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Is Putin Destroying Russia? - by Guy Millière for The Gatestone Institute - 29.01.23

If Putin succeeds in winning even a little territory, his victory will embolden other predators.

Retired British Army Colonel Richard Kemp describes Putin's plan as a "desperate gamble.... Moscow at present does not have the numbers to decisively overcome resistance from the depleted Ukrainian army". Putin nevertheless has the ability to turn Ukraine into a grease-spot, then take on Moldova, the Baltic States and whatever else he wants.

Putin knows that if he loses, it will be the end of his rule, maybe his life.... Russia is relying on its few allies and America's lack of will....

Many...seem not to understand that, as opposed to Las Vegas, "what happens in Ukraine does not stay in Ukraine." Even a partial win for Putin could end up costing America far more in the long run -- in both lives and treasure. It would have been so much easier to stop Hitler before he crossed the Rhine.

Western leaders, with the exception of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán... have reaffirmed that they will support Ukraine until it wins. Some, including Putin, spoke of negotiations; however, he warned that all his demands must be met and that he intends to fight until victory -- meaning that he will accept only unconditional surrender.

Western populations... grasp that to abandon Ukraine will lead to an even wider bloodbath.

Leaders in the West most likely see that without Putin's defeat, a return to stability in Europe is effectively impossible. To make the slightest concession to Putin would send all predators the message that they can invade a country, annex it in whole or in part, and commit war crimes to their hearts' content without any consequences.

Russia after this war will likely be a devastated country that has lost the last remnants of its status as a great power.

What is clear is that NATO will be strengthened, and fully emerge again as the defense structure of the democratic world.

European leaders who believed that the collapse of the Soviet Empire would lead to an era of perpetual peace, or who had illusions about Russia and Putin, or had largely given up their military spending, discovered the catastrophic extent of these illusions.

The United States -- if it does not lose its nerve and its will to protect the West -- will emerge as the big winner, but this should not overshadow the damage and destruction that the Biden administration – even though it has been extremely generous – caused by dithering and often providing materiel often too little, too late.

If the US had pre-armed Ukraine, the invasion might actually have been prevented in the first place. Let us hope that the United States does not make the same costly mistake by failing adequately to pre-position "porcupine weaponry" in Taiwan to make the risk to China too great even to think about invading.

It would be dangerous to forget that without the weakness that the Biden administration exhibited toward China; without the disaster it inflicted on both the United States and Afghanistan; without Biden's suggestion that if Russia limited itself to a "small incursion", that would be fine, it was in effect green-lighting aggressors. If American soldiers in Ukraine had not withdrawn a few days before Russia's invasion, there probably would have been no invasion and no war.

It would also be dangerous to forget that during the first days of the invasion, U.S. President Joe Biden reportedly offered Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky help to leave Ukraine. The message was that Biden was ready to abandon Ukraine to Putin.

The Biden administration has so far not provided long-range strike capabilities or air cover to Ukraine, thereby giving sanctuary to the Russian military to fire into Ukraine or proceed with a scorched-earth aerial bombardment. The cost to innocent Ukrainian people will be countless lives lost -- and prolonging the war.

The Biden administration and the rest of the Western world... finally [supported] Ukraine. For the future of the West and the Free World, the Biden Administration should continue to do exactly that.

For the full article in pdf, please click here:

Is Putin Destroying Russia - by Guy Millière for The Gatestone Institute - 29.01.23
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Dr. Guy Millière, a professor at the University of Paris, is the author of 27 books on France and Europe.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin knows that if he loses in Ukraine, it will be the end of his rule, maybe his life. (Photo by Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images)

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