IS THERE ANY REASON TO BELIEVE RUSSIA CAN BE MADE TO DESIST IN ITS UKRAINIAN CAMPAIGN?
Let’s get one thing straight at the outset, Russia is going to take Operation Z through to its ultimate conclusion in its favour no matter what it takes. All that remains is to assess why this is deemed so necessary to the Russian leadership.
The Russian leadership has the resolve to do the above and in my estimation nothing in this world or the next is going to stop it. Why?
A primary reason is that by performing an about turn now would be the absolute worst of all possible options for Russia no matter what economic effects sanctions and other punishments Russia suffers under. Russia would gain zero credit for stopping and giving up now and the threats it seeks to mitigate and then eliminate would continue and inevitably grow larger and ever MORE threatening to Russia on a multitude of fronts.
If Russia backtracks now Ukraine would almost instantly be ushered into both NATO and the EU and Russia would be worse off than ever.
No. Russia will take this through to completion and the affecting of every demand and goal it has ever voiced on the subjects of Ukraine and NATO and teach a lesson also to the EU and the USA/UK. The threat as perceived by Russia and spoken of since the years 2008 and the Bucharest Summit where Ukraine and Georgia were given the official assurance that they would one day join NATO, is existential in scope. The threat to Russia on its doorstep presented by the accession of these states to NATO presents a visceral challenge to the sovereignty of the nation, and by a country (Ukraine) harbouring a massive, well-armed neo-Nazi minority with a veto on Ukrainian foreign policy.
Russia was never going to let a criminal band of extremists plague its border security with continual threat of attack, subversion and hateful intent to spread fear, threat and malice toward Russians and the pro-Russian population of eastern Ukraine. This was simply unthinkable and was never going to stand.
The USA forgets the Cuban missile crisis where the Soviet Union placed missiles just 90 miles from the U.S. border and how that was seen as a totally unacceptable, existential threat. It says the NATO that reduced Libya to a broken shell of a state with warring factions and the rebirth of slavery and attacked the European nation of Serbia attacking its capital Belgrade… is a harmless defensive organisation that wouldn’t harm a fly. Are the Russians going to believe this after Gorbachev was so universally lied to in the Nineties concerning NATO was not going to move an inch closer to the then Soviet Union after German reunification? Of course not.
NATO sought to survive as any empire seeks to. Too many career ladders and hefty salaries were at stake. Plus the influence of the United States in Europe would inevitably have been reduced by the dissolution and disbandment of NATO. It would have been excellent for the peace and stability of Europe but detrimental for the vast executive branch, officer class and soldiery of NATO along with the cutting of important veins and arteries that NATO runs into important places within the body politic of Europe for the ultimate benefit of the USA.
NATO was NEVER going to accede to Russia’s need for security guarantees dependent of a NATO withdrawal. When an empire withdraws it signs its end, or at least its impotence and brings about a series of injuries to itself that can be fateful. In addition, providing Russia with enhanced security would mitigate against the West’s goals regarding Russia, those are to replace both its leadership and its system of governance and replace them with someone and something conducive to the West. Why make the accomplishment of something you have as a top priority more difficult to achieve?
Of course there were also other reasons why Russia had to act as it did. Things were most definitely not going to get better for Russia left to the vagaries of time and happenstance. The words and deeds of both the Ukrainian junta and the North American regime had made this clear over the past eight years and the movement on their part was constantly away from peace and toward war and not only the neglect of Russian security needs but the constant undermining of whatever elements of Russian security that remained.
For all the reasons above and primarily for the one spoken of first in this commentary, that all options but completing the tasks set for the campaign, is a much worse outcome for Russia than working through every barrier set against achieving its goals, and that failure represents a catastrophe for Russia, leaving the nation with an even worse existential threat facing it than existed at the campaign’s outset.