Western leaders gathered recently to mark the 80th anniversary of the Allied invasion of Normandy during World War II. The setting offered a poignant and historically mobilizing platform for these Allies who currently involved in a Fourth World War being waged in both Europe and the Middle East. (The Third World War, the Cold War, was lost by the USSR and Putin has now unleashed a fourth. He wants to avenge this defeat the same way Hitler started World War II to avenge Germany’s loss in World War I.)

“Putin is the Hitler of our day. Under no circumstances can we repeat the tragic mistake of the 1930s.” These words, when spoken on the shores of Omaha Beach, sound all the more organic and persuasive.

This same motif dominated the discourse days later when world leaders met with the President of Ukraine in the Élysée Palace, at the G7 Summit in Italy, and at the Peace Summit in Switzerland.

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The past three and a half months have seen a truly significant shift in the goals of Western leaders in the Russo-Ukrainian War. Two individuals played a key role in this process. On Feb. 26, French President Emmanuel Macron announced, in the first of a series of statements on the war in Ukraine, that France and its closest allies intended to deliver a decisive defeat to the Russian Federation. In addition, he did not rule out putting French boots on the ground in Ukraine and sharply criticized the US’s posture of self-imposed restrictions, or “red lines,” when confronting the aggressor. When Putin responded immediately by trying to blackmail Macron with talk of nuclear strikes, Macron pointed out that French military specialists were already taking part in combat operations in Ukraine by maintaining the SCALP missile systems that France had supplied. He then offered Putin a rather modest reminder that France is also a nuclear power. The Z-patriots in Russia were not pleased the next morning when they realized no nuclear strike had been carried out on Paris. And with that, Putin’s 15-year policy of nuclear saber-rattling ended with a whimper.

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If the West is serious about defeating Russia, it will have to reject the most absurd red line of all…

Across the pond in the United States, Michael McCaul, the charismatic Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, led a revolution of the Reagan wing of the Republican Party, a revolution that overcame months-long resistance from the Trump-backed lowlifes in Congress and resulted in the passing of a $61 billion military aid package to Ukraine. The timorous Biden administration was then forced to retract the most absurd and shameful of its “red lines.”

And so now, as I see it, we have a certain “division of labor” at work among Ukraine’s allies – the US and the “Coalition of the Willing” (France, the UK, Poland, Sweden, Finland, Romania, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Czechia, Canada, and Norway). Grandpa Biden will never retract the most serious of his red lines – to never send American troops to Ukraine. But the US will play another useful role – and this is something Europe is incapable of doing on its own – by supplying Ukraine with the necessary number of artillery rounds and missiles to conduct the daily exchange of strikes currently taking place along the line of contact between the two sides. Europe simply does not have the production capability for this. The US will thus guarantee an equilibrium akin to a stalemate along the thousand-kilometer frontline. Meanwhile, the Coalition of the Willing will take on the most interesting and inspiring component of the Victory plan located within the war’s center of gravity (see Clausewitz) – the Crimean Peninsula. The Crimea is Russia’s Achilles heel. The Armed Forces of Ukraine met quite a bit of success there even during the six-month period when ammunition was in short supply.

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But can you imagine if 100-200 state-of-the-art Western fighter jets appeared on the scene, equipped with long-range missiles and controlled from an integrated central command center? They would also have access in real time to all information needed to strike potential targets. Ukraine has yet to receive these aircraft but Sweden, one of the more active members of the coalition, has already provided two of these flight centers. Sweden has returned to the world stage with gusto after a 200-year holiday. These centers will of course be outfitted with Swedish flight crews (five people).

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Yet if the West is serious about defeating Russia by pursuing this most obvious scenario, it will have to reject the most absurd red line of all – the one that states only Ukrainian pilots can be at the controls of aircraft supplied to the country. There is a reason that Macron has emphasized so insistently of late – “I intend to send Ukraine Mirages,” I intend to send Ukraine French military specialists. Here I translate from French to English – “I intend to send French air force detachments to Ukraine. They will be stationed at airfields in Romania and Poland along with British and Swedish air squadrons.”

Now let us take a moment to look at the situation that has unfolded through the eyes of the architect of this Fourth World War. He must understand that his nuclear saber-rattling is no longer having the desired effect and that he is certain to lose a conventional war with the West. The role of Master of the Universe is out of reach, and he is now faced with a literally existential problem – how to remain in power (and, by extension, alive!) in a country that has just lost a war.

Yes, Putler understands he will never take Kyiv, or Odesa, or Kharkiv, but he is still holding out hope that will be able to reach a truce that he can sell to his people as a more or less honorable draw. He recently made a first attempt at selling this lie in an address to diplomats at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The speech was so underwhelming that he was likely unable to persuade even his own people in attendance. Their reaction to the speech was much more informative for me than the incoherent rambling of the orator as he read from his notes. For a moment I could not recall just where I had seen these very same faces in such a cavernous meeting hall.

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I suggest you watch the video of the speech. There are many moments when the camera pans the audience. The sycophants all have the same stone-faced, dreary expression. They are all still loyal, it would seem, but clearly do not believe a word Putler is saying.

And then it hit me! We see the same thing in newsreels from Nazi Germany –Goebbels’ speech to party activists in March 1945.

For Putler, the summer of 2024 will mark his spring of 1945.

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