Why is the conflict over Ukraine happening now?

Please forgive my ignorance of everything that happens beyond the borders of the U.S. (and/or beyond the borders of Palm Beach County), but I’m hoping that readers who follow matters international, especially those who live in Europe, can explain the Russia-Ukraine-NATO-US situation to me.

Why now? What has changed to create this conflict? Why wouldn’t it have happened in 2018, for example?

The New York Times assured us that Vladimir Putin controlled Donald Trump. From 2019, for example, “Donald Trump: The Russia File” (a consensus piece from the entire Editorial Board):

Standing on the White House lawn on Monday morning, his own government shut down around him, the president of the United States was asked by reporters if he was working for Russia.

He said that he was not. “Not only did I never work for Russia, I think it’s a disgrace that you even asked that question, because it’s a whole big fat hoax,” President Trump said.

Yet the reporters were right to ask, given Mr. Trump’s bizarre pattern of behavior toward a Russian regime that the Republican Party quite recently regarded as America’s chief rival. Indeed, it’s unnerving that more people — particularly in the leadership of the Republican Party — aren’t alarmed by Mr. Trump’s secretive communications with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, and reliance on his word over the conclusions of American intelligence agencies.

Given the direct control of U.S. politics that U.S. media asserted that Russia was exercising from 2016 through 2020, if Putin wanted to do something in Ukraine without American interference, wouldn’t it have made sense to do it while a Russian puppet (Donald Trump) was in charge in D.C.?

Russia annexed Crimea during the Obama administration (Wikipedia) and took a lot of heat for that. Unless we/NATO/Europe has done something recently to antagonize Russia, wouldn’t it have made sense for Russia to do whatever it is doing now back in 2014 so that it would have had to suffer only one round of sanctions?

Finally, given that the U.S. is packed with immigrants from both Ukraine and Russia, I wonder what the consequences for this dispute will be here. Our corner of Florida in particular is home to both Ukrainians and Russians (many had been living in New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, but moved when lockdowns and school closures were imposed). Can expats from Ukraine and Russia get along? I remember when Crimea was annexed, a Massachusetts immigrant from Crimea was vocal in support of Putin and the annexation (her father was a Russian military officer).

This is a big story in U.S. media recently and yet I have no idea what Americans are supposed to know about the situation.


  • New York state public and welfare health spending compared to Russia’s military budget: How much is $88 billion? Mexico spends about $1050 per person on health care. That includes health care for the rich, middle class, and poor. Mexico’s population is roughly 130 million so this works out to about $136 billion. In other words, with only 20 million people, New York spends close to as much on public health and welfare health insurance as Mexico does to care for its entire population, including cosmetic surgery for the richest people in Polanco. (How are the results in the Mexican system? Mexican life expectancy is about one year less than American life expectancy.) Comparisons between coronavirus and war are common. What if we wanted to have a military force with supersonic fighter jets, nuclear-powered submarines, an aircraft carrier, nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, nearly 1 million active-duty troops, and 2 million reservists? Somewhere around $70 billion is what Russia spends. In other words, New York state spends more for public health and welfare health care than Russia spends to fund what might be the world’s most powerful military (let’s hope that we never find out who is actually the strongest!).

52 thoughts on “Why is the conflict over Ukraine happening now?

  1. Biden needs to look strong so he is pretending Putin will invade Ukraine so that when that doesn’t happen he can claim credit for scaring him off.

    • I also have the feeling that Uncle Joe might want to escalate for personal reasons (current ratings, November elections, his son’s connection with Burisma, which will float up again in 2024). At the same time I have to admit that Uncle Putinko started to plop troops at the border well before Uncle Joe started to talk tough, so I admit the story is likely more complicated than what I suspect.

      Does anybody know whether the current president of Ukraine had any plans of pro-active military action against Crimea or the separatists in Dombas? he might have thought Uncle Joe’s need to keep an ally in power in Ukraine gave him some leverage. If that is the case it is not surprising that Uncle Putinko would get crossed and shit troops to the border. I am asking here, not stating.

