The news media is beginning to catch up to what a lot of people know already: Tensions are getting hot over there in the Ukraine region.
Russia has built up its forces along the Russian/Ukraine border. Ukraine is worried about an invasion or possibly a coup. NATO is worried that Ukraine could fall and put Russian forces on the border of a NATO country.
All this against a backdrop of a weak United States that lost Afghanistan and can’t/won’t stand up to China.
Russia has warned the NATO that moving military assets into Ukraine is a red line, and given Russia’s paranoia over being invaded, it is a warning that should be taken seriously. NATO has warned Russia against invasion, promising…something if they do. That “something” is unspecified.
Should you be worried that the United States and Russia will go to war over Ukraine?
Not at this point in time. The odds of a military clash between NATO and Russia are very low at this moment, but the odds aren’t zero. Let’s explore the reasons behind this analysis.
Here is what is likely going to happen:
The first scenario is that nothing happens. Russia bluffs the West because they don’t want Ukraine to join NATO. As long as Ukraine is in turmoil, NATO will have no interest in bringing Ukraine into the Alliance. Why invite a headache?
Second is that Russia actually does invade. In this case, they swallow up the southeast as they make a beeline for Moldova and create the land bridge they’ve always wanted. That is where it will stop. NATO will whine and cry, but ultimately do nothing beyond sanctions.
The reason for the non-response by NATO is that a lot of countries are dependent on Russia for energy and trade. A war has a habit of interfering with that. All Russia has to do is turn off the oil and gas spigots and you have a pretty cold populace in Europe who are not really going to want to put on an extra sweater for the sake of cities even the worldly Europeans can’t find on a map.
Ukraine needs to face the harsh truth that the world sees it as a battleground and not as an ally. But Russia and NATO are using the country as a buffer between them.
The third scenario is probably the most likely. Russia assists with a coup or a fraudulent election in Ukraine which replaces the government with a more friendly one. This gives Russia the land bridge it wants and a country buffer with Poland all without firing a shot. This also solves the problem of Crimea.
Since the Russians believe this is what the United States did already with the previous government of Ukraine, why not turn around and do the same thing back at them?
The fourth is the most unlikely scenario: A full scale invasion of Ukraine by Russia all the way to Kiev. This is the nightmare NATO is considering. And this is what is prompting all those scary warnings from Western governments.
Russia knows NATO would have to respond in the event of a full-scale invasion.
Could Russia pull it off? Sure. While one could point out that the current assets Russia has deployed at the borders aren’t really sufficient for a full-scale war, it doesn’t need to be. The Ukraine military would be roll-stomped long before NATO could respond sufficiently. And it is for sure NATO is not going to be bombing indiscriminately. Defending Ukraine and starting WWIII are two different things.
Here is the problem, and this is why we say there won’t be war over Ukraine “PROBABLY”.
Russia doesn’t want to tangle with NATO. As much as they want Ukraine, they don’t want a war. So even if they do invade, they are going to make sure they don’t hit anything that could force a response.
And NATO doesn’t want a war. So they are going to be very careful as to what they do in response to an invasion. Russian soldiers will have very little to fear from NATO bombs, as they won’t be targeted.
At least, that is the plan both sides have. Trouble is, military doctrine is that no plan lasts beyond the first ten minutes of battle.
NATO is paranoid that Russia is going to try and take Kiev. Doesn’t matter if Russia really is. That is what NATO is worried about. And so anything Russia does is going to be read in that light. This invites misinterpretation. And in this era of hypersonic weapons, there is precious little time to think. Decisions have to be made before all the information is there. Do you respond based on what “probably” is happening?
Russia could easily misread NATO movements. Already Russia has warned against invading Russia.
NATO invading Russia? Is Russia serious?! Only the most deluded person could think that is even a remote possibility. Yet there it is. And so Russia looks at NATO through that prism. Must be all those centuries of being invaded that made Russia see conspiracy theories everywhere.
So even though neither side is looking for war, both sides are looking at the other as if the other guy wants war.
Never a good recipe for stability.
Ukraine continues to poke NATO, hoping that it can stir fears and prompt NATO to come to its rescue. Could be because Russian troops are still occupying parts of Ukraine. That can make someone perturbed. But it also means we have to be suspect of any intelligence coming out of Ukraine. To hear them talk, Kiev is about to fall in the next thirty minutes.
But it is to Ukraine’s advantage to make the worst of the situation. After all, they have no chance against Russia, and the bear is looking at them, licking its chops.
Still, despite how things look, Russia is very aware of the stakes, and they really don’t want a scrape with NATO. Russia isn’t insane.
But keep an eye on things. It is in the public interest to be aware of what is happening.
You know…just in case.
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