When Will Putin Die?

16 09 2022

  By Timothy D. Naegele[1]

It is relatively easy to chronicle the Russian butcher Vladimir Putin’s rise to power.[2]  What is not crystal clear is when he will die, and what savagery will he unleash between now and then.

Will he be killed like Julius Caesar by those around him who betray him?  What will he do beforehand, in a desperate attempt to postpone the inevitable and cling to power?  Launch World War III, with Russia’s axis of evil partner China?

In a real sense, that war began long ago when China unleashed the deadly Coronavirus pandemic on the world, which still rages as the virus mutates.  Pat Buchanan—an adviser to Presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford, and a former GOP presidential aspirant himself—has offered his views about a possible scenario as follows:

A desperate Vladimir Putin is a dangerous Vladimir Putin, and there are signs Putin’s situation in Ukraine may be becoming desperate.

In the last week, the Russian army in the Kharkiv region of Ukraine was driven out of some 2,200 square miles of territory, according to the Ukrainians, whose soldiers are now two miles from the Russian border.

The Kharkiv battle was a rout for the surprised Russians who tore off their uniforms, threw down their weapons and fled, some on stolen bicycles.  For Russia, it was the worst defeat of the war.

That Moscow sustained a stunning setback is attested to by the news that Russian nationalists back home have begun to grumble openly about Putin’s management of the war he launched on Feb. 24.

Where does Putin stand now?

He is in the seventh month of a war he launched last winter, and he appears to be headed into this coming winter with no victory and no end to the war in sight.

His early offensives, while successful north of Crimea and in the Donbas, failed to capture Kiev, Kharkiv or Odessa on the Black Sea, Ukraine’s three largest cities, which were Russia’s strategic objectives.

Putin’s gains in the Donbas are the one great prize he has.  But his army is now demoralized and on the defensive.  The momentum of the war has shifted in Kiev’s favor.

Western and, in particular, the U.S. weapons Ukraine is being provided have proven devastating to the Russian forces, whose losses in tanks, armor and troops are major.

Thousands of Russian soldiers have been killed, wounded or captured.  Putin has no available reserves in Russia without imposing conscription to replace them.

The Ukrainians now appear to be guaranteed an endless supply of the modern U.S. weapons they have used to decimate the Russian army.

The present prospect for Putin is thus no victory, no end to the war, no end to the weekly casualty lists of dead, wounded and missing, a continued stalemate now, and the prospect of eventual defeat ahead.

Could Putin survive perceived defeat in a war he launched, and the personal, political and national humiliation he and Russia would sustain from such a defeat?  Would Putin be able to survive that and remain president of Russia after 22 years in power?

In short, in a war history will call Putin’s War, the tide is turning against the Russians, and Putin faces the prospect of having been the ruler who launched Russia’s least necessary and lost war.

What are Putin’s options?

The first is to stay the course, cut off oil and gas exports to NATO Europe, and hope Ukraine’s losses and Europe’s hardships this winter compel Kiev and its allies to accept a truce that allows Russia to retain some of the new territory it has gained since Feb. 24.

The problem with this course of action is that it is Ukraine’s army that appears to have time on its side now and the wind at its back.

The alternative to a war that lasts as long as the Ukrainians are willing to fight to drive the Russians out is for Russia to escalate and win, and force an end to the fighting.

How could Moscow do this?

First, Putin could raise the stakes, say we are at war with NATO, call up Russian’s army reserves, as in World War II, and conscript enough new soldiers to replace those already lost.

Second, there is the Grozny option, the devastating artillery, air and rocket assault the Russians visited upon the Chechen capital to bring an end to a separatist moment in 2000.

But would the Russians, before the eyes of the world, do to Kiev or Kharkiv what they did to Grozny a quarter century ago?

Beyond the Grozny option, there is the nuclear option.

Russia has thousands of tactical atomic weapons, the largest such arsenal in the world, and the threat to use, or the actual use of one or more of these weapons, would raise the stakes in the war exponentially.

