Like most people who’ve been paying attention, I read with dismay this morning that the full invasion has begun.
There is something ominous about the way Putin and company are going through with this despite all the sanctions and other steps taken against them so far.
But something that hasn’t received enough press is that the Ukraine is not likely to be a pushover. I listened to an interview yesterday with Malcolm Nance, the African-American intelligence expert (formerly with Naval Intelligence) who is in the Ukraine “assessing evacuation routes” (he didn’t say who for). He pointed out that, although almost nothing has been said about it, the Ukraine’s armed forces total 250,000. If they fight, they aren’t automatically doomed to lose.
Putin has given a number of reasons for doing this, which I won’t go into. But it could be that there is a more important reason. Throughout history the leaders of countries who are in political trouble at home, have resorted to invading their neighbors as a distraction.
Polls are said to show Putin to be popular, but as Garry Kasparov, the famous chess champion who is also a political opponent of Putin, has said, if you are a Russian citizen and some pollster you don’t know phones you one day and asks whether you approve of Putin, what are you going to say?
But in all non-democratic empires the true rulers are always the military. Once the Romans abandoned democracy, it was the legions who ruled. One general after another became emperor, usually after getting rid of the previous one.
I’ve wondered for some time about Putin’s relationship with the Russian military. If the Ukrainians are able to hold their ground until the war becomes unpopular in Russia, as long wars always do, we might see some big changes in that country.
This is the only light at the end of this particularly dark tunnel that I can offer today.