Thursday, February 17, 2022

Don't Let Down Your Guard. War Is Still Likely.

By Tim Gamble

In my previous article, I wrote: "War in Europe (Russia-Ukraine) looks highly likely within a matter of weeks, and could pop at any time." I stand by that assessment. 

Don't get me wrong. I don't want war. I am as war-weary as everyone else, and as mistrustful of government (probably more so than most). I especially don't want war to protect a country that is as corrupt and as strategically useless as Ukraine. But wishful thinking isn't a sound basis for analysis. And factual analysis still says war is likely. 

The Ukrainian President claimed the war would start Wednesday. It didn't. And Russia made a show of withdrawing some troops and tanks. So, many folks started saying there would be no war. 

But there was no sound reason for the claim that the war would start Wednesday. And the "withdrawal" that the Russians made a show of, has already been largely reversed with more troops and more tanks being sent to the border.

Putin still says "no invasion." Of course. Do you really expect him to admit his plans if he was going to invade? Do you expect him to give a press release with his timetable for the invasion? If Russia invades, Putin will keep saying "no invasion" right up to the point the invasion actually starts, and maybe even a bit longer.

Here is why I still say war is likely:

>>> Russia/Putin feel that they must act due to NATO's broken promises (regarding not expanding), and Ukraine's provocative actions (such as cutting off water supplies to Crimea) and heated rhetoric (Ukraine's government has repeatedly threatened military action against Russia over the last few years). 
>>> The massive build-up of troops, tanks, artillery, and bombers by Russia near the Ukraine border is very real, and easily verifiable. 
>>> Russia continues to move ships into position in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. 
>>> These moves are very costly for Russia, and make no sense if they are for nothing. Russia/Putin must get something in return.
>>> As Russia feels the war is necessary, elements in the West, particularly the Biden administration, actually seem to be encouraging a war. This could be to provide a distraction from domestic problems, or to gain more momentum for the so-called "Great Reset." 
>>> The West, and in particular the US, is using language that seems to be aimed at antagonizing Russia/Putin, rather than at actually deescalating the situation.
>>> Finally, Russia/Putin senses weakness in Western leadership, especially with Biden. There will likely never be a better time for Russia to retake parts of, or all, Ukraine. 

The Bottom Line: Although I hope and pray for a peaceful outcome, I still think a war is likely within the next few weeks. Just because something hasn't happened yet, doesn't mean it won't or can't happen. Use what time we have to prepare as best you can.


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