NATO Must Prepare for Horizontal Escalation
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine demonstrates the relevance of hard power. The United States must take note – the possibility for European escalation remains very much alive.
The Russian offensive had all the hallmarks of a carefully planned operation for months. Putin’s domestic incentives were simply too strong to keep him from Ukraine. His fear of growing Ukrainian military capacity, his mistrust of President Zelensky, who has become a hero, and his deep-seated paranoia of Ukraine’s non-actionable NATO ambitions essentially decided the choice for him. Putin, moreover, looked at Belarus and Venezuela and saw not disaster but rather hope. Both Lukashenko and Maduro impoverished their countries to ensure their personal and regime survival. Putin is doing the same.