Saturday, February 26, 2022

Putin’s miscalculation

So, Putin expected Afghanistan in 2021. But he got Afghanistan in 1979. Ukrainians aren’t rolling over or welcoming back an old friend. They, and their president, are digging in for war. Their army is fighting hard. Harsh Western sanctions are targeting Putin and all his oligarch buddies, who were content to keep him in power while it filled their coffers, but who now stand to lose billions.

The Kremlin isn’t orchestrating a relatively bloodless coup in Ukraine any more. It is instead attempting to become an occupying force. And that is a much more difficult proposition for a country, even a large and wealthy one — you don’t need to look much further than Afghanistan to see the problem with external forces (who will, eventually, have to go home), trying to impose ideologies or governments on a people who don’t want them. Add to that those crippling sanctions, and you’re staring down the barrel of a protracted battle that isn’t easily won.

Or, to put it another way: How do you control a country of 44 million Ukrainians who suddenly have something to believe in? And how do you keep your own people on board?


  1. Afghanistan's terrain is notoriously difficult - nobody has ever successfully won a war against the Afghans - not the British empire, not USSR, not the USA..
    Russia still has a lot of firepower they could bring in, whcih they have not used yet. If the West provide their favourite Stinger missiles again, which seems to be the case, it may cause enough casualties in the Russian airforce. But the Russians have very powerful bombs, missiles etc, which they coudl unleash and pulverize Ukraine with.

  2. In other words Putin miscalculated!

  3. Ukraine isn't Chechnya. Chechnya is in the middle of nowhere. It has no major diaspora communities in Western countries. Russia could pound Chechnya into dirt and ashes and no one would really care. Ukraine has connections. Ukraine has social media connection.
    Putin made some good calculations. He calculated that NATO and Biden wouldn't go to war for Ukraine or even give it competitive weapons and he was mostly right. He calculated that the Ukrainians wouldn't be a match for his forces. There he was wrong
    So Trump was partially right. When it came to handling the West, Putin played the democracies like a fiddle. It's those stubborn Ukes he underestimated.

  4. You can't compare Arab Afghanistan to Westernized Ukraine.

  5. Afghan is not Arab. They are pashtun and Persian ethnic.


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