Si vis pacem, para bellum. If you want peace, prepare for war
That’s how I concluded my Russian report a month before its illegal, unjust, and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, committing genocide, war crimes, rapes, tortures, genital mutilations, and every other possible abomination.
Deterrence clearly failed, because the west did not prepare enough for war.
3 weeks before the invasion, I estimated at 65% the probability of Russian invasion, at roughly the same level the CIA did, when the rest of the world was largely underestimating it. Most of the world was living in denial, with a “misplaced benevolence” believing some of the Russian lies as if Ukraine was Russia’s legitimate interest.
We are now 2 months after the infamous invasion started, and besides the astonishing incompetence of the Russian army at every level, from Putin himself all the way down to private soldiers, with catastrophic results and ignoble behaviors, Poutine is nonetheless still escalating this conflict every week.
The reason is very simple: we continue to not prepare for war.
The West is astoundingly still blinded by its fears of a nuclear war, to the point where we are factually 12 times more powerful than Russia and yet we are still peeing our pants to a barking chihuahua that “could” bite our non-existent balls.
Despite the international condemnation of Putin’s criminal acts, and the honorable coalition of economic sanctions, the West sent 40 billion euros to Russia for its gas, and only 15 billion to help Ukraine in the last 2 months.
My personal favorite explanation of why Germany still “needs” Russian gas while winter is over comes from a porcelain industrial who shamelessly argued on german TV that he can’t replace gas with another energy source, otherwise the porcelain would not be “as white”. I guess it must be worth a genocide next door.
Of course, the reality is more complex, and the German economy as a whole would be significantly impacted. It’s also the german realization that their army and specifically their nuclear ballistic missiles interception is largely insufficient at best after decades of pacifism that lead them to the illusion that there will be no war again in Europe.
But even with significant economic cost and military unpreparedness, it’s still a small cost in comparison to a cluster of nuclear strikes on Germany if we let Putin continue his escalation.
To add insult to the injury, the West still lives in a fantasy of finding “peace” and “ceasefire” with Putin, when its extremely clear that after 3 illegal and unprovoked wars against democracies (Georgia 2008, Ukraine 2014 and 2022) he will remain a danger to international peace as long as he stays in power.
The West is so scared of a nuclear war that they prefer to let a terrorist state massacre our neighbors one by one than intervene. Exactly like during World War II, when Hitler captured Austria, Czechoslovakia then Poland, everyone tried to appease Hitler, until they realized it was already too late.
As Churchill said about Neville Chamberlain in 1938: The government had to choose between war and shame. They chose shame. They will get war too.
In 2022, Germany chose shame by not cutting gas. Sadly, they’ll get war too.
The lesson of history is clear and obvious:
You don’t stop a bully by “appeasing” him.
You stop a bully with a punch in the face.
The more the West appears scared of a direct confrontation with Russia, the more Putin will be aggressive.
It’s not showing strength that escalates wars, it’s showing weakness.
If a criminal can do whatever he wants just by threatening a nuclear war, where does it stop? The answer: he won’t.
The West is in a nuclear hostage situation. We have a nuclear gun on our heads, except that, in our case, we are trapped with Russia on the same planet for the foreseeable decades. We simply can’t expect him to take the money and go away, preserving life, like in a bank robbery. Putin proved with his genocide that he wants to kill everyone. Therefore, we have no choice but to try to grab his gun with the high risk of taking a bullet. Better die trying than being executed in a basement with our hands tied in the back like everyone else captured by his army.
What Germany will do in 5 years when Putin will ask “surrender Germany or I’ll annihilate you with nuclear strikes“?
Germany doesn’t even have nuclear missiles to retaliate, and 10 times fewer nuclear defense interceptors than Russia has nuclear missiles. And if Trump is reelected, he explicitly said he had no intention to honor NATO article 5 or defend Europe.
Therefore, let’s not mistake ourselves: we are not talking about the survival of Ukraine. We are talking about stopping a self-proclaimed Czar who will do everything he can to take by force every single European country like Hitler. It’s the survival of Berlin, Paris, Bern, London, Madrid, Rome, and all the others that is at stake against the threat “Give it to me or I nuke you“.
Only a fool could believe that Putin will stop with Ukraine after his last 3 wars. Exactly like Neville Chamberlain in 1938 believed Hitler when he said he wanted only the Sudetenland and had no other expansion plans.
Russian World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov tried to warn the world about that over the last 20 years.
The West must understand that the only objective must be a total victory in Ukraine, and should not be shy of military intervention in Ukraine, and eventually in Russia, even if it means a significant risk of starting World War 3.
Even if WW3 was started, it would be much wiser to start it when the enemy is weak than to wait for him to reconstitute his forces and become a nightmare to get rid of.
But unfortunately, mankind probably won’t learn from history, and the general denial will probably perdure until NATO countries will be forced into the war at the worst possible timing, when the enemy will choose it, exactly like for WW2.
Then, the West will rediscover that it would have been much easier to wage a war in a distant country than in our streets, among our families.
The West might then rediscover why learning about history, economy and politics were actually important. Hopefully, next time, they won’t be naively benevolent towards an old foe who publicly claimed his intentions to retake by force all the former soviet states for more than 15 years. They might have not believed the lies and accepted their spread because of a naive vision of freedom of speech. Freedom of speech doesn’t imply freedom of spreading blatant and dangerous lies. But this was the preventive stage, and our civilization lost it. We lost the battle of words. Now the goal is to not lose the battle of guns.
The West should now do 3 things :
- Embargo. The West should stop buying Russia’s gas, oil, and coal, and immediately enact a total embargo on absolutely every trade, both ways.
- Prepare. The West population should actively prepare for a nuclear war, from food/water storage to drills to go to shelters/basements, and civil protection training for very large-scale catastrophes in major cities. Ballistic missiles interception should be installed urgently and in matching quantity as Russian nuclear missiles. Think about Israel’s training of its civil society. Nobody said it’s fun, or free, but not preparing and pretending that “all is fine so far” is pure madness. It’s like the guy who jumped from the top of the building and repeated to himself while in freefall “all is fine so far, all is fine so far”.
- Intervene. In the same timeframe, the West should intervene in Ukraine, close the sky, and send troops on the ground, to stop and destroy the criminal Russian army, all the way up to Moscow if Putin doesn’t back down, even under the very likely scenario of a nuclear exchange. At the very least the West should massively send heavy weapons, tanks, fighter jets, helicopters, and cargo loads of ammunition and humanitarian help to Ukraine.
Nuclear wars can be won and will be won.
Letting the terrorists take the first half of the plane without resistance won’t improve the survival chances of the passengers. Of course, the terrorists will take over the whole plane and crash it. Better risk our lives when we are in a much better position.
But if we simply started to prepare for all of that, Putin would immediately withdraw all his troops, because it’s a battle he has absolutely no way to win.
When you stop being weak, suddenly way fewer people dare to fight with you.
That’s why the current display of weakness is an invitation to escalate from Putin’s perspective.