The Ever-Widening War

“Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics called for NATO to allow Ukraine to conduct strikes inside Russian territory, adding the alliance should not fear Moscow’s response. The White House has resisted sending Kiev missiles with the range to hit targets inside Russia.

“During an interview on the sidelines of  NATO summit in Romania, Rinkevics stated ‘we should allow Ukrainians to use weapons to target missile sites or air fields from where those operations are being launched.’ Allies ‘should not fear’ escalation from Moscow, he added. ” 

Escalation is proceeding as it did in Vietnam.  A Washington puppet would not have voiced a provocative proposal without Washington’s permission. By “inside Russia” Rinkevics means territory beyond the territory Russia recently reincorporated.  He is calling for widening the war by crossing a red line that President Putin could not ignore.

It is, of course, Washington that has widened the Kremlin’s limited military operation into an ever larger war with increasing Western participation.  But it was President Putin’s decision in favor of a slow moving limited war, which did not hamper Ukraine’s ability to fight the war, that enabled Washington to widen the war.  Washington had plenty of time to create the narrative and control the explanation of the war.  Washington’s propaganda created sympathy for Ukraine and hatred of Russia. What the Kremlin needed was a quick decisive victory and a new Ukrainian government before Washington had time to react.

More importantly, by entering the conflict with insufficient soldiers and no reserves, the extended Russian lines became indefensible.  Russian pullbacks were used in the West to create the impression that Russia could be defeated.  The UK Telegraph even wrote a few days go that Ukraine would be in Crimea by Christmas.

The belief that Russia can be defeated will prevent realistic negotiations and will encourage more provocations that sooner or later will cross a red line that cannot be ignored. The go-slow limited military action is a certain path to wider war.  Before long Washington will be too involved, too committed to step back.  Far from being limited, the conflict is leading to nuclear confrontation.  If the Kremlin cannot find the wisdom to quickly bring the conflict to an end, it will spin out of control.

The Kremlin seems to be having a difficult time recognizing reality.  For many months the Kremlin has been complaining about each new “indirect” participation by the US/NATO. Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov has recently elevated this complaint to “direct participation.”  In other words, the Kremlin has finally acknowledged that the US/NATO are at war with Russia. 

Lavrov admits that the risk of escalaion into nuclear war is enormous.

So why doesn’t the Kremlin do what it should have done long ago and bring the conflict to a quick close by destroying the infrastructure that permits Ukraine to continue the war and replace Zelensky, an American puppet, with a leader friendly to Russia?

Conflict became inevitable when the Kremlin stood aside and permitted Washington to overthrow the Ukrainian government and install a puppet. The conflict moved forward when the Kremlin refused the Donbass’ request to be reincorporated into Russia along with Crimea.  In 2014 I said that this mistake would result in war.  When the conflict began last February, it was clear that anything but a quick decisive Russian victory would result in US/NATO involvement.

For the Kremlin the lessons remain unlearned.  More pointless complaints, ignored by the West, issue from the Kremlin while its spokesman gives assurances that Russia has no intention of removing Zelensky.

There seems to be no Kremlin decision to correct the highly unfavorable situation the Kremlin has created for itself.

Leaders don’t like to admit mistakes.  This is especially the case when leaders decide on a course of action based on moral considerations, which Putin did.  He tried for eight years to keep Donbass in Ukraine with the Minsk Agreement that Ukraine and the West refused to keep. He decided on a  military operation limited to clearing Ukrainian soldiers out of the Donbass republics, and refused to invade and conquer Ukraine. Not desiring a ruined and poverty-stricken Ukraine on Russia’s border, Putin  left secure until very recently Ukrainian power, water, and transportation infrastructure that permitted Ukraine, armed and trained by the West, to engage in a full-scale war that the Kremlin pretended to itself was limited. But from what Putin recently told Germany’s chancellor, Olaf Scholz, these recent  infrastructure attacks are not components of a revised Russian war policy.  They are tit for tat exercises. Putin explained the attacks on Ukrainian war-enabling infrastructure as retaliation for attacks on the Crimea bridge and Nord Stream pipelines.

In other words, it seems that the Kremlin’s policy is to kick the can down the road. Putin is still wedded to his limited damage operation to free the areas that wish to escape the tyranny of the neo-Nazi Ukrainian government, and Putin still lacks the realization that Washington’s involvement has cancelled his “limited military operation.”  If Putin fails to realize that he is in a war and to use the necessary force to bring it to a quick end, he will lose control of the situation.

Putin’s intentions were good, but suffered from a lack of realism.  The Kremlin must have assumed that it was the only player on the chessboard.

The Kremlin’s mistakes have compounded.  Possibly the Kremlin has left it too long, but unless the Kremlin is content with something like a demilitarized zone and an unresolved conflict like in Korea, the alternative of knocking out Ukraine in 48 hours and installing a new government could end the conflict before Washington escalates it further.

Waiting has never paid off for Putin.  Waiting let Washington train and equip  a large Ukrainian army.  More waiting is letting NATO build a large army on Russia’s border, expanding the NATO force from 40,000 to 300,000 according to NATO’s Secretary General.

A NATO member’s top general says US troops are combat ready on Russia’s border, ready to “fight immediately.”

The Kremlin’s confusion and indecisiveness guarantees a larger war.

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