Russia

Russia has taken over North Korea's nuclear blackmail tactic - does the West have an answer?

Date: July 9, 2023.
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Vladimir Putin might have adjusted his goals in Ukraine and might no longer hope to invade Ukraine and take over Kyiv as he originally planned. He did not  expect to lose in Ukraine.

Putin has realised that he can no longer return to the world arena. He understands that doors are now closed for him, but he might have accepted it and has been adjusting his goals to cheat and beat the West in the long run.

Putin and those close to him have been adjusting to a new life in isolation behind the conditional and limited iron curtain, and have been planning to raise the bar for nuclear blackmail and possibly engage in nuclear terrorism.

Since he could not take Kyiv, in order to retire comfortably in Russia, Putin needed to extend the war and conflict. This would enable him to spend the following years in permanent war followed by occasional peace talks.

The European continent has witnessed a war that ended in a peace arrangement. This could be Putins new plan, since he cannot offer victory over Ukraine and NATO to the Russian majority.    

Putin must constantly increase tension to achieve this goal and prolong the war. This means that he will expose the Ukrainian people to more horrific consequences of war and bombardments, and keep the West intimidated and on alert, like Kim Jong Un.

Russians are used to suffering and surviving at the same time

During 70 years of USSR rule, Russians learned how to be full-time professional sufferers and survivors at the same time.

This kept the Russian (then Soviet) people going during the USSR years. It was an authentic peculiarity that the Western political class found difficult to understand.

No one should be surprised that while the Russian economy has been declining and opportunities closing, the majority of the people who have remained in Russia have been adjusting, suffering, and surviving, and yet remained obedient for as long as Putin could afford to maintain police and other domestic repressive institutions like the National Guard.

Even though the war has not been unravelling as Putin and a few hardheads around him anticipated, a slow Western response enabled Putin to adjust comfortably to new realities.

There was time for Russia to adjust, mobilise more people, and find ways to cheat Western sanctions and buy sanctioned goods.

Russia used the delay of Western military supplies to Ukraine to settle on occupied territories, produce more missiles and bomb Ukraine to make it more difficult for Ukraine to drive the Russians back to internationally recognised territory.

For some strange reason, the West convinced itself that it was better to increase the pressure slowly. This might not be the right way to approach Russia, because it gives it time to adjust.

Putin will be adding pressure too. Most definitely, somewhere along the line, Putin will order the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant to be blown up.

The Russian population will believe that the Ukrainian government ordered it, while the West will accuse Russia, but nothing significant will happen, similar to when Russia blew up the Nova Kakhovka dam.

Does the West finally have a plan regarding Russia and Putin?

A nuclear threat could last for years

One day Putin might cause a nuclear explosion because this would be the best option for him to raise the stakes and intimidate the West.

He would do it to stop the Ukrainian counter-offensive or could do it a few years from now if his demands are not fulfilled. For example, if the West refuses to hand over the Baltic States or Finland.

Putin will not stop with his nuclear blackmail. He would eventually do it to show that he is serious, and to demonstrate to the West that he is prepared to do it again.

Putin has adopted North Korean nuclear blackmail tactics and will never abandon them.

Has anyone ever wondered why the hungry and miserable dominant majority of people in North Korea not only refrained from rebelling against the regime of North Korea but also passionately despise prosperous and democratic South Korea?

It is painful to admit that the Russian people are not much different from the people of North Korea.

If the West has been trying or hoping that the Russian people would get tired of the hardship and restrictions and begin producing civilised and democratic leaders, the West should look at North Korea.

Russian people will obey, die, and suffer but will not revolt because it takes time for a nation to develop democratic qualities and civil liberties.

Ukrainian people have spent 30 years developing those characteristics, while Russian people spent the previous 23 years building North Korea in Russia.

Russians are not Ukrainians. This was the crucial element and nuance Putin did not consider when he decided to attack Ukraine. He expected similar submission and obedience from Ukrainians.

Russia will not stop being dangerous

What is the West’s plan? Russia will not stop being dangerous and hazardous just by itself.  On the contrary, Russia will grow more deviant and cause nuclear terrorism to frighten the West.

The normalisation of Putins regime is not possible simply because Putins circle and the Russian patriotic majority expect more deviant and aggressive initiatives from him regarding the West and Ukraine.  

Russia is now learning to live differently and in a different reality. The West, unfortunately, has given Russia too much time to adjust. It was not too painful because it was gradual and not swift.

The current anti-Western transition has been embraced by the Russian majority, who, at this point, do not want to be free but instead, they want to return to the good old USSR, the county where people followed orders and led a miserable but - most significantly - secure life.

Basic food supplies like bread, vodka, cheese or pork have not disappeared from Russian supermarkets, nor will they ever disappear. The Russian majority is fine for now.

Did the West make a plan how to deprive Russia of its current and much-expected deviation before it becomes comfortable with its current North Korean state of mind and becomes a smaller but yet more dangerous version of the USSR?

Putin's fear of the stronger

Only two options appear feasible and worth considering. One is related to influencing Russia from the outside, and the other from within.

Does anyone remember what Putin did after Erdogans order to shoot down a Russian SU-24 combat jet in 2015?

Putin swallowed it and did nothing. Putin always did that before those who appeared stronger.

Therefore, Ukraines admission to NATO and the NATO or UN peacekeeping military fleet escorting Ukrainian grain supplies are the best solutions to end the war in Ukraine and stop the food crises.

Considering the current financial turbulence in Turkey, the West could make a mutually beneficial deal with Turkey. The recent meeting between Zelensky and Erdogan should be considered the beginning of significant cooperation.

First of all, Russia and Turkey are historical antagonists. Therefore, it should not be too hard to gear up the Turkish people regarding assistance to Ukraine, which has been suffering from Russias barbaric behaviour.

Turkish NATO peacekeepers in Ukraine will sober up Putin immediately. The same could be done with Poland regarding Belarus.

Additionally, the West, particularly the US, has been torn apart by internal political frictions. Someone like Erdogan could be a perfect candidate to calm Russia and Putin down.

Turkey and Poland have been at war with Russia throughout history and do not have any naïve sentiments about the true face of Russia.

Is there internal pressure in Russia?

Only people like Prigozhin could do the job right on the domestic front. Prigozhins uprising frightened Putin and the Russian political class. Until recently, Prigozhin was the second-most-popular person in the country and adored in most Russian patriotic circles.

Russian propaganda severely criticised Prigozhin while he lived in Russia. The authorities raided his building in Saint Petersburg while he lived in Russia.

This indicates that Putin is still afraid of Prigozhins private army. 10 billion rubles (more than $100 million) in cash were seized and returned to Prigozhin.

Someone like Prigozhin could destroy the regime in the Kremlin from within and initiate much-needed processes inside Russia, which appeared horrific and frightening to the West in the 1990s, yet those processes are inevitable.

Russia consists of territories occupied and invaded by the Russki people, the Russian largest, most passionate and imperial ethnic group, in its world-view,  similar to Serbian people living in the former Yugoslavia.

During the 1990s, the West was not ready to take responsibility and harmonise with Russia. It should have been clear by then that communism was not the problem, but communist Russia was the problem.

Communism has been long gone, but deviant and aggressive Russia is still here.

The preservation of the regime in Moscow appears frightening to the West because, unlike North Korea, Russia could get away with an act of nuclear terrorism. And what is frightening is that Russia knows this.

It is time for the West to make a firm plan regarding Russia. Avoidance of reaching an important decision now is only making it more complicated. Putin will use a nuclear attack unless he is crushed before that.

Source TA, Photo: Shutterstock