    • Federico, current president of Ukraine has had no military attack plans whatsoever, he was elected on peace + Ukrainian independence platform winning over previous p[resident who was on get back Donbas if necessary by force + Ukrainian independence platform.

  2. It sounds crazy, but even a stopped clock is right twice a day, and one of the best analysis of this that I’ve heard began with none other than Dr. Alan Chartock, participating in the morning roundtable of WAMC who made a couple salient points and I take them and diverge from them:

    1) Putin is effectively a dictator.
    2) He’s also trying to become President for Life.
    3) Ukraine would like to be protected under the NATO umbrella (with all the holes that has) but he doesn’t like that idea at all, because it would be a geopolitcal defeat for him. He’s not precisely expansionist but he definitely doesn’t want Ukraine to be further absorbed into the West.
    4) He can cause a lot of trouble, make us spend a lot of money and do a lot of psychological damage to the Ukrainian people who might like to be out from under his thumb by threatening them with troops and tanks and planes and bombs and so forth massed along their border, causing some of their people to camp out in the cold with heavy machine guns waiting for the inevitable.
    5) Ukraine is certainly a prize Putin would like to wear on his sleeve and use effectively to bolster his Strongman President for Life Let’s Get the Old Regime Back Together bonafides among his core supporters in Russia.


    6) Doing that successfully will tend to throw cold water on dissidents who might think they can successfully mount a challenge to President for Life Putin.
    7) Anything Putin can do that causes the United States to have to worry or spend money, treasure and/or lives is the most attractive thing in the world to him. He loves that stuff.
    8) Kyiv is about 300 miles from Moscow and Putin has the muscle, or thinks he does, to make sure that he solidifies his influence there while causing everyone else around them to step up and take notice of the suzerainty of their Great Leader in Moscow.

    So he is pushing all kinds of buttons! And right now especially, with the weak and incompetent leadership we have in the United States, it’s a beautiful time to do it! He’s got the military coercive and fear power to scare the crap out of people, especially places like America that has already spent $10 trillion fighting an airborne respiratory virus and where most of the people do not even know where Ukraine is on a map or what it represents in terms of geopolitics.

    9) There’s also an element of theater here between Hunter Biden and Rudy Giuliani, so it’s really kind of Operatic.

    One, more or all of these may be wrong, but I have to give some credit to Dr. Alan Chartock for divining the core psychology behind Putin’s motivations. I would expect nothing less from him.

    • Oh, by the way, WAMC’s commentariat agreed that there was “almost nothing Biden could do” to stop Putin from doing anything he wants. So Biden must be making a lot of phone calls right now, talking in his halting and forgetful way to other “western” leaders whether or not they’re willing to make some kind of sacrifice to stop Putin from starting a war. I don’t think any of them want to commit a single soldier or a single Euro to the effort, certainly they want nobody coming back in body bags. But Putin’s troops are ready to fight and die, and a lot of Ukrainians are too.

      The real question to me is what the United States and Europe are going to try to bribe Putin with in a Faustian bargain to prevent them from having to fire a shot that might show up as a dead soldier in the media.

      It’s basically an extortion operation at this point, in other words. We’ve seen this before but the United States is weak, with a weak and befuddled leader, with trillions wasted. It’s “Let’s Make a Deal, Joe. You’re in a weak position, my friend. How much are you willing to give me to prevent me from making the next move?”

      So whoever is crafting the response had better be sure that they can cost Putin a great deal more than he thinks he might gain.

    • Finally, if Ukraine is lost to Putin, the U.S. media has already prepared all of their commentary about how Trump sought to weaken NATO and therefore gave Putin the opportunity to snatch Ukraine from the West like a thief in broad daylight on the streets of New York City attacking some guy walking out of a store, while everyone takes selfies and Facebook videos.

      My remembrance is that Trump did not want to weaken NATO per se, but he did want more NATO members to pay more to support the alliance. But all of that has been incontrovertibly controverted.

      It will be: “Blame Trump!” the question is whether or not Biden really wants and needs to play that card right now. Perfect timing by Mad Vlad, he certainly does the best he can with what he has without showing much visible emotion.

