Ever since the latest Russian troop build-up began on the border of the Ukraine, I’ve been skeptical about Vladimir Putin’s intentions. Would the megalomaniac intentionally start a continental or world war by invading a sovereign country? Doubtful.
I appreciate Russian angst about having a country loyal to the West on its border, or part of NATO. And it doesn’t surprise me that Putin wants to stop any former SSR’s from joining NATO, but are these reasons to start a war?
The downsides to Russia initiating a conflict and occupying a country include extraordinarily costs, maybe more than Russia can afford. At today’s oil prices, perhaps Russia has the cash flow to fund a war and an occupation for a short time. But what if oil prices decrease markedly or the West effectively closes the North Stream 2 pipeline, a major source of revenue for Russia?
The US may also cut off Russia’s access to the world banking system and abscond funds from Putin’s oligarch friends.
What if Biden gains the cooperation of other peace-loving countries against Russia? This existential danger to Russia could affect Putin’s ability to sustain his regime.
Yesterday, I read in the newspaper that Putin’s advisors are saying there are still a number of possible diplomatic solutions to the dispute. Seems to me that Biden has the upper hand and should not let Russia off the hook.
The dangers of an expansion of hostilities is more likely to occur if each party (the US and Russia), continues to mobilize troops, planes, ships and armaments. An invasion by Russia of a sovereign nation is one of the most audacious moves Putin could make. He will be demonized by all of Europe and the US.
Why is this happening now? Russia, and China for that matter, believe the US has weak leadership. It’s not a coincidence that both countries are acting far more aggressive than before the election. Biden has proven he is not up to the job of controlling and manipulating our greatest enemies. Incidentally, the actions of Iran (producing a nuclear weapon) and North Korea (launching ballistic rockets) are further evidence of American weakness.
I’m going out on a limb, but I don’t think Russia will invade the Ukraine, especially if given a chance to save face. Biden must make some minor concessions to Putin, and visa versa, to prevent the relatively minor dispute from mushrooming into a calamity.