February 22, 2022

Sanctions Won't Stop Putin Trying to Take the Whole of Ukraine

By Jim Townsend

The West has always been sincere about avoiding war with Russia and actually confronting the problems both sides have with the state of European security. But it holds its core values, such as sovereignty and each nation’s right to choose its alliances without a Russian veto, very tightly. There are gripes on all sides about each other’s forces posture and military activities in Europe. There was real potential to discuss those security issues, which Vladimir Putin has put on the table and that we have raised as well.

But I don’t think negotiations over European security is what the Russian president ever really wanted.

He wanted Ukraine incorporated into a rump Soviet empire and to keep Nato forces away. At a minimum he wants to call the shots in Kyiv.

We are beyond deterrence now. With Mr Putin’s latest speech, we're beyond the point where we can deter him. Mr Putin has laid out, in a very emotional way, these deeply held views and grievances that date back to the Cold War. He has an image of the West, an image of the United States, an image of Nato that is totally at odds with the way we assumed he perceived us, or at least the way we look at ourselves.

We don't see Nato as an aggressive alliance or as having a goal of putting offensive missiles in Ukraine to threaten Moscow - he does.

His worldview is a very dark and paranoid one where he sees the West threatening Russia. With a mind like that, threatening sanctions, particularly economic sanctions, isn’t going to deter him from anything.

The role of sanctions now at this point is purely as punishment, not deterrence.

But Mr Putin doesn't think he's going to feel undue pain from sanctions. I think our assumptions that he would react to painful sanctions the way we might react - i.e. do anything to avoid the pain - is probably wrong.

Read the full article from The Telegraph.

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