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Posted by Jack Heslin on 20:10:08 07/23/22

When does the gambler realize he has a losing hand?

From the beginning, the objective reality of a significant disparity between the Russians ability to project combat power into Ukraine and the amount of combat power available to Ukraine, even with NATO support, overwhelmingly favored Russia. Since the conflict is on Russia s border means that there is no significant cost to projecting combat power into Ukraine.

The projection of combat power has been one of the great geopolitical strengths of America and its Western allies since WWII. Arguably, America s global reach to introduce combat power and to maintain it over long periods of time has been unmatched since the time of the British Empire. However, it has become clear that much of that tremendous ability to project combat power has been squandered in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. It is growing unlikely that a direct military intervention by America or any of the NATO countries is in the cards to save the Ukraine government from a catastrophic defeat. Would any Western country truly risk a thermonuclear exchange over Ukraine? Détente, because of mutual assured destruction, may be achieved in spite of the inflammatory rhetoric.

We are watching as emotion driven Western leaders remain target fixated on defeating Russia and, more specifically, defeating Vladimir Putin. One of the important lessons I learned in two years of intense combat is that emotions can get you killed. To survive, you had to remain focused on the mission at hand, unemotional, no matter what was happening all around you. As much as possible, a clear, left-brain thinking approach had to be maintained. It took discipline. There was no room for hate or any emotion that would distract from the task at hand.

It looks like the disciplined, calculating approach of the Russian leadership understands the strength of their hand and the Ukraine / NATO leadership keeps doubling down on their collective losing hand. Their gamble is costing thousands of lives and creating a tsunami of economic and political disasters that will only get worse as time goes by. Arrogance is a terrible teacher to those who embrace it.

It did not have to be this way.

How many Western governments will collapse before the political / economic carnage has passed? How many people will suffer in the coming months for the wrongheaded decisions made by leaders who have lost touch with the Realpolitik of the world in which they live?

Increasingly it is looking like there will be two Ukraine s. A Ukraine affiliated with Western Europe and an East Ukraine affiliated with the Russian Federation not unlike Sudan and South Sudan.

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