The American analyst Anne Applebaum argued that The West must move to a much more aggressive strategy to defeat Russia in the warin order to put an end to the offensive and prevent the emergence of a new era of major global conflicts.
In an article published in AtlanticApplebaum, an expert on the history of Eastern Europe and author of successful books such as “Gulag” and “Red Famine,” stated that after more than 21 months of war, the Russian president, Vladimir Putinhas not abandoned its imperial ambitions over Ukraine.
He noted that Putin continues to believe that he can win the conflict by weakening the support of the United States, NATO and the European Union for the government of Volodymyr Zelensky.
“Putin is confident that the Republican Party, some of whose members have spread Russian propaganda, will win the 2024 US presidential election and withdraw support for Ukraine“said Applebaum.
According to their calculations, since the start of the invasion on February 24, 2022, Russian forces have withdrawn from approximately half of the Ukrainian territory they initially managed to occupy. The expert estimates that at least 88,000 Russian soldiers have died and more than 176,000 were injured in the fighting.
Furthermore, he calculates that Russia has lost billions of dollars in destroyed military equipmentincluding several thousand armored vehicles, hundreds of tanks, planes and helicopters, as well as warships sunk in the Black Sea.
Despite these enormous losses, Applebaum warned that Putin seems to believe he can still win the war politically and economically if it manages to weaken Ukraine and erode the support of its allies. “If you can’t win on the battlefield, you will win using political intrigue and economic pressure“, he claimed.
Faced with this scenario, the analyst called on the US, NATO and the EU to put aside the reactive strategy of only supporting Ukraine and move to a much more proactive policy to completely defeat Russia on all fronts. The expert proposes a battery of concrete measures for the West:
– Drastically increase the military budget to match Russian war spending, which reaches 40% of Russia’s annual state budget.
– Modernize arsenals and accelerate weapons production to quickly supply Ukraine with the advanced weapons it needs.
– Confiscate Russian assets frozen abroadestimated at around $300 billion, to be transferred to Ukraine as compensation for war damages.
– Use all necessary means to undermine the Russian war industryincluding cyber attacks, sabotage of facilities and the blocking of key imported components.
Applebaum argued that the West must understand that the Russian invasion of Ukraine marks the beginning of “a new era of conflict between great powers“, hence the answer must be up to par of the threat.
The analyst warns that a Russian victory would not only destroy Ukraine, but would strengthen Putin’s global destabilizing power, encouraging future aggression from Russia and its allies, such as China or Iran. Therefore, he insists that the war will only end when the Russian neo-imperialist dream over Ukraine is completely abandoned, just as happened with the end of European colonialism over Algeria or Ireland in the 20th century.
“We must demonstrate that our commitment to the principle that Russia must pay reparations to Ukraine is real”Applebaum emphasized.
“Conquering Ukraine could empower Iran, Venezuela, Syria and the rest of Putin’s allies. It could still encourage China to invade Taiwan. It could still lead to a new kind of Europe, one in which Poland, the Baltic states and even Germany are under constant physical threatwith all the consequences that this entails for commerce and prosperity. A Europe permanently at war, an idea that seems impossible to most people in the West, still seems eminently plausible to the Russian president. Putin spent a significant part of his life as a KGB officer, representing the interests of the Soviet empire in Dresden. He remembers when East Germany was ruled by Moscow. If it could be like this once, why not again? ”He asked himself.
And he concluded: “By learning to fight Russia, a sophisticated autocracy with global ambitions, we will be better prepared for later and larger conflicts, if there is ever a broader fight with China or Iran. And, more importantly, by defeating Russia we might be able to stop those larger conflicts before they start. The goal in Ukraine should be to end the brutal Russian invasion and deter others from launching another one elsewhere.”.