Vladimir Putin is playing the long game. The Russian leader believes that he can outwait all of his adversaries. Since he has ruled over Russia for more than two decades, he obviously has sound political instincts (as well as a well-deserved reputation for ruthlessness). He is gambling that the Ukrainians, the Europeans, and the Americans will all eventually give up and let Russia consolidate its territorial gains if not complete control over Ukraine.
The Ukrainian leadership, on the other hand, believes that it can, with the help of U.S. and European military equipment, expel Russian troops not only from the territory seized since the February invasion but even the lands in the Donbas region and the Crimean Peninsula that Russia occupied in 2014.
These completely incompatible objectives are surely a recipe for a long stalemate. Perhaps the conflict in Ukraine will come to resemble the Korean War, which featured dramatic battleground reversals in the first year followed by two years of stalemate before the warring parties, exhausted and chastened, finally negotiated an armistice.
The Korean War is relevant for another reason. Like Kim Il Sung, Putin counted on Chinese support. During the Korean War, North Korea was saved by the intervention of the …read more
Source:: Institute for Policy Studies