Let’s start with this excerpt:
Hill spent many years studying history, and in our conversation, she repeatedly traced how long arcs and trends of European history are converging on Ukraine right now. We are already, she said, in the middle of a third World War, whether we’ve fully grasped it or not.
What is at stake for the world?
Reynolds: And you do not think he will necessarily stop at Ukraine?
Hill: Of course he won’t. Ukraine has become the front line in a struggle, not just for which countries can or cannot be in NATO, or between democracies and autocracies, but in a struggle for maintaining a rules-based system in which the things that countries want are not taken by force.
I pulled these quotes first so you know the title is only an attention getter. The Politico article is titled ‘Yes, He Would’: Fiona Hill on Putin and Nukes.
I want you to read the whole article. I think you might want to know where we are in history and how it has not fully penetrated the publics yet. I do think many of the world’s leaders are now getting it since other authoritarian regimes are united in sanctions. That is how serious this is.
Everyone needs to get it. Corporations need to get it. Even greedy Wall Street banks need to get it. Get what?
“Sadly, we are treading back through old historical patterns that we said that we would never permit to happen again,” Hill told me.
Those old historical patterns include Western businesses who fail to see how they help build a tyrant’s war chest, admirers enamored of an autocrat’s “strength” and politicians’ tendency to point fingers inward for political gain instead of working together for their nation’s security.
What does Putin want? For Ukraine to stay out of NATO… of course. But that is not it. He fears Democracy. But that is not it.
Reynolds: Do you think Putin’s current goal is reconstituting the Soviet Union, the Russian Empire, or something different?
Hill: It’s reestablishing Russian dominance of what Russia sees as the Russian “Imperium.” I’m saying this very specifically because the lands of the Soviet Union didn’t cover all of the territories that were once part of the Russian Empire. So that should give us pause….
…This idea of a Russian World means re-gathering all the Russian-speakers in different places that belonged at some point to the Russian tsardom.
Remember Russian leaders do not leave office. The either are removed or die. If he wants to reunite the Empire then he sees himself as the Tsar. Or I would say the old Evil Empire has become the new Evil Emperor.
You have to get to the end of the article to read this so I am excerpting this critical piece on Nukes
Reynolds: And then there’s the nuclear element. Many people have thought that we’d never see a large ground war in Europe or a direct confrontation between NATO and Russia, because it could quickly escalate into a nuclear conflict. How close are we getting to that?
Hill: Well, we’re right there. Basically, what President Putin has said quite explicitly in recent days is that if anybody interferes in Ukraine, they will be met with a response that they’ve “never had in [their] history.” And he has put Russia’s nuclear forces on high alert. So he’s making it very clear that nuclear is on the table.
Putin tried to warn Trump about this, but I don’t think Trump figured out what he was saying. In one of the last meetings between Putin and Trump when I was there, Putin was making the point that: “Well you know, Donald, we have these hypersonic missiles.” And Trump was saying, “Well, we will get them too.” Putin was saying, “Well, yes, you will get them eventually, but we’ve got them first.” There was a menace in this exchange. Putin was putting us on notice that if push came to shove in some confrontational environment that the nuclear option would be on the table.
Between his age and having a presumed nuclear advantage, I think Putin sees today as a now of never time for rebuilding the Empire. And I think he thinks it will require taking down the Western world a notch or two. And he would use tactical nukes to ensure he does not lose in Ukraine.
Understand hyper-sonic missiles are impossible to intercept and worse provide little warning before impact.
Now about those hyper-inflated markets…
TSP Smart & Vanguard Smart Investor serves serious and reluctant investors… as well as supports a rules-based global order.