Russia has already lost the war

On Wednesday, the remains of car guts lie along the road during a fierce battle on the front lines in Severodonetsk, Luhansk region. “Putin exposed Russia as a delusional and dangerous force,” the author says. [AP]

Russia continues to make profits on the ground in Ukraine, especially in the Donbus region, where the war is currently the most fierce. President Vladimir Putin has and may continue to suffer more. His army is not strong enough to overthrow the government of Volodymyr Zelensky and occupy the whole of Ukraine as originally desired, but I am convinced that Ukraine is not strong enough to drive the army out of its territory. It already holds. He also knows that the global food and fuel inflation created by his war tests the limits of Western determination to continue to support Ukraine at current levels.

But from a long-term perspective, Russia has already been defeated in this war, and Putin’s invasion decision will be remembered as one of the biggest failures of the leaders of the great powers in decades.

What did Putin want his invasion to accomplish? The goal he stated was Ukraine’s “denazification and demilitarization.” Denazification meant the dismissal of the Ukrainian government, which prefers stronger ties to Europe than Russia. With demilitarization, he wanted to deprive Ukraine of the ability to challenge Russian rule in the future, whoever was responsible in Kieu.

His ambition extended far beyond Ukraine. He also wanted to show the United States and Europe that Russia must be treated as a great power that can define its own sphere of influence. He wanted to expose the Western forces as weakly divided. He also wanted to strengthen his position with the Russian people, as did the 2014 seizure and annexation of Crimea.

What did he achieve?

Putin redesigns Europe’s security architecture, redraws the boundaries of adjacent democracy by force, and exposes Russia as a delusional and dangerous force hoping for a constant stream of lies about its motives. did. He showed that he did not know what the Ukrainians would fight for or how the West would respond to a large-scale naked attack.

He caused intergenerational damage to his own army. In Ukraine, more Russians were killed in 100 days than Soviet soldiers died in Afghanistan in 10 years. Many tanks and other heavy weapons were lost. Artillery supplies have been reduced. US export restrictions on the sale of critical parts to Russia will further undermine Russia’s replenishment efforts. He gave other parts of the world an unobstructed view of Russia’s capabilities, limitations and vulnerabilities. He also caused considerable damage to the morale of combat units that were badly equipped due to the mission the leader had in mind.

Putin gave Europe and the United States a sense of common purpose that had not existed since the end of the Cold War. He reminds many Europeans why American aid is so valuable and shows Americans that they make strict choices and painful sacrifices to uphold Western values. I did. He doubled the length of the Russian-NATO border by expanding NATO and persuading Finland and Sweden to be safer than outside the alliance, despite current opposition from Turkish President Erdogan. I made it. Two-thirds of Danish voters skeptical of the euro are now voting to strengthen their defense ties with the EU.

He has supported the economy with US and European sanctions that are unlikely to be lifted while Putin is in power. He created a long-term shortage of spare parts that are important to the Russian manufacturing industry. He is vulnerable to criticism not only from Russians who dislike international isolation who know they are coming, but also from those who feel he has mismanaged the war that Russia could have easily won. I’m leaving it as it is.

He persuaded the European Union to significantly reduce Russia’s energy imports, which is an important source of income for the Putin administration. He proved to European leaders that they had to spend more money on the defense of Europe. All these developments were almost unthinkable before Russia began to gather troops along the Ukrainian border.

Putin also left the country, deeply dependent on China’s (still limited) goodwill. The process of diverting large amounts of Russian energy from Europe to Asia takes a lot of time and money. And as fewer ambitious buyers, Russia needs to sell its products at discounted prices.

In return for all that, he may gain control of Ukraine’s Donbas region and more of the Black Sea coastline, linking its territory to Russia’s controlled Crimea.

Of course, Russia is not completely isolated. In all parts of the world, there are still people and governments who consider the United States to be a greater threat to the sharing of world peace and prosperity than Russia. Many governments will continue to buy Russian goods and weapons, especially at low prices, inevitably.

But the worst of all this self-harm is irreversible, at least as long as Putin is responsible. That is why the fighting in Ukraine may last for months or years, but Putin has already lost the war.

Ian Bremmer is president of Eurasia Group and GZERO Media and author of “The Power of Crisis”.

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