Anybody remember a pathetic Russia royal known as Tsar Nicholas II? Well, he’s the last Tsar of then Imperial Russia who decided to lead his nation into the disastrous Great War against Germany in 1914, costing his country millions of lives and ultimately his throne.
Nicholas II’s crazy military strategy eventually came to a grinding halt when he was forced from power by a people’s revolt known as the Russian Revolution in 1917.
That Revolution militarily not only toppled the Russian royal family – there was never to be another official Tsar – but also took Russia out of World War One.
There are striking similarities between Nicholas II’s attack on Germany in 1914 and Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022. In spite of Nicholas II boasting superior numbers on paper compared to Germany, the campaign ended in humiliation, defeat and utter disaster for Russian forces.
While in 2022 there has been much focus on Putin’s lethal arsenal, especially his nuclear strength and capability, the current Russian President has one major Achilles Heel – and its not world sanctions, global condemnation of his actions, or even the mobilisation of NATO and other forces.
Putin must ensure he keeps the Russian people on his side otherwise he could be facing an internal revolt similar in political venom to that which toppled Nicholas II.
It is time to set aside the ‘blame game’ as to whether the West taunted Putin to such a degree that he was left with no other option but to be a leader of his word and invade Ukraine.
Now that the invasion is well underway, with people dying, being wounded and refugees fleeing Ukraine, the key question becomes – how do we get the conflict stopped and Russian forces to pull back from Ukraine?
The West must first remember that Putin is no Saddam Hussein when the latter invaded Kuwait in the 1990s, or when the coalition forces poured into Iraq to supposedly combat the ‘threat’ posed by Saddam’s so-called ‘weapons of mass destruction.’
Unlike Saddam, Putin possesses WMDs and any direct attack on Russian forces by NATO countries could spark the holocaust of World War Three.
Putin needs the Ukraine campaign to succeed militarily. He cannot afford – like US President Joe Biden last year – to crawl away under a cloud of humiliation as the Americans did from Afghanistan, allowing the Taliban to run rampant across the country.
Putin will be equally aware of the military and political humiliation which the former Soviet Union faced when it was forced to withdraw with its tail between its legs, too, from Afghanistan.
There is much talk that Putin’s Ukraine invasion can be combated by NATO and its allies supplying extensive military hardware to the beleaguered Ukrainian forces in the same way that the United States supplied weaponry to the South American Contra rebels in Nicaragua fighting the Left-wing Sandinista government, or indeed how the former apartheid government in South Africa supplied weapons to the rebel UNITA forces fighting the Marxist MPLA government in Angola.
The danger is that Ukraine could end up becoming another Vietnam for NATO and the coalition forces. When do weapons supplies become ‘advisors’ to the Ukraine army, which in turn becomes British and American boots on the ground?
Or will NATO and the coalition hide behind the title of ‘mercenaries’ or ‘volunteers’ to get Allied troops to go head-to-head with the Russians to liberate Ukraine? This is a very dangerous high wire military route and could result in Putin using ever more deadly weaponry short of a nuclear strike if his troops are pushed back, or even forced to retreat to the safety of Mother Russia itself.
The West also needs to fully understand that Putin will not be deterred by the threat or implementation of economic sanctions as the Russian leader knows it will take time for such sanctions to financially bite – and by the time they do, he may well have seized significant chunks of Ukraine.
The West should also not place too much significance in the so-called ‘peace talks’ between Russian and Ukrainian officials. Putin is facing the same military barrier which Hitler faced in the 1940s when the Nazi dictator invaded the Soviet Union – creating an effective supply line to get fuel, food and other essentials to his frontline forces.
The ‘peace talks’ will provide Putin with a welcome distraction to get those much-needed supplies to the front given that the Russian military advance is in danger of stalling, resulting in a Vietnam-style sustained guerrilla war against Ukrainian forces.
The only method which will force Putin to pull back is to spark an internal revolt in Russia itself by using social media to get the message of what Putin is really doing in Ukraine across to the ordinary Russian citizens.
Like Nicholas II in 1917, Putin must be brought to realise that he has lost the total support of his people and if he wants to save his Presidency, his only option is a full-scale withdrawal of all Russian forces from every inch of occupied Ukrainian territory.
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Listen to commentator Dr John Coulter’s programme, Call In Coulter, every Saturday morning around 10.15 am on Belfast’s Christian radio station, Sunshine 1049 FM. Listen online.