I do think that the number of stories citing that Putin is not winning the war has a potential dangerous and sad consequence that Russia will revert to more drastic measures to decide it. Aiming for a peace agreement in which Putin does not lose face may the best (bitter) option here.
The endless talk of Russian Energy boycotts is arguably suicide for the world. Russia can arguably recoup its frozen foreign reserves in 12 to 18 months through the sale of fossil fuels and therefore will be able to continue to finance the war in Ukraine at the same time taking other supply offline whenever it wants with a bit of a push: Iran, Libya, Kazakhstan, Venezuela etc.
Do the maths: 10m barrels @$70 is the virtually same revenue as 7m at $100, and 3.5m barrels at $200. Unless they are confident of removing Putin (and any other Russian leader who will not accept a repeat of 1989) it is irresponsible, already 10s of millions are in danger of starvation from wheat and corn.
An oil price hike is likely to take lots of regimes with it and their people, this has been Nutstuffs worry. Russia believes it faces an existential threat and its elite will fight to the death and give the experience of 1989 and the 1990s many in Russia think their leaders have no alternative even if they hate it.
The rest of world wonders what next and they are scrambling around trying to Forge alliances and understandings, sounding out neighbours feelings, both scenarios on the current trajectory are fraught with danger. A Russia collapse, or a Russia survival with a new Cold War means Ukraine may be the first flame of many in Eurasia and Middle East, and a little one at that, this will make the Arab spring of 2011/2012 where a million people died in next few years after and no democracy, seem like a kids tea party.
What is clear is.
1) The US have increasingly pushed Russia into a corner without a viable end goal and now without a get-out.
2) They haven’t understood the implications if they don’t win.
We are then in a multipolar world and people outside Europe and USA already think we in the Civilised West are massive hypocrites (choosing when conveniently to selectively apply outrage & play the human rights card), at same time they have highly leveraged economies.
If the US have a viable end goal (outside selling gas and guns to the Germans and ending the Russia/German axis) then that is fine. I just struggle to see an Avenue to it at moment.
Kleptocracy is most evident through the gini coefficient. USA and Russia are the same in more ways than most want to admit. Whether kleptocracy is legal or illegal it’s the same. Russians can argue theirs is legal too like USA. That sh*t is sh*t sorry. Someone has to call it out! What IS indisputable is that without Russia, China is stuffed, so being with it is a viable alternative.
At the same time one of the greatest threats to the US was probably the GermanRussian axis, that has definitely gone now so hopefully the attention will turn to the threat of China getting control of Russia. Lets hope for some de-escalation not a double-down as some saying.
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