For those who have been patting themselves on the back that diplomacy was working so a military buildup for both deterrence and, if the worst should happen, response was not needed, well your diplomacy just failed!
Putin is expected to make an address to the Russian nation any minute now. Scheduled for 9pm Moscow time but he’s usually late.
— Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) February 21, 2022
What does this mean, well given the rhetoric and statements coming out of Moscow, most likely this:
Something to be worried about: Russian Interior Minister Kolokoltsev told Putin that Moscow should recognize all of Donetsk and Luhansk regions as D/LNR. He said, “from Mariupol and ending with those historical borders.” So all the gray area in this OSCE map. Frontline is red. pic.twitter.com/j8bhHUHd6J
— Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) February 21, 2022
Translation: Russia may very well annex Luhansk and Donbas. https://t.co/eoXY0wbtdm
— Terrell Jermaine Starr (@Russian_Starr) February 21, 2022
Regardless, please remember that EITHER scenario is an attack on Ukrainian sovereignty; the DNR/LNR "governments" are Russian proxies and Russia's recognition of them, just like its annexation of Crimea, S. Ossetia, Abkhazia, Transnistria, should not be tolerated. (2/2)
— Nina Jankowicz (@wiczipedia) February 21, 2022
We are going to have to wait and see what the actual recognition statement that Putin makes states, but if they recognize all of the Donetsk and Luhansk breakaway territories, it would double the territory Russia has grabbed in eastern Ukraine and put the current line of control right in the middle of Russia’s two newest vassal states. From Putin’s perspective this would, of course, turn the Ukrainian military forces on that line of control into invaders of the sovereign territories of Donetsk and Luhansk. Territory that Russia has pledged to defend. This is the final, fabricated pretext for war.
What do the two diplomatic geniuses Macron and Scholz have to say for themselves?
BREAKING: Germany's Scholz and France's Macron expressed 'disappointment' over Putin's recognition of the independence of Donetsk and Lugansk republics
— The Spectator Index (@spectatorindex) February 21, 2022
Well that’ll put Putin in his place! And a lot of Ukrainians are going to die because of it.
As much as I like the way Biden and his team have handled things so far, especially the information warfare and PSYOP campaign that has gotten inside Putin’s information cycle and wrong footed him, Zelensky, in his speech to the Munich Security Conference, was not wrong about how the US, the EU, and NATO have handled this crisis. And not just for the past several months, but going back to at least Spring of 2014.
If the US and our NATO and non-NATO EU allies and partners wait until Putin escalates and reinvades/further invades to take actions to punish him then simply announcing you will won’t deter him. And as we’ve seen they haven’t deterred him! Especially if either we or our NATO and EU allies have already taken the most powerful tools off the table. We’re not going to cut Russia off from SWIFT. We’re not going to use every last bit of our FINCEN capabilities and our allies’ equivalents to scarf up or seize every last one of Putin’s assets, his family’s assets, and those of his oligarchs and their families. We’re not going to revoke visas and green cards. We’re not going to cut Russia off from the Internet. We’re not going to deny flight into or out of Russia and his vassal states of Belarus, Kazakhstan, or Chechnya or make it impossible for flight between them. We’re not going to put an embargo on ground and sea lines of commerce against Russia and Putin’s vassals.
While doing any of these preemptively might focus Putin’s mind, the reality is they are acts of war in and of themselves. So we won’t do them because waging a war for the right reasons, which engaging Russia to deter its aggression in Eastern Europe would be, is not something we can do because of Afghanistan and Iraq something something, harrumph.
We love applying sanctions because it sounds tough, but it never works. If it did Cuba and Iran would both be a democratic paradise.
And we’re sure as hell not going to put the military foot print in place to give him pause and by the time he does attack a NATO state, which will be Poland to connect Belarus and Kaliningrad where he’ll claim, despite it being bullshit, his actions are to protect ethnic Russians in the northeastern tip of Poland between the two who are being targeted because they’re ethnic Russians, we’ll be so far right of boom that the military response will be that much more prolonged and deadly because we’ll have to fight onto the objectives to clear them. And that’s provided we actually do anything and don’t remain frozen by Russia’s anecdotally articulated doctrine on using tactical nukes in conventional war despite it not being in their formal doctrine.
Russia has been waging war in Ukraine since 2014. They’ve been waging war in Georgia since 2008. They’ve been waging a low intensity and unconventional war against the US and our EU and NATO partners since between 2011 and 2014.
Perhaps reality will finally overtake wishful thinking. The time for the semantic games of whether what Putin has been doing and is doing is really war or is just warfare or something something cyber crime has long passed. Putin has made it clear by his actions and, often, by his words, regardless of what is or is not really motivating him, that he seeks to roll back everything that has happened within the global systems since the Soviet Union collapsed. And, if possible, the whole post World War II international order. Regardless of why, Putin is going to do what he’s going to do. Right now he is the driver of these events and we have to wait and see where he steers things.
The only question now is whether we have the will to stop him.