Putin was wrong to think that the invasion of Ukraine would go as planned. Russian soldiers were told that they were planning to go on maneuvers towards the West, a new Zapad exercise. A few hours before the hostilities began, they were told that the Ukrainian Slav brothers – after being freed from the neo-Nazi and pro-Western clique that oppressed them – would welcome them with open arms. They were treated with Molotov cocktails, missiles, and other ill-treatment. Many conscripts believed that Russians are the same people. Effectively, The existence of a national Ukrainian sentiment is a hypothesis that has yet to be proven. But now we all know – Russians, Westerners and even the Ukrainians themselves – that this feeling exists, and is strong enough to risk one’s life in its defense. The motivation to fight is different for each side. A Russian soldier may be full of doubts, while a Ukrainian soldier will have patriotic love. This explains why the blitzkrieg that Putin promised his troops and conceived is becoming more bloody and less predictable than he imagined.
One wonders if the sacrifices made by the Ukrainian Army and people will be of any use if Russia’s military might prevail. No matter how much a people fights to preserve its identity, it is still important. He does it not rationally, but emotionally.This question has elicited a unequivocal yes. We will need to expand our focus to make this plausible. A Russian victory and occupation in the Ukraine will likely be followed by a guerrilla rebellion fueled by those who witnessed the heroic surrender to a democratic Army or Government. This scenario of a general popular uprising – supported by NATO with funds, weapons and intelligence – will emerge when Russian and allied forces are separated only by a narrow line; it will therefore be highly unstable and dangerous. The possibility of a Third World War and nuclear weapons being used on both sides makes it dangerous. Ideal would be to never reach this stage, or at the very least, not to get there as soon as possible. This would allow trade sanctions to slow Putin down. It is vital that the Ukrainian Army resists as long as they can, in order to make the Russians feel the gradual financial and commercial bite in the flesh. My estimate is that this should take about a year to complete.
President Biden declared –perhaps a bit naively– that the US was not going to fight on Ukrainian soil. Naivety is because not all truths need to be made clear or you would never be able to play poker. Biden as well as Putin are aware that a nuclear conflict will not result in a winner. All of us will be losers. But this does not prevent – at least the Russian satrap – from playing poker with the deck of nuclear threats. The West has no other weapons than sanctions against Russia to try and put out Putin’s lanterns. However, it can maximize the conventional deterrence level by sending combat troops into Eastern European countries in order to increase the level of conventional defense.
A joint European-American initiative has agreed to financial sanctions that have a profound effect on the collapse in the ruble and on the Moscow stock exchange. They also affect the savings and banks of Russian citizens. This makes foreign transactions extremely difficult, and thus, hampers Russian trade. Many Western companies have stopped doing business in Russia, voluntarily and without being forced to do so. However, direct commercial sanctions will be the most damaging to the Russian economy. They are especially directed against crude oil and gas, which is the main source of Russian export earnings. Putin can use the money he gets from the sale 5 million barrels per day of crude oil in Europe to finance his nuclear weapons attack on us and the invasion of Ukraine. We are also being blackmailed by the European sale of natural gaz. He recommends that we avoid these dependences by reaching agreements, first with Iran, then with Venezuela and Iran. Then, he asks the US to expand its production using the “fracking” process. One could argue that Iran and Venezuela are “bad”, but they don’t have nuclear weapons at the moment. It would be a good idea to look for the less evil. This would mean that it would be necessary, and will take approximately six months to reach agreements with them. It will be challenging to reach agreements with Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the Emirates to increase their production. They would also violate OPEC. It is possible to achieve it within the same time frame, if the Biden Administration works diligently. As for increasing the internal production of fuels in the US, it will require delaying the deadlines towards “green” energy that are so dear to some of President Biden’s co-religionists. Europeans will have to do their homework and reduce our energy consumption. We Westerners should therefore set ourselves a reasonable deadline – around six months, for example – to replace all the fuels that come to us from Russia. If we are able to put on the marketplace a volume equivalent to the Russian fuels that we currently sell to us, it will lower the prices and, thus, the money used to finance Putin’s war adventures. We should not leave clients like China without fuel. We must stop Mr. Putin believing that we are trying to overthrow his regime. Putin is bad. But what he can do to replace him could be worse, as the Russians have deep roots of revenge. Russia must give Russia an extra year to examine where its imperial nostalgia has led. The Ukrainian Army’s resistance is giving the world a deadline for avoiding a worldwide tragedy. They should be praised greatly.