The cruellest episode is probably yet to come in Ukraine. Buzzwords: Grozny and Alepo, now Charwik and Kyiv, especially since the whole thing could turn into an Afghanistan 2.0 and occupation guerrilla war, which then only leaves deserts of rubble like in Chechnya and Syria and raises the question of whether all tis was worth for an EU and NATO membership and freedom. And Putin is already threatening with nuclear weapons and “unprecedented actions”. Gazprom advisor Dr. Rahr even before the invasion said that Putin would aim for a new Cuban crisis in the hope that the West will then give in to his demands. Some are now hoping that Beijing could step in as a mediator to allow Putin a face-saving exit. Perhaps the next illusion. In addition, everyone currently wants to serve as mediators: Erdogan, Lukashenko, Azerbaijan and now the Taliban. It’s getting more and more bizarre It’s also interesting that international volunteer fighters from all over the world are now joining – from Syria to Latvia and now also black people from Africa. Probably a part CIA mercenaries and also a part idealists. Also interesting that the British Defense Minister Tuff now wants to allow Brits to fight in the tradition of Eric Blair aka George Orwell (My Catalonia/1984) in the International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War – just like Putin has on his side the „volunteers“ of his Chechen butcher buddhy Kadyrov.
It is also interesting how quickly this is now also happening in Germany with a 2% NATO target, 100 billion euros for the Bundeswehr fund and arms deliveries, the sanctions front is in place and international solidarity is showing up. In Finland, a clear majority is now in favor of NATO membership. It’s possible that Putin is threatening the Finns with a nuclear strike because they aren’t in NATO yet. And how should the US and NATO react to that? For a non-NATO member, threaten Russia with a nuclear strike, which then triggers a world war. do nothing? More economic sanctions? And what if Putin didn’t destroy a Finnish or Ukrainian city with a nuclear strike, but instead detonated a nuclear weapon off the Finnish coast in plain sight first and as a warning shot? Experts are currently puzzling over whether he is serious about his nuclear threat, at least most of them are of the opinion that it cannot be directed against NATO states, where cyber attacks on critical infrastructures are more likely. But there are already voices asking whether Putin is still acting rationally or whether he is living in a more apocalyptic dream world. Most experts still think that Putin does not want to be grilled in his nuclear bunker at his XXL table with his last faithful good fellow Defense Minister Shoigu. Another scenario is that he might launch a hybrid but limited attack in the small Baltic to make the US and NATO question whether they would actually go for a nuclear strike for a small land gain. These scenarios are described in the Centers for Strategic Budgetary Assessment (CSBA) study „Rethinking Armaggedon“ and in the book „The Senkaku Paradox- Great Power Wars over small stakes“ by US military expert Michael O’Hannon. Even if one considers a nuclear attack on NATO countries to be unlikely, Putin would always be good for new surprises around Finland or the Baltic States if he wants to escalate.
And despite all the Western euphoria about victory and the hope that perhaps a popular uprising or the Russian elite, even parts of the militray, could overthrow Putin or that he could be persuaded to retreat or at least to a ceasefire, perhaps also with the mediation of China (which then presented itself as the savior of world peace and the world economy) , Putin can still hope that he will last 2 years, that Trump will be re-elected and make a deal with him at the expense of the Ukrainians and Europeans. It also took time before Staufenberg and parts of the German military wanted to overthrow Hitler after Stalingrad, which also failed. And it is also possible that the Chinese in the Indo-Pacific will start igniting conflicts and are not so interested in world peace, but see a window of opportunity. So, all not so clear yet.
But Putin is like Mussolini. Starting attacks on the Balkans, Greece and North Africa, here on the Ukraine for the time being and Hitler is supposed to get him out if it doesn’t work. But Xi has no Afrika Korps and no Wehrmacht in Europe or other parts of the world. Therefore, Putin hopes that Xi will now start conflicts around in the Indo-Pacific or attack Taiwan in order to tie down the US and the West in terms of miliary forces. But there is also AUKUS, Quad, Japan and India, even if China and India have not condemned Russia with regard to Ukraine, but are rather ambivalent. Putin is Xi’s testing battering ram, while Xi at the moment remains bystander waiting to see how the West and the US will react. The Chinese have read their Lenin and see Putin as the „useful idiot“.