The New York Times published a story that suggests there is dissension brewing between Russian generals and Putin. The war in Ukraine is not proceeding well and some officials are playing the blame game. If the Russian effort continues to worsen, heads will roll. Hopefully, Putin will be among those who take a fall.
Some generals are criticizing the Russian effort. The war plan was supposed to be a bloodless takeover. When Ukrainians saw a massive invasion of tanks, armored carriers carrying 175,000 troops and fighter jets in their air space, they were expected to yield to the aggressors and put down their arms. Not so.
The opposite has occurred. With support from their friends, Ukrainians have stealthily held their ground and have inflicted massive casualties along with destruction of countless armed vehicles. Choosing to attack in the Spring was a bonehead decision because tanks cannot move effectively through wet areas. They are travelling on roads where guerrillas are ambushing them with anti-tank missiles provided by the US and other countries. To make matters worse, several generals have been killed while attempting to motivate the troops. This has resulted in serious morale issues that have been exacerbated by fuel and food shortages.
In general, no pun intended, the occupation is not a cakewalk because every able-bodied Ukrainian is fighting to protect his and her freedom. The response by Russian leadership has been to become more aggressive and crueler as time passes. Missiles launched by warships close to Ukraine, bombs by fighter planes and artillery shot by ground forces have been directed at civilian areas including hospitals, schools and residences. The result is an epic sprint to the border by those rendered homeless. When it’s over, millions of Ukrainians will be disbursed to countries across Europe.
There still is the existential threat of nuclear weapons weighing heavily on the minds of Europeans and the US. A fraudulent and unwise incursion by Russia could lead the world into a larger confrontation. In effect, a relatively minor incursion could result in a conflict with horrendous ramifications.
Back home in Mother Russia, Putin’s people are getting restless. The pocketbooks of many are being impacted by a seriously devalued currency, a devastated financial system and an inability to trade with other countries. Putin has responded by making it a crime to protest the government and has censored all news outlets. The actions will likely infuriate citizens and ultimately encourage regime change.
The scary question is, how will Putin react to his crumbling government? Will he resort to more violence directed at Europe and US? He has already communicated with Xi Jinping who should have warned Putin to avoid the use of nukes. Xi’s design of worldwide domination is not enhanced by Putin’s roguish actions. There have been no obvious offerings by China to assist Russia in its Ukrainian invasion.
Softball Politics published a blog on July 22, 2014, titled “Severe Economic Sanctions Could Bankrupt Russia And End The Conflict In Ukraine.” In it, financial sanctions were encouraged shortly after Russian-backed rebels in the Ukraine shot down a commercial airliner with a land missile. A Russian invasion of Crimea occurred soon after. The moral of the story is that EU and the US should have been imposing greater and greater sanctions against Russia to discourage future aggression eight years ago. The US did nothing more jawbone at the time. Our current president should learn from history that Putin and his war-mongering generals understand nothing other than brute force.