Would this have furthered the national security of the US and Europe, permitted Europe’s then flourishing peaceful commerce with Russia to continue and avoided the current global plague of soaring energy and food prices caused by the Sanctions War?
Yes, it would have. In spades!
The heart of the matter is that Putin is now :
To be sure, Kiev and Washington are screaming loudly that these referendums are “shams”, and it’s probably the case that the ballot counting will be no better than what occurred in the state of Georgia in 2020.But the fact is, these regions are populated by Russian-speakers who have no love for or loyalty to the anti-Russian government in Kiev; who have already lined-up for Russian citizenship in large numbers; and who, in any case, fear the retribution of the Ukrainian military and secret service far more than they fear the Russians.
But now, within a matter of weeks, Ukraine’s borders will be restored to the pre-WWI status quo ante. Whether fair and square or not, the vote will be overwhelmingly in favor of separation and upon the request of the peoples of “Novorussiya”, Putin has indicated that these regions will once again become formal Russian territories.
Nor does the alleged surprise victory of Ukrainian forces in the Kharkiv area in recent weeks change the scenario. What that actually accomplished was the sacrifice of thousands of Ukrainian troops in the apparent faint attack on Kherson in the south in order to regain a few thousand square miles of lightly populated open steppe around Kharkiv.
Even then, the alleged hastily retreating Russian army was not that at all. The area had been mostly occupied and defended by the lightly trained volunteers of the Republic of Luhansk, not the trained professionals of the Russian armed forces.
Now that the Ukrainian army has driven out the Luhansk volunteers and occupied the open steppe lands, it remains for Russian dominance of the air and artillery war to encircle the alleged victors and pulverize them from the air and via long-range artillery that is even now being brought into position.
That is to say, in a few weeks the Ukrainian “victory “will disappear from the MSM, just as have so many other alleged setbacks to the Russian cause.
Instead, the news will be about the brutality of the Russian attacks on Ukraine’s energy and transport infrastructure; the roadblocks it will put in front of what has been the demolition derby of US/NATO supplied weaponry to the battle front; and the fact that without massive new aid from Washington beyond the $50 billion already authorized, civilian life in the Kiev-controlled portions of the country will be on the verge of collapse and the regime in Kiev will be on virtual life-support from Washington.
In short, the end game in lieu of the diplomatic settlement which could have been had long ago will be either a more unfavorable partition of Ukraine, leaving Kiev and the western regions as a bankrupt landlocked rump state and ward of the west, or an escalation that involves direct military engagement by NATO and leaves the world teetering on the edge of nuclear war.
So much for using Ukraine as cannon fodder to drastically “weaken Russia” and to force the demonized Vlad Putin from power. To the contrary, by the time Europe’s cold and dark winter is underway, it will be European governments, which slavishly did Washington’s bidding, that will be falling like dominoes.