    • Alex, if Ukraine is taken over by Putin in whole, an unlikely variant due to stiff resistance Russia would encounter from well – armed troops in many parts of Ukraine, it would be major concern for NATO as Putin would be on its borders and next feat of greatness from him could involve a NATO target.
      Also not surprisingly, Ukraine gets the most military help from Check Republic, a victim of Munich treaty.

  3. The NYT is a hilarious rag. Also from 2019 (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-50875935):

    “President Donald Trump has signed a law that will impose sanctions on any firm that helps Russia’s state-owned gas company, Gazprom, finish a pipeline into the European Union.”

    Gazprom is where German leftist politicians go after their political careers are over. Trump was exactly right about that pipeline, Germany should build up nuclear energy instead like France.

    I do not think Putin will invade. One has to keep Euros flowing in the direction of the oligarchs to maintain the high life.

  4. Putin is having his Carter moment. Pretty obvious to lions that part of a dictator’s job is to look strong & he’s never going to look stronger than beating the Bide man in a conflict he could just have easily beaten Trump with.

  5. I’ve heard Putin is actually very popular, but I’m sure he didn’t get the 80 million votes Uncle Joe got in the last election.

  6. Nothing to do with Putin’s personal ambitions or psychology. It’s much more complex and has more to do with Germany’s (and “old Europe’s” generaly) rising trade with Russia and China. Aledging imminent Russian invasion is a pretext to persuade “old Europe” to severe her relations to est and reorient to the other side of pond.

    • Sounds like conspiracy. How do you explain Putin staging 100k troops near the border, manipulation? Guess he’s falling right into Biden’s hands.

    • AFAIK troops are there for already 9 months. Why they procrastinate for so long? Serious army would make moves only when decision for invasion is taken. So I don’t see one obvious answer here but few possibilities.
      BTW recently China has become leading trade partner to EU replacing the US in that role. Biden’s EU policy is mostly continuation of what Trump was doing. While Trump called EU/NATO a freeloaders, now Biden’s State Dept is putting shame on Germany and other hesitant EU members for not reacting on ‘immanent’ Russian invasion.

    • Why have troops there for 9 months then, if not to invade/provoke/antagonize? What specifically did Germany or Europe do 9+ months ago to cause this response? And, how does putting Ukraine on edge accomplish anything with Germany or Europe? All those questions should have specific and ready answers if your conspiracy checks out.

    • Back to the original question “why is the conflict happening now”. Since troops on border have been there for long, the only new thing recently is the loud cry wolf we hear. Some folks take it seriously, others think it’s false alarm. Since I tend to agree with the latter group, I conjured what could be the motive for rising the tension this way. I’ve explained what I see as a probable (but not the sole) reason in my previous posts. Of course I could be wrong, I never claimed infallibility.

    • It can’t be ignored that Putin invaded Ukraine and Crimea a few years ago. Given that alone, isn’t it foolish to dismiss the current buildup?

  7. Alternate viewpoint: Crimea was repatriated by Putin/Russia, after Ukrainian-born Khrushchev “transferred” it to Ukraine in 1954. What was the result of Putin’s actions? The Crimean people’s wages and pensions got a 3x increase in real purchasing power by switching to Russia currency.

    • Tsk. Using Wikipedia as a source on current politics. That’s surely so reliable and not slanted at all.

      The reality is that Putin was forced to take Crimea in, alternative being losing a major strategic asset (Rissia’s only warm water naval base) to NATO. At that time Crimea already seceeded from Ukraine, by overwhelmingly pro-secession popular referendum, and formally requested admission to Russian Federation. Which is not surprising, considering that majority of Crimeans are ethnic Russians. That request was approved not by Putin, but by the Russian parliament, Putin doesn’t have legal authority to make decisions like that (being a head of executive branch). Now, a centrist “big tent” pro-Putin party Edinaya Rossiya has a solid majority in Duma and had it for quite a while, enjoying quite a lot of support from independent voters. It is kind of funny how Americans fail to understand that Russia is not a dictatorhip, and is probably more democratic (due to representation of minor parties in Duma) than modern-day US with its fake political duopoly.

