Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
I assumed Bad Vlad would occupy the break-away provinces and perhaps a little deeper just to convince Ukraine not to try and retake them.  I knew he wanted a Dnieper Line, but I didn't expect him to go for the whole thing this time.  He has, and I now expect him to try and flatten Kiev because why would he want that on his border.  The question I've been turning over is why now, why the rush?  And I have to admit I blew it, I misinterpreted an important thread.  I knew he turns 70 this October, but I didn't trust reports of his failing health, first because they were all over the place, and second because they rang too much like the constant reports we used to get of Politburo members' health during the Cold War.  Now I'm certainly more inclined to believe there is a health issue, but I don't believe it's needed to explain the current affairs.  Sick or not, Putin can feel the sands running through the hour glass, and he has no succession plan.  Not even as much as Stalin had.  Stalin at least had the Politburo; Putin has been a one-man gang, and it's too late to put together an institution to allow an orderly transfer of power.  So he's going for all he can now.  That's why he's committed such a relatively small part of the army; he wants be able to pivot against other targets.  The West needs to understand this quickly.  Germany especially needs to understand this is not "just business".

And I'm not willing to give the western intel services credit for supposedly "getting it right" either.  Aside from their hand in creating this mess (MI6, CIA, and BND all recruited OUN elements including Bandera and Lebed to conduct anti-Soviet operations.), intelligence work is like maths in this respect: If you get the right answer for the wrong reason, you're still wrong.  20 years ago they gave us the wrong answer for the wrong reason, and we may never stop paying.  This time the analysis was no better.  The services just wanted to let slip the dogs of war and were willing to beat the drum to make it happen.  We still don't have an honest analysis of what is happening or why, which makes it difficult to make an intelligent and effective response.  It couldn't be working better for Putin if he had a latter-day Bill Haydon in place.

by rifek on Sat Feb 26th, 2022 at 02:27:12 AM EST

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