Russian President Vladimir Putin was expected to claim victory in Ukraine during his “Victory Day” speech yesterday. He didn’t. In fact, he didn’t say very much.
Putin didn’t announce an escalation of the war. He didn’t threaten nuclear weapons. He didn’t try to claim victory.
Max Boot writes in the Washington Post: “Putin is trapped in a quagmire and doesn’t know how to get out.”
Boot writes that Putin seems to understand that the war is not going his way. He also believes that Putin is not the madman he has been made out to be. Mobilization, Putin believes, would only make the situation worse.
Boot makes an interesting point. Putin is in a strategic quandary that Americans should be familiar with. Our involvement in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq. We got stuck and couldn’t get out.
Putin is committed now. Withdrawal is hard to contemplate.
Meantime, Ukraine seems more resolved than ever. Troops have been successful in pushing against Russian troops entering the city of Kharkiv. Analysts say the Russians may actually retreat.
In Mariupol, Russian troops continue to encircle that steel plant. While all the civilians have been evacuated, two thousand Ukrainian troops remain. I worry that this will not end well.
President Biden signed a bill that will make it easier and faster for the U.S. to provide aid to Ukraine. It will send weapons and supplies to Ukraine and get guarantees that the country will replace or reimburse the assets at a later date.
“Lend-lease,” it’s called. Honestly, I don’t care if we ever see that money, weapons and supplies ever again.
Back to that Max Boot piece in the Washington Post. He suggests the way for Russia to get out of this mess is to change leaders. It took Richard Nixon to get us out of Vietnam. Mikhail Gorbachev to get Russia out of Afghanistan.
A change of leaders in Russia. That’s a pretty good idea. How about now?