War with Russia seems inevitable, if the West is to win
In a very real sense, the world democracies are already at war with Russia over Ukraine. NATO, the European Union and other nations scattered around the world have united to sanction Russia and many of its leaders. They have seized property. They are taking in Ukrainian refugees. They are providing humanitarian supplies. They are providing intelligence information. They are training Ukrainian soldiers. They are committing a massive amount of military equipment. And there are mercenaries from many western nations that have put boots on the ground in Ukraine. Russian soldiers are dying from bullets provided by the west.
All the aforementioned responses have been in the form of “mission creep.” The current level of sanctions was not imposed at the onset of the war. They evolved. Mission creep. The decision to send heavier and more offensive weapons – including fighter jets –was not made initially. Mission creep. Western weapons were not used to attack inside Russia. Now they are. Mission creep. Foreign mercenaries tacitly approved and supported by western nations were not involved in the early days of the war. Now they are. Mission creep. The original goal was to deter Russian expansion. Now the goal is to force Russia to withdraw from all Ukrainian territory. Mission creep.
The only element of war that is yet to be seen in Ukraine is the boots of western armies on the ground — and the pilots of western air forces in the air. And without that, Russia is poised to win the war.
War with Russia seems inevitable because Putin has shown a willingness and ability to escalate his genocidal war against the Ukrainian people no matter how much the western response creeps short of boots on the ground. AND …Putin has a LOT more escalating possibilities – more than the nuclear arsenal.
May 9th is Victory Day in Russia. Putin is planning to have a major declaration of victory for the Russian people. Certainly, he will brag about driving the “Nazis” out of Mariupol. He will talk about the gains Russia has made on the ground.
But perhaps the most important announcement could be an official declaration of war on Ukraine. So far, it is a “special Operation.” So, what is the difference, you ask? A BIG difference. A declaration of war would enable Putin to call out the Russian reserves – adding tens of thousands of boots on the ground and a virtually unlimited amount of military equipment – second-rate as it may be – into the conflict.
Without the boots and the wings of western fighters, Putin would eventually take over all of Ukraine and Moldova – and move Russia from a second-rate nation with a pipsqueak dictator to leading military and economic force in the world with a powerful leader – malignant as he may be. Most importantly, he would be a viable threat to the nations of eastern NATO – the old “captive nations” of Putin’s hibernating Soviet Union.
While there is a lot of talk about the necessity to defeat Russia, there is very little analysis of what that would take. The tough talk is merely aspirational – lacking a plan and a commitment. That is because a defeat of Russia means regime change – and no one is willing to talk about that out loud.
So, there ‘tis.
Part 2 will deal with the advantages Russia would gain if Putin can take Ukraine and Moldova. It is more than geography.