    • @averros, Sevastopol is not the only warm-water Russian naval base. Novorossiysk is larger port then Sevastopol, and also a Naval base. During WII with loss of Sevastopol Novorossiysk was sufficient to maintain Soviet Naval Supremacy on Black Sea and it was home to larger ships, ships of the line and battle cruisers, than are fielded in Black Sea by Russia now.
      Many Ukrainians live in Crimea and many Russian and Ukrainians who used to rent out summer rentals are quite disappointed in tourism slump in Crimea post-Russia takeover.

    • I do not dispute that Wikipedia is biased on many issues, but the factual exposition of the Crimea annexation is essentially correct.

      I disagree with your statement that Putin was forced into annexing the Crimea. There was no evidence at the time that the Kharkov Accords of 2010 extending the Crimean naval base lease until 2042 would have been somehow cancelled. It it were, perhaps there would be a casus belli, other than Russia’s siege mentality and paranoia.

      Of course, the Ukrainian economy as a whole and the peninsula’s in particular has been heavily mismanaged, not least because of rampant corruption arguably at the level exceeding that of Russia. As it happens, I am well acquainted with all three sides of the conflict having lived for many years in St. Petersburg, the Crimea and Ukraine. Knowing first hand what kind of population inhabits the Crimea, I have no doubts that the referendum results were largely as reported and not fake.

      Nothing of the above is any sort of excuse for the annexation, and it does not break the analogy of the Crimean Russians to Sudetenland Germans and Putin to Hitler, however Godwian it may sound.

    • > It is kind of funny how Americans fail to understand that Russia is not a dictatorhip, and is probably more democratic (due to representation of minor parties in Duma) than modern-day US with its fake political duopoly.

      It’s fascinating that NPR is basically “educating” all of its listeners – at least through WAMC in Great Barrington, MA, that Putin is a Dictator. As always I appreciate the alternate perspectives I receive here from people who are probably better informed than I am. Dr. Alan Chartock mentioned nothing about the many constituencies in the Duma. His interpretation was that:

      1) Russia is led by a dictator named Vladimir Putin.
      2) Republicans are partially or even wholly responsible for making him into one, or at least aggrandizing him, thanks to Orange Man. As I noted with my partial disclaimer, it could be that Dr. Alan Chartock is incorrect, or perhaps just preternaturally inclined to blame Orange Man for the problems Biden is currently confronting.

    • I used to have Ukrainian friends from Crimea, and they were sticking together with Ukrainians from Central and Western Ukraine. I also visited Crimea during late Soviet period and lived with and communicated with some Russian and Ukrainian Crimea inhabitants. They ranged from apolitical to card-bearing supporters of Ukrainian independence movement. For me it is totally not obvious that Crimean majority had voted to send their children to serve in Russian military in Abhazia or Siberia or that they are happy with less tourists and having to compete with Turkey for Russain tourists. It is actually quite opposite from what I think they wanted to vote for.

    • @perplexed – Not sure what are you talking about, since we’re discussing events of 2014. The construction of naval base in Novorossiysk has been completed in 2021 (it started in 2008, and during these events it was useful mostly as a mooring spot). It was intended to be the new home base of Black Sea Fleet, but now it is considered the secondary base. In addition, Novorossiysk bay is not deep enough for the bigger warships, and having NATO to take over Sebastopol would’ve guaranteed NATO’s total naval domination in Black Sea.

      Novorossiysk does have the largest Russian commercial port (the city population is still 1/2 of Sebastopol’s). It hasn’t been a naval base since 1947. As for the WWII history… both Sebastopol and Novorossiysk were conquered by Nazis in 1942. In Novorossiysk a smallish group of naval infantry (800 men) managed to hold on a part of the city, which later became a major Soviet propaganda story (Malaya Zemlya) due to Brezhnev’s involvement.

      Regarding Soviet naval superiority in Black Sea during WWII – I’m sure you realize that Germany had no naval assets of any significance in Black Sea due to Turkey’s closing Bosporus Straight. The Axis battle ships in Black Sea were mostly Romanian Navy. And, yes, they were as effective and battle-ready as the name suggests. Practically all action in Black Sea region was land-based.

