George Friedman: Russia Will Be Ready To Invade Ukraine Again By 2017

NEW YORK, USA -- When Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his air force to withdraw from Syria last month, geopolitical expert George Friedman said it wasn’t about Syria at all.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (L) greets the commanders of units, participants of the Victory Day parade at Red Square in Moscow, Russia.

The move was part of an elaborate US–Russia negotiation over Ukraine’s sovereignty.

Speaking in a Mauldin Economics video, Friedman said US Secretary of State John Kerry’s trip to Moscow last week was another step in a process that may not be going well.

We know this because shortly afterward, the US said it would deploy additional forces to Eastern Europe.

Preparing for Battle? 

The Pentagon said it would send an armored brigade to the Baltic region and two more brigades for deployment in 2017, to counter “an aggressive Russia.”

Friedman notes that while three brigades should deter any Russian incursions to the small Baltic states (Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia), they would be no threat to Putin’s Ukraine goal.

If Ukraine can’t be a Russian satellite, Putin wants it to at least stay neutral.

He sees a western-friendly regime in Kiev as an unacceptable threat.

Moscow’s Buffer Zone 

Also significant are recent comments by leaders in Belarus, the Moscow-friendly state sandwiched between the Baltics, Poland, Ukraine, and Russia.

They suggested the US should be part of any settlement, which Putin will likely read as a sign he can’t trust Belarus, either.

Russian military planning has long relied on the Baltics, Belarus, and Ukraine as its buffer zone against potential European foes.

The idea of US combat forces taking up positions there is something Putin can’t easily accept.

While, Putin’s military buildup isn’t yet ready to take any further action in Ukraine, Friedman says the buildup is continuing.

Putin will, if he desires, be ready for stronger action against Ukraine by 2017.

That possibility explains why the US is also building forces in the region.

Smoldering Tensions 

No one on either side wants war, says Friedman.

The military deployments and redeployments are like pawns on a giant chessboard.

The US and Russia are jockeying to get the most favorable outcome.

Friedman says extended tension is likely as Moscow and Washington each hope the other caves in.

Russia hopes the US will lose patience and accept a settlement.

Meanwhile, the US thinks financially strapped Russia will go broke if forced to wait.

Neither side is fully confident it can win, so look for the rhetoric to grow more intense.

Source: Business Insider


George Woloshyn said…
Friedman is wrong. This is not about Ukraine or its "western leaning" aspirations. The EU and especially NATO could - if it chose to do so - pledge that Ukraine would not gain admission to either grouping. And even if Putin does not trust those pledges, he could achieve the same result the way he has done in Netherland - by manipulating one or several of EU or NATO members to refuse Ukraine's admission.

This is about Russia. Putin and his regime - made up of both criminal and secret service types (though this may have been redundant) - are worried that the model of a free, prosperous, democratic state next to Russia's borders may "infect" his own state and overthrow his predatory, repressive rule. That is why he needs a "buffer" - not against armies but against human decency.

This has always been the greatest concern of Russia's ruling elite as far back as the 16th century. Czar Peter I had to (literally) cut off the beards of Russian xenophobes just to open up that country to some small influence from the West. (Though that experiment did not last long.)

In dealing with Russia's elite, the West is dealing with some pretty sick people. They prefer to sit atop one eight of the Earth's land surface - much of which has not even been fully explored - rather than relieve the centuries-old poverty and degradation of its population. They will spend huge resources trying to nibble up some small slice of a neighbor's land, then do nothing with it except plunder what they can. They will plant their flag on some desolate Arctic ice floe or remote planet and insist that all that is part of "russky mir".

I'm not a psychiatrist, so I can not help them, but I do know that Ukraine is not the problem. It is the solution.