February 25, 2022

Putin, Ukraine, and Let's Go Brandon

If Putin is suddenly open to peace talks on the Ukraine invasion, maybe he's smarter than Let's Go Brandon.  Scratch that, he's definitely smarter than Let's Go Brandon.  My initial thought was hat Putin would grab a couple of provinces closer to the Russia border and call it a day. He gets a win and Let's Go Brandon can claim his sanctions stopped Putin from going further.  It's a win for Putin and a seeming win for Let's Go Brandon, which is actually another win for Putin.

Remember, president Trump is the only U.S. president during whose term, Putin did not attack some other sovereign country (Chechnya (technically not a sovereign nation, but wanted to be), Georgia, Crimea (in the Ukraine) and now the entire Ukraine).  If Putin can make Let's Go Brandon look good, he could possible get him re-elected and enjoy another four years where he could try to conquer another neighbor, possibly one of the Baltic states.

President Trump, who purportedly praised Putin (actually just his craftiness, it was not praise for his actions), would not have stood for this, and Putin knows it. Putin is evil, and everyone (including Trump) knows it.  But Putin is also crafty. He may settle for less than all of Ukraine, because there are all sorts of other possibilities that would suit him - a puppet regime, a destabilized and weak Ukraine, a Russia land grab of a large swath of the country for example.  What would he have to give up for any of those outcomes, probably nothing more than a cessation of hostilities.  Let's Go Brandon has already proved hostile to the Ukraine, he's not going to negotiate on their behalf fairly. As long as he comes away looking like a peace maker he'd probably be willing to give up 50% of Ukrainian territory. 

Who really wins?  Putin. Let's Go Brandon loses even though he doesn't realize it. Ukraine loses the most.  And Russia probably loses as well as they may end up fomenting an insurgency and more resentment among its neighbors. The only real winner there is Putin.

The other possibility is that Putin takes the entire country. Russia endures growing sanctions and the Russian people pay for Putin's global ambitions.  Let's Go Brandon looks even more feckless than before and ends up ensuring a Trump 2024 victory. Putin is faced with a leader who will stand up to him, and an insurgency that will rival the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.  He also will be faced with a flood of countries asking to join NATO and potentially some like Finland and Sweden, being accepted into the club.  That's a loss for Putin in the medium term.  That seems far less likely an option he'd pursue, despite the aggressive actions currently underway. The only way this is his possible strategy is if he believes the West has become so weakened that it will continue to elect weak-willed leaders and everyone will let this stand.

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