The odds are growing that Russian President Vladimir Putin will make the greatest mistake of his career by invading Ukraine. This is likely to result in the very outcomes that the Kremlin claims it seeks to avoid. A new assault on Ukraine would weaken the Russian government, hurt its economy, over-extend its military, strengthen NATO unity and resolve, cause Washington to increase the U.S. military presence in Europe, and give new impetus to Western military modernization. Were Moscow to seize all of Ukraine, it would actually exacerbate the Kremlin’s sense of vulnerability and feed its determination to defend its conquests even at the price of alienating the West. The U.S. and Europe need to take steps now to make an attack on Ukraine so unattractive that Putin will have an excuse to rein in his imperial ambitions. I have written more here on what can be done to send the Kremlin a very clear message.
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