The early results are in and could hardly be clearer: The much-dreaded Russian version of a shock-and-awe campaign to subdue Ukraine has failed.
No one knows exactly what will happen next, but the Ukrainian people have just offered a robust rebuttal to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s claim that they are not members of a real nation. As the entire world has now seen from the first days of the conflict, their patriotism and valor in standing up to a far larger and better-armed Russian adversary caused the invaders to bog down and lose momentum. Most observers, not least Putin himself, thought that Kyiv would fall quickly, and yet a week into this conflict, Russia has still failed to capture even a single major city.
For those who see Putin as he deserves to be seen—a dangerous and power-deluded man—this is not yet the time for unreserved celebration, nor even great optimism about the future of Ukraine. And yet much has changed in remarkably little time as a result of Russia’s foolhardy adventure, and it is not too early to begin to assess some long-term consequences that will flow from this aggression.