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Only NATO Can Save Putin

By Tom Nichols

17 Mar 2022 · 5 min read

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in trouble. Despite his limited gains on the ground in Ukraine, he is facing strategic defeat in a war that no one (including me) would have expected him to lose. The vaunted Russian army has turned out to be a hollow force whose major skill sets seem to be bullying its own conscripts and killing foreign civilians. The Russian air force has underperformed even the lowest expectations; perhaps Russian pilots should have spent more time getting training and logging flying hours instead of doing fancy maneuvers at foreign air shows. At home, Putin distrusts his own security services and is apparently purging some of his top spies. The Russian people are going into the streets, prompting the regime to arrest thousands. The Russian economy is in a deep freeze and is likely to stay there for years.

Only one military force in the world can save Putin from utter humiliation now: NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. NATO intervention in Russia’s war on Ukraine could halt that country’s barbarous attacks. But it would mean war between Putin’s regime and the West, and this war would be such a gift to Putin that we should expect that he will soon do everything he can to provoke it.

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