Russia is currently suffering tactical military defeat on the battlefield in Ukraine and is exhausting its military assets. Yet the outcome is still a stalemate and a military deadlock on the battlefield. However, the Russians are prevailing on the strategic level because they are succeeding in their psychological warfare against NATO and the United States. How is this so? The West led by the United States is deliberately providing Ukraine with far too little weaponry so as to not shift the balance of power on the battlefield and thus cause Kyiv to prevail strategically and kick out every last Russian occupying soldier from Ukrainian sovereign soil. Yet, Russian psychological warfare has convinced the West that sufficiently arming Kyiv would lead to escalation between Russia and NATO, including the use of tactical nuclear weapons against NATO nations. This reading of Russia’s intentions is of course taken directly from Russian propaganda and nothing could be further from the truth.
The reality is that Moscow has failed in Ukraine and what is needed is Ukrainian strategic victory in order to change the Russian calculus and force Russia to realign itself with the West against China. Russian propaganda tells us that NATO is an offensive alliance with designs for Russian territory. If so, why did not NATO act against Russia when the country was weak after the dissolution of the Soviet Union? Of course this is not even paranoia, this is sheer propaganda and complete nonsense. Obviously this is not something that the shrewd and coldly calculating leaders in the Kremlin themselves believe in.
While Moscow and Beijing each for their own reasons are playing it nice to each for now is the reality that Han civilization has expanded through colonization for thousands of years and it is still happening in Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia and Tibet. China covets the vast thinly populated spaces of Asia that neighbor China to its west and north, including Siberia and both Moscow and Beijing are well aware that military confrontation between the two is inevitable in due time. For Russia prior to the invasion of Ukraine was the plan to conquer the entire Europe so that Moscow would once more become a superpower thus able to resist Beijing. However, considering Russia’s inability to conquer Ukraine, how could they conceivably conquer the European Union? Using tactical nuclear weapons would not help them substantially advance on the ground because they fundamentally do not have the conventional military ability to conquer Europe.
There is no Russian military threat against Europe because of Russian military incompetence, corruption and low morale. What is needed now is to push out Russia from Ukraine in order to end its Ukraine adventure and force Moscow to realign with Washington against Beijing. The democratic interest of defending Ukraine’s sovereignty aligns perfectly with the realpolitik of surrounding China from all directions and so kicking out Russia from Ukraine will achieve precisely that end.
Strategic victory is within reach in Ukraine, all that is needed is a strategic reassessment in Washington in favor of strategic victory in Ukraine that would lead to vastly increased supply of weaponry to Kyiv. World War in Europe has already been avoided due to Russian ineptness. What is required now is a strategic decision that will successfully end the war in Ukraine and prevent World War further down the line in Asia by realigning Moscow with Washington.
What options will Moscow have after it is driven out of Ukraine? Attacking NATO? Obviously not. That would be disastrous for the Russian side which would gain absolutely nothing from such a misadventure. President Putin is no fool and remains coldly calculating and his only success so far in this conflict is in deluding Western intelligence services.