Again, we see him double down. He is in a dilemma in the war and at home. He has become the face of this war. The speech he gave on September 30th said it was his war, his annexation of Russia. Everything will fall on him if it fails.
Even though it's mostly window dressing, Putin has to stand for election every so often. His legitimacy is renewed occasionally. There is one year in the future. He might be facing a deadline. Is he going to win this war by the year 2024?
Hill thinks so. The reelection needs to take place in the early part of the year. We have a year and a few months to get ready for this and make sure that it all goes smoothly. Putin wanted to get the victory in Ukraine out of the way so he wouldn't have to deal with it again. The election will take place in February and March of 2024.
I think Putin thought he would be unassailable. After that, it's likely that Ukraine would return to the fold. Maybe also Moldova. The next phase of Putin would have been referred to as the great czar of a reconstituted Russia.
Maybe he could have begun to delegate power to others if he had succeeded at that.
Putin celebrated his 70th birthday this past week. When people ask if he dies in office he is in that age. There are a lot of questions. The system is entering an important point in its evolution.
What do you think would happen to the Russian side if the Ukrainians were to win a military victory?
Ukrainians have already had a great moral, political and military win. Russia's military operation didn't achieve its goals. With all of the nuclear saber-rattling, threats of nuclear Armageddon, and the deployment of Musk and others, I think Putin is hoping that he can take the territory that he has and get recognition of that. He hopes that he can put pressure on the Ukrainian government. He wants the Ukrainian political system to fall apart. He wants someone who is loyal to him to be the leader of the country. Putin hopes that he will be able to get what he wants when he crosses the border.
Zelenskyy is the biggest thing that Putin wants to get rid of. He wants someone to have more power.
He wants that. He might still get that. He is trying to undermine Zelenskyy and the people of Ukraine.
The Ukrainians have the right to choose their own leader. Putin will try to use this to his advantage. He will try to poison the attitudes of the international community against the country.
What do you think about the fact that some Americans, mostly in the Trump wing of the Republican Party, are questioning how much support the US should give to Ukraine? Is there something that they don't know about this conflict?
Hill tried to make a point when he testified at the first impeachment trial. It is a direct line between that episode and now. Putin has created a hostile sentiment towardsUkraine. They want to claim that the Biden administration is giving too much support for Ukraine instead of giving more support to Americans because they want to criticize it for their own political reasons. The people are following the Kremlin's propaganda.
What do you think would be the right response from the West if Putin were to use a nuclear weapon?
Putin wants us to talk about the threat of nuclear war instead of what he is doing in Ukraine. He wants the U.S. and Europe to think about the risks they faced during the Cuban Missile Crisis. He wants us to be prepared for a war. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, we used secret diplomacy to compromise between the US and Russia.
There are no strategic standoffs here. Nuclear blackmail is what this is. There can't be a compromise if he doesn't set off a nuke. Putin is acting like a rogue state at the moment. He is being explicit about what he would like. All the stops have to be pulled out. We need to make sure that he doesn't have the effect that he wants.
To get what you want in the world, you have to have a nuclear weapon and to protect yourself, you have to have a nuclear weapon. This is not a good situation. Nuclear stability is on the edge.
This is not a strategic issue. This is not a problem of strategic stability. Vladimir Putin is angry because he doesn't have what he wants in the war he started. Another attempt to adapt to the battlefield.
Reynolds wondered if the war could end in a way that would be good for the West and good for Putin. Is this the start of a revolution that will be very messy and dangerous?
This is unlikely to end in a satisfying way. Putin doesn't want to compromise his goals because you need every side willing to compromise.
Any compromise is always at the expense of Ukrainians because of Putin. When we think about World War I, World War II or the settlements in other conflicts, they always involve some kind of territorial disposition that made one side very unhappy.
It isn't going to be a happy or satisfying ending for anyone, and it isn't going to be a happy or satisfying ending for Putin as well.
It is striking to me that none of the conflicts that Russia has been involved in have been solved with a peace settlement. They have been fighting to be stalemated.
Hill doesn't think there will be a good outcome from this. We have to figure out how to keep Russia from putting Ukraine under pressure again or invading again. Make sure that battle lines are not recognized as official if there is an interim freeze. We may be able to contemplate an international receiver. In the past, we have had many different versions of this. We have to make it impossible for Putin to break out of constraints and do this again and that is what we have to do.
There are a lot of questions about the future relationship with Russia and the configuration of European security institutions. What do we do to deal with this? The United Nations needs to be changed. The UN has been involved in the conflict. The secretary-general has been involved in pressing resolutions. The configuration of the Security Council has made the United Nations inadequate. Everyone is discussing how to address this.
It seems to me that there is going to be a kind of redemption for NATO. There is a direct border between NATO and Russia with the addition of Finns. There is going to be a NATO border between Poland and Belarus. Considering the fact that NATO is going to have to defend across Europe, should they consider joining the alliance for Ukraine?
Hill thinks that this is going to be a big issue. Many people still think of Ukraine as a proxy war Many of the people trying to get Ukraine to surrender are people who believe that the United States and NATO are trying to get Russia to surrender.
We weren't in a proxy war with Germany during World War I, just like we weren't in a proxy war with Russia. When we were trying to get Germany out of Poland, it wasn't a proxy war. Having been invaded by Russia, we are trying to helpUkraine.
The proxy war debate deprivesUkraine of agency. It will feed into the flawed discussion if we talk aboutUkraine being part of NATO. The essence of the war is that Russia is trying to take over Ukrainian territory.
NATO is a cover for the US in Europe, according to Russia. Right now, I think it is clear that this is not the case. NATO is focused on ensuring collective security and defense, and Russia has put all of Europe at risk, that's why Finland and Sweden have applied to NATO.
NATO expansion as an interim step is a way to think about how we'll setup ourselves afterUkraine.
You know, there is talk about making Ukraine a giant Israel and making it self sufficient for its own security. We need to have an open discussion about all of this and not focus on one aspect of it.
Even if Putin is deposed, we are still at the beginning of a rethinking of the international order that those outcomes are not going to solve.
Hill said yes. The impacts of Covid have been experienced by us. The climate crisis should be obvious to everyone by now. We have only the skeleton of an international system to contend with.
The world is being held captive by Putin. We have a lot to deal with. The Global South is frustrated with all of this because they are dying from disease and climate change because of the war in Ukraine. The countries have experienced flooding. We are hungry and you guys are expecting us to help you. The secretary-general of the United Nations has said many times that the UN system is collapsing. The alarms are going off. As if it was the 1780s again, Putin is acting like it.
Reynolds asked if we needed a new global order to address the problem.
It is obvious. How do we make it happen? People don't like the idea of a new United Nations. Some of my colleagues were groaning loudly. A slimmed-down version is needed.
International institutions are needed to deal with the magnitude of the problems we are facing. When we are having a hard time getting our act together on this planet, it makes sense that the man who has been talking about getting us to Mars should be Putin's messenger. It is obvious to the average person that we need to do that. Our time is not with us.
A reference to the Netherlands being invaded by Germany during World War I has been removed. According to some news reports, more than 80,000 Russian troops have been killed or injured in the conflict.