By Patrick Cockburn
President Vladimir Putin has been trying to wage war on the cheap in Ukraine for seven months, with disastrous results for Russia. He is now ordering a partial military mobilisation that will take time to implement and may at best only create a stalemate between Russian and Ukrainian forces.
The successful Ukrainian offensive around Kharkiv has fuelled hopes in Kyiv and the West that Russia will lose the war comprehensively and Mr Putin will be overthrown by a putsch in Moscow. Both possibilities exist, but it is more likely that the war will go on and on without producing a victor, as has happened so often in recent military conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa.
The risk is that endless wars have a natural tendency to escalate as opponents try new strategies and tactics to break the deadlock and defeat their enemy. Vicious and destructive though the war in Ukraine has been so far, it is a long way from “total war”, a phrase that became popular to describe the situation in the Second World War as each side used every resource to destroy their opponent.
The current fear is that Russian nuclear sabre-rattling might escalate into the actual use of nuclear weapons. This prospect is probably a long way off, but the possibility of a nuclear exchange is real and nearer than it was a year ago.
Läs hela artikeln: Russia and NATO Tried to Wage War on the Cheap in Ukraine, But Could Now be Heading for Total War – By Patrick Cockburn – counterpunch.org, 23 sep 2022