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The Endgame: Exploring Potential Outcomes of the Russo-Ukrainian War

The Endgame: Exploring Potential Outcomes of the Russo-Ukrainian War

The Endgame, Part II: Possible Outcomes of the Russo-Ukrainian War

By Tuomas Malinen

In this article, I will explore four potential outcomes for the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian war. These scenarios are: 1. The overruling majority (peace). 2. The immovable majority (wider war). 3. Regime change in Russia (risky conflict). 4. World War III (nuclear holocaust). These scenarios focus on the actions of the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance, or NATO. More specifically, they examine whether NATO's actions are erratic or aggressive. I discussed these basic scenarios in more detail in my previous article. I haven't been to Russia since 2011, a decision I made following the annexation of Crimea. I believe that invasions should not be tolerated in modern Europe. However, I have visited Russia and the Soviet Union multiple times due to my relatives working at Finnish embassies in Russia. My experiences in Russia have left a lasting impression on me. In 2009, I visited Moscow with a group of family and friends. The trip was characterized by the phrase nje rabotaet, which means "it does not work". This phrase was used frequently as we encountered various issues. Despite the chaos, I found Russia to be a fascinating place, and the people were helpful when asked.

Russian Leadership and Public Perception

The leadership style of a country often reflects its culture and national characteristics. The actions of Russia's current leader, President Putin, are not anomalies in Russian history. Many Russian leaders, from Ivan the Terrible to Char Peter I to Stalin, have led invasive wars and reacted impulsively. In my opinion, the demonization of Russia stems mainly from two sources: 1. People do not understand Russia, leading to fear. 2. War propaganda. This article aims to address both of these points. I will discuss Finland's experience with Russia, which could provide a valuable lesson for the rest of the world, and how it applies to the current situation in Europe. I will then present four scenarios for the endgame of the Russo-Ukrainian war.

The Finnish Experience

Finland fought two wars against the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union was a formidable military power during WWII. Before Operation Barbarossa, the Soviet Union's air force was larger than that of the rest of the world combined. The purge of the Red Army by Josif Stalin in 1937 weakened the Soviet military, which was evident in the Winter War between Finland and the Soviet Union from November 1939 to March 1940. Despite being poorly equipped, the Finnish military inflicted heavy losses on the Red Army. The wars between Russia and Finland did not end with the Winter War. Finland participated in Operation Barbarossa as an unofficial ally of Nazi Germany. The wars resulted in the loss of around 12% of Finland’s territory. After the wars, Presidents Juho Paasikivi and Urho Kekkonen established a policy of passive neutrality, known as the Paasikivi–Kekkonen doctrine. This policy was based on the fear and respect Finland had for the Soviet Union after the wars. While Finland lost 12% of its territory, it managed to maintain its independence during the Cold War, despite being next to the most formidable military power in the world. Finns also understood the importance of not provoking Russia. Despite appearing vulnerable, Russia is a formidable opponent, especially when threatened. The prosperous and friendly relationship between Finland and Russia (Soviet Union) was based on strength and maintaining friendly relations with Moscow.

The Problem of Europe

The Russian mindset is not as complex or chaotic as many in the West believe. As I explained in my previous article, Russian leadership seeks to increase its influence in neighboring regions driven by a desire for security. They also respect strength more than diplomacy. Finland managed to coexist and prosper alongside Russia (Soviet Union) by not posing a threat and by strengthening its economy and military. Europe now faces two main problems. First, since Finland became a full member of NATO, Russia feels cornered by a force it perceives as hostile. This is a reasonable reaction from the Russian leadership. Previous Finnish leaders knew that posing a threat to Russia would have serious consequences. The Ukrainian leadership should have known this too, but they were clearly manipulated by Western leaders. Secondly, it is now clear that NATO is not what it claims to be. The future of Europe now depends on two dangerous scenarios regarding NATO's motivations: 1. NATO, the erratic. 2. NATO, the aggressor. These characterizations are based on the irresponsible or aggressive actions taken by NATO leadership over the past three decades, especially in the past year. Either NATO leadership massively underestimated Russian resources and the devotion of its leadership to security, or they deliberately crossed Moscow's red lines in an effort to create a military conflict that would engulf Europe. In the following sections, I will outline future scenarios based on these two assumptions about NATO's motives. These scenarios show that the underlying assumptions (erratic or aggressive NATO) will determine the future paths of Europe and the world. Three of the four scenarios could lead to the same terrifying outcome: a nuclear holocaust.

NATO, the Erratic

In this section, I assume that NATO's leadership is simply making catastrophic mistakes and is currently trying to save face as the collapse of Ukraine looms. I will focus on the political response of the general public and how the future will play out through the overruling majority and the immovable minority.

