Ukrainian War: Putin is a student of history – so what does this tell us about the possible outcomes of the Russian invasion? | world news

The famous Prussian general Clausewitz said: “No one starts a war or rather, no one in his right mind should do so without first having clear in his mind what he intends to achieve by this war and how he intends to fight it. “.

by Putin the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine more than a year ago sparked a conflict that shows no signs of abating.

What is Putin trying to achieve, and how and when will this war end?

It would be easy to dismiss Putin’s invasion as irresponsible and irrational; however, Putin is a student of history – inspired by leaders such as Peter the Great and their territorial conquests – and having suffered the ignominy of the fall of the Soviet Union, he has made no secret of his desire to rebuild the former soviet empire.

Ukrainian personnel pose with a flag above a Challenger 2 tank during training at Bovington Camp, near Wool

Despite the poor performance of Russian military and the huge losses suffered, Putin has always referred to the Ukraine the invasion as a “special military operation” (not a war), thus allowing him to claim even modest territorial gains as a strategic success.

Formal securing of Crimea and a buffer zone (Donbass) between Russia and Ukraine (NATO), may seem like modest ambitions given the original intent, but it is an important stepping stone to Putin’s larger ambition.

To understand Putin’s motives, history provides some context.

In November 1939, the Soviet Union felt vulnerable – Leningrad was only 20 miles from the Finnish border – and following a “false flag” operation, the Soviets invaded Finlandtriggering the Winter War.

Please use Chrome browser for more accessible video player

Has Russia launched a “false flag” operation?

Despite superior military strength, the Soviets suffered huge casualties and their army performed poorly.

The League of Nations (precursor to the United Nations) declared the invasion illegal and expelled the Soviet Union from its ranks.

But, with the Finnish forces exhausted and the Red Army badly maimed, just over three months later the Moscow Peace Treaty was finally concluded.

Click to subscribe to Ukraine War Diaries wherever you get your podcasts

Finland ceded 9% of its territory and the Soviets achieved their goal – the parallels with the Russia/Ukraine conflict are palpable.

When Hitler invaded Europe, as when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, defeating and deposing the aggressor was the only way to secure peace.

Iraqi President Saddam Hussein stands near an Iraqi flag, January 17, 2002. Marking the 11th anniversary of the Gulf War, President Saddam Hussein said on Thursday his country was prepared and would thwart any further military attack United States against Iraq in the context of a war against terrorism.  REUTERS/INA/POOL fk/CRB

However, defeating and overthrowing Putin – with the risk of a nuclear Armageddon – is not a credible goal.

Unless Russia is entirely expelled from Ukrainian soil (unlikely), Putin will claim a victory.

Learn more:
What would Russian success mean for Western security?
Ukraine invasion shattered Russia’s illusion of invincibility

When Putin deems his military to be at its climax, expect him to seek a negotiated peace, with Ukraine – like Finland before ceding territory.

President Zelensky would never want to compromise given the immense national sacrifice to date.

However, the West knows that its military support for Ukraine is time-limited and risks perpetuating an unwinnable war.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy attends a news conference on the first anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Kiev, Ukraine February 24, 2023. REUTERS /Gleb Garanich

Publicly, Western politicians will remain supportive, but privately they expect increasing pressure on Zelensky to end the conflict – a war Ukraine will struggle to win.

In return, the West will seek to provide long-term security guarantees and provide financial support to allow Ukraine to rebuild, with the potential to become one of the most modern and economically powerful nations in the world. Europe – as Germany did after World War II.

As the war enters its second year, the West risks perpetuating a conflict that Russia cannot lose and Ukraine cannot win; accordingly, expect to see growing international pressure for a negotiated end to hostilities.

The West must then ensure that the long-term legacy of Russia’s invasion decision is so damaging that the strategic consequences far outweigh the immediate territorial gains.

Failure would risk further emboldening Russia (and even China), with huge implications for future global security.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

GreenLeaf Tw2sl