A terrible mistake is about to be made in Ukraine. It is an act of anachronistic imperialism and thoughtless brutality to seek to invade another nation under a masquerade of being “one people” when the reciprocal costs to one’s own (actual) people are going to be so staggeringly vast and unrelenting. This is fundamentally a conflict of another era, of a world many orders of magnitude less complex, less intricately entangled and far less interdependent. It seems that the only thing that might save Eurasia from another imminent catastrophic conflagration is some dramatic climate-change induced flood. The only other option for peace would be for sanity and intelligence to prevail but pathological hubris and stupidity is quite firmly in the driver’s seat just now.
It is curiously not only the U.S. that would benefit if Russia invades Ukraine only to become trapped in endless conflict and guerilla warfare. Beijing will seek to leverage economic support for Moscow as political influence and control as is their default international playbook. A Russia-China conflict itself may still be a few years away yet but with two large and recklessly expansive authoritarian states sharing geographic borders, it is only a matter of time before the friction ignites into hostility and conflict over control of the natural resources of the central Asian states: Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, etc. The question I find myself asking is which of those two regimes is playing the long-game and which has done a deal with the devil; the answer being quite self-evident to any thoughtful observer. Putin desires power at any cost but the ultimate price he pays may be the territorial and economic sovereignty of the nations and the peoples he claims to represent.