Friday, April 29, 2022

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: Sooner Rather Than Later in Ukraine?

The current crisis precipitated by Russian dictator Vladimir

Putin’s brutal invasion of Ukraine is turning into a surprise 

standoff as the vastly outnumbered and under-equipped 

Ukrainian armed forces are proving to be’ courageous,,

stubborn and ingenious defenders of their young democracy

under attack from its much larger and more powerful 


This has many observers wondering how this crisis and

invasion ends, given Mr. Putin’s reputation for not retreating,

his rationale for invading in the first place, and his 

determination to restore the boundaries and power of the 

old Soviet empire that was assembled during most of the 

last century.

Putin’s new strategy of shifting his invasion effort

from taking Kiev, and concentrating on controlling more

territory in the east have left in his army’s retreating wake

horrific evidence of war crimes. Despite Russia’s military

superiority, the plucky and resourceful Ukrainian army has

stalemated the Russian invaders who have evidently

treated Ukrainian civilians with unacceptable brutality.

Warfare has been profoundly changed not only by military

technology, but by communications technology as well.

The 19th century invention of the camera enabled Matthew

Brady to convey the horrors  of the U.S. Civil War 

battlefield to the public. Subsequent inventions of the

motion picture and television brought the devastations of

the 20th century wars soon after occurrence to the public.

Now, the internet and smart phones bring the images of’

war to public view as they happen. War is ugly, violent

and frightening —  gains on the battlefield can be at the

same time nullified in the global communications arena.

This is what has happened to Vladimir Putin’s “special

operation” in Ukraine.  No matter how much territory he

has temporarily conquered, he has acquired the reputation

of being one of contemporary history’s bad guys — and 

that is likely to be permanent. 

His presumed quest to reassemble the old Soviet and

Czarist empires is a backward-looking mirage which has

cost him any legacy of statesmanship that two decades in

the public eye might have otherwise provided.

The weakness of his army’s performance in Ukraine, the

West’s sanctions against his already troubled economy

and regime have also changed his leverage in his

relationship with China, his ally in the competition against

the Western democratic market economies.

in spite of its still-large land area, 160 million inhabitants,

and major natural resources, the Russian Federation today

is not a first-rank economic power as the U.S., European

Union, China and India are. The reputation of its hitherto 

vaunted military capability has been diminished in the 

Ukraine episode.

Mr, Putin has some strategies and some allies with which 

he can deal with the stalemate in Ukraine and the growing

diplomatic and economic sanctions, in the short term, but

there are long-term limits to what he and the Russian 

Federation can endure, and already his new strategy in

eastern Ukraine is encountering some of the delays and 

obstacles which thwarted his initial strategy.

Sooner rather than later, Putin will have to reconsider

his goals in Ukraine, or he can try to outlast Western resolve.


Copyright (c) 2022 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.


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