Vladimir Putin limping towards a final in Ukraine – should the West join in?

Toadylips is the bane of the authoritarian. Vladimir Putin has wielded so much power for so long that all information streams are polluted. The inner circle derives its comfort and privilege from its ability to tell the leader what they want to hear; the outer circle—wishing to move inward—observes and learns to lie.

Sooner or later the leader makes a really bad decision that springs out of the prison of lies into reality. For Putin, this bad decision is the invasion of Ukraine. All of Russia is not as stupid as this decision might suggest – but the Russians, correctly recognizing the patriotism of the Ukrainian people, had no way of warning Putin.

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People approach the border crossing at Verkhny Lars between Georgia and Russia. (AP photo)

The Russians, aware of the weakness of their army, had no way of informing Putin. Russians, understanding the West’s latent strength, were not welcome around Putin. The Russians, familiar with the lack of preparation of the civilian reserves, were not consulted by Putin. All the leader heard was the creeping echo of his own misunderstandings.

It was foreseeable that Putin now blames the toadyeaters he created for his failure to adapt reality to his delusions. Walking in Moscow these days one has to be alert for the danger of bureaucrats being thrown out of windows and being thrown down stairs.

He appears to be heading towards an offer to end his botched war with new borders drawn by the sham annexation

At the same time, however, the boss appears to be inventing another lie to redeem the rest, and the world will have to decide whether to accommodate him in the interest of peace.

Under the watchful eye of armed Russian soldiers, the people of eastern Ukraine are being encouraged – harassed – to vote for annexation. Meanwhile, Putin’s mass conscription order and casual talk of nuclear war should let us know he’s on the ball. He appears to be maneuvering toward an offer to end his misguided war with new borders drawn by the sham annexation.

Such a truce would spare Putin further unfortunate collisions with reality. He wouldn’t have to watch the Russian military disintegrate once filled with hapless conscripts. Nor would he need to see the failure of Russian industry to replace the thousands of tanks, trucks and artillery pieces destroyed since the February invasion. He would be spared the growing disparity between Russia’s dwindling arsenal and Ukraine’s growing strength.

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A police officer detains a protester during a protest against partial mobilization in Moscow. (AP photo)

He could get some relief from economic sanctions beginning to weigh on his increasingly disaffected people, and he could resume selling natural gas and oil to Western Europe.

Is this a deal the United States should welcome – if it does go through?

This isn’t an easy call. The proud resistance of the Ukrainian people and the inspired leadership of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy have touched hearts worldwide.

After the ill-planned US withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021, accepting the Russian annexation could make the United States seem fit for purpose rather than world leader rather than principled.

Furthermore, a deal with Putin to redraw Russia’s borders to the west would reward reckless and murderous behavior. By launching a full-scale invasion of a peaceful neighbor, Putin single-handedly created the worst security crisis in Europe since World War II. His indiscriminate shelling of Ukrainian cities and the atrocities committed by Russian troops certainly amount to war crimes.

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A volunteer searches for bodies of people killed during a Russian attack among the remains of the building next to the TV tower in the recently liberated town of Izium, Kharkiv Region, Ukraine. REUTERS/ Zohra Bensemra

Most of the world would only see justice in letting Putin’s folly take its course.

On the other hand, there are good reasons to seek the earliest possible way out of this fiasco. If Putin accepted a ceasefire after the annexation, Ukraine would not lose much compared to pre-invasion conditions in terms of territory. Perhaps some of the proceeds from Russia’s resumed fuel exports can be used to help rebuild Ukraine. And Ukraine would have gained a lot in terms of national cohesion, patriotism and identity.

Is Putin crazy enough to uncork the nuclear bottle?

The same Putin who began the year by denying the very existence of an independent Ukraine would end the year with the shame of being flogged by an independent Ukraine.

Nor is Ukraine the only factor in this difficult equation. A grueling war in the heart of Europe threatens to create instability.

Finally, there is the nuclear threat. Is Putin crazy enough to uncork the nuclear bottle? Unlikely. Would the Russian command follow its orders to go nuclear in a cause they can all see as hopeless? Unlikely.

But even a small chance of such a dangerous event should be avoided. The harsh truth is that Putin’s endgame must be accepted if it comes to pass. (© Washington Post)

©Washington Post

https://www.independent.ie/world-news/europe/vladimir-putin-is-limping-towards-an-end-game-in-ukraine-should-the-west-consider-going-along-42025957.html Vladimir Putin limping towards a final in Ukraine – should the West join in?

Fry Electronics Team

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