      “Many Ukrainians live in Crimea” – yes, used to be around 15% of population in 2014, the last time there was a census. Russia allows dual citizenship, and about 2% of Crimeans kept their Ukrainian citizenship in addition to Russian.

      “Putin’s actions” – Not sure if Putin actually did anything rather than acquiesce to the inevitable. Let me be quite blunt: Ukrainian government did a lot of pushing Crimea out with its insane language and education policies designed to eradicate Russian language. Maidan coup was the last straw. And if one considers peaceful secession of Ukraine from the USSR legitimate, in the same vein one must consider peaceful secession of a part of Ukraine legitimate as well. (And, yes, Alta California’s secession from Mexico, too:) I’m really at loss regarding the prevalence of the idiotic belief that national borders are somehow sacred.

      “tourism slump in Crimea post-Russia takeover” – I’m sure potable water shortages and blackouts caused by Ukraine cutting off main supply lines have nothing to do with it. I’m not sure what your sources are for this claim, though: https://www.tourism-review.com/tourism-in-crimea-reports-huge-success-news12203

    • @averros, you actually strengthened my point – even with the loss of both Sevastopol and Novorossiysk USSR kept sufficiently large fleet that included battle cruisers and small battleships as well as submarines to dwarf Romanian fleet that consisted of four destroyers and a number of torpedo boat and German submarine battle group. Main goal of Soviet Black Sea fleet in WWII was to ferry soldiers from Odessa to Crime to Caucus while Nazi and Romanians traveled long way along the shore and it fulfilled its objective.
      Novorossiysk has military floating dock that supports 30,000 ton displacement ships, something that Russian Navy does not currently have, discounting permanently broke Admiral Kuznetsov that I think belongs to Russian Far East fleet. Do no let name “Large Anti-submarine Ship” name confuse it, it is a frigate-sized LHD landing ship that supports 2 helicopters and maybe 300 troops at most. Old Soviet nuclear-powered cruiser displaces more water of course but they carry equivalent of missile load of modern missile corvette.
      So Novorossioysk as it was before refurbishing was more then sufficient for modern Russian fleet which adds corvettes and frigates, not aircraft carriers.
      I do not know the details but Ivan stated that nobody was stealing Sevastopol base from Russia, it was to be Russian Naval Base at lest till 2040th per current agreement and I am sure Ukraine would extend the lease due to it economic value.

  8. It is unclear why the current saber rattling is happening now — not much has changed .in Ukraine- Russia dynamics recently. Perhaps, after the Afganistan debacle, Putin feels an opportunity.

    A substantial part of the Russian population , both the ruling elites and hoi polloi, appears to experience a combination of siege mentality (not quite unfounded), imperial ambitions and post Cod war resentment. That combination may override some Russian decision makers rationality and trigger an invasion. I’d estimate likelihood of that at about 5% for what it’s worth.

  9. Russia will nibble off eastern Ukraine (which desires to be nibbled into the Motherland) in a lightning assault, declare victory and go home. Remnant Ukraine will become a ward of EU/NATO with USA paying the bills. Putin will burp and look around for another isolated sore spot to aggravate. Peace and quiet are not his thing.

  10. If Ukraine indeed gets taken over, I suspect it would be Chyna’s turn to take in on Taiwan.
    Which makes Xiden look bad. And if Putin backs off, kind of makes him look bad.

    So, all this posturing is probably ‘wag the dog’ after all.

    The timing is such because there is a sense that the current US leadership is weak.

  11. When the Russia does not show up when the war begins, it will be counted as technical defeat. Then as a losing side Russia will have to pay contributions and Biden will get a Nobel prize for averting the war. Everyone is happy.

