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OT: World Politics

Not necessarily. And, oh, there already is a war. And it was started by Russia just to clear up and muddled thinking.

Anyway, if Ukraine gets cut loose, then the quid pro quo that they would spare Russian civilians and oil installations is defenestrated. It will get very, very dirty very, very fast.
 
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Yeah, I don't agree that both paths lead to a broader war in Europe. Russia losing in Ukraine is very likely the end of the Putin regime (he might buck the historic trend, but losing a war usually means your time is up) and I have no idea what comes after that politically inside of Russia, but it would leave Russia with a hollowed out economy, a demographic crisis (basically out of fighting age men) and decades away from being ready to project power again even at their border. Their limited bandwidth would likely be taken up just keeping potential breakaway regions in check. I don't see broader European war down that road at all.

On the flip side, if that capacity isn't spent watering the soil of Ukraine, they will spend it elsewhere and the most likely play will be to see whether or not the west has the stones to really flip the Article 5 switch over an invasion into the Suwalki Gap. Leaked Russian documents suggest that Putin intends on annexing Belarus by 2030. The only counter play to Sweden-Finland joining NATO and turning the Baltic into Nato Lake is to create a land bridge to Kaliningrad and take the Baltic States.

With that said....I really don't think the Russians would be able to take the Suwalki gap from Poland. Probably couldn't do it today, and what the Poles will look like by 2028-2030 with their massive refit ongoing would be a whole other thing entirely. Almost 500 HIMARS systems, a few full fighter groups of F-35's by the end of next year. The toughest country in Europe P4P shortly.
 


Some stuff in the replies is interesting:

- Iran is charging 291K (USD) for each Shahed. There is roughly a moped interception rate of 80% by Ukie air defences. So for each moped to actually leave a single hole in a farmer's field, random apartment building, intersection, or parking lot is costing Russia just under 1.5 million.

- Iran making Russia pay in gold definitely isn't Russia's choice. This shows how worthless the ruble is even within the BRICS "alliance".
 
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