The Russian invasion of Ukraine started two months ago. Since then, we have learned a lot. Still, we can only guess how far the invader wants to go. Decisions we face will shape the world for decades, if not centuries. Let us review what we know and what might be next.
What is the most desirable outcome?
Many nations have abstained from joining the West’s harsh response to the Russian aggression. Some worry about impairing their economic ties with Russia. Others are concerned that a Russian defeat would strengthen the United States and NATO, which they might see as undesirable for their political objectives.
Russia is not Cuba or North Korea; it cannot stay outside the global economy for long. Both Russia and Ukraine are major food exporters, which the world needs. The sanctions are to stipulate Russia’s withdrawal from its onslaught in Ukraine. Reintegrating both nations into the global economy as quickly as possible is the intention. Many people do not see it this way.
For example, many Germans ask their government not to ban purchasing oil and natural gas from Russia. Without that $1 billion daily from Germany, the Russian government could lose financial liquidity much faster and be forced to stop the war. Then, new political agreements could prevent Russia from using the fuel trade as a weapon to achieve its political goals. All sanctions could end sooner.
Germans may pay slightly less for heating their houses or refueling their cars’ by buying that gas and oil now, but their money allows Russia to conduct the war much longer. The sanctions are a burden to Russia and the nations issuing them, Germany included. The longer the war lasts, the costlier it is for the Germans. I just heard that Germany committed to stopping buying fuel from Russia by the end of 2022. It means they assume that the war would last for at least the next eight months. They cannot imagine a solution to end the war within the next few weeks.
It is Putin’s war
Russia invaded Ukraine even though Russians have no reason to feel threatened by Ukraine. Whatever economic or military alliances Ukraine might make, none of them would be against Russia. No one demands any Russian territory…