Putin’s proxy war with the US in Ukraine is turning into World War III – Sky News Australia

Vladimir Putin still wields complete power domestically despite the drawn-out conflict in Ukraine, while drawing on end-of-times doomsday scenarios to cement his iron grip on the Russian people.
Historians have long questioned – after more than 40 years of Cold War rivalry (1945 – 1991) – what was responsible for the conflict’s end.
Among the causes most often put forward is that the Reagan administration’s massive arms build-up created insurmountable economic challenges for its Soviet opponent.
It was argued the Soviet Union’s economic malaise, caused by its efforts to match US military spending, prompted Kremlin leaders to surrender.
In fact, the subsequent unravelling of the Soviet Empire was the unintended side effect of Mikhail Gorbachev’s reforms, perestroika and glasnost.
Primarily, those policies achieved his primary aim of ending the Cold War.
Soviet military intact
Though politically weakened, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the USSR conceded nothing to the US in terms of military superiority.
Never did he negotiate from a position of weakness.
Vladimir Putin, who had worked as a KGB foreign intelligence officer for 16 years before resigning in 1991 to begin his political career, could see exactly what was happening.
Through no fault of the military or intelligence services, the mighty USSR had come crashing down, morphing into the Russian Federation, stripped of its satellite nations and spheres of influence.
Consequences of Humiliation
Suffering from an unexpected defeat, it was only a matter of time before Russia would attempt to strike out in the future, mostly out of anger, to restore its lost status.
The target of their frustration – and this is the key – is not necessarily even the country responsible for their Cold War failure.
Putin’s justification for his “special military operation” in Ukraine clearly refers to the West’s perceived incursions into Russia’s traditional sphere of influence. Presumably, he believes Ukrainian territory is owed to Russia by virtue of its history and relative position as a powerful player on the world stage.
Enter Ukraine
Though careful about taking aggressive action to avoid another failure – the Kremlin has no intention of attacking NATO – Putin’s proxy war with the US in Ukraine, in essence, is a substitute for World War III, a compensatory action to restore dignity and honour.
If it had not been Ukraine, it would have been someone else.
Despite the Pentagon’s talking points, Putin has all the time in the world.
His biggest challenge is controlling the narrative.
The “golden billion”
In addition to the original war aims of “denazification and demilitarisation” of Kyiv, which has gradually been replaced with helping the Ukrainian people get rid of a government that is “anti-people and anti-historical”, Putin has been pushing the conspiratorial vision of the “golden billion”.
The latter phrase was popularised by Anatoly Tsikunov’s apocalyptic book published in 1990, ‘The Plot of World Government: Russia and the Golden Billion’, just as the Soviet era was coming to an end.
According to Tsikunov, Russia is on the receiving of an end-of-times doomsday scenario, orchestrated by Western elites intent on allowing only their “golden billion” to survive in an increasingly uninhabitable world.
Put another way, the elite cannot afford to allow Russia, with its natural resources, immense mass and northern location, to go its own way.
While the phrase probably means nothing to most of the planet, in Russia the phrase has become doom-saying shorthand to describe a final battle between a global elite (read G-7) and Russia.
In Putin’s mind, it’s literally a matter of life and death.
In for the long haul
The Kremlin has been deploying this theory since February to argue that Russia’s isolation after the invasion of Ukraine stems not from its own actions but because of the global conspiracy against it.
It plays well at home, as Putin wields complete power over the energies of one of the world’s greatest peoples and the resources of the world’s richest national territory.
Folks who think that Russia is running out of steam ought to think again.
We are in for the long haul.
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