Putin’s useful idiots — unbelievably, still in Berlin and Paris

May 14, 2022

As the second phase draws to a close without a strategic breakthrough for either side (which, under the circumstances, is a victory for Ukraine since it was the Russians who were supposed to achieve their multiple goals with the vaunted Easter Offensive), the next steps are coming into focus.

Putin has reportedly sent feelers around Europe to drag everyone into useless cease-fires and peacetalks (Minsk III?) while Russia regroups. It’s also clear who the conduits for this policy are going to be: Germany’s Scholz and France’s Macron.

These two are apparently working under the delusional belief that peace with Putin is possible. Despite the German parliament voting to send heavy equipment to Ukraine last month, Scholz has been dragging his feet, and finding numerous excuses not to send Leopard 2 tanks or Marder armored vehicles to Ukraine. The “explanations” are becoming even more extravagant — and less plausible. Meanwhile, Macron is busy pouring cold water on Ukraine’s EU aspirations.

What are these two “statesmen” thinking? Who knows. But their actions seem designed to force Ukrainians to negotiate some sort of concessions to allow Putin to extricate himself from the war. Whether this is because Scholz is just terrified of Russia or Macron sees himself as a master peace-maker, I have no idea. But they are both wrong because they do not understand Putin’s domestic situation. For him, there can be no peace with Ukraine without a clear victory. Not just some concessions (even something like recognition of Crimea) but a real clear-cut victory over the “Nazis”.

If Putin used his domestic power to launch this war, he now needs the war in order to stay in power. This is why he has decided to double down and see it through, as US intelligence reports. This is why his armies are trying to execute increasingly desperate maneuvers in the hopes of achieving that elusive battlefield success.

And then, what next? The moment Putin starts talking cease-fire, these two are going to rush to persuade everyone else that Moscow needs to be taken seriously. Perhaps Putin would rattle a nuke or two, just to make it all so convincing. And if they manage to split Western unity, Ukraine’s chances of pushing the Russians out would dwindle (and without the German tanks, they are already not so great), making it all a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Why are two of the premier powers in Europe saddled with such nonentities for leaders? Maybe Finland and Sweden could lend them their Prime Ministers?

The road to defeat for Ukraine goes through Berlin and Paris. I sure hope the US ignores any and all peace initiatives these two Putin mouthpieces concoct to derail Ukrainian victory.

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