Hardball

As mentioned before, the nature of any military action is supposed to be defensive. In essence, military action is designed to be defensive. Offensive wars, along with ‘wars of choice’ and ‘wars of hegemony,’ are difficult to sustain and are costly in the long run, as demonstrated by Washington’s wars of choice and wars of hegemony in the 21st century. However, Russia has framed its military operation in Ukraine as defensive, and for the most part, the military operation has been swift up until this point. And military operations are supposed to be rapid and swift. The objectives of the Russian military operation were clear on the first day, and it consisted of two elements. For one, it consisted of the dispersal of Ukraine’s forces through aerial strikes around the country, the full force of which has yet to been brought to bear. Along with the dispersal of the opposing force, Russian forces have carried out a concentration of forces towards the capital and towards psychological pressure on the government itself. Also, along with the paradox of dispersal and concentration of force, Russia neutralized virtually all of Ukraine’s air defense systems on the first day.

Thus, as it is supposed to be with any military operation, Russia’s military operation has a clear political objective, and movement towards the political objective was demonstrated on the first day with limited military force and with rapidity and swiftness. War for the sake of war, which was what Washington pursued in the 21st century, does not seem to be in the cards for Moscow. Moreover, the full breadth and intensity of Russian military capabilities has not even been brought to bear for the accomplishment of the political objective in Ukraine. Also, Moscow seems to be taking two tracks. For one, the paradox of dispersal and concentration of force, along with the neutralization of virtually all of Ukraine’s air defense systems on the first day has been combined with a proposal to have discussions and talks in Minsk. The question is whether the rapidity and swiftness of the Russian military operation on the first day of the operation will be compelling enough as information and as a signal that the West will seriously negotiate with Moscow.

As mentioned before, the battlefield is where information and signals are conveyed for the shaping of discussions and negotiations on the diplomatic track. War is not pursued for the sake of war, which was what Washington foolishly did at the beginning of the 21st century. What analysts and observers should focus on now is how NATO absorbs the information and signals conveyed on the battlefield by the Russian military operation on its first day, and whether the information and signals conveyed on the battlefield will compel NATO to have discussions with Moscow on NATO expansion. Russia proved its seriousness in regards to this particular issue. Also, one wonders whether NATO would even risk war with Moscow over Latvia and Estonia, given that NATO chose not to risk war over Ukraine, even though Ukraine is bigger and weightier politically and socially than Latvia and Estonia. Thus, the NATO expansion into Latvia and Estonia – aside from provoking Moscow – carries no real significance. Very drastic developments occurred on just the first day, and it remains to be seen how NATO and Moscow proceed from this point forward.

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