War Will Not Start With a Ukrainian Provocation
I saw that a pair of commentators who were earlier saying that a Moscovite military offensive against Kiev will not happen, are now saying that it might happen, but only as a response to a provocation of the other side. A provocation perhaps provided by the Ukrainian far-right, or their American or British trainers.
And Russia will continue to build up and take unpredictable steps, but no invasion will occur. Unless, of course, Ukraine escalates or stages a false flag, which could force a response. But any Russian movement onto Ukraine will be in response, not in initiation— in our opinion
— ASB News / MILITARY〽️ (@ASBMilitary) February 10, 2022
Come on people, let’s not be insulting our own intelligence in this way.
In 2015 the Turks pre-planned the shooting down of a Russian Su-25 in an ambush and murdered the pilot. In 2018 an Israeli bombing of Syria used a Russian surveillance plane as cover resulting in the deaths of 15 Russian servicemen.
Neither of these resulted in a Russian war against Turkey or Israel. Why not? Because incidents like these do not result in wars if the injured party isn’t already bent on war. Conversely, when a party is already bent on war no provocation is needed.
It would be totally bizarre of Russia to amass great military capacity then outsource the power to decide whether that capacity will be used to somebody else. Especially to its sworn enemy.
Provocations or not, Putin will retain total control over whether the force concentrated is used. He can order it into action without citing a recent Ukrainian provocation, just as easily as he has in the past declined to overreact to injury in Syria.
You don’t amass 60% of your best maneuver elements and then subordinate the call on whether they go into action to whether the enemy has been dumb/bold/careless enough to serve you up with a useable pretext.
It is Russia’s online lawyers who are most concerned whether Russia will be able to cite a semi-decent pretext or not. But Moscow itself isn’t necessarily out for a popularity contest. Its focus is on matters rudimentary and existential, not on what may have taken place in the last five minutes.
The list of injuries to Russians that Moscow did not overreact to (or did not react to at all) over the years in Latvia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Donbass, Estonia is nearly limitless.
Provocations don’t cause wars. And wars don’t hinge on provocations.
In 2014 when the post-coup Kiev was bearing down on Donetsk Moscow intervened only just enough to balance the sides out and prevent Kiev from being able to subjugate Donetsk militarily, instead insisting that the Maidanites with a legitimacy deficit in the East negotiate with the East just like Yanukovich had in talks backed by Germany, Russia and France negotiated power-sharing and early elections with the West.
If this time somebody on the Ukrainian side does something stupid and the Russian side is off racing to Kiev it’s because it would have happened anyway. Over issues that are much older than the immediate incident cited and much more important.