I spoke with Sean, our Editor-in-Chief, about writing about a scenario where Russia wins in Ukraine.
The challenge for me is that I don’t think Putin takes Ukraine in as a whole. The people are just too resilient.
Ukraine is also getting better armed and supplied by the day. Their troops are also gaining valuable combat experience that makes them more and more deadly as the conflict wears on. In contrast, Russians are getting killed at a rate that actually degrades the combat performance of their entire army.
Like food stuck to his face that he can’t see but the rest of the World can, Putin can’t see how his country loses in any outcome.
Shockingly to me is that America didn’t learn from the failed Russian occupation in Afghanistan and went on to double down with a loss.
America lost again in Libya, still a failed state.
Again in Afghanistan, which ended in an embarrassing pants around the ankles running to the toilet withdraw.
Then America destabilized Iraq, kicked off a refugee crisis in Europe and civil war in Syria, and we handed over to keys to the Iranians as we left with a vacuum suck.
All in the span of two decades.
Fighting multi-conflicts with no clear objectives is an expensive, time-proven losing strategy.
Now Putin is deeply invested in both Ukraine and Syria, a civil war that has raged on since 2011.
He’s over-committed with an economy on the brink of complete failure regardless of his masterful handling of the Ruble.
Is humanity doomed to repeat our failures again and again?
Is the definition of insanity not doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result?
As Elon Musk suggests, if we are all in a simulation, our alien masters must be back-slapping with laughter, looking at how silly we are.
And if there is a God, I can only imagine the frustrated look on his/her or they/them’s face holding a cardboard dude with a sign up that reads, “When will you get it?”
How soon until our alien masters or God presses the reset button?
Then there’s the lack of leadership coming out of the White House and our own political system that gives us a head or gut punch choice every four years.
Is a divisive Trump and a hospice-ready Biden really the best America can do?
The Big Problem
A big problem that concerns me is that the current administration and EU leadership don’t allow Putin an off-ramp to end the war.
They could push him to the edge of a 100-story building with the only option of going full nuclear in Kyiv in order to out macho the west.
Everyone loses in that scenario.
Clearly, Putin and his military leadership underestimated the military capabilities of Ukraine.
The aging Russian military is like a middle-aged footballer trying to play in the World Cup, behind the play and out of breath but still ball smartly.
Putin also underestimated the global reaction and polarization against Russia.
Welcome to cancel culture Russia.
I also want to explain that closing the skies is not an easy button. It would involve direct US involvement in the war because of the proximity to Russian airspace. There’s a high probability of American fighters shooting down Russian aircraft and getting shot at by cross-border Russian ground-to-air systems. This would also mean US aircraft shooting missiles into Russia and Belarus to take out any missile defense system that shoots at our aircraft. It’s essentially America(and NATO) going to war with Russia, and I don’t think anyone in Washington or America wants that.
The off-ramp I hope they give Putin would mirror my prediction of how it ends, and I’ll get to that soon.
My prediction is that war lasts into the winter.
While tourists tan themselves on summer vacations in Europe and the Americas, Ukrainians will continue to fight to keep their independence.
It ends with China brokering a peace deal that has Zelensky giving up the eastern part of his country, mostly loyal to Russia anyway, and certainty around Ukraine not joining up with NATO and keeping the western fence off his side of Putin’s property line.
This gives Russia an important strategic land bridge to Crimea and offers a face-saving out for Putin. It also feeds into the Chinese strategy that has it square in the Broadway spotlight.
I’ll leave you with this powerful quote from one of the great Russian novelists that I find a good fit for the global hubris of the past two decades.
“Respect was invented to cover the empty place where love should be.” -Tolstoy.
I hope humanity has the courage to finally take the better path…