Should one ever be looking for an easy definition of the law of unintended consequences a cursory glance at Russia’s invasion of Ukraine offers a neat explanation.
he Putin regime’s vicious assault on the people of Ukraine has proven a bloody catastrophe for the Kremlin with the Ulkrainian people mounting a ferocious defence that has, according to the latest estimates, destroyed or effectively knocked out a third of Russia’s invading forces.
It is an astonishing success for Ukraine and one that few would have dared to imagine in the first days of the war.
The mighty Russian army’s humiliation will doubtless have infuriated Putin and his cronies but it is far from the only self inflicted crisis their aggression has brought to their door.
Crippling economic sanctions are already in place and beginning to have their desired effect – McDonalds, for example, whose arrival was a potent symbol of the fall of the USSR, have just announced they are quit Russia altogether – and their are major developments happening with NATO.
On Sunday the Finnish government formally announced its plans to join Nato while Sweden’s ruling party have also agreed to drop its longstanding opposition to membership of the organisation thus paving the way for a joint membership application.
These applications could be tabled within days and they appear almost certain to be accepted, though Turkish opposition could delay the process marginally.
If this happens, it will represent a massive metaphorical kick in the teeth for Putin and the complete failure of his primary objective in attacking Ukraine.
Ostensibly Russia’s ‘special military action’ is about liberating the people of Ukraine from a Nazi regime (arguably Putin’s most outlandish claim) and welcoming the nation back into the bosom of the loving Russian motherland.
That’s all preposterous of course, the dogs on the street know the invasion was entirely about keeping NATO forces well away from Russia’s border and putting the frighteners on any neighbours or former satellite states that harbour notions about freedom and democracy.
Russia’s attempts to create a massive buffer zone between itself and NATO have now backfired completely.
Instead of a vast barrier Russia will likely now find itself fighting a non aligned but heavily western backed Ukraine and with both an 810 mile land border with NATO in Finland and a maritime border with the organisation in Sweden.
It’s a far cry from the nuclear brinkmanship of Nikita Kruschev which saw US missiles removed from Turkey after the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Putin claims to be a student of history – or at least his deluded take on it – so he will be no doubt very familiar with Finland’s defeat of the Red Army in 1940, a victory many compare to the Ukraine’s current defence of its freedom.
If Putin and his rabble of sycophant thugs wanted to return Russia to it’s glory days they may have achieved precisely the opposite.