Why Putin’s Ukraine bluff will probably fail

If Russia's President Vladimir Putin invades Ukraine, he will become a pariah to the Western world and a new cold war will descend on his relationships with European nations.

NATO will be strengthened with Finland joining in and unconquered parts of western Ukraine may also join NATO eventually.

Ukraine is a huge country, and about 120 thousand Russian troops may not be able to cover all of Ukrainian territory and occupy all of it.

This may result in a western and eastern Ukraine split much like Germany was split in two after World War II. So, if Ukraine fights back hard, the net military effect will be a partial incursion and a sore wound for Russia on into the foreseeable future.

China is now a potential escape route around monetary economic sanctions which the West may impose, but China will have a hard time fulfilling. China itself is having hard economic times and can be no real guarantee against economic hardship for Russia in the long run.

Germany may decide to go nuclear in its power generation to wean itself off of Russian dependence on oil and gas if Russia militarily invades Ukraine so future German empathy for Russia may fade in the long run.

Tyrant Putin fears a democratic Ukraine with a strong military presence that could reach Moscow in five minutes' time with rockets, so a threat to Putin and future Russian tyrants is real. In reality, the future of Russian politics will probably be determined by Putin’s action or inaction in Ukraine. If Putin succeeds in getting concessions from Ukraine politically with or without military intervention, then his tyranny is guaranteed. If he fails, then his political future is in doubt and that of all future Russian autocrats.

China recently stated that Putin’s demands should be seriously considered so we know where China stands, obviously supporting another tyrant state.

War is costly economically and with the high price of oil and gas Russia is currently sitting pretty as long as the world continues to buy it from Russia. In the short run, you can ask why Russia would want to jeopardize its current strong economic trade with Europe and the world? A drawn-out war in Ukraine would mean economic hardship for the people of Russia and the people of Ukraine.

Russia's foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov on Jan. 28 said that Russia does not want war with Ukraine and President Zelensky of Ukraine said not to panic as tensions subside so it seems that war is not as imminent as suspected. When Russia invaded Crimea, Russian soldiers in uniform were not used to take over Crimea and the Russian people were prepped with propaganda about a possible takeover.

One of the prime factors in war is the element of surprise and Russia no longer has the element of surprise about a Ukraine invasion with its prolonged buildup of forces along the Ukraine border. Neither have the Russian people been primed for a Ukraine invasion with Russian propaganda. If Ukraine is invaded, then it will not be a devastating surprise Blitzkrieg invasion that the Germans were so famous for.

There is a big difference between being a threatening bully and being a violent bully and I don’t think Putin is that concerned about saving face like Xi Jinping is, if he decides not to invade Ukraine. I think Putin is more of a pragmatic tyrant than a delusional one with megalomaniac dreams of conquering the world, so he probably will not invade Ukraine even though he would savor a political victory if he could get away with it by mere bullying.

I wrote a previous article on Ukraine and predicted a greater than 50/50 probability for an invasion. Having studied the situation more thoroughly I now conclude that the probability is less than 50/50. Of course, I could be wrong again but those are the perils of trying to predict the future actions of tyrants.

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