Perhaps the safest assumption to make regarding Russian President Putin is that he wants to takeover Ukraine – and he will do so at some time in the future.

It looks as though that he is ready now.  According to American intelligence, Putin has all the military personal and weapons he needs for an invasion.  His troops are strategically deployed on three sides of the Ukraine eastern border – including in his puppet-state of Belarus.  It has been reported that Putin has been shipping weapons and supplies to the separatists who have been waging a regional civil war for eight years.

But there is no guarantee that Putin will actually carry out a full-scale invasion of Ukraine at this moment.  It may be one humongous bluff to gain concessions.  If the United States or NATO acquiesce to Putin’s demands, it will be a big win for the Russian dictator.

As far as we know of his demands, Putin wants a written agreement from the west, promising not to place troops in Ukraine – and no weapons.  In fact, Putin wants America to withdraw any western assistance and weapons it provided in the past.  Putin wants iron-clad guarantees that Ukraine will never be admitted to NATO.  

He also wants NATO’s front line of defense to reform at the 1992 level – basically leaving the Baltic nations that joined NATO after the fall of the Soviet Union defenseless. That demand is dead on arrival – and Putin most certainly knows that.  It seems more like one of these bargaining points to be given up in negotiation in order to seem reasonable.

According to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, these are some concessions that could avoid the invasion.  We would have a “diplomatic solution.”  Biden would brag how he avoided war, but only if the United States and NATO lose at the negotiating table.

It is entirely possible that Putin would take a few significant concessions and pull back his troops for the time being.  But make no mistake, he will either invade now or later.  If he can weaken Ukraine’s defenses by forcing out western support, Putin could take that and delay the invasion for a more propitious time.

In reaching “diplomatic solutions,” what will Putin concede?  Probably nothing more than to hold off on his seizure of Ukraine – a bogus concession arbitrarily created to win real concessions.  Maybe he should return the Crimea to Ukraine … stop supplying the separatists … cease cyber warfare.  Of course, none of those are on the table thanks to the timid and feckless American leadership.

How about this.  America and NATO will send in 100,000 troops into Ukraine, commit air support to fend off any invasion … tell Putin to return Crimea … and we will admit Ukraine to NATO, triggering the Article Five mutual defense commitment.  Put those options on the negotiation table and then start bargaining.

Unfortunately, Biden lacks the testicular fortitude to get tough with Putin.  His State Department are a bunch of establishment wimps, who are devoted to endless talking (diplomacy, the call it).  That means Putin takes Ukraine now or wins a range of major commitments (surrenders) from the United States and NATO.  He then waits for the next opportunity to invade Ukraine – as he will for sure.  Putin wins.  America loses … again.

So, there ‘tis.

By Larry Horist

So, there ‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.