Friday 4 March 2022

David Goldman: 'Vladimir Putin acted wickedly, and illegally, by invading Ukraine, but also rationally'


'Vladimir Putin acted wickedly, and illegally, by invading Ukraine, but also rationally: Russia has an existential interest in keeping NATO away from his border. Russia will no more tolerate American missiles in Kyiv than the United States would tolerate Russian missiles in Cuba.

'The United States could have averted a crisis by adhering to the Minsk II framework of local rule for the Russophone provinces of Eastern Ukraine within a sovereign Ukrainian state but chose instead to keep open Ukraine’s option to join NATO. That was rational, but also stupid: It backed Putin into a corner.

'There is no excuse for Putin’s action, but there is an explanation that’s similar to one that applied to his forbears of 1914: Putin chose to attack before the West had the opportunity to arm Ukraine with sophisticated weapons that would raise the future cost of military action.'

I agree with David Goldman writing in the Asia Times today, except for a caveat about one word, 'rationally'. 

Yes, Putin is acting rationally in the sense of not being crazy but not in the sense of being reasonable. 

I think the disadvantages to him of the invasion, however it goes, will very predictably be worse for him than not those of not invading.

But Biden and Blinken should obviously have folded first and instructed Ukraine to implement Minsk 2.

I assume Putin believed he would take Kiev quickly and easily without much loss of civilian lives, instal a quisling president and present the world with a fait accompli.

He might still take the country quickly or it might take him weeks, months or many years but he cannot govern it without guerilla fighting which he will call terrorism. 

The Ukrainians he calls Nazis are inspired by the Banderists, who waged a long guerilla war against the Bolsheviks well into the 1950s.

1 comment:

  1. Putin was also threatened by a neighbor such as Ukraine joining NATO and the EU, both of which would bring stability and long term investment. A prosperous Ukraine (following the Western path) would really threaten the Russian model of governance in the eyes of the Russian population. A corrupt, unstable, yet democratic Ukraine serves all the propaganda purposes Russia needs.