Are the democracies facing our “Shame of Munich” choice in Ukraine? I think the parallels are strikingly similar. Do we say no to the aggression now, or wait for Estonia, Latvia, Finland, and Lithuania to be claimed as “traditionally Russian”? Is Chamberlain’s “ Peace in our time” an option?
It certainly is a shame that the nuclear missles were removed. I hope the Ukrainians make it as expensive as possible, and whatever the west can do to support that is all for the better. Sadly, I believe the US has weapon systems that could easily destroy most the assets Putin has lined up, but they are too secret to reveal (so what good are they?).
Maybe it doesn't have a simple answer. If he invades, he doesn't just get to cash his chips and leave. There very likely will be an ongoing revolt in Ukraine that will cost lives and money. Mass media and instant news has changed the nature of war in the last eighty years, insurgent attrition has replaced the battlefield. Maybe this was the plan all along, make Ukraine increasingly hostile and Western and force Putin into a war he can't win.
The USA has very little leverage against Russia.
We don't trade much with them, so we can't hurt them economically.
We can't put a conventional army in place large enough to defeat Russia in the Ukraine.
We can't fight a nuclear war with Russia.
It's up to the European countries who trade with Russia to hurt them with embargoes.
The current military exercises by Russia and Belarus were planned seven years ago and NATO was informed. I do not think the weather is going to be Russia's favour for invasion. It is too warm and wet.
What Putin may be thinking is, carry on with the exercise, collect the data and leave much of the infrastructure in place until autumn/return of the cold in central Europe.
Germany is the key to European aid, they must be held over a barrel as far as resources are concerned. If the German people are threatened with freezing and unable to cook Christmas dinner or go to work, then Putin can do what he wants.
The UK doesn't have an army anymore and what it has is poorly maintained after Iraq and Afghanistan both in troops and equipment.
France is a viable ally of Ukraine as is Poland, both having militaries capable of dealing out punishment.
Canada is a bit far away and won't do anything on a war footing without the USA's say so.
The USA has elections on the way, so does the American public has the stomach for war with Russia?
Another option is for Putin to recognise the breakaway regions and move in under invitation of their leaders. The problem here is the UN recognising Ukraine as a whole, not bits. Russia could occupy the separatist held areas and stop there. This would be their best option, but likely will drive Ukraine into joining NATO as soon as possible or ally with NATO.
This would cause a new Cold War.
Now, what will China tell us to do?
I don't know what to expect these days. Putin is crazy enough to invade the Ukraine but I sure hope he doesn't. Europe has a very long and unprecedented period of peace, only interrupted by the war that led to the separation of Yugoslavia. From my side, I'm just hoping for the best.
Gotta say though Ukraine`s President is a joke. He used to be an actor who played a President on TV and is now their President for real. Much like our previous joke of a President for which this country is yet to fully recover from, if ever. I don't see this ending well for Ukraine as he is outmatched and unqualified both militarily and otherwise. Europe and the west will have to fully back them or they are lost!
I feel this is a very serious situation. Our position is weaker due to tRump publicly dissing NATO. It gave Putin the idea that NATO is weak, so he has acted upon that idea. If we do not stop him now, there will be a much larger problem to deal with soon afterward.