” . . . . “More than half of the goods and services flowing into Russia come from 46 or more countries that have levied sanctions or trade restrictions, with the United States and European Union leading the way,’’ The Washington Post reported, citing the economic research firm Castellum.ai.
The Post story added: “In a televised speech Thursday, a defiant Russian President Vladimir Putin seemed to acknowledge the country’s challenges. He said the widespread sanctions would force difficult ‘deep structural changes in our economy’ but vowed that Russia would overcome ‘the attempts to organize an economic blitzkrieg.’ Putin added: “It is difficult for us at the moment. Russian financial companies, major enterprises, small- and medium-sized businesses are facing unprecedented pressure.”
So, there you have the question of the hour: Will the pressure on NATO countries from all the refugees that Putin’s war machine is creating — more and more each day — trump the pressure being created on his stalled army on the ground in Ukraine and on his economy back home — more and more each day?
The answer to that question should determine when and how this war ends — whether with a clear winner and loser or, maybe more likely, with some kind of dirty compromise tilted for or against Putin.
I say “maybe” because Putin may feel he cannot tolerate any kind of draw or dirty compromise. He may feel that anything other than a total victory is a humiliation that would undermine his authoritarian grip on power. In that case, he could opt for a plan C — which, I am guessing, would involve air or rocket attacks on Ukrainian military supply lines across the border in Poland.
Poland is a NATO member, and any attack on its territory would require every other NATO member to come to Poland’s defense. Putin may believe that if he can force that issue, and some NATO members balk at defending Poland, NATO could fracture. It would certainly trigger heated debates inside every NATO country — especially in the United States — about getting directly involved in a potential World War III with Russia. No matter what happens in Ukraine, if Putin could splinter NATO, that would be an achievement that could mask all his other losses.
If Putin’s plans A, B and C all fail, though, I fear that he would be a cornered animal and he could opt for plan D — launching either chemical weapons or the first nuclear bomb since Nagasaki. That is a hard sentence to write, and an even worse one to contemplate. But to ignore it as a possibility would be naïve in the extreme.” -30-
There were good comments about announcing we will use Russian money that we have frozen, to completely rebuild Ukraine, and then return to Russia what is left. Maybe $650 billion– won’t be much left after the rebuilding and reparations.
I still like the idea of a NATO no fly zone now, for the Ukraine. If NATO doesn’t do it now, maybe they will do it later, after the Ukraine is destroyed, for Putin’s next acquisition. He is know to have list of targets. Apparently, Gen. Wesley Clark agrees. Here is a comment I endorsed”
Gen. Wesley Clark on CNN today: “This is Ukraine’s airspace. This is not Russia’s airspace. You have to put the onus for the escalation on Russia.” I believe he was talking about the MiG-29s, but he could just as well have been talking about a no-fly zone. The fact is, Ukraine never invited Russia into its airspace. Ukraine HAS invited us into its airspace—nay, pleaded with us to fly into its airspace. And yet we’re supposed to accept Vladimir Putin’s terms of engagement that WE’RE the ones who are escalating?! But never mind putting American pilots in harm’s way, where are the drones and missiles we could be firing into Ukraine—not Russia—at Ukraine’s invitation? What about the long-range missiles we could provide the Ukrainians to sink the Russian navy bearing down on Odessa? We can control how and where we escalate. As Senator Ben Sasse said recently, “We’re a superpower, and Zelensky challenged us to act like it.” So what about the specter of a nuclear attack? Vladimir Putin’s desperate measures will not be a function of our having crossed some red lines that are well within the bounds of normal engagement. Will the entire Russian nuclear command sign a suicide pact just so one man is losing a war and feels cornered? The question is, do we have the courage to do the little it takes to win this war? Because I can guarantee you, if we don’t win it in Ukraine, we will have to find the courage to win it somewhere we will not be so able to distance ourselves from.