Not necessarily so. Especially in the light of recent events. While the world is concentrated on Syria, some really huge events took place near small locality of Armyansk on the border between Russian Crimea and Ukraine. When Putin directly states that Normandy format is dead and that Ukraine has "turned to terrorism"--this is very serious, boys and girls. I'll try to make it very clear, as I made it yesterday on Colonel Lang's discussion board, that not only I believe but have some very serious reasons to suspect that Hillary Clinton needs a solid additional insurance in form of "Today We are all Ukrainians". In the end, it is August, the Olympics are in full swing and The Donald, despite everything being thrown at him by establishment, still remains in contention, especially after serious doubts about Hillary's overall physical and, what is even more important, mental health. D.C. needs war and it needs it now! Well, having its "democratic rebels" in a form of Al Qaeda and ISIS related structures being obliterated on a consistent basis in Syria, the only serious card left in neocon/liberal interventionist sleeve is Ukraine.
Shortly, about military aspect--Russia IS NOT going to invade Ukraine, even if suicidal Ukrainian troops will try to invade Crimea. Obviously, they will be annihilated, including on their positions in small parts of Kherson Oblast bordering Crimea, where they are pre-deployed as of now. Well, too bad. Kiev got caught big time in terrorism. The use of reconnaissance-diversionary groups in peace time against the foreign state, well--it is terrorism. Judging by hysterical and absolutely incoherent reaction from Kiev--they know they got caught. Russia is not going to invade but with what already is known about captured terrorists and after their clandestine ring was destroyed in Russia--rearranging the stones in some key Ukrainian installations is suddenly on the table. The targeting may vary from the buildings of Ukrainian Defense Ministry to some other, purely military-intelligence, installations. Dropping this Normandy Format (mostly for entertainment of the morons from Europe) is also a good idea--there is nothing to talk about with anyone in Kiev. And here is the main point of this post.
For two and a half years I continue to hear and read from all kinds of sources (be it notorious Igor Strelkov or the so called Colonel Cassad, aka Boris Rozhin) that all latest events (whatever it was at each point of time in the last 30 months) are a solid proof that they, whoever they are, were correct all along and that Russian Army should have taken much more pro-active approach when ultra-nationalist psychopaths in Kiev were still in transition period after the coup. Well, actually, life has proven these kind of strategist ultimately wrong and it is precisely on the merit of the latest events. Here are some important points:
1. While Russia's reaction to the events in Kiev in 2014 was very much situationally-driven, the whole notion of people from all kinds of media/blogosphere outlets pretending to know better what the President of Russian Federation knows is, frankly, preposterous. It is obvious that Putin, even when he makes mistakes, which are mostly of tactical nature, bases his strategic decisions on what could only be described as an exhaustive and systemic knowledge of the global stage and it is being provided to him by the reconnaissance/intelligence/analytical capability which is second to none in the world. And he was absolutely right for a variety of strategic and tactical reasons, both global and domestic, not to invade Ukraine in 2014.
2. As recent events demonstrated fully, Ukraine is still in the grasp of utter nationalist hysteria and delusion which defines her each step and I am not talking about "elites". Very many, if not slight majority in Ukraine are active participants in this nuttery. In the end, these were only people of Donetsk and Lugansk who took the arms and started fighting for their freedom. Somehow, the rest of Ukraine decided to wait things out. Today, Armed Forces of Novorossya, with the obvious help from Russia, are a serious fighting force and young republics not only survived but continue to develop. The rest of Ukraine--is on the verge of Makhnovschina. The argument that Russian invasion of 2014 would turn very many Ukrainians against Russia was and remains not only valid but even more so--a defining strategic consideration for Putin. As it must be. Somehow all those "strategists" forget what Russia not for once did before return of Crimea home--number of polls were conducted, not that it wasn't known for those who spent even a week in Sevastopol or Crimea where and with whom the hearts of overwhelming majority of people there were and are. They were with Russia. Still, in Crimean case Russia knew what and how should be accomplished and people of Crimea responded. The rest of Ukraine did not. Having 30 000 people around Kharkov Oblast Administration building and raising Russian flag over it--is not in itself a proof of anything, as further developments so abundantly demonstrated.
3. Yet, even today, despite proving themselves anything but mere incompetent bystanders, as Igor Strelkov (Girkin) did by pushing constantly the conspirological idea that Surkov acted independently of Putin's decisions--a manifestation of complete lack of awareness of even basic principles on which Kremlin operates--these same people continue to push the idea that the invasion was necessary. Yet, they ignore a very obvious truth that from the get go Putin's objective was NOT TO acquire an additional drain on Russia's limited resources in a form of largely hostile, nationalistic, unstable entity of Ukraine. The only person who spoke about this openly and competently was (and remains) Rostislav Ishenko--undeniably the best informed and most knowledgeable true analyst of Ukrainian phenomenon in Russia's public media space.
4. Recent events prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that conserving, while accumulating, resources, allowing Ukraine to fester in her own vile juices, while retaining and, actually, improving the ability to intervene should the necessity arise, supporting young Novorossya Republics, making procedure for getting Russia's citizenship for Russian and Russophone refugees from Ukraine easy, being able to change the dynamics of war in Syria, making Erdogan come to Russia and apologize--this is not a bad collection of accomplishments for a leadership which was and is still being accused of not being decisive enough, not doing this or that. I wonder, if those people who issue those suggestions seriously think that they know more?
Meanwhile, Petro Poroshenko is desperately trying to talk to Putin on the phone, after all his country, Ukraine, has nothing to do with killing own civilians, raping, pillaging and robbing them. No way. I am sure he will try to convince Putin that Kiev has nothing to do with sending terrorist groups to Russia. Meanwhile, we will continue to listen to the same broken record about lost opportunities and about shoulda, woulda, coulda. After all, isn't it what "strategists" and Monday morning quarterbacks do? Just a passing thought, and I do not even like the guy (Putin)...