Taking Stock

I’m going to go back to sharing sources of what I believe are reliable information about the situation in Ukraine, in addition to commenting on developing issues. But I wanted to attempt an overview of where things stand two weeks in.

In advance of the Russian invasion it was clear that a full-scale invasion of Ukraine was an immense gamble for Russia. Success depended on a number of outcomes that were, critically, not under Russia’s control: most specifically a rapid collapse of Ukrainian morale and disintegration of the Ukrainian state under military assault. Had that happened, the military cost of invasion would be limited and there was at least a chance that the Europe and the US wouldn’t have had the appetite or unity for sanctions in the face of what was a fait accompli. Maybe. But after only a few days it had become clear that the the decision to invade was a strategic disaster of immense proportions for Russia. The invasion finally created the united and militarized NATO Russia has long professed to fear. That unity also spurred a tide of economic sanctions that are already bringing the Russian economy to its knees. The Nordstream 2 gas pipeline which appeared to be an unbreakable link between the Russian and EU economies is now a distant memory. The Russian stock market has been shuttered since just after the invasion. At least the country’s near term future looks to be one of economic autarky, collapsed incomes and savings and one in which basic technology driving sectors of the economy may sputter or grind to a halt for lack of parts which can no longer be imported.