Early in this war, Russia’s hawks talked openly of the possible use of tactical nuclear weapons.  That talk has begun anew.

The basic question comes down to this:

Would Putin threaten or use nuclear weapons to prevent a defeat and humiliation for himself and Russia?  And, if so, how and where would he use them?  And how would Kiev and the West respond?

America, Britain and France are all three both NATO and nuclear-weapons states.  But none has a vital interest in the outcome of this Ukraine war to justify a nuclear war with Russia, even if Russia resorts to first use of such a weapon.

The longer this war goes on, and the sooner the Russian bleeding becomes intolerable to Putin, the more likely it is that he will escalate, rather than capitulate and accept defeat and humiliation for his country and himself, leading to his removal from power.

Again, a desperate Putin is a dangerous Putin.[3]

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© 2022, Timothy D. Naegele

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[1]  Timothy D. Naegele was counsel to the United States Senate’s Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, and chief of staff to Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal recipient and former U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke (R-Mass).  See, e.g., Timothy D. Naegele Resume-21-8-6  and https://naegeleknol.wordpress.com/accomplishments/   He has an undergraduate degree in economics from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), as well as two law degrees from the School of Law (Boalt Hall), University of California, Berkeley, and from Georgetown University.  He served as a Captain in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War, assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency at the Pentagon, where he received the Joint Service Commendation Medal (see, e.g., https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commendation_Medal#Joint_Service).  Mr. Naegele is an Independent politically; and he is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Law, and Who’s Who in Finance and Business. He has written extensively over the years (see, e.g., https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/articles/ and https://naegeleknol.wordpress.com/articles/), and studied photography with Ansel Adams.  He can be contacted directly at tdnaegele.associates@gmail.com

[2]  See, e.g., https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2022/07/30/will-putin-lead-us-to-world-war-iii-or-die-trying/ (“Will Putin Lead Us To World War III, Or Die Trying?”)

[3]  See https://buchanan.org/blog/putins-narrowing-options-159644 (“Putin’s Narrowing Options”)


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5 responses

16 09 2022
H. Craig Bradley

WHAT MATTERS MOST THIS FALL?

The outcome of this coming Fall’s Midterm elections matter a lot more than what might happen to Putin this year or even next year. If you pay attention, both China and *Japan are positioning material* for a coming fight over Taiwan (2026??). The chess pieces are now in-play. You can just see this one coming a long ways off. Its probably going to go hot too, just like the Ukraine is today.

*https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/japan-build-military-ports-closer-taiwan-preparation-cross-strait-crisis

We can not even come close to meeting the Military’s recruitment goals this year. Many of these recruits who do sign-up do not meet traditional military recruitment standards ( Drug and Alcohol Free, no criminal record, High School Diploma or equivalent). When the next War comes, you should anticipate the probability of either a military draft (of Millineals aged 18-35) or a surrender treaty with China or the diplomatic equivalent, a.k.a. capitulation.

Nobody wants to be a L.A.P.D. cop anymore either. The ranks in our long blue line are fast thinning. So, the Middle Class and the 1% percenters are increasingly on their own to fend for themselves. Ref: The movie “The Purge” ( Chicago). Social Darwinism: Survival of the Fittest ??

The much mistreated Middle Class whom historically makes the “system” work and upon which the elites depend upon is “checking-out” (“Quiet Quitting”), according to David Victor Hanson. Hire your own armed guards or get a gun (if permitted) and DIY, IF you think you can. Most Americans are NOT capable of doing either. Better wake-up soon folks or be prepared to die. Its always a choice, Man ! Do or Die.

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16 09 2022
Timothy D. Naegele

Thank you, Craig, as always.

I agree with your first sentence. November is key.

Yes too, a draft may be coming, possibly of both men and women.

Americans are waking up, including Hispanics and others, and Trump continues to energize them.

