I agree with the majority of your post. Until factors change, I think Ukraine is lost to us as far as American/Western wishes are concerned. Unfortunately, while the sentiment supporting this move in Russia has been building, I believe we ourselves were the trigger. As Crowl asked in The Strategist’s Short Catechism, “How strong is the home front? Does public opinion support…?” As our early 21st-century “long wars” wind down, the American population is war-weary, and even if there were a compelling national interest (other than humanitarian) to go into Ukraine, I don’t think the public would support it. I think this widespread and widely-broadcast national feeling is the reason the Russians are going into Ukraine and the Chinese are aggressively expanding in the South China Sea; they know the US doesn’t have the stomach for it right now. If the administration wants to have any effect at tempering (notice I didn’t say “solving”) this situation, they need to come up with better execution of the other components of DIME-FIL than the military one, because they won’t have the backing for it. Unfortunately our diplomatic and other skills seem to be out of practice.
On another note, the move into Ukraine is the culmination (so far) of one heck of a Russian nationalistic build-up over the past few years; mostly military, with increased defense budgets and the resumption of air, surface and submarine maneuvers not seen since the 1980s. However, the Russian economy is still a catastrophe; how long will Putin be able to distract the masses with the Western bogeyman beating at the door before the Russian economy implodes a second time?
Vladimir Putin’s slow-rolling conquest of Ukraine has restarted openly today, with calls for an “independence referendum” for the newly declared “People’s Republic of Donetsk” in the East. It’s clear that Moscow intends to conquer something like half of Ukraine – through quasi-covert means if possible, by overt invasion if necessary. Regardless, this will place the West on a course for something like the Cold War 2.0 I’ve written about.
That notion is not accepted yet by many in the West, who seem not to understand Putin’s agenda. Among the doubters is President Obama, who dismissed the idea of a new Cold War with Russia, on the grounds that Putin has no ideology, so what’s there to fight about? As Obama put it recently, “This is not another Cold War that we’re entering into. After all, unlike the Soviet Union, Russia leads no bloc of nations. No global ideology. The…
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