Friday 12 April 2024

The 'Russia preparing for war with NATO' drumbeat continues

Russia prepares for war with NATO
The peachiness peachifies

Russia preparing for war with NATO

At least, it is according to the Institute for the Study of War, which has been covering the Russian invasion of Ukraine from the beginning:

"Several Russian financial, economic, and military indicators suggest that Russia is preparing for a large-scale conventional conflict with NATO, not imminently but likely on a shorter timeline than what some Western analysts have initially posited."

This and other recent, highly disturbing posts cover the Russian move to a wartime economy,  their longer term preparations, and the growing international alarm: 

"Polish President Andrzej Duda emphasized in a March 20 interview with CNBC that Putin is intensifying efforts to shift Russia to a war economy with the intention of being able to attack NATO as early as 2026 or 2027, citing unspecified German research.[7] 

Danish Defense Minister Troels Lund Poulsen stated on February 9 that new intelligence indicates that Russia may attempt to attack a NATO country within three to five years, an accelerated timeline from NATO’s reported assessment in 2023.[8] 

The timeline for the reconstitution of a significant Russian conventional military threat depends heavily on the financial resources Putin is willing to put against military efforts. In the absence of other explanations for Putin’s apparent preparations to risk damaging his relationship with wealthy Russian clients and in the context of continuing announcements of plans to expand the Russian military considered below, Putin’s attempts to set conditions to stabilize Russia’s economy and finances are most likely part of Russian financial and domestic preparations for a potential future large-scale conflict with NATO and not just for a protracted war in Ukraine."

Issues that derailed Russia's overly ambitious initial invasion are being addressed, and Russia is getting militarily stronger, not weaker. Their tech may not be as advanced as that in The West, but it doesn't need to be: quantity has a quality of its own, a quote often attributed to an earlier Russian (Georgian) potentate, Joseph Stalin (Iosif Dzhugashvili).

Over the last ten years, Russia has meddled in the US and Ukrainian election campaigns, run massive troll farms, and honey trapped American political and industry figures. They have herded refugees across the eastern borders of the EU and Finland to destabilize them. They have buzzed the Baltic States and impinged on their airspace with fighter jets. They have cut underwater communication cables, assassinated dissidents with radioactive elements and poisoned their underwear, targeted apartment blocks with cruise missiles, set up torture chambers and rape rooms in Ukraine, and deported Ukrainian children.

Mearsheimer says Putin has no intention of invading the Baltics, or restoring the Russian Empire. Yet he also said Putin would not invade Ukraine, that he could get everything he wanted from threats and bluster. A couple weeks later, Putin invaded Ukraine. 

Mearsheimer has also said that minority groups in Russia consider themselves Russian and that there is no risk of civil unrest or ethnic conflict. This does not jibe with the exceptionally large security forces Russia employs internally (what are they there to suppress if there is no potential for unrest?), or what I have heard from  various reporters, who have talked about anti-minority riots, the rise of intolerant right wing extremism, and discontent within the Tartar oblasts and the Caucuses (to be fair, the Caucuses have always been that way). 

The Chechens, despite their current collaborationist regime, have not forgotten the brutal oppression inflicted upon them. Sooner or later, Chechnya will attempt to secede again.

So will other ethnic minority dominated oblasts.

Problems may start emerging faster than Putin's thugs can beat them back down.

Being seen by history as a weak war leader who failed to reintegrate former Soviet Ukraine is very likely entirely unacceptable to Putin, and he will risk everything to secure victory. 

If Mearsheimer's right, Ukraine will inevitably be crushed and the US & NATO discredited, but we will not be facing WWIII or further Russian aggression. 

If he's wrong... 

As they say, pick your poison.

"Russia will not stop; Russia can only BE stopped."
Krišjānis Kariņš, Latvian Foreign Minister

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