simply brainwashed (although many are) but are willing parties in sustaining the illusion. Nationalism is what Putin (and Trump) play to, ie ethnic grievance, which has always depended upon fictional narratives to justify evil.
Russians do however have limited information, so it would be interesting to see how/if their opinions would adjust if they were exposed to real news.
Russia's greatest weakness is their economy and its' dependence on the West. We need to ramp up the sanctions to include oil/gas, which much of their (weak) economy is based upon. Make them a pariah state. Get real news somehow (via satellite, 5G, internet - however) to the population to let them know the truth about Putin's regime. IOW, get his own people to take him out.
Russia's greatest strength is their military and nuclear power. It would be foolish to confront them directly, especially to invade their homeland which would be certain to trigger nuclear war.
If he ever attacks NATO territory (very unlikely IMO, he's a coward) then we would be compelled to defend the alliance, likely in a non-escalatory way, to prevent nuclear war.
Our biggest failure vis a vi Russia/Putin was a failure of imagination. He played us, by getting the gullible/corrupt/traitorous to buy into his victimhood narratives, which prevented us from being more forceful about admitting countries like Ukraine and Georgia into NATO. Putin tested us by gradually compromising the borders of neighboring countries. It was a test run for what he is doing now. He knew nobody would defend Ukraine and is taking advantage. He will never attack a NATO nation as he knows it likely would be the end of him.
go nuclear pretty quickly, IMO.
The best way to take him out is for his own people to do it. This is why we need to ramp up the sanctions to include oil/gas. Then wait a few months as their economy crumbles and unrest starts to grow amongst the population as well as the elites and generals.
The way to have prevented this altogether was to have made it clear to Putin/Russia a long time ago that any/all former Soviet states that want to join NATO would be allowed to do so regardless of what he wanted. Putin played us pure and simple. He convinced the gullible and the corrupt that his victimhood narratives were valid - and now Ukraine is paying the price.
That's the truth Putin has failed to grasp. Modern Russia - especially the big cities - are fairly Westernized. The younger generations listen to the same music, watch the same movies etc as kids in the West do. None of them are going to want to live in a Soviet style existence. Russia has enough food and oil to sustain its population, sure, and China will help them etc. But their happiness is about being connected to the West. Unhappy people who feel closed off are likely to revolt. That is what the sanctions are about, getting them to rise up and demand regime change. We also need to find better ways (ie, satellite, internet, etc) of getting real news to them, ways that can't easily be blocked or censored.
It is the duty of everyday citizens to voice their concerns and opinions regarding national and international affairs, and of the policies and workings of our government and military. Being an expert on any particular topic is not a prerequisite for democratic participation.
The founders were very clear on such principles, to prevent the democratic experiment from devolving into a military state.
A government of the people, by the people for the people - not a government of experts and generals.
It should be noted that most regular people couldn't care less about world politics or military objectives - until they are forced to because the so called experts and leaders who were supposed to prevent situations like this have failed to do their jobs - and now innocent people are being slaughtered and the security of the world is at grave risk. Putin was appeased for 20+ years and this is the end result.
don't expect America and NATO to come bail them out if Russia attacks. Unlike Ukraine, which begged to be in NATO but was blocked by corrupt Putin-appeasing European leaders - Finland and Sweden have chosen not to be in NATO. Europe as a whole (including existing NATO nations) have to start contributing more to their own defense. The reason they have so much better healthcare than we do is because our taxes have to fund a large military - that they expect will protect them should Russia attack. F that - let them start stepping up and contributing more to their own defense and to collective Western security.
That's his pattern. He then will declare that Kyiv has fallen and will install a puppet gov't. But it will never last because any territory he has taken will (as with Kherson) constantly be contested.
Putin - who lives in a kleptocratic bubble - gravely miscalculated the response from the West and from the Ukrainians themselves. He believed that the Western response would be meek/timid like it was when he annexed Crimea. He believed that many Ukrainians would accept him as a liberator.
and weaponry and won't lose the primary phase of the war.
The best case scenario is the sanctions (which are severe, and could be even stronger if we sanction gas/oil exports) steadily weakening and isolating Russia while they are mired in a guerilla war in Ukraine for years.
Sanctions will work because the Russians, especially younger, have become used to a more Western and consumerist way of life and won't be happy otherwise. It's not just about raw resources (Russia has enough food an oil to sustain itself) but about not wanting to live in a drab Soviet style existence.
Ukrainians will never accept the Russian occupiers, such a project is certain to fail.
Thus under such pressures, at some point the Putin regime will fall apart and someone else will come to power, who will relinquish Ukraine/Belarus/Georgia (and accept they will join NATO) in exchange for the West lifting the sanctions and accepting Russia back into the international community.
any remaining authoritarian elements into submission when we had the chance, and should've more forcefully supported pro-democracy and pro-market movements. Europe appeased Putin due to wanting his oil and oligarch money - that is why Ukraine and Georgia are not in NATO like they should be.
Putin isn't 'scared' of NATO or Ukraine. He's jealous that the world largely turned Westward after the USSR fell. Even many Russians love the Western consumerism they are suddenly going to be cut off from.
when they should've been admitted to NATO and the EU, but were blocked by corrupted European countries (Germany especially). Putin would not attack a NATO country. His specialty is in compromising the border of nations he views as wanting to join NATO so that they would not qualify for membership (a country must have control of its borders).
We can't do a no-fly zone because that would bring us into direct conflict with Russia. We can't 'partially' enter conflict with Russia. We either enter fully or we don't.
It's too late to give Ukraine any advanced weapon systems such as patriot missiles - the country is going to be occupied by Russians within a week or so. The only weapons we can give them are the stingers and javelins and others that can be hidden easily, operated with little skill etc to be used in a guerilla war.
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