We don’t know what happened in Poland. We can be certain that Putin would never admit a mistake, because Putin can never be wrong, he can only be wronged. Thus was it ever in Russia, from the Tsars to the Soviets to whatever hybrid kleptodictatorship Putin has concocted.
But for those who don’t remember, on May 7, 1999, when NATO was ending the genocide in the former Yugoslavia, U.S. bombs accidentally hit the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, killing 3 people. To this day, many Chinese believe it was deliberate. China did not use the bombing as a pretext to provoke a hot war with NATO and the U.S. The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia later determined that the bombing was an accident.
The best reaction at moments like this is to go slowly. Remain calm. Let experts to their jobs.
With all due respect to some of the smartest people ever to post on this site, this is no time for a strategic or military shift. A no fly zone would remain what it has always been: a likely trigger to a hot war between NATO and a deranged Russian despot. Russia would violate a no fly zone. NATO forces would have a choice between backing down or shooting down Russian jets, killing Russian pilots. Game on. And at least millions of lives instantly at risk.
Ukraine is winning this war. The Russian retreat from Kherson is a much bigger deal than a lot of people realize, both strategically and in terms of undermining the Putin narrative about this war. Putin will grow more desperate. It’s possible that he will unequivocally escalate. That time has not come. It’s also possible that in the coming year or so Putin’s regime will implode. That time has not come, either. Meanwhile, let’s take time to figure out where we are.