Rebekah Koffler takes a dim view of chances to deter Putin from an invasion of the Ukraine. She is sadly right. Moscow sees the power vacuum left by Biden surrenders and is acting accordingly. Not much we can do. Another nation may fall due to the lack of American leadership.

Koffler: As a former Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) officer and specialist in Russian doctrine and strategy who participated in dozens of war games that simulated a U.S.-Russia conflict, I am gravely concerned about the high risk of Washington going to war over Ukraine.

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If you thought $2 trillion and 6,000 American lives were a steep price to pay for a no-victory outcome of a 20-year engagement in Afghanistan, you ain’t seen nothing yet. U.S. costs and losses in a war with nuclear Russia would be catastrophic. Such a war is unwinnable, and it is not worth sacrificing American lives to wage.

Russia’s elevated force posture along the Ukrainian border – including 114,000 soldiers, special forces, intelligence operatives and heavy weaponry, counting tanks – is reminiscent of Putin’s 2014 invasion of Ukraine. This, along with recent high-risk encounters between U.S. warships and the Russian navy in the Black Sea, and Putin’s warning on Nov. 13 about the U.S. throwing down the gauntlet to Moscow, constitute what’s called in the intelligence business “indications and warnings” of an impending crisis.

Concerned about the high probability of Russia’s outright invasion of Ukraine, U.S. intelligence has warned European allies that there is but a narrow window of opportunity to deter Putin. Predictably, Washington “experts” discharge advice that is not grounded in reality, in this case that while Ukraine is part of Russia’s vital interests, it is not part of America’s. Some advocate accelerated acceptance of Ukraine into NATO, which in their “expert” view would guarantee Ukraine’s security by virtue of obligating the U.S. and NATO to step into a Russo-Ukrainian conflict on behalf on Kiev. Others call for troop deployments into the region to deter KGB spymaster Putin.

Beleaguered and bullied, Ukraine should be free to pursue its own development path. But sadly, its geostrategic location, bordering on three sides the much bigger and military stronger Russia, dictates its destiny in the harsh world of realpolitik. Certainly, at least, in Putin’s world. The Russian leader has stated multiple times that the admission of Ukraine into NATO – a military alliance that Russia views as its top threat – would cross a “red line.” For centuries, Russia has viewed Ukraine as its security buffer against foreign invasions. Not that this is justified or good. But that is how it is and has been.

Ivan Il’in, a Russian Orthodox Christian thinker whose ideas Putin drew from in developing his own ideology, stated in his writings that an independent Ukraine would be an unthinkable “madness.” Like Il’in, Putin firmly believes that it is essential to rule all the lands of Imperial Russia together to ensure its self-defense. While the maintenance of empires may be alien and anachronistic to U.S. thinkers, it dominates the Russian mindset.

This piece was written by David Kamioner on November 29, 2021. It originally appeared in LifeZette and is used by permission.

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