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Russian Troops UkraineThere you have it. Diplomacy prevailed. Economic pressure on Russia did its job. The valiant Ukrainian soldiers fought with decision. The EU reasserted its support for Ukraine and NATO played its card quietly under the table and enacted the fright factor. Well... not a chance.

In order to understand what's going on you must take a step back or two or a few thousand and start looking at the events on a scale measured in years, not hours or days. The truth is that nobody really understands why the Russian paused, what are they actually doing, how are they moving and what their intentions are in terms of the next days and weeks. Retreat? Sure. Pause? Sure. Refreshing troops? Sure. Staging? Sure. Avoiding an all-out war? Probably. There is too much movement to actually figure out anything… and that's exactly what the Russians want: to keep the opposition guessing and with good reason. Nowadays with all kinds of SigInt available to military powers, it is not possible to hide large troop and logistic movements. But what it is possible to hide are intentions.

The point is this and it is a simple one. Putin is out to reconstruct the Russian empire (see The USSR Strikes Again ). Ukraine is job #1 due to its massive riches in raw materials, particularly energetics (natural gas and oil). There is no chance in hell Putin will let go. Putin is simply playing chess. He may stop for a while, switch to a different tactic, subvert, revert, operate covertly or overtly, distract, dis-inform and whatever else it takes to finally get his hands on Ukrainian resources. The only thing that Putin won't do is to force an all-out war with anybody that may be too hard to defeat or that may drag NATO or the US directly into it. So he will play it softly but relentlessly. In any event, the chances of an all-out war of significant size is minor because Putin does not need it to achieve his strategic goals. Anybody that believes this being the end is in for a rude awakening. Ukraine is doomed… at least in its current political configuration and allies. Why? The reason is simple: the US is trying to choke Russia economically and energetics are a big target. This war did not start recently but in 1985 during the Regan administration. That's right, this conflict started about 20 years ago and it is still going on. Hence, Russia responded accordingly by prioritizing targets in terms of energy. Action / Reaction. No surprises here. Now, having said that, it is also clear that Russia would have sought to rebuilt its empire with or without US games. Nobody is blameless in this tragedy.

And there you have it. We suggest you take a seat and get comfortable. This situation will be simmering one way or another for a very long time indeed. The real question is not whether Putin will succeed in his endeavors but when.

Note: please see the Glossary if you are unfamiliar with certain words.

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