Will Putin be the “tzar” who finally lost Ukraine to the West?

Predicting if or when Russia will invade (some areas of) Ukraine is like predicting the moves of a grandmaster chess player who may suddenly decide to get more or less drunk (irrational) in the beginning, middle or end of the game. I say this as a compliment. It’s one of the reasons why cultural conservatives like Russia. The latter is not completely in the Enlightenment tradition, thank God.

Tzars in the past or communists like Khrushchev would not have allowed any Western country to form a military alliance with Ukraine, since it will bring (potential) enemy forces very close to Moscow.

NATO in Estonia is 158.8 km from St. Petersburg, and in the Wild West of Ukraine we see that NATO or private military companies are 527.2 km from Moscow. If American coastal states are first to achieve superior AI and create swarms of insect drones, the leadership in Kremlin can be eliminated relatively quickly.

Distance from Narva in Estonia to St. Petersburg is 158.8 km. Distance from Seredyna-Buda in Ukraine to Moscow is 527.2 km.

When Turkey contributes to building a militarily powerful Ukraine, together with arms transfer from the West, it’s only a matter of time before Ukraine becomes so mighty and unbeatable that it can join NATO and EU without Russia being able to stop it unless Kremlin wants to start a really big war.

Foreign Affairs:

Russia Won’t Let Ukraine Go Without a Fight

“Ominous signs indicate that Russia may conduct a military offensive in Ukraine as early as the coming winter. …” (…)

“Russia’s force posture does not suggest that invasion is imminent. Quite possibly, no political decision to launch a military operation has been made. That said, Russian military activity in recent months is well outside the normal training cycle. Units from thousands of miles have deployed to the Western Military District, which borders Ukraine. Armies from the Caucasus have sent units into Crimea. These are not routine training activities but rather an effort to preposition units and equipment for potential military action. Furthermore, many of the units appear to be moving at night to avoid closer scrutiny, unlike the previous buildup in March and April.” (…)

“What has changed over the past year? First, Russian strategy in Ukraine has not yielded a political solution that Moscow can accept. After a 2018 campaign that suggested some openness to dialogue, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s hard turn away from seeking a compromise with Russia a year ago eliminated any hope that Moscow can achieve its objectives through diplomatic engagement. Moscow sees no path out from Western sanctions, and talks between Russia, Ukraine, Germany, and France aimed at resolving the conflict in eastern Ukraine are going nowhere. As these political and diplomatic efforts flounder, Moscow knows that previous efforts to use force have paid dividends.”

“At the same time, Ukraine is expanding its partnerships with the United States, the United Kingdom, and other NATO states. The United States has provided lethal military assistance, and NATO is helping to train the Ukrainian military. These ties are a thorn in Moscow’s side, and Russia has slowly shifted from considering Ukraine’s membership in NATO as a redline to opposing the growing structural Ukrainian defense cooperation with its Western adversaries. From the Kremlin’s point of view, if Ukrainian territory is to become an instrument against Russia in the service of the United States, and the Russian military retains the ability to do something about it, then the use of force is a more than viable option.”

Gorbachev was tricked by NATO, and Yeltsin was drunk through the neoliberal shock doctrine years of the 1990s, leaving Putin as the only real leader which Russia has had in 30 years. It will therefore become part of Putin’s legacy, and part of Russian history, if Ukraine (practically) becomes a NATO member on Putin’s watch. He will be remembered as the shortsighted “tzar” who prioritized money, comfort and high-tech conveniences over the geopolitical vulnerability of Russia. My guess is that Putin will do relatively much to avoid a reputation like that.

Putin once said the collapse of the Soviet empire was “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century”. Does that sound like a man who is not concerned about geopolitics?

The West could forgive that Russia took back Crimea, since Khrushchev presupposed that the Soviet Union would never fall apart when he, as a formality, gave the peninsula to Ukraine. The EU and US will react strongly however if Kremlin takes the eastern half of Ukraine. The brains of leaders in America and Europe will blow a fuse, possibly explode too, for good measure. At least expect an economic blockade that will (gradually) cripple Russia, similar to how China will suffer a blockade if invading Taiwan.

The main question is whether Putin is a man of the 19th century or a boy of the 4IR (fourth industrial revolution). I’m not sure… In some regards he has often been reactive, not proactive, except in 2014, but that too was a reaction to years of NATO expansion. Then we have mischief and shenanigans but that don’t count for much. On the other hand: the leaders in Kremlin were partly responsible for horrible wars in Chechnya, have not stopped fighting in Syria, and now revived bare-knuckle boxing in Russia in addition to shooting down satellites. The Sun:

Inside Putin’s ‘Star Warrior’ weapon as Russia threatens to destroy 32 Nato satellites to cripple missile systems

Reuters:

Moscow says U.S. rehearsed nuclear strike against Russia this month

Russian-controlled forces in Donbass raise combat readiness – Ukraine

“Russian-controlled forces in eastern Ukraine are increasing combat readiness and have carried out large-scale exercises, the intelligence directorate of Ukraine’s defence ministry said on Tuesday, Kyiv’s latest warning of a potential new conflict.”

Russia says Western leaders are just hysterical drama queens, though (old) decadent woke hippie scaredy-cats is perhaps a more precise description. But even a timid person can pull a trigger or pay others to fight for him. Mobsters lost in hedonism, their bankers and nerdy tech accomplices, will fight to protect the rotten empires in the West. Will Putin resist them when Russia’s geopolitical security is on the line?

If there is a war in Ukraine it’s just simple logic that cultural conservatives can per definition not support Ukraine as long as Kyiv cooperates with anti-white, multicultural and woke EU/US. Robert Kaplan, author of The Revenge of Geography, talks about the EU Empire in this video from GEOPOP.

Conservatives who want to protect Christianity and the old cultures in the West have no other choice than to hope that Russia wins this conflict. But that doesn’t mean one has to support Kremlin from an ethical perspective. Real Christians don’t participate in any dogfight between empires. “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s” (Matthew 22:21).

By the way, it’s also possible that Russia and China just want to bleed the West economically when the US/EU are forced to spend billions on protecting their interests in Eastern Europe and East Asia. The bigger the powder keg, the louder the bang when it finally detonates. How much of the 4IR will then go up in flames? Are Silicon Valley, the City of London and Washington ready to get burned?

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