If you venture to suggest that NATO expansion has anything to do with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, you will be promptly informed that you’re a “Putin apologist” or that you’re peddling “pro-Putin talking points” (or some variation on this theme). The argument seems to be that, by suggesting Putin’s invasion was motivated – even in part – by anything other than bellicose revanchism, you’re absolving him of responsibility and even undermining the war effort. However, aside from being a blatant ad-hominem (most people, though not all, consider “Putin apologism” to be a
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