Conversations That Matter: Putin’s long game

The Russian president’s ultimate goal is to break the influence of the western allies over the world, say a retired US vice-admiral

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The war in Ukraine has revealed that Russia is ruthless, that it is willing to kill non-combatants. And it has also demonstrated that, despite a coalescing of NATO nations, Ukraine is on its own.

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As retired US navy Vice Admiral John Stufflebeem points out, Russian President Vladimir Putin calculated that the world’s political and economic powers have fractured. He noted they did nothing after he annexed Crimea and devastated Aleppo.

So he feels, “Who’s going to stop me? Who would dare? And that is at the core of his thuggish mindset, said Stufflebeem.

Putin has been unabashed in his openness about taking Ukraine under the direct influence of Moscow. He’s worked to align Iran, China and North Korea with Russia, and he’s also deepening his relationship with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“Putin has a much larger strategy than Ukraine and the countries of the former Soviet bloc.”

Stufflebeem believes that “Putin wants to break up the global power grip of the US and believes a multi-front assault in Europe, the Pacific and the Middle East will overwhelm US and allied resources.”

According to Stufflebeem, “Putin has shown he is willing to twitch his finger on nuclear weapons and he’s preparing to, or has already launched, cyber attacks that will grow in magnitude.

“Will those cyber attacks be a Pearl Harbor moment that launches a larger global conflict?” he asks.

Stufflebeem joined a conversation that matters about the implications of allowing Russia to go unopposed in Ukraine.

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