On a recent talk show I heard, participants were talking about an issue I’ve been thinking myself of for a few weeks now: What’s Putin’s plan if and after Russia attains its military goals in Ukraine? Seen Biden & Associates’ resolute will to keep fueling the conflict until the last Ukrainian soldier, when and how can the Kremlin put an end to the hostilities? How do they extricate themselves from this war?
This seems like a difficult dilemma, and those guys at the talk show were elaborating on the very same reasons and arguments I had been considering. Of course, noone in the West knows what’s on Putin’s head. Maybe we can have an idea of what were his goals when the special operation on the Donbass was launched: liberate the Lugansk and Donetsk people’s republics, secure those territories as a Russian-friendly “buffer zone” and, somehow, force Kiev’s government to agree on Ukraine never becoming a NATO ally. But things, apparently, are not going that way. Perhaps -and only perhaps– Putin, underestimating his enemies’ drive, counted on a faster occupation of LPR and DPR, and on a reasonably early capitulation of the Ukrainian troops; perhaps, too, the folks at the Kremlin miscalculated USEurope’s staunch, unwavering and unlimited support -military and economical- of Zelenski’s regime. Whatever it be, in view of how the warlike events are unfolding, it’s reasonable to assume that, along the past weeks, there must have been changes in Russia’s schemes; but we can only wild-guess about them.
To this end, let’s put ourselves in a relatively pushy scenario: let’s suppose that, at present, Putin’s goal is not just to liberate the Donbass, but also to occupy Ukraine’s southern stripe along the Azov and Black seas (so as to build a landbridge all the way to Transnistria); and let’s suppose that the Russian troops achieve this goal — which they’ll eventually do unless the NATO gets directly involved. All right: but what then? War is a very democratic event, since the enemy always has a say in it. Thus, though we can unilaterally decide when to start a war, we cannot decide on when to finish it, unless our opponent got totally annihilated. So: what happens after Russia successfully takes the regions she wants — or we guess she wants? Putin won’t be in the position to simply say: “Hey!, I’m OK now; this is over. I’m withdrawing my troops. Let’s shake hands on your defeat, and remember to behave from now on.” No; this probably won’t happen because Zelenski is encouraged (to say it gently) by his warmonger patrons to keep fighting to the last soldier, and so, as long as there remains Kiev-ruled Ukrainian land and one private able to shoot, there won’t be any capitulation and no end to the conflict. What is Moscow going to do about that? Keep endlessly fighting? Because, no matter how powerful Russian army be, the amount of weapons and direct military support the West can provide Kiev with is limitless, and hostilities might go on forever regardless of Putin’s eventual intentions to end them. In the meantime, flanked by an increasingly hostile pack of US-spurred rabid hounds ready to perform false-flag attacks or even boldly engage in combat, how can Russia avoid a fatal escalation towards a war with NATO?
This being -it seems to me- a reasonably impending scenario, Moscow will ultimately find herself in a dire strait, with no easy way out. Is it plausible that Putin didn’t for a moment consider the probability of that happening? Russians are known to excel in chess. If a layman like me can see the forthcoming dilemma I’ve just depicted, how come that the crew of accomplished professionals at the Kremlin, who undoubtedly considered all the possible courses and outcomes of their bellicose initiative twenty moves in advance, were not able to predict it? They can’t be that dumb to not having anticipated the chance of a NATO-backed Ukraine never yielding to their demands. Do they keep an ace on their sleeve?
Again: had it been just me wondering about this questions, I would’ve probably ended up dessisting from solving the riddle because I’m way too uninformed for that. But it turns out, quite a few analysts and reporters are discussing exactly the same subject, yet they seemed to be as helpless and clueless as I was to find an answer.
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Musing on that issue, this sudden idea dawned on me: What if I’m focusing on the wrong question? I mean: what if the point is not whether Putin had thought of a feasible plan for ending the conflict when needed, but whether he had any better choice than striking the first blow? Which less risky options he had? When the chess match is inevitable, perhaps the only thing one can decide is to choose whites and open the game, in order to at least have that little advantage of the first move. But then… was the match inevitable?
Along the past weeks, one thing has become evident to any informed citizen: this is a proxy war, fought against Russia by Ukraine on behalf of the US and UK (in collusion with their European subordinates). Not only Joseph Biden, but other Western politicians have unveiled themselves on various occasions when openly stating that the point is to weaken Russia and to remove Putin from power. Here and there, we see governments and influential individuals stop pretending and begin to openly state their goal of a regime change in Russia. A few days ago, for instance, in the Davos forum George Soros declared that “Ukraine is fighting our war“.
On the other hand, some time before the conflict, there had been arms shippings to Kiev, NATO troops gathering on on the east, alongside with exercises and training the Ukrainian military for a potential war with Russia, plus other unfriendly moves (arguably because ‘Russia moved first’). Let’s also remember that, quite opportunely, the tension grew (and the hostilities begun) right when the Nordstream 2 gas pipe was about to be open; an event that would enormously have benefitted economically both Europe and Russia, and strenghten their relations… to the disadvantage of Uncle Sam’s liquefied gas exports and to the regret of its military industrial complex. We all witnessed Biden say, in front of Germany’s chancellor Scholz (and to his utter shame), that the pipeline would not go forward.
Furthermore, there is an undenied decades-long Angloamerican project (design, scheme, name it as you like) to split Russia into smaller states for better exploiting and seizing her natural resources by the big corporations. Since Vladimir Putin came to power and put an end to the Yeltsin politics of selling Russia out (which Western “entrepreneurs” profited for looting and bleeding the country dry), the hostilities towards Moscow have only increased year by year. The Atlantic alliance, whose very existence stopped being justified once the Soviet regime collapsed, has however kept expanding eastwards. The 2014 Maidan coup was fostered by the US and the Global Agenda in order to place some subservient pawn in Kiev, after wich Ukraine’s population got radicalized and the Russian border destabilized. We can go further back in time, to the 2003 Orange Revolution, for an instance of the US meddling in Kiev’s government. One needs to be blind for not seeing that Putin’s regime has been harassed for almost two decades, and it doesn’t take much to guess what the ultimate purpose is: corner the Bear and trigger his reaction. Even the very politically correct and globalism subordinate Pope Francis recently said that NATO was “barking at Putin’s door“. Now, on the plea of Russia’s special operation on Ukraine, Sweden, and most of all Finland, who have for decades been neutral and thus coexisted in perfect peace with its eastern neighbour, have been strongly pressed by the US, to their own disadvantage and utter danger, to join the Treaty…
When, at the beginning of this conflict, I heard Putin describe the special military operation as “a preentive attack”, I deemed it an overstatement mostly to better gain his people’s support. But now, having read about the recent history quite a bit, I wonder whether he was, after all, telling the truth? Quite plausibly, sooner or later the NATO would have found its way to trigger a war with Russia or, at least, to overthrow her present regime. The chessboard was being placed right onto Putin’s table, and he was inexorably pushed towards it. The match was inescapable. Perhaps, then, the only thing he could do was to sit down, choose whites and get a chance to win.
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If all the above makes some sense, then the riddle with which I’ve opened this article becomes secondary: What’s Putin’s plan, if any, to extricate himself from this war? Well, if he felt pushed to it by the events, perhaps he simply thought: we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.