Putin’s biggest problem is he is losing a war that was supposed to be a cake walk. Then again, both sides in the American Civil War thought the conflict would last a month or so, and both sides were convinced they would win. Four years and 600,000 dead soldiers later, the war did end, but no one was happy about how it was fought, or what it cost. There’s a lesson here.
Here’s Putin’s Problem: He’s losing a conventional war. He cannot afford to escalate the conflict to the point other nations night join in, because even against the smaller and less powerful Ukrainian military, Russia is suffering catastrophic losses. His calling up more troops has led to an exodus of men of military age from Russia. Putin’s citizens do not have the will to keep fighting this war, and he knows it.
But no one wins a nuclear war, and Putin has to see the truth in this as well. Even if, and this is the biggest if you will ever see in print, the use of nukes doesn’t wind up wiping out all life on this planet, it will leave deep and red hot scars on where they are used. If Ukraine gets nuked, Putin can bet the Ukrainian people will hate him for generations, and their war with him will never end. You can look for a world wide grain shortages even in the best case here.
There’s a subarine gap in the Russian navy. From 1989 to somewhere around the year 2012, the American navy was still in the game, and still building and upgrading their sub fleet. Russia got behind, and they aren’t up to speed even now. The quieter and deadly attack subs the Americans have stalking the Russian missile sub fleet is going to extract a terrible price in the first moments of a nuclear war. If America goes after Russian submarines, it will be ruinous for Putin.
Look for the Americans to strike not at political targets in Russia, but at oil fields, dams, bridges, and military airfields. Don’t discount the idea NATO might drive deep into Russia, and the Russian military might welcome them if Putin drops a nuke.
Then again, you have one nuke, then another, and then two or three more, all sorts of hell breaking loose, and suddenly it’s the day after a nukefest, and no one is left with a country worth trying to save.
At the end of the day, Putin just might be bluffing, hoping that the rest of the world fears a nuclear holocaust far more than they care about Ukraine. But this is a desperate gamble, and with Russia losing territory to a military it thought it could crush, and its men running for the border, Putin may have no other cards to play.
Putin might do well to remember while he is trying to hold things together, there may be someone, or a group, who would like to see him fail, and then remove him.
But the war is lost, and has been for quite some time. What else Putin loses in the process will be interesting, to say the least.
Mike writes regularly at his site: The Hickory Head Hermit.
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.