There are very few countries left, maybe Xi in China, where one person can decide the fate of millions and Putin is one of them. He is perhaps (for the time being), one of the most powerful leaders in modern history.

Putin made a terrible miscalculation with regards to Ukraine’s desire and fighting spirit to maintain its independence, and the global reaction to a war which many see as pure vanity regardless of his narrative around an encroaching NATO. I personally think this was a vanity play for Putin. He must have thought Ukraine would fall like Crimea did, and few countries would care outside of the usual rhetoric.

A couple of important points to acknowledge.

  • An invading army fighting a ground war typically (there are exceptions) needs a 3:1 ratio of troops. Ukraine is evenly matched, is better equipped, and has higher troop morale. This is a problem for Putin and his Generals and why it’s essentially a stale mate at this point.
  • There’s been light conflict between Russia and Ukraine in the east of Ukraine for decades.
  • Putin’s Ace up the sleeve is a tactical nuke. People doubt he’d use it, but they also doubted he’d invade. Never underestimate someone who is cornered and has few options.
  • The US is in political turmoil, and we have a weak President. You can argue with me if you want but Biden is no beacon of strength and hope. Putin knew this going in and that we’d be compromised nation builders.
  • Western press continues to act without much responsibility when it comes to constructive narratives and reporting, and instead focus on using fear and sensationalism to drive more views.
  • The US Military leadership at the very top is not in good shape. I’ll point to the botched Afghanistan pullout and lack of accountability to highlight my point. This is concerning to me and should be for you.
  • Putin has brilliantly mastered the short game economically, but the long tail of sanctions and lost trust will do massive damage in the decades to follow. Not to mention the incredible brain drain that has happened.
  • President Zelensky of Ukraine has done an incredible job, but he needs to watch his own rhetoric around an unwillingness to negotiate with Putin. He may need to do just that.
  • Xi just locked in his legacy in China and can now potentially focus on helping Putin save face. I’ll address this later.

When will Putin’s war end?

How will it end?

My thoughts.

An invading force needing a higher ratio of troops to a defending country, and this will likely drive Putin to double down on his troop call up this winter.

Since there has been no significant attempt by the west to broker peace China will likely see this as an opening and opportunity to assert itself as a global super power and lead negotiations that end the war.