Harlan Ullmann, senior adviser to the Atlantic Council, reviews the potential strategic, economic, tactical, and military advantages that Russian President Vladimir Putin might see that help infer from it the possible next step.
Ullmann identifies in article The American website “The Hill” has 5 advantages, which are as follows:
Or not: Russia outnumbers Ukraine in size and quantity. No matter how heroic the Ukrainian resistance is, it is not without limits, especially with the high losses and the exhaustion of the stock of weapons and logistics.
secondly: From a right or wrong perspective, Putin sees that he can use energy and food to divide the Western alliance. Europe depends on Russian gas and oil. The cost of gasoline in the United States, assuming it remains high, is a major problem for President Joe Biden and his domestic support, which has been exacerbated by high inflation that could undermine the long-term consensus to allocate several billion dollars to support Ukraine.
Hunger and refugees weapon
As for food, immigration can be a powerful weapon in Putin’s hands, having learned from his involvement in the war in Syria. With massive global famine and food shortages, the effects of migration are self-evident, with 5 million Ukrainians displaced and large numbers seeking asylum in Poland, Romania and elsewhere. The famine will push more people to seek safety and sustenance in Europe and the United States, and the West may not be able to handle this.
Third: Putin believes that the United States had to plan a war on two fronts; The first against Russia and the second against China. Putin fully appreciates the folly of such a strategy. Napoleon and Hitler were eventually defeated by initiating wars on two fronts. China is a strategic country and market for Russian energy to circumvent sanctions and force the United States to reduce its resources; And by dealing with two major opponents in half the world.
Fourthly: Putin may see America’s divisions on almost every issue as additional limits on its power and ability to influence events, such as abortion and firearms issues, and perhaps see the American political system as deadlocked and unable to function.
Short-range nuclear weapons in Kaliningrad
Fifth: Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas has declared that NATO’s defense strategy for her country could wipe Estonia off the map. Perhaps Putin will display Russia’s only major military advantage over NATO – numerical superiority in short-range nuclear weapons – to announce that more of his forces will be stationed in Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave that is geographically separated from Russia and has become central to the Baltic states as a Damocles sword to threaten and divide NATO.
The writer says that Putin’s advantages – fortunately – are not necessarily as strong or correct as he thinks. However, if the West does not understand why Putin thinks time is on his side and works to alter that perception; It is hard to be optimistic about the chances of a viable Western counter-strategy.