Welcome to the new Ice Age. Though the temperatures may be on the rise, and the Middle East is once again on fire, our era will be marked by conflicts frozen in place.

The good news is that it’s a manmade crisis—anthropogenic geopolitical cooling—and therefore it can be stopped. The bad news is we seem to have lost the will to do so.

It’s very easy to understand why frozen conflicts are increasing: The rogue states that power these conflicts have discovered that an Achilles heel of the American-led world order is that the United States considers a conflict that is frozen to be over, when in fact its status is precisely the opposite. These wars are locked in place in perpetuity.

President Biden claims to understand this, at least as it relates to Hamas’s perpetual war on Israel. But just as we have defended Biden when his actions have been better than his words, so too it’s impossible to ignore the administration’s movement away from its earlier, principled stance that a nation attacked has a right to win, and not merely survive, the ensuing war.

“A major military operation in Rafah would be a mistake, something we don’t support,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken is loudly warning Israel. “There’s a false choice involved. It is possible, and indeed necessary, to deal with the ongoing threat posed by Hamas, but without a major military operation.”

“Deal with the ongoing threat posed by Hamas” is quite the choice of phrase. In fact, the war aim is to destroy Hamas. Fewer words, clearer prose—Blinken needs an editor.

The entire point of this conflict is that there should never again be a threat posed by Hamas. There shouldn’t even be a Hamas. This is what happens when you invade a neighboring country, massacre innocents, take hostages—and then refuse to surrender and return those hostages.

Perhaps the administration is tired of this war and its toll on the president’s approval among people whose vote he should never want anyway. But this isn’t Blinken’s call to make—this is a war between Israel and Hamas, and a Western democratic country intervening in order to freeze the war in place and rescue Hamas is indefensible. We here in America don’t do our enemies’ dirty work for them.

Yet, today, there was the U.S. at the UN Security Council trying to push through a resolution calling for Israel to lay down its arms in an “immediate and sustained” ceasefire, which everyone involved clearly intends to make permanent. It was vetoed by Russia and China, ostensibly because it didn’t go far enough to tie the Jewish state’s hands behind its back.

Russia, of course, has practically built its foreign policy around the placement and maintenance of frozen conflicts. Vladimir Putin would prefer taking all of Ukraine by force instead of merely taking large chunks of it every few years, but he believes he’ll get there either way and a frozen war in Ukraine is as useful for his purposes as an occupation of the whole country anyway.

So it’s easy to see why Putin sees the new status quo as a victory. But why does Biden? The Financial Times reports that “the White House had grown increasingly frustrated by brazen Ukrainian drone attacks that have struck oil refineries, terminals, depots and storage facilities across western Russia, hurting its oil production capacity.… Oil prices have risen about 15 per cent this year, to $85 a barrel, pushing up fuel costs just as US President Joe Biden begins his campaign for re-election.”

So all the president has to do to get reelected, apparently, is help save Hamas and Russia from the wars they started, a deal he seems ready to make. More: “Washington is also concerned that if Ukraine keeps hitting Russian facilities, including many that are hundreds of miles from the border, Russia could retaliate by lashing out at energy infrastructure relied on by the west.”

The old slogan of “land of the free and home of the brave” has been replaced by “take what you want, just don’t hurt us.”

If Ukraine’s hands are going to be tied by American rope, there is nothing that will make Russia retreat to its prewar position. Perhaps future historians will find some humor in the fact that we won the Cold War only to create a world of frozen conflicts. I don’t think the Israelis or Ukrainians will.

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