“The Train Has Left the Station and No One Can Stop It”

These are the words of Serbia’s President Aleksander Vucic. He ought to know. He is in the middle of it. He thinks Europe will be at war with Russia in “not more than three or four months,” if that long.

President Vucic says “no one is attempting to stop the war. Nobody is speaking about peace. Peace is almost a forbidden word.”

Hungarian leader Viktor Orban has a similar view as does Slovakian president Robert Fico, who survived a recent assassination attempt. Purpose and Power: US ... Stoker, Donald Best Price: $36.70 Buy New $34.26 (as of 11:31 UTC - Details)

In Western Europe, UK, and Washington everyone is talking about wider war with long range missiles used for attacks deep into Russia. Such attacks cannot revive the defeated Ukrainian military. Their purpose seems to be to provoke Russia into a retaliation that Washington can use to widen the war.

President Vucic is correct. The West is making no effort–indeed, is avoiding all effort–to defuse the dangerous situation. Instead, the West is throwing oil on fire with long range missile attacks and French troops sent into Ukraine.

It has been completely clear from day one that Putin’s limited drawn-out war enabled the West to get more and more involved into the conflict to the point that the conflict now is really between the West and Russia. As President Vucic says, the West’s prestige is now involved and the West cannot permit Russia to prevail.

It seems that Putin might have finally realized that the war is no longer limited to Donbas and has become a wider threat that is not subject to negotiation on terms that Russia can accept.

Now that Putin is backed into a corner with the prospect of NATO missiles striking deep into Russia, President Vucic’s expectation that war is close at hand is understandable. The way matters are shaping up, the avoidance of war depends on how many provocations the Kremlin will accept and for how long. Putin needs to quickly knock Ukraine out of the war before Ukraine fills up with NATO military personnel.

Zelensky’s term has expired, making him illegitimate. Russian forces should quickly take Kiev, install a new government agreeable to Ukraine as a neutral country and to the reunification of Donbas with Russia.

I don’t know if Putin still has time to avoid a larger war by quickly winning the current conflict or whether Putin has been fighting on the cheap and lacks the force size to take Kiev and control the country.

If Putin has been too limited in his goal and too parsimonious with his means, he has bought himself a wider war.