It’s going to be a different world when all this palaver with Ukraine is over: ‘Bad Boy’ Russia will be relegated back to its former cold war status, its economy in ruins and Herr Putin will become Public Enemy Number One. Ukraine, on the other hand will be rebuilt and remain an independent nation.
Wars are always messy: there is no such thing as a surgical war where nobody dies unless you discount, of course, the Taliban calmly walking into Kabul in Afghanistan, without a single shot fired, following the Allied Forces’ withdrawal in 2021. We have all seen the horrific images coming out of Ukraine forcing strict sanctions on Russia and Putin’s henchmen, the Oligarchs.
The war is not popular in Russia, partially because nobody wants it and the Russian Army’s inability to swiftly execute an invasion and be done with it; images of Russian soldiers being captured, starving and crying for their mums, not to talk of the ones lying dead where they fell, is not proving popular back home (to save on bringing body bags back home Herr Putin has sent a couple of mobile crematoriums to Ukraine).
A lot of heads will roll in Russia over this failure of an invasion of a sovereign nation which should have been done in time before the rest of the world had a chance to react. What should have been a swift, surgical operation has turned into a farce played out for the whole world to see: no key ground has been taken, the Ukraine government is still intact and governing and the people are fighting back. As a result, Putin has resorted to underhand tactics by bombing civilians’ and threatening to play the nuclear card. If he was hoping to solicit a confrontation with NATO and the rest of the World he has failed: no foreign boots are on the ground (unofficially it’s believed British and American Special Forces are already dug in) and neither are there any foreign warbirds in the air. Supplies are covertly getting in but that’s it. Sadly, its led to a humanitarian refugee crisis never before seen since the Second World War.
And the Endgame?
One of the first rules of engagement is to assess the strength of your enemy. You don’t assume: assumption is the Mother of all F*ck-ups! Goliath made the same mistake. Thinking the Ukraine army would be a pushover and embarking upon an invasion without a clear roadmap using sub-standard equipment (apparently somebody embezzled the money earmarked for modernizing their gear!) with third rate soldiers, or conscripts, was a major mistake.
Putin, by now, has realized that he can’t take Ukraine – unless he flattens the place – despite whatever he throws at them, including his ‘bully-boy’ tactics of shelling innocent civilians, rounding them up and sending them to remote places in Russia, and the extensive use of banned or exotic weaponry. He can’t use the Nuclear option since he knows the West’s response against Russia will be swift and brutal. He knows the people of Ukraine will never surrender. He knows the sanctions imposed upon Russia will cripple his country and turn his own people against him. And he also knows it’s a matter of time before there’s a palace coup to remove him from office.
With his options limited, and fast diminishing, he’ll have to opt for a tactical withdrawal, neither admitting success or defeat, probably after the intervention of China or the UN acting as mediators.