Scenario I: The Overruling Majority

On March 4, our Minister of Defense, Antti Häkkänen, stated in a speech that "It's time to recognize the facts. Russia is a threat to the whole democratic world". Coming from a Finnish Minister of Defense, this is as close as we can get to a declaration of war without actually declaring it. I believe this speech signals that Finland is committed to a war against Russia. I sincerely hope that I am wrong about this. However, this statement is so unusual coming from a Finnish Minister of Defense that I struggle to explain it by any other motive. If we assume that the leaders of NATO and its member countries are simply making mistakes, then this speech can be seen as a catastrophic one. Moscow is likely to interpret it as a sign of aggressive future plans by the leaders of Finland and NATO. This means that Russia will likely start preparing for a war on its northwestern border, again. The Finnish-Russian border, and especially the Karelian Isthmus (peninsula), has been one of the main 'hotspots' of Europe for centuries. It's clear that the vast majority of Finns and Europeans do not want a war, but could they be manipulated into one? The people naturally have the final say in every system because if they start to revolt, no dictator can suppress that force. Could there be a rebellion against the erratic or even aggressive NATO leadership? Of course, there could be, but I am not seeing such signs yet, which does not mean they could not appear if (when) the war starts to look imminent. There's also the possibility that NATO leadership is looking for a way out of the conflict in Ukraine. If this is the case, public opinion turning against the war, even in smaller portions, could provide support for NATO leadership to back down from their previous erratic decisions and start the process of de-escalation. Taking everything into account, there have been too many errors for them to be random, in my opinion. And if the errors are not random, then they are systemic (deliberate), which implies that NATO is the aggressor.

Scenario II: The Immovable Minority

Many European political leaders seem to support a confrontation with Russia. There's also a vocal minority of Europeans demanding harsher measures against Russia, with some even advocating for a wider war. In this second scenario, these minority forces control the public narrative and the conflict, pushing it into a wider European war. This scenario coincides with the World War III scenario below. The difference is that in this scenario, the world drifts into WWIII and the likely nuclear annihilation that would follow, while in the scenario presented below, a deliberate escalation by NATO ignites the conflict.

NATO, the Aggressor

In the next two scenarios, I assume that NATO aims to either force a regime change in Russia or destroy the nation in a war. The motivation for these aims can come from three sources: 1. Gain control of vast Russian mineral resources. 2. Destroy the Eurasian alliance (and keep it that way). 3. Ignite a world war for the global elite to gain widespread control over societies. I currently believe that all of these motives can act as drivers, with the last one being highly speculative.

Scenario III: Regime Change in Russia

A nuclear holocaust would not serve the aim of this scenario, as it would wipe out most of the population, machinery, and infrastructure from the world. Major cities and areas would be uninhabitable for years, including most likely mineral deposits in Russia, Europe, and the U.S. Therefore, we can assume that in this scenario, the escalation of the conflict to a wider war in Europe is not the aim of NATO, but there is a high likelihood it will lead to that. The likelihood of this scenario can be considered relatively high, considering everything that has happened in Ukraine. It looks like NATO tried to slowly increase the pressure and cause heavy losses to Russian forces. The 'Prigozhing incident' also fits with this narrative, as the "mutiny" started during the (failed) Ukrainian counter-offensive, which makes it look pre-planned. The question we now face is, what would be the next steps for NATO to accomplish a regime change? Two scenarios rise above others: 1. A re-armament race that drains Russian economic resources, leading the country to collapse from the inside out, similarly to what happened to the Soviet Union in the late 1980s. 2. Major conflicts in the neighboring regions (Abkhazia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, etc.), destabilizing large parts of Russia. Both of these scenarios can naturally lead to the extreme scenario of a nuclear holocaust.

Scenario IV: World War III (nuclear holocaust)

A nuclear holocaust is something the vast majority of the population would not want to see, but could there be some who would? Such individuals naturally exist among us humans, but the question is, could they hold key positions in our supranational organizations, like NATO? If we assume that such people do not exist in the leadership of NATO or in the leadership of those countries running it (essentially the U.S.), the aggressive actions of NATO could still lead us to a nuclear confrontation. NATO leadership could be very aggressively seeking to gain control of vast Russian mineral resources or to destroy the Eurasian alliance. The first goal could be achieved with the regime change scenario described above. The latter would require that there be no peace in Ukraine, which in this situation (Ukraine has effectively lost) requires that the war spreads. This would mean that some of the 'frontline countries', i.e., Finland, the Baltics, or Poland, escalates (note that a 'false flag' blaming Russians is also possible), igniting a direct conflict between NATO and Russia. If that occurs, there's a high likelihood that nuclear weapons will be used at some point, leading to a nuclear holocaust. But what if there are factions in key positions in NATO leadership actually pushing for a nuclear confrontation? This would naturally be the most dangerous scenario for us all because it would imply that if escalation through "traditional means" (war propaganda and luring Russia to respond militarily) does not succeed, there will most likely be a major false flag blamed on Russia.

Conclusions

When discussing the current situation in the world with ordinary people, I often hear the response: "this makes no sense". I agree, but this only applies if we fully believe the prevailing Western narrative, which is that the global elite and most of our political leaders are benevolent and Russia/Putin is "bad". I have speculated on the drivers behind recent developments in several articles. I believe we should not shy away from even the most preposterous explanations, such as an extremely secretive group 'pulling the strings'. However, what we do know is the dangerous direction we are currently heading in. The scenarios presented here focus on NATO because it plays a crucial role in the current crisis. Currently, NATO is escalating the situation by building military bases right next to the Russian border in Finland and with its leadership making comments about Ukraine's NATO membership. These actions could be extremely serious mistakes or deliberate acts of escalation. In this article, I have outlined the scenarios we are likely to face based on NATO's actions. They are not the ones I would like to advocate for, but I believe they are the ones we are facing.

What are your thoughts?

What do you think about the scenarios presented in this article? Do you agree or disagree with them? I encourage you to share this article with your friends and start a conversation about it. You can also sign up for the Daily Briefing, which is delivered every day at 6 pm.

Some articles will contain credit or partial credit to other authors even if we do not repost the article and are only inspired by the original content.

Some articles will contain credit or partial credit to other authors even if we do not repost the article and are only inspired by the original content.

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