Three weeks into his war in Ukraine, his army has not yet taken control of a single pivotal city, while Russia's economy is decimating and even its most powerful ally, China, has backed down from selling it aircraft parts.
Putin came to power in the 1990s after he marketed himself as an intelligence hero and an educated person who plays music and talks quietly, and gave Russia hope, after Boris Yeltsin, who was drunk in public, that the future is better.
For years, Putin succeeded in achieving some economic prosperity for Russia, attracting international companies and well-known goods, and opening the eyes of Russians to the world after decades of closed and dark communist rule.
Economic prosperity and international openness were not enough for Putin, who dreams of restoring “Mother Russia” and was pushed by the blind nationalism that pushed Saddam Hassan to Kuwait in 1990, and Hafez al-Assad to Lebanon in the 1970s, to translate the dream of “one people in two countries,” which Assad said about the Lebanese and was repeated by Putin about Ukraine.
The Ukraine war, in three weeks, sidelined a large part of what Putin had achieved in 22 years. Russia does not like the field camp, which has lost, according to CBS, between five and six thousand soldiers in Ukraine, nor is the economic resistance promised by Putin that Moscow is capable of today. Even after America announced that it would boycott Russian oil, the price of crude in the market was not affected, and even when Putin announced the suspension of mineral exports, stocks did not move.
The Russian ruble is in an unprecedented collapse, global companies are abandoning Russia, and even the symbol of the Russian industry, that is, the “Lada” car company, suspended its business this week. In the Security Council, he is thrown between the arms of Bashar al-Assad and Kim Jong Un. China is looking for a way out of the sanctions, and even Venezuela negotiated with the Americans about oil and refrained from supporting Russia.
What is even more difficult is that there is no exit worthy of Putin today. He is unable to occupy Kyiv quickly and is unable to get out of it. Weapons reach Ukraine faster than food and food are delivered to the Russian army and its mercenaries from Chechnya to Damascus.
Russia's foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, is unable even to admit that Russia is waging war in Ukraine. Perhaps tanks and air strikes are part of the annual tourist opportunity of the Russian army? At least Lavrov admits that there is a president of Ukraine named Volodymyr Zelensky, and after ignoring him in recent months, Putin seems more willing to meet with him.
Putin will not admit his mistake and will not retreat so easily, even if the war cost tens of thousands of Russian fighters, because like Saddam and Hafez al-Assad, he moves in the context of a nationalist ideology that has lost touch with reality. This does not mean that he is incapable of occupying Ukraine and subjugating Kyiv. Rather, he may be able to do so, but rather he will not be able to break his isolation.
By entering Ukraine, Putin wanted to restore the past of the Soviet Union, and he succeeded in that by returning Russia to economic and political isolation, and breaking the prestige of the second most powerful army in the world. The fate of Ukraine, whether occupied by the Russians or liberated by Zelensky, will not break the isolation of the Kremlin, nor will it restore to Putin the image of dignified leadership that is being destroyed in the streets of Kharkiv, the corridors of the Security Council and the financial markets.
Much industrial/technical progress is easy to achieve, while intellectual progress is difficult to achieve; Because the last progress is a conscious, creative, organized and long-breathed work on the minds, i.e. the system of general consciousness, while the second is a traditional work on things. The danger is when the gap widens between the first and the second progress; For - in such a case - there will be great power in the hands of those who do not act well with it, i.e. there will be strong muscles for a being without a mind, or for a being with a weak mind or a diseased with fantasies and illusions. And here becomes crisis and confusion, and perhaps even destruction, to be expected. Crises are the laboratory of minds, the challenge that truly reveals the level of consciousness of individuals, groups and states. Appearances may deceive those who do not know the inside, and parades in the glorious and beautiful may be tempting to the vast majority of the masses, and many lazy people - and unfortunately they are the majority - may be satisfied with the titles of the books of states; They do not bother to browse its pages; As well as reading its lines, then tracing between the lines, and even behind the lines, in order to gain insight into what the text said by silence about it! Yes, it is natural for all this deception to happen, but crises remove the curtain on all this. To make the deaf hear and see the blind and understand those who hardly understand. And if crises have this positive role in detection and understanding, and if they represent a cry of warning on more than one level; It saves millions of lives and the effort of tens of years of civilized construction. Unfortunately, it may happen in lost time to many, that is, to those who cannot comprehend its effects until it is too late. Russia today, with a mentality pre-modern international law, is engulfing another fully sovereign state, Ukraine. Putin's Russia is sweeping a world recognized country with bare military force missing the slightest cover of legitimacy. It does so - in a very dangerous precedent for international relations - publicly, and even with a threat that extends - brutality - to something like crazy, where the "terrorist threat" is using nuclear weapons! Russia invokes justifications that lie behind all international laws and regulations. It invokes history, sometimes geography, often national security, and even races, language...etc, and other pretexts put forward. While some observers understand some of these pretexts, no one - unless he is an accomplice in the crime - justifies the military invasion with any of these excuses, and even with all of them. If such Russian pretexts—presented in a turbulent, hesitant, and indecisive manner, with sufficient response to them—allow the invasion of states; Most of the strong countries would have eaten most of the weak ones, and the law of the jungle, or the law of force or the logic of predation...etc. would have become the means of communication and tools for resolving disputes; And it is possible for every strong country to find much more than Russia's justifications for invading Ukraine, in order to invade what it finds it coveted. For example: What prevents India from invading Pakistan! Wasn't the people of Pakistan an ethnic part of the Indian people? Wasn't Pakistani land an Indian land thousands of years ago? Is there no Pakistani military threat? Are there no disputed border areas? The justifications or allegations that any strong country can put forward as a justification for preying on the weaker country. Do all these justifications call for dialogue, understanding or international tribunal - no matter how long it takes - or is the military occupation - according to Nazi logic - the solution to the existence of such true or false justifications?! The greatest achievement of Western civilization is that it has put world savagery in the prison of law, that it has ended the international law of the jungle. In this way, small states could live and build themselves safely, far from any fear of, or even the threat of, a brutal invasion. The vast majority of countries in the world cannot protect themselves by themselves. It may be able to do so in front of its peers, albeit at high costs, but it will not be able to protect itself in front of powerful countries, especially in front of major countries that have a qualitative development in arms. However, thanks to international law and the institutions of international legitimacy that were based on international consensus in the middle of the twentieth century, very small, very rich, and unarmed states were able to live safely from any invasion or aggression.