It is not clear at all today what the goals of the United States, Britain and other countries of the West are in terms of the war between Russia and Ukraine. This is a very dangerous situation. What is clear is that many people thought that Ukraine would not be able to hold against a Russian invasion for more than a week or two. That clearly is not the case as the war continues into it’s 2nd year with no end in site.
Putin, long viewed as a potential dictator, has been completely unmasked. He has clearly made a decision to tie this war with his place in history as a great Russian leader who restored honor and domination to Russia. It seems more and more clear that Putin does not just want to grab the Ukraine. He is looking to rebuild a Russian empire across as much of what used to be the Russian Empire and dominate the Baltics and the waterways as much as possible.
Despite the war in Ukraine, the chief concern for the West should not be Russian aggression, but Russian – Chinese cooperation. The two countries have a long history of hating each other and NOT cooperating – even when they were both dominated by Communism. But Putin and Xinping have made the strategic decision that if they each cover for the other country, their interests align well and they will each achieve their goals. Putin wants to stay in the major leagues while China wants Taiwan in the short run and world domination in the long run.
Putin is happy to retain Russia’s role as a major player on the world stage while his nuclear weapons gradually ossify and his population dwindles. he knows that that is the most he can hope for. NATO is indeed too strong and will not allow Russia to invade Poland.
China has much more grandiose plans. Their innocent sounding “road and belt initiative” is no less than a plan to dominate the economies of the under-developed and developing world. That will in turn allow China to be the #1 producer AND #1 buyer of products in the world. Today, China is too dependent on the buying power of the United States and Europe which means that Western sanctions can still hurt them. But if India and the rest of southeast Asia are controlled by China, then there will be more than 4 billion people in the world that are under the Chinese orbit and consuming Chinese made products.
China will not need to use a million man army to fight. They will use the massive army to intimidate much like Russia uses it’s nuclear weapons to scare away the West. They will keep up the fight for economic control of much of the world with economic takeovers of all of the seaways and railroads they are able to grab. China is doing this today already via leveraged buyouts – on the country level. Malaysia and Indonesia are just the beginning of major plans across the world.
Whoever is deciding for the United States today must bear in mind the plans of China as the single greatest threat facing the Western world today. Mitt Romney was right in noting 10 years ago that Russia still poses a great threat. But they are not the single greatest threat. It is not China either. It is Russian-Chinese cooperation that must be targeted. Together, they are a behemoth that will be difficult if not impossible to stop.