At first I thought Putin was trying to scare the United States and NATO away from involvement with his “Special Military Action”, but I have come to suspect the opposite, that he is trying to lure us into full scale war.
I realize being inscrutable and unpredictable is his standard manner of proceeding, and that brinkmanship is a hallmark of cold war tactics, but I bet he has held his best troops in reserve in case he gets to fight against the real NATO!! He has always wanted to be considered worthy of inclusion – of being equal, and what better way to demonstrate he is “our equal” than to be in a shooting war against us??
I really cannot point to any one thing, or even any chain of events, but everything he says sounds to me like: “Oh please don’t throw me into that brier patch!!”
(Only if one could snap one’s fingers and guarantee 100% conventional war-- no nukes!)
I do not believe for a second the Russian military is represented by the Barney Fife competencies they are showing so far. US airplanes, or even NATO planes without any help from America at all could wipe up this whole operation throughout Ukraine in a few weeks. Once there is a no fly zone (which would require destroying SAM sites in Russia proper) the Russian troops already in Ukraine would be easily defeated without resupply which would require air superiority.
If that were to happen I would not expect Putin to push the button. No one writes a history after total annihilation, so there is no hero to be remembered as the hero.(*) The whole thing looks like a feign to me-- Don’t chase me, I am limping and old and weak! Were the West to become involved, I would expect the Kestone Kops who are currently invading Ukraine to become quite formidable in an instant! I think the reason they are attacking hospitals and residential spaces and escape corridors is to bate the US into action so they can throw off their costume and fight for real for a month or two before negotiating a very favorable cease fire. Even though Trump is not in power, he has managed to telegraph that he would fall for this ruse (if that is, in deed, what it turns out to be) hook, line and sinker.
Thank goodness someone as wise and restrained as Biden is calling the plays right now. He is doing as much as he can without escalating and he is also growing partnerships on every front. He is even wise enough to realize the risk involved with the fighter jets – I would have blundered into that deal in a red hot minute I am so eager to release Ukraine from the suffering they are having to endure. I can hardly watch the news (or even read very graphic stories), it is like what I imagine watching torture porn would be like – almost like being forced to watch a snuff film.
I might be rash enough to reward those who like myself, want to take matters into their own hands and smash those evil bastards with every tool. We call those who sacrificed in the early 1940’s the greatest generation. Not just the ones who went and fought and sometimes didn’t come back-- but also the ones at home who walked to save gasoline for the soldiers who needed it more, and went without sugar and a thousand other comforts in support of on the pointy end of the spear. Well, it seems like things might have been even worse for those in Ukraine where some of the battles were fought. And now they are needing another ‘greatest generation’.
(*) Unfortunately, one can not make plans based upon the most likely action of one’s opponent but upon all the possible actions of that opponent.