Putin has already been defeated

I agree with most of what Francis Fukuyama says here:

  1. Russia is heading for an outright defeat in Ukraine. Russian planning was incompetent, based on a flawed assumption that Ukrainians were favorable to Russia and that their military would collapse immediately following an invasion. […]
  2. The collapse of their position could be sudden and catastrophic, rather than happening slowly through a war of attrition. The army in the field will reach a point where it can neither be supplied nor withdrawn, and morale will vaporize. […]
  3. There is no diplomatic solution to the war possible prior to this happening. There is no conceivable compromise that would be acceptable to both Russia and Ukraine given the losses they have taken at this point.
  4. The United Nations Security Council has proven once again to be useless [my emphasis]. The only helpful thing was the General Assembly vote, which helps to identify the world’s bad or prevaricating actors.
  5. The Biden administration’s decisions not to declare a no-fly zone or help transfer Polish MiGs were both good ones; they’ve kept their heads during a very emotional time. It is much better to have the Ukrainians defeat the Russians on their own, depriving Moscow of the excuse that NATO attacked them, as well as avoiding all the obvious escalatory possibilities. […]
  6. The cost that Ukraine is paying is enormous, of course [my emphasis]. But the greatest damage is being done by rockets and artillery, which neither MiGs nor a no-fly zone can do much about. The only thing that will stop the slaughter is defeat of the Russian army on the ground.
  7. Putin will not survive the defeat of his army. He gets support because he is perceived to be a strongman; what does he have to offer once he demonstrates incompetence and is stripped of his coercive power?
  8. The invasion has already done huge damage to populists all over the world [my emphasis], who prior to the attack uniformly expressed sympathy for Putin. That includes Matteo Salvini, Jair Bolsonaro, Éric Zemmour, Marine Le Pen, Viktor Orbán, and of course Donald Trump. The politics of the war has exposed their openly authoritarian leanings.
  9. The war to this point has been a good lesson for China. Like Russia, China has built up seemingly high-tech military forces in the past decade, but they have no combat experience. The miserable performance of the Russian air force would likely be replicated by the People’s Liberation Army Air Force, which similarly has no experience managing complex air operations. We may hope that the Chinese leadership will not delude itself as to its own capabilities the way the Russians did when contemplating a future move against Taiwan. [my emphasis]
  10. Hopefully Taiwan itself will wake up as to the need to prepare to fight as the Ukrainians have done, and restore conscription. Let’s not be prematurely defeatist.
    — Francis Fukuyama, “Preparing for defeat

Where I disagree is that I believe that Putin and Ukraine can reach a diplomatic solution; essentially it will look like Ukraine losing, giving up the two regions in the east and accepting that they cannot become part of NATO in the foreseeable future. This will allow Putin to claim a (hollow) victory in Russia. In reality, those regions were already lost, along with Crimea, and Ukraine’s application to NATO was never sure to succeed anyway. Ukraine will get financial and military help and no Russian dictator will try to invade them again.

And despite Putin, in this scenario, “keeping his head”, he will be defeated on the world stage, and perhaps even more importantly, all the other dictators have seen that they can be defeated.

When the Russian invasion of Ukraine started I was certain Taiwan would soon be eradicated by China. The Russian clusterfuck has given me new hope for a free Taiwan.












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