The war which is being born in Ukraine is absurd insofar as it will harm everyone, except the arms dealers.
Ukraine has nothing to do with a war that will ravage its territory. Its preparations are already exerting a considerable drain on public finances. Each year, more than 4% of the country’s GDP is spent on modernizing its army.
Russia has nothing good to expect from a war against Ukraine. Unlike the Ukrainian soldiers, who will fight with fervor, it is far from certain that the Russian soldiers will engage in battle with conviction.
The Russian population does not seem very warm to the idea of a war against Ukraine.
The actual popular benefit that Putin would derive in the long term from such a conflict is doubtful.
The Russian occupation of Ukraine for several years remains uncertain.
And Russia would provoke against it a hardening of the European and particularly Eastern European front.
In addition, economic sanctions risk permanently weakening the Russian economy.
A serious deterioration in relations between the United States and Russia would force the Americans and their allies to strengthen their military postures in Europe. A costly operation which they would do without, while China has become their main adversary.
Weak advantages in war
The benefits of this war are small, but not completely to be despised.
Ukraine will steep its patriotism there. Putin, initially, will boost his popularity there. The United States will use it to consolidate NATO. Eastern European countries will receive more guarantees against a possible Russian attack.
The countries of the European Union will find in the fight against the Russian threat a new common objective.
However, a normalization of relations between Russia and the United States, as well as their allies, would have far greater benefits than those of a war.
Not to mention the thousands of unnecessary deaths that would result from such a war.
Obstacles that are difficult to surmount
Unfortunately, each side maintains obstacles that prevent normalization.
In Russia, the main obstacle is Putin’s dictatorship. In Ukraine, nationalists want a deep derussification of the country. In the NATO General Staff, an anti-Russian culture inherited from the Soviet era persists. In Eastern Europe, the trauma of the Soviet occupation has not been repaired. Finally, the Russians have not forgotten the harshness of the United States towards them after the fall of the USSR.
These obstacles are not going away anytime soon. On the contrary, each camp makes gestures that reinforce mistrust.
Putin presides over a new alliance of dictatorships, from Moscow to Beijing via Minsk and Tehran. NATO leaders reaffirm the right of all countries to become members of their organization. The Ukrainians dismantle the organizations which would have links with Russia.
The war in Ukraine could be avoided. But the various obstacles that oppose it are such that there is reason to be pessimistic.