The War In Ukraine Is Not A Game Of Dice

The Daily Telegraph yesterday suggested that Vladimir “Putin is preparing one final, desperate throw of the dice” in his war in Ukraine. This is wishful thinking. If any game metaphor is appropriate for the way Putin is conducting this war, it is chess because he is using his strategic skills, not relying on chance. We also have to remember that for the Ukrainians, this war has been raging since the annexation of Crimea in February 2014, so we are coming to the end of Year 8, not the first anniversary.

In contrast, the message from the NATO Secretary General today, emphasising the long-term nature of this conflict, is much more realistic and should be applauded. As we enter 2023, we need to get away from the hubris that accompanies much of the British Media’s reports as this will inevitably lead to frustration and recrimination. In 2001, the Foreign Secretary announced in the Media that we were planning for a twenty year conflict in Afghanistan and that is what is required in the current situation, not a pretence that peace will be achieved this year.

My sense is that in 12 months, the front line will not have moved very much because Putin is not “desperate”, but working to a long-term plan that denies Ukraine to the West, rather than going for a quick victory. Our continued support to Ukraine is vital, but we must start thinking in the long term for our energy resources, non-ferrous metals, fertilizers and military support.

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