Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ukraine Might have Won the War Without Firing a Shot

So I might have been dead wrong about my shooting war prediction. Hopefully so.

The Russian military's ultimatum (surrender or die) to the Ukrainian military bases came and went without a peep (other than various bases very loudly singing the Ukrainian national anthem at the Russians) and, importantly, without the Russians acting. The Ukrainians called their bluff, and in such situations, having one's bluff called is pretty crippling to one's ability to further intimidate.

The Ukrainians actually claim to have intercepted a call with Putin somewhat furious at a field commander for not having provoked the Ukrainians into firing at them. It's clear Russia wants a shooting war and that their ambitions at the moment are beyond sitting on their hands in Crimea, but so far the Ukrainians aren't giving it to them--and probably won't.

Russia might just be stuck. Putin's quick-mover advantage is quickly eroding and now he looks--more importantly than looking like an aggressor--like he doesn't have a plan. If the Russians don't have a strong enough pretext with moving forward on the "shooting" part of this adventure, they may just have to withdraw.

On another note--a little bit more research suggests that Visegrad 4 military along with Ukraine would make Russia's life very hard if it was engaged--it would be far from a "rollover" kind of war, given in particular that Russia's military is mostly conscripts and the V4 is more professional. 
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