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Putin may yet outsmart the West

Reader comment on item: Putin's Invasion Scrambles the West

Submitted by Dave (United States), Apr 1, 2022 at 20:51

While reflecting on the latest developments in Ukraine, it could be that Putin is moving to a very clever Plan B. Plan A was a direct invasion, but that has run into some difficulties, especially in terms of high Russian casualties. That's bad for Putin: Lots of body bags could lead to popular unrest and threaten his regime. Ergo, he is pulling back to try and avoid that dire fate.
He also must be realizing by now that the sanctions are proving to be pretty useless. The ruble has already bounced back to near pre-invasion levels, and Russian energy exports and earnings have hardly been dented. Russia has raked in about 19 billion dollars in energy income since the war began. As Biden said, sanctions are not a deterrent, certainly not the way the Biden admin has done them.
The best and safest way for Putin to subjugate Ukraine is to therefore minimize combat deaths and to bomb Ukraine into dust from a safe distance. So far, he doesn't have to worry about Biden or NATO taking the sort of aggressive, decisive action needed to stop the bombardment. The refusal to send in the Polish MIGs or to rush in the S300 batteries must amply demonstrate to Putin that he can consider Ukraine as his personal shooting gallery. His bluster about nukes shows that he's the Blackbeard of modern day warfare. Just as the pirates used to scream bloody murder to intimidate their prey, Putin knows how to scare his opponents - he just needs fuses in his beard. And he's got lots time to play it out. Meanwhile, he's more popular than ever amongst Russians.
Putin is ruthless, smart and he knows his enemy. I just hope we wake up and make the obvious countermoves.

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