If you speak to the man on the street in Moscow, and ask him about the Ukrainian situation, he will look you straight in the eye and tell you Russia is not involved in Ukraine and will not invade.
“There are no Russians in Ukraine. Putin doesn’t want to invade at all,” I was told recently in Moscow by a close friend. Russians are willingly living in their own fantasy land, all the while being told what to think by their state media brethren. No one asks any questions. And this is why Putin will invade Ukraine, because he can. Because the public will let him, even wants it. The average Russian is confusing Russia being strong with Russia flouting international norms and, in the process, closing itself again to the free world.
The Western press is reporting there are now twenty-thousand Russian troops on the border with Ukraine, and growing. This force includes heavy weapons, armor, aircraft, and so on - everything you would need to invade your neighbor. Of course, Putin could be bluffing. He could, at the last moment, throw an olive branch to the world in an attempt to look like the great peacemaker.
The Russian president is a master at escalation and de-escalation. However, having just returned from my second trip to Kiev in so many months, I can tell you that the Ukrainian military is absolutely determined to retain the territorial integrity of their country and erase this insurgency from within its borders. Therefore, Putin has a period of time to make a decision. Every day, the noose gets tighter on the Donetsk People’s Republic, as the insurgency calls itself, in eastern Ukraine.
The other factor that I believe the Western press is ignoring, that Putin is surely not, is that there soon will be a change in the American government. I believe he thinks a polar opposite type of person will be elected president in 2016, a man with strength and character, the type of American leader Russia is used to dealing with. There will most certainly be a Republican led Congress in five months who will put even more pressure on President Obama to stand up to Russian actions. Therefore, Putin’s window of opportunity to act freely, with no major consequences, is closing rapidly.
The final factor in why I believe Russia will invade its former satellite state is that I think Putin believes the world order is changing. He believes the West is decadent. (He may have a point.) He believes Europe and the United States do not have the moral authority they once had when opposing the Soviet Union.
He sees weakness in the Western military alliance of NATO. He sees weakness in declining American military spending. He sees weakness in America when it comes to possessing the will to intervene in foreign conflicts that are on the periphery to U.S. national security. And finally, he sees weakness in a population that is obese, culturally illiterate, and that would elect a person such as Barack Obama (twice) to the Oval Office. That alone tells him that the American public doesn’t care about freedom or their country; they are too focused on themselves and getting what they can from their government until the lights go out.
And that my friends, is why Russia will invade Ukraine.
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This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom