Without an off-ramp, Putin will take the world down with him
The early days of a crisis is a crucial period, as the rules of engagement remains undefined, players unidentified and the boundaries unmarked. The start often determines the scope, the length, and the end-game of the crisis.
September, 1939 was one such moment.
The lack of follow-up action by the allies after Germany invaded Poland made the Nazi’s fully aware that their enemy is gripped with fear. By the end of September, the Nazi’s were dining and grinning in Poland’s capital city, Warsaw.
Had France fully mobilized and opened an eastern flank, convinced Britain to open a northern flank, Germany would have found itself surrounded by allied forces in three directions. But it wasn’t meant to be. France got blitzkrieg’d a year later.
The war in Ukraine did not start in February 2022. It started fourteen years ago.
On August 8th, 2008 Russians walked into Georgia to enforce peace. Four days later, French President Nicholas Sarkozy negotiated a ceasefire to stop the Russian Peace Enforcement Operation.
“Under the ceasefire agreement, Russia promised an immediate withdrawal of its forces from Georgia to their positions before the hostilities began.
Russia not only failed to live up to this and other requirements of the ceasefire agreement; On August 26th, 2008 it exacerbated the situation by recognizing Georgia’s break-away regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent countries. For the past ten years, Russia has occupied Abkhazia and South Ossetia in violation of the ceasefire agreement.”
If only the world had listened
Putin has been loud and clear about his intentions. When he declared Ukraine is “an artificial creation” in the 2008 NATO Russia Council meet in Romania, the west shrugged its shoulders.
Six years later when Putin rolled his oil powered war machine to annex Crimea, the allies responded exactly the way Putin expected them — no response.