WASHINGTON (Realist English). An Inflexible Vladimir Putin indicates he is sticking with his go-slow war that results in ever more Western participation. In rare comments on the status of the war, Putin admitted it would likely be a “long process.”
Does Putin realize that by needlessly prolonging the conflict he is not only causing unnecessary Russian casualties, but also he could be putting his leadership in danger? Many Russians believe that Putin is making Russia look foolish by inability to bring the conflict to a victorious close. This might also affect recruitment. There is no pride for youth to be in a military force that does not defeat a third world country like Ukraine. Considerations of this sort together with the ability a prolonged conflict gives Washington to expand Western participation in the Ukraine conflict, while building up NATO forces on Russia’s borders, raise serious questions about the wisdom, if any, of Putin’s go-slow limited military intervention. Playing a goody two-shoes role at the expense of your own country doesn’t make sense. Does Putin understand that he cannot simultaneous be at war with Ukraine and protect Ukraine?
Putin seems to be extremely gullible when it comes to dealing with the West. If the West would let him, he would be continuing to supply them with oil and gas even as he is at war with them. Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel has just admitted that the West easily deceived Putin by pretending to go along with the Minsk Agreement, using it as a ploy to deter any Russian response to the murder of Donbass Russians until the West had built up the Ukraine military. Those 8 years Putin spent being fooled has made the conflict in Ukraine far different from what it would have been in 2014. Merkel said the Minsk agreement was “an attempt to give Ukraine time. Ukraine used this time to get stronger, as you can see today. The Ukraine of 2014/15 is not the Ukraine of today. As you saw in the battle for Debaltseve in early 2015, Putin could easily have overrun them at the time. And I very much doubt that the NATO countries could have done as much then as they do now to help Ukraine.”
Ukraine’s post-coup US installed president, Pyotr Poroshenko, confirms Merkel’s admission. RT reports: “Pyotr Poroshenko, who became president of Ukraine after the 2014 US-backed coup in Kiev, told a domestic audience in August 2015 that Minsk was a ruse to buy time for a military build-up. He admitted as much to the West in July 2022, in an interview with German media.”
Having wasted 8 years relying on peace diplomacy spurned by Washington, Putin then took half-way measures when Russian success required a quick and complete victory to prevent Washington’s involvement. Consequently, the problems for Russia have multiplied with an ever widening war leading, as Putin warns, to nuclear war.
Yet Putin sticks with a policy that has not worked for 8 years, a policy that plays into the hands of Washington’s neoconservatives.
Paul Craig Roberts is Doctor of Economics, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy in the Ronald Reagan administration. He is the author of the economic policy of the American government in 1981-1989, called “reaganomics”.