If Vladimir Putin wins the war in Ukraine, it will spur him on to start a new one

After seven months of senseless bloodshed in Ukraine, the truism that war brings no good except its end is becoming more and more compelling. Unfortunately, Vladimir Putin’s penchant for malicious mischief still seems insatiable, as attested to by the absurd yet highly dangerous annexation of four regions of the occupied country.

All leaders of the free world are challenged by the deadly confluence of conscription, annexation, and the heightened risk of using nuclear weapons.

Preceded by mock referendums in the four regions now under Russian control, it represents an outrageous repetition of the illegal playbook Putin used in Crimea.

The grim reality of this move is that, in Putin’s distorted view, the stolen territory now falls under Russia’s nuclear umbrella.

When news of the division was announced last week in the course of the mobilization, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy coolly stated that Putin’s children would not be endangered.

As George Orwell wrote, “All the war propaganda, all the shouting and the lies and the hate, invariably comes from people who don’t fight.”

Such moral distinctions will mean nothing to the Russian President, who continues to bend reality to suit his delusions. He likely believes these moves put him in a stronger position militarily and diplomatically. What he has actually done is throw down a gauntlet on the world order. The more unstable it becomes, the more urgent it becomes for those not involved in the war to end it.

Moscow’s aggression is unbearable, but where should the wave of indignation stop screaming? US diplomat Jeane Kirkpatrick said we have war when at least one of the parties to the conflict wants something more than peace.

Putin clearly does not want peace. Chinese President Xi Jinping is arguably the only world leader with the clout to pressure him to quit. Beijing, too, is beginning to suffer from Moscow’s misjudgments and the new geopolitical risks they create.

Ukraine is likely to intensify its own military campaigns to regain lost territory. The dominoes will keep falling: more Russian reservists will inevitably be needed, which will fuel further fires of intra-Russian dissent.

As the pressure mounts and Putin backs himself into a corner, the possibility grows that he will play his final black card. This would constitute a global catastrophe, with consequences specific to China.

Beijing has shifted from “boundless” friendship to now urging Moscow to de-escalate. No country plays the long game better than China. It will be fully aware that much more is needed if it is to have an impact on Russia. So why wait? To remain unmoved in a time of such peril can only rebound.

Putin must not win this war, since every victory can only stimulate his impulse to start new ones.

https://www.independent.ie/opinion/editorial/if-vladimir-putin-wins-war-in-ukraine-it-will-spur-him-to-start-another-42031249.html If Vladimir Putin wins the war in Ukraine, it will spur him on to start a new one

Fry Electronics Team

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