tired of this conflict for some time, is even more wary of it. A general war between two European countries is bad enough. In fact, it is horrifying. Having that conflict spill over into neighboring countries poses general risk to the political and economic stability of the region, and, in particular, Poland. The Poles want nothing to do with a general ground war on their territory.

This general wariness, I think, might have nation-states on a global level less willing to talk to Russia about much of anything. Whether it’s organizing sports events, trade, or making alliances, dealing with a country that is a constant source of conflict is a drain. There are other examples of this, albeit more extreme. North Korea, for example, has long since tired the international system with its threats of nuclear war, and that’s one of the many reasons only their immediate neighbors ever bother much with the DPRK.

Medium-Term Consequences

Sadly, I think that the first consequence of this is a lengthening of the Ukraine-Russia conflict as a whole. While the Russian military seems to be weakening by the day- there have been sightings of men with rifles old enough to have been issued first by a Tsar- the fact that both belligerents seem ready, willing, and able to batter one another with missiles tells me that there is no immediate end in sight.

When the conflict does begin to drawn down, incidents like this one add distrust to any talks. For example, the Ukrainians have signaled that they are only willing to talk with Russia about an end to the war if those discussions are public. The want for transparency is understandable in light of all of what has happened, but it is also asking Russia to publicly admit a lot of fault. That will be even more difficult with both parties pointing fingers at each other over who launched the missile.

Sadly, the easiest to predict outcome of all of this is the continuance of the suffering of average people who are not unlike you and I. Two farmers who were going about their chores were killed, and they had not one thing to do with the conflict. Such events will continue to happen until the war ends, and likely a fair bit after considering how much un-exploded ordinance is likely to be left in the ground.

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