Putin’s Excessive Caution Is Leading Directly to WW III

After 18 months of an ever widening war, Putin is still unable to recognize the failure of his “limited military operation.”  Far from convincing Washington that his interests are limited to protecting the Russian people in former Russian territory who were dumped by Soviet leaders into the Ukraine province of the Soviet Union, Putin has convinced Washington that Russia is weak and that he is irresolute.  

The consequence has been an ever widening war and a massive expansion of NATO on Russia’s northwestern border with the addition of Finland and Sweden to NATO.  And now Putin’s hesitancy, which seems permanent, is bringing him the occupation of western Ukraine by the Polish army.

Russian Defense Minister Shoigu has shown no brilliance in the campaign either, but he now recognizes the failure of the “limited military operation” to protect Russia’s security and to keep NATO’s presence from increasing on Russia’s borders.

Today Shoigu said that Poland is preparing a pretext to occupy western Ukraine.  As Ukraine has run out of troops, Poland is moving in.  Washington won’t call it an invasion.

Shoigu went further, whether with Putin’s approval or as a criticism of the failed “limited military operation” I cannot say. At today’s meeting of the board of the military department, Shoigu said:  “In the western and northwestern strategic directions, the threats to the military security of Russia have increased manifold.”  He said that Finland and Sweden’s accession into NATO is a “serious destabilizing factor.” Shoigu pointed out that since the beginning of the “limited military operation” NATO formations have increased 2.5 times.  

This is hardly a picture of success, so why is Putin sticking with a failed policy?  With the failure of the Ukrainian counterattack and decimation of the Ukrainian army, now is the time for the Russian offensive.  But there is no sign of it.  

US Col. Douglas Macgregor has concluded that Putin is actually holding back a  Russian advance, wasting precious time before the rainy season begins.  From a military standpoint, it is mindless for Putin to let pass the opportunity to strike his devastated opponent and bring the conflict to a quick end before Washington can  further escalate the conflict.  Instead, Putin is providing Poland the opportunity to move into Western Ukraine.  It seems obvious that this will result in a wider and more dangerous combat.

Col. Macgregor now agrees with what I have been saying for 18 months, that Putin is perceived in the West as irresolute and can be defeated or at least discredited in Russia as a failed war leader.  As I have stressed, this is a very dangerous perception.  Provocations of Russia will increase to a point where war will break out. Col. Macgregor now sees the situation as I do.  

Perhaps Putin would do well to take a cue from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar:

There is a tide in the affairs of men.

Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;

Omitted, all the voyage of their life

Is bound in shallows and in miseries.

On such a full sea are we now afloat,

And we must take the current when it serves,

Or lose our ventures.

Putin’s Excessive Caution Is Leading Directly to WW III

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