Having watched many or most of his rallies, they are excellent and include a true cross-section of America.

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16 09 2022
H. Craig Bradley

WE ARE ENTERING THE (RED) OR DANGER ZONE

The people in possible succession behind Putin are mostly hard liners, the same types (“Hard Line Communists”) who wanted to take Russia back to the U.S.S.R. as right after Yeltsin. In-contrast, President Putin wants what is best for his country, as former President George W. Bush once famously said after ” looking into Putin’s eyes and seeing his soul”. Back then, the Russian stock market had not yet turned into a Bear Market, as its been since 2009.

Negative public sentiment always accompanies a bear stock market, as various “conflicts” and wars often do. We are going to find-out with China, possibly as soon as next year. China has its “hard liners” chomping-at-the-bit in-waiting, right behind President Xi. China is in a real Bear Market and recession and not a mild one either. Our recession, in-progress may be shallow but it sure won’t be short.

Be cautious, as you might get what you want and then rue the day. ( Many want to kill Putin, for any number of reasons). So, WWIII is potentially only one shot away, as was WWI in Austria when the Archduke was assassinated by a Bosnian radical. (Political radicals always are the ones who actually make history).

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16 09 2022
Timothy D. Naegele

Thank you again, Craig.

I realize that your last paragraph is correct, and the analogy to World War I is apt.

Regarding your first paragraph, as I have said here before, Putin was never a democrat. He is an autocrat, and his shoes will not be filled easily. Medvedev fancies himself filling them, but he is a lightweight.

And yes, the issues facing China’s Xi Jinping are not rosy. If Putin is bloodied badly, Xi may be tempered vis-a-vis Taiwan.

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21 09 2022
Timothy D. Naegele

When Will Putin Launch World War III?

See, e.g., https://www.dickmorris.com/will-russia-start-a-nuclear-war-lunch-alert/ and https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/nuclear-threat-putin-ukraine-war-bluffing-rcna48713 (“With nuclear threat, Putin backs self into a corner on Ukraine”)

Arguably it was launched sometime ago, but when will the nuclear weapons be launched?

See, e.g.,
https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2022/03/01/world-war-iii-has-begun/ (“World War III Has Begun”)

What has the butcher Vladimir Putin got to lose? There are signs that his health is failing; and his conventional military forces are losing his war against Ukraine.

See, e.g., https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11234219/Doctors-called-Putin-suffered-coughing-fit-amid-chaotic-scenes-TV-address.html (“‘Doctors called to Putin amid coughing fit ahead of TV address'”); see also https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11234849/Russians-race-flee-country-flights-sell-terrified-civilians-dreading-military-call-up.html (“Russians race to flee country as one-way flights sell out”) and https://www.the-sun.com/news/6277405/russians-escape-putins-call-fight-ukraine/ (“Russians flee to Mongolia to escape Putin’s call up as men are ‘dragged from beds in dead of night’ to fight in Ukraine”) and https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11245395/Putin-away-Russians-conscripts-beers-drink-senseless.html (“Russians conscripts get the beers in and drink themselves senseless”) and https://news.yahoo.com/russia-ukraine-tanks-equipment-destroyed-172523969.html (“Russia’s unsustainable equipment losses in Ukraine”) and https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-63021118 (“Ukraine war: Hundreds arrested as Russian draft protests continue”)

Tragically, we do not have a President at potentially perilous times like this.

See, e.g., https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11239363/Sad-video-shows-Biden-appearing-lost-ask-crowd-leave-walking-stage.html (“‘Sad’ video shows Biden appearing to get lost while walking off stage”); see also https://www.dickmorris.com/what-to-do-if-russia-goes-nuclear-lunch-alert/ and https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/sep/25/us-russia-ukraine-war-nuclear-weapons-jake-sullivan?CMP=share_btn_link (“Jake Sullivan: US will act ‘decisively’ if Russia uses nuclear weapons in Ukraine”)

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