Will There Be a War Over Ukraine? 13 Putin Watchers Weigh In

Menon: Regardless of the prevailing pessimism, I consider the failed Geneva talks and persevering with Russian buildup have concentrated minds, opening a number of diplomatic channels (U.S.-Russia, U.Ok.-Russia, Germany-Russia, the Russia-NATO Council), bettering prospects for diplomacy. So, I anticipate Putin to attend, assess the outcomes, hold his powder dry, however not rush to invade Ukraine.(*13*)

McKew: Putin will proceed blackmailing us. Even with no assault, there’s a new safety actuality within the area; we’re debating issues that weren’t debatable earlier than the escalation. Russia retains inching their geopolitical imaginative and prescient ahead upon the West and it is extremely attainable that we are going to lose if we don’t stand and struggle now — we select disgrace as an alternative of conflict, however find yourself getting each, to borrow from the Churchill citation.(*13*)

Talbott: He’ll wait to see what comes from the diplomacy whereas making ready for a blitz if the talks fail.(*13*)


Hill: With Putin it’s at all times essential to anticipate the surprising. He makes certain that he has a vary of choices for motion and alternative ways of leveraging a scenario to use weak spot. If all our consideration is on Ukraine, then his subsequent transfer is likely to be some other place to throw us off steadiness and see how we react.(*13*)

Graham: Putin needs to interrupt the West’s will to withstand his safety calls for by holding it in a state of nervous rigidity because it tries to fathom what his subsequent transfer is likely to be. Up to now, Putin has used the specter of pressure deftly to compel the West to interact in talks. Putin will proceed down the diplomatic observe so long as he feels he’s making progress, whereas persevering with his menacing actions in and round Ukraine. You get extra out of diplomacy when you’ve got a highly effective navy pressure lurking within the background.(*13*)

Farkas: I do consider that there’s an 80 % likelihood or larger that he’ll use his navy forces to grab one other a part of Ukraine. I additionally am involved that he’ll escalate in different components of the world like Syria.(*13*)

Galeotti: Up to now, at the very least, the Russians appear to really feel there’s worth in persevering with the dialogue, so for the second I anticipate a mixture of some strikes to ratchet up the strain — just like the latest cyberattacks on Ukraine and the forthcoming naval workout routines off Eire — whereas seeing what, if something, they can get from the West.(*13*)


Getmanchuk: Putin has made himself a hostage of his personal technique, imposing his ultimatum about NATO enlargement and threatening to invade Ukraine. If this isn’t met by the West (and particularly the U.S.), he will likely be compelled to react quickly. What sort of response will probably be, we are able to solely guess.(*13*)

Frye: As different instruments for legitimating his rule — economic performance, overseas coverage success, personal charisma, and propaganda — have change into much less persuasive, Putin has come to rely extra closely on the safety providers and extra reasonable elites have been sidelined. Because the hawks rule the roost within the Kremlin, it’s onerous to think about that the voices of restraint in Moscow will prevail. As a result of I anticipate the U.S. to stay with its dedication to NATO’s open door coverage, I believe it’s extra seemingly than not that Putin will considerably increase Russia’s navy motion inside Ukraine if negotiations stall.(*13*)

What would shock folks to find out about Putin?

Graham: That he’s not an evil genius pushed by hatred of the West and its values. Reasonably, in his overseas and home insurance policies, he matches nicely throughout the traditions of Russian statehood and overseas coverage technique. Positioned on a huge territory with few formidable bodily boundaries and a harsh, unforgiving local weather, Russia has traditionally sought safety in strict inside management and in pushing its borders so far as attainable from its heartland. In strategic phrases, Russian enlargement is defensive, though it clearly appears offensive and aggressive to these peoples who’ve been compelled to supply Russia its strategic depth. That is the drama that’s taking part in itself out in Ukraine at the moment.(*13*)

Hill: Putin was extraordinarily proficient at judo as a younger man and competed on the nationwide stage. He approaches home and worldwide confrontations like a event. Even in the event you don’t win each bout, it’s your general efficiency that counts. You don’t should be the strongest to win and you may intimidate your opponent and achieve benefit simply by the way in which you step on the mat and safe your first grip.(*13*)


Getmanchuk: Russia is the one nation on this planet whose official narratives painting Ukraine as a navy energy that is ready to create a menace and even assault Russia. In truth, the nation on this planet that the majority desperately wants safety ensures at the moment will not be Russia, however Ukraine.(*13*)

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