The US Must Prepare for War Against Russia Over Ukraine [View all]
President Vladimir Putin is more likely than not to invade Ukraine again in the coming weeks. As someone who helped President Barack Obama manage the U.S. and international response to Russias initial invasion of Ukraine in 2014, and our effort to keep Moscow from occupying the whole country into 2015, I am distressingly convinced of it.
Why? I see the scale and type of force arrayed by the Russian military, the ultimatums issued by Putin and his officials, the warlike rhetoric that has until recently saturated Russian airwaves, and the impatience with talks expressed by his foreign minister. Add to that the likely anxiety produced in Putin by the demonstrations last week in Kazakhstanand Moscows success in tamping them down.
But the basic reason I think talks with Russia will fail is that the United States and its allies have nothing they can immediately offer Moscow in exchange for a de-escalation.
The United States must do more than issue ultimatums about sanctions and economic penalties. U.S. leaders should be marshalling an international coalition of the willing, readying military forces to deter Putin and, if necessary, prepare for war.
If Russia prevails again, we will remain stuck in a crisis not just over Ukraine but about the future of the global order far beyond that countrys borders. Left unrestrained, Putin will move swiftly, grab some land, consolidate his gains, and set his sights on the next satellite state in his long game to restore all the pre-1991 borders: the sphere of geographical influence he deems was unjustly stripped from Great Russia.
(Sorry, I just had to throw some Sabbath in here... )