The War Widens Further as the Result of Putin's Belated and Half-way Measures


 Paul Craig Roberts

 Putin’s restraint in the use of force has possibly made it impossible for the Kremlin to end the conflict with a Russian victory.  In the eight months that Putin has wasted, Washington has revised its policy governing the use of nuclear weapons.  Washington says its new policy is to use nuclear weapons against threats that are not themselves nuclear threats.  In other words, if Washington believes a decisive Russian victory over Ukraine is a threat to US national security or interest, Washington can use nuclear weapons to prevent a Russian victory.  

Considering Putin’s caution, this would seem to rule out a clear-cut Russian victory.  As the US opposes negotiating a settlement except one on Ukraine’s terms, the territory reincorporated into Russia could remain under Ukrainian attack for many years, at least as long as Washington supplies weapons.  Possibly Washington has succeeded in creating a long-lived Vietnam-type situation for Russia.  The many years that the Kremlin permitted US-funded NGOs to operate in Russia has created voices receptive to Putin’s removal, voices that can be organized to push in that direction aided by an inconclusive war.  Whether Putin’s removal is likely or not, the neoconservatives believe it is.  The neoconservatives will proceed by putting more restrictions on Putin’s ability to  act with sufficient force to bring the war to a successful conclusion for Russia without the risk of nuclear war.  Expect Washington to decorate Ukrainian infrastructure with American advisors so that Russian attacks on Ukrainian war capability will involve American deaths and, thus, serve to limit the Kremlin’s ability to prevail on Russia’s terms.

It is extraordinary that after eight months the Kremlin has not realized that its policy of delay is a strategic blunder.

The Kremlin,  Americans,  and people worldwide  do not understand that the view that prevails of the Ukrainian conflict is false.  There is objective reporting of how the military conflict proceeds on , but there is no general understanding that the origin of the conflict lies with Washington’s neoconservatives.

Neither is there  understanding that Putin’s “limited military operation” is not an invasion of Ukraine, but a limited action to clear Ukrainian forces out of the territory of the Russian independent republics, belatedly reunited with Russia as Crimea was 8 years ago. From Russia’s standpoint, the fighting is now on Russian territory.

But from Washington’s standpoint, the fighting is on Ukraine’s territory, and Washington has been able, thanks to Putin’s endless hesitations, to create barriers to the success of the Kremlin’s limited operation.

The Kremlin doesn’t seem to realize this, perhaps because the Kremlin is defensive about its strategic blunder arising from ignoring that Washington would not forgo the opportunity to expand into wider war Putin’s “limited operation.”