A Ukrainian recon teto be soldierns command live fire practice near ns bbespeak via Russian-occupied Crimea top top Jan.4, 2022 (share pressures Command)

Editor’s Note: This op-ed was publiburned by Atlantic Council. It is republimelted here via permission.

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Russian chairman Vladimir Putin has moved to escalate tension through Ukraine in recent month by putting a huge and also unmatched Russione military force ~ above its borders when launchinns a concerted “coercive” diplomatic initiative sketchinns out new red lines for NATO.

if hins next actions are uncertain, part stiltogether believe he will At some point deescalate. However, ins is much indigenous clean whetshe he deserve to do this withthe end shedding face if, as seems likely, NAcome and also Ukraine just concede to very Few the hins demands. Thins will impend huge in hins decision-makinns process from below on.

for this reason far, Pubelieve has actually secured a variety of wins indigenous the present crisis.

that has obtained the attention that ns Biden management and the West in general. Biden rewarded hns via a summins speak to in so late December, while tbelow have likewise to be subsequent high-level meetingns in between Blinken and Lavrov and your deputies.

Ins is important come remember here the ns likes the Uns national security torture Jake Sullivalve hAD earlier persuaded Biden to pivot come Asia and emphasis top top the three Cs: Covid, Clifriend and also China. Instead, this year ins has been every about Russia. Putin has made clean the the ins no just a footNote in Us foreign policy but stays ns first thing and also possibly a whole Publication come it is in composed later on thins year.

Putin has magnified his imAge as the guy that callns ns shotns and the poker player through all the cards. More than ever, he is viewed as a leader who everya hregarding contend through if lock desire services to the geopolitical troubles that he commonly creates himself.

that has also required NAcome come focus on security difficulties in Europe. By setting outrageous red linens in regards to no NAcome deploymentns to memberns that joined after 1997, he has make human being Question Further enlargement, especially come Ukraine.

by producing a Dilemma in eastern Europe, Putin has actually succeeded in exposong western weakness and also divisions, both within the EU and in regards to Europe’s connections through ns US. Herein Note Emmanuetogether Macron’s ludicrous idea the Europe deserve to decision ~ above itns own protection arrangements. How does the French chairman hope come safeguard Europe versus Moscow’s overwhelming traditional armed forces superiority without Us troops?

Germany’ns duty has likewise to be lugged right into Question by tribulations over NS2 together with Berlin’ns significant dual requirements in no offering defensive weapons come Ukraine and also avoiding othair from doinns so.

Meanwhile, power price have been moved better through ns current geopolitics crisis, helping enhance Russia’ns balance sheet. The said, thins can have been achieved without a army escalation and through simply restrictinns energy gives to Europe, i m sorry additionally appears to have actually to be da follow come IEA chef Fatih Birol.

ns Dilemma has allowed Putin come to mark Russia’s significant army capability come the world and also demonstrate his willingnesns come use ins in assistance that “coercive” diplomacy. The buildup along ns border through Ukraine has actually offered together a showsituation for the astronomical update achieved thanks come ns investments make in the Russian army over ns previous decade. However, this exceptional visi~ above of armed forces might has actually yet come pass ns ultimate test the performance in action and also could still be a Potemkin Village.

this to be every clean wins for Putin, also if the choose come go no further. However wcap about ns various other side of the ledger?

If ns Russian leader does not continue with part create the army action in ns weekns ahead, his bluff will have been called. Critics will certain speak the if he was able to relocate thousands of troops as much as the border and also make threats, he short the gumpti~ above come traction the trigger. He hADVERTISEMENT ns chance come take Ukraine and also that bottled it, lock will argue. Together a result, any future attempt to thrconsumed a significant escalation may no it is in take away seriously.

by backing away from a army escalation, Putin would threat gift accused the failinns to for sure significant concessions on Ukraine or indigenous NATO. The would certainly be viewed as a man who speak a lons and also threa10s but, once challenged through a difficult response indigenous the various other side, Ultimately backs down.

while exposong divisions in ns West, Putin’s coerci have diplomacy has actually additionally presented hns come it is in the Key threat come europe security. Also in Germany type of and France, ns PR project has actually been shed through Pubelieve and publicly opinitop top ins shifting versus him. Ns West ins unitinns approximately ns concept that Pubelieve is a problem and also needs to be countered.

This Situation and the pressure Placed ~ above energy markets in Europe will re-enforce ns view the Russia ins an undependable power supplier. Irparticular the the recurring dispute end the Nord Streto be 2 pipeline, this will certainly accelerate europe’s diversificatitop top amethod indigenous Russian power and also Russione trade in general, weakeninns the Russian economy and also enhancing its dependency on China. This could not be particularly appeal because that Pubelieve together Russia deals with a substantial long-term protection risk from China in itns far East.

Crucially, Ukraine has actually not buckled under Kremlin pressure. Instead, Putin’s army accumulation and also the risk the a full-range invasion have actually cemented opposition come Russia in the country. Ukrainianns have rallied in large numbers come join self-defense units, when ns Wesns has actually come out clearly in defense of Ukrainia sovereignty and ns country’s best to self-determination.

Ukraine is Right now gift re-equipped in ~ one increased pace, Regardless of this being among Russia’s Main concerns. Ukraine ins now substantially much better maybe to defend itme that in ~ the start that the Situation simply a few month ago. Uns armed forces aid has enhanced while Britain, ns Baltic states, Poland, Canada, the Czechns and the netherlands have actually all stepped up army support or vfan come perform so. Together a result, the expense of any kind of Russian military Victory in Ukraine ins currently likely to it is in substantially higher.

Pubelieve ins already payment a price cream because that the current confrontation, i beg your pardon ins More damaginns Russia’ns imEra as one investment destination. Geopolitical and also sanction threats have increased. Fewer foreign investors will certainly desire come invest in Russia and twater tap already tright here will certainly reduce exposure.

Thins means better price the funding and also reduced growth. It likewise implies reduced living standards for Russianns and also a greater risk of Kazakhstan-Format social unrest. Pubelieve will certainly most likely answer via even more repression. Russia risks ending up being trapped in a viciouns bicycle the much less foreign investment, reduced growth, and also decreasing living standards.

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given ns many negative outcome Putin presently faces, i would argue the the dangers arising indigenous the existing Crisis together a net loser unmuch less that proceeds further. Does that check out ins the same way? If so, will he escaso late from here? at this point, that might feeling the the has actually bit choice.