  12. LOL. And they say Americans only view geopolitical events through their own domestic political lens…

    Over the past year, Putin’s popularity has dropped precipitously due to the pandemic (his self-isolation wasn’t a good look for a Russian strongman), accompanied by recession and fatigue from a fourth term. The Navalny protests were real and massive by Russia standards. Navalny and nationalist hardliners (believe it or not, Putin is not the most irredentist Russia politician) began to outflank him on Ukraine, who’s populace is (understandably) as anti-Russian as ever, and has increasingly been eliminating Russian-language media (that’s true), and (allegedly) ratched-up discrimination against ethnic Russians and businessmen dealing with Russia.

    In response, Putin has implemented the most severe crackdowns in his 20+ years, and massed 100,000+ troops around Ukraine, to try to force symbolic concessions against NATO expansions, or failing that, yes invade. The odds are far higher than 5% of invasion; the Russian scholars I read like Anatol Lieven put it closer to 60%.

    • Well, the Russian population opinion seems somewhat schizophrenic according to various polls. On one hand, hist “electability: rating fell from 57% in 2018 to dust above 30% today:

      On the other hand, the approval of “the job he is doing” has remained relatively stable at about 60%:

      Given those numbers and lack of viable alternatives, it’s hard to imagine that he would not be re-elected if elections took place today, without need to invade Ukraine.

      I still believe that chances of invading Ukraine are pretty low given the costs, and in the unlikely case it does happen, it’ll be limited to the Donetsk and Lugansk areas with heavily pro-russian sentiments(presumably), just as happened in the past with Abkhasia, South Ossetia and the Crimea. Of course, Anatol Lieven, as *all* western politologists has no clue.

    • I admit that I was wrong in my estimate of the invasion likelihood but right, unfortunately, wrt to Lugansk and Donetsk. Apparently, I underestimated how deranged Putin and his Politburo are.

      There is a slight hope that he will stop there iff the sole rationale for the current Anschluss is his desire, or even requirement, to show some victory to his fellow mobsters and thus reaffirm his authority and also boost his popularity with brainwashed hoi polloi. I am not so sure any more whether this “optimistic” situation will persist . It’s a complicated situation aggravated by the decaying Europe inability to offer any meaningful pushback, not necessarily military.

    • Anonymous:

      Sure, what you mentioned is a tiny part of what contributes to the inabilty. But, one has to keep in mind that Russia is geographically closer to Europe, and is primarily Europe’s problem, not so much the US’s. I must admit I was somewhat surprised by the German’s response wrt. the NS2 given the Chancellor’s previous statements on the matter.

    • Ivan: German politicians have a short memory. Before the parliamentary elections last year, Merkel, Scholz and Laschet promised that there will never be a vaccine mandate. In December 2021, they said it would be necessary and they’d implement it by March 2022.

      In Germany they are compared to Ulbricht, who declared that no one has the intent to build a wall two months before it was built.

      I’m not surprised at all. If Putin “only” annexes the two eastern provinces, perhaps they’ll reverse course yet again, citing “green energy” (natural gas counts as “green energy” because it is politically expedient).

    • Anon-2:
      “they’ll reverse course yet again, citing “green energy” ”

      It is very likely, and is one of dozens contributing factors to the inability of making any meaningful pushback.

  13. Thanks for everyone above who is attempting to explain this complex topic for my simple parochial brain. If my own level of comprehension is typical, I think it is safe to say that Americans are unsuited to intervening in matters foreign (at least if the goal is to have some positive effect)!

    • Checking the wiki page, Ukraine–NATO relations

      “At the June 2021 Brussels Summit, NATO leaders reiterated the decision taken at the 2008 Bucharest Summit that Ukraine would become a member of the Alliance with the Membership Action Plan (MAP) as an integral part of the process and Ukraine’s right to determine its own future and foreign policy, of course without outside interference.[11]

      Appears Ukraine and NATO is rocking the boat. Russia would prefer that NATO isn’t on its border or floating around in the Black Sea. And of course NATO would like to do both of those. Positive effect or not.

    • 2008 decision confirmed in 2021. It is safe to say that next affirmation will be in another 13 years. The answer to question “why escalation now” is not clear. Weak US leadership and Afghanistan withdrawal, really disorganized escape, debacle with hundreds of billion of USD of military donation to Taliban is likely culprit.
      Still, not clear why Russia positions itself against NATO, it could join it as well, it has cooperated with American logistics in Afghanistan during Bush and Obama years. Again, all leads to US and NAT being perceived weakened with even bleaker future. Which may be true.

