17 thoughts on “What’s Ahead in the War in Ukraine

  1. “This focus on controlling the people and narratives in Ukraine hints at the second variable Mearsheimer ignores in his construct: Putin has long feared that popular resistance to his increasingly authoritarian rule at home would spread if Ukraine and other ex-Soviet republics grew too close to the West. Former Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul pointed this out (correctly, in my view) when he faulted Mearsheimer in 2014 for not looking at the whole picture. “Russian foreign policy did not grow more aggressive in response to U.S. policies,” McFaul wrote. “It changed as a result of Russian internal political dynamics.”

    https://www.russiamatters.org/analysis/whats-missing-mearsheimers-analysis-ukraine-war

    This was an article deeper unto your site. I think this analysis is more accurate. The fear of NATO expansion as an existential threat is not the primary driver of Putin’s war. It is that letting Ukraine follow a more free, democratic Western style governance would undermine his rule at home as Russians see what a bad deal they are getting under Putin.

    So where does NATO and the US fit in this? From an international relations point of view, the idea that a large nation can just pulverize a neighboring state because of internal political issues has to be discouraged. It is a repeat of WW2. This is made even more egregious by nuclear capabilities. This makes Russia no better than the idea of Iran getting the “Islamic Bomb” to cement respect through fear.

    MAD policies do not work when fanatics hold a finger on the nuclear button. Putin is just such a person. Which puts the West in a peculiar situation. No longer a Cold War standoff. Instead, Putin is in our living room wearing a suicide vest ranting about lost empires. Yet, at some point, expansion by force needs to be stopped in the modern world.

    Tough nut, no doubt. Yet watching Putin throw citizens, conscripts and prisoners into the maw because he has so many is indicative to the rest of the world that he has to lose. Global problems such as refugees, economics, climate shifts, sustainable foods need cooperative focus, not wars by whim to keep dictators in power. Certainly not a dictator who does not even value the lives of his own citizens, or even supporters should they waver at all.

    IMO

    Liked by 2 people

    1. RE: “This was an article deeper unto your site. I think this analysis is more accurate.”

      The two analyses are not really comparable. The focus of one is military operations. The focus of the other is Russian politics.

      Even so, the political analysis — written last June — has been overtaken by events. In a recent interview Angela Merkel explained that the NATO countries used the Minsk agreements (2014/15) to stall Russia for time in order to build Ukraine’s army. Then a few days ago, Ukraine’s Defense Minister made headlines by claiming that Ukraine has become a de facto member of NATO.

      In other words, the existential threat of NATO expansion turned out to be a material reality. Had France and Germany, mediators of the Minsk agreements, not been duplicitous; had Ukraine ceased bombing the Donbas, Russia would have had no excuse for invading Ukraine in 2022.

      At this point it doesn’t matter much how the war started. Since Americans are spending a lot of money to keep it going we should at least understand how our money is being used. In my view our money is being wasted and causing bloody harm to the Ukrainian people.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “ In a recent interview …”

        By 2015, Russia had already invaded Ukraine in Crimea and Donbas.

        Putin’s excuse about NATO is just that. Just the fact that some Eastern European countries joined was not to invade Russia, but to defend against Putin’s expansionist actions.

        Putin doesn’t care about Donbas as anything more than a stepping stone to acquire Ukraine.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. RE: “Putin doesn’t care about Donbas as anything more than a stepping stone to acquire Ukraine.”

        If he wants it so bad, let him have it. The choice for us is between defending Ukraine or starting WWIII.

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        1. Easy for you to say, you’re not Ukrainian.

          The breakup of the USSR was a relief to many of the vassal states like Poland, Baltic States, Romania, etc. the last thing they want is a takeover by Russia. Georgia, Chechnya and now Ukraine shows that Putin wants it all.

          He is depending upon nuclear extortion to allow his miserable, inept army and cutthroat mercenaries the edge to destroy what he has trouble getting.

          Isolationism will not lessen the danger, IMO

          BTW, your point, “the choice for us is between defending Ukraine or starting WWIII”, is clear. Defending Ukraine is much better than WWIII, which is probably what would happen a few years down the road should Putin prevail.

          Liked by 2 people

        2. I don’t share your confidence in knowing the mind of Putin. Also, I am strongly disinclined to make life-and-death, or even ideological, decisions based on speculative psychology.

          But this always happens. I post information describing military conditions in Ukraine, and someone inevitably wants to talk, instead, about how evil Putin is. To cut through the fantasy and self-delusion, let me point out that evil bullets kill as easily as good ones.

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          1. War is between nations. Not just militaries. Ukraine has the will, Russia does not. There will soon be regime change in Russia and Ukraine will be made whole. IMHO.

            Your idea of stabbing Ukraine in the back for the sake of Putin is despicable.

            Liked by 2 people

          2. War is an extension of politics. The military situation is important, no doubt. But as we have seen, Putin had the obviously “superior” military in both talent, size and capabilities. It has failed miserably to take a country 1/4 its size in almost a year of bloody fighting.

            Yes, your comment from the site paints a pragmatic picture of what should never have happened. So we have to ask ourselves, why is Russia having such a hard time subduing a nation using the same tactics that worked in Georgia and Chechnya?

            Europe does not want Russia to increase its border proximity to Union and NATO nations. Not hard to fault them particularly since Putin’s real goal is obvious since 2014.

            Given that, why should Ukraine give up and Europe allow the threats of a expansionist dictator get closer and closer? Would that be in the West’s interests? After the first few weeks, certainly months, it is obvious that a closer Russia is definitely the precursor to major war in the future.

            I fervently disagree with the assertion that Putin should be an ally. Russia maybe, but the present leadership has squashed that possibility.

            IMO

            Liked by 2 people

          3. RE: “So we have to ask ourselves, why is Russia having such a hard time subduing a nation using the same tactics that worked in Georgia and Chechnya?”

            No, we don’t. Besides, as my source article makes clear, Russia isn’t having a hard time at all. It is actively and predictably achieving its stated goal of demilitarizing Ukraine.

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          4. “Russia isn’t having a hard time at all.”

            Good grief. Rusia is having a VERY hard time trying to subdue Ukraine. Saying they are not could not be more foolish.

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          5. I thought to goal was deNazification. So now we are demilitarizing?

            Of course the real goal is re-militarization with Russians, conscripts and criminals.

            Liked by 1 person

          6. Western sources from all over put Russian troop fatalities at well over 100,000. Add in 1000’s of tanks, troop carriers, artillery, etc.

            The last Russian fatality admission was last September at around 6000, 4 months ago. Even that is astounding for a “cakewalk” war to denazify a sliver of eastern Ukraine.

            Conscripts, prisoners and mercenaries called in after a few months are not signs of success by any stretch.

            Liked by 1 person

          7. RE: “Western sources from all over put Russian troop fatalities at well over 100,000. Add in 1000’s of tanks, troop carriers, artillery, etc.”

            You are misinformed. But you are also missing an important point the analysis I posted makes that Ukraine has run out of reservists to mobilize, whereas Russia has an ample supply.

            One of the reasons I posted the source is that it shows that Russia has resources in depth to continue the battle whereas Ukraine’s resources are nearly depleted. Many Americans are loath to accept this reality. Most probably don’t even know this reality exists.

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          8. “Not according to the source article I posted.”

            Then obviously your reading comprehension is at a very low level because your “source” said no such thing.

            Like

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