    • Russia joining NATO would be a interesting development. Russia buys some NATO branded artillery pieces. (NATO) carrier strike group parks itself at Sevastopol and cruises the mail order brides. Everyone wins.

    • Paul, great vision. There are some obstacles: US Aircraft carriers are not allowed to enter any non-US ports by Navy regulation, the most they can do is to stay several miles offshore and ferry personnel onshore. And by an old treaty no aircraft carrier is allowed to pass through Dardanelles, that’s why USSR called its aircraft carriers “missile cruisers with aircraft” and carried nominal load of missiles on them to supplement the aircraft. But yes, why limit American sailors only to covid exposure in newly friendly Vietnamese ports, like happened with USS Theodore Roosevelt.
      Anything is possible.

    • I haven’t read that much on the topic but wouldn’t surprise me if there is effort to dismantle the Dardanelles treaty. Then the foreign mostly peaceful ships can enter the black sea and get some Crimea Covid. Nobody will complain as they will be ill.

  14. Why isn’t Ukraine and the EU building up their own forces on the Ukraine boarder to face the Russian buildup? Surly, Ukraine and the EU countries combined can muster over 100,000 or even 200,000, 300,000 men/women, no? Isn’t this the best way to show Putin that Ukraine and EU will not accept an invasion and that they are united?

    Surry, if the Ukrainian and EU citizens understood the grave danger of COVID and followed their respective government orders to lockdown, wear masks and get the jab, they would see the Russian buildup as a grave danger too and will follow the orders of their government and volunteer in droves to fight.

    President Biden and American’s don’t need to be part of this army. All that we have to do is give our moral support and tell Putin to back off.

    • George, Ukrainian peace time armed forces number around 280,000. It has half a million of veterans of 2014 – 2020 conflict with Russia who are well trained troops. It has tank and ballistic missile industries, in fact Soyuz space rockets from family of R-7 ICBM missiles were manufactured in Ukraine. But Ukraine had problems with past governments and military equipment acquisition,. Ukrainian military firms rely on export work. Russian armed forces dwarf Ukrainian armed forces in tanks, aviation and tactical missiles.

    • @perplexed what about countries in EU or in Europe? Are they too as ill equipped and trained s the Ukrainians? Don’t they want to stand united against Putin’s aggression and tell him to back off by showing up with a larger force? Together, they can easily 2x to 3x the number of forces. In fact, they don’t need to show up with superior weapons or far more men/women. All they need to do is show that they are united. Each country from EU (there are 27 countries in EU) can sent just 5k of their men/women to face Putin — show unity and tell Putin if you invade Ukraine, you will face and kill armies from countries outside Ukraine too.

      Surely the citizens of EU see his as a grave danger as COVID, no?

    • I think the analysis makes sense.

      With the NATO being a military mirage, as Hansen puts it, and the US, rationally or irrationally but correctly, unwilling to interfere in a substantial way in the case of invasion, it’s up to Putin and his advisers at this point as to what happens next.

  15. This quote from Hanson is complete nonsense:

    “Worse, 60 percent of Germans oppose going to the aid of any NATO country in time of war. Over 70 percent of Germans term their relationship with the United States as ‘bad.’

    We can translate all these disturbing results in the following manner: The German and Turkish people like or trust Russia more than they do their own NATO patron, America.”

    60% not wanting to go to any war sounds correct, but the rest is just made up. What was the phrasing of the question that Pew research asked? Hanson’s conclusion is bordering on being irresponsible. Voicing dissatisfaction with America is common, but you have to factor in the lies in the Irak war and now the woke idiocy that comes across the Atlantic (if you are being lectured about 50 genders and white supremacy on a daily basis, Putin and Orban suddenly seem like very reasonable men).

    German politicians wants Russia’s natural gas and jobs at Gazprom. That is about as far as trust goes.

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