Assessing Putin’s War. Steve Williamson welcomes Paul Lenze, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Politics & International Affairs at Northern Arizona University, to discuss Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Asked about the news coverage of the invasion, Lenze responds, “They’ve done a good job of showing what is happening in various cities. But it’s a war zone, so there are a lot of areas where they cannot go, and so I think there’s a lot that we’re not seeing in western news coverage. But, he says, “it’s more than is being shown in Russia,” noting that Putin’s government is blocking a lot of what’s happening and using propaganda to try to win over Russian support for his efforts. “But right now, it seems that the Russian people are not supporting him. There are thousands that are going out into the streets protesting what Putin has done,” says Lenze. But he adds, “they just announced that if you speak out against the war and what the Russian military is doing, that you could face 15 years in jail.”
Lenze says he would not have predicted the Russian invasion. But he believes that the limited response by numerous American presidents over the last twelve years led Putin to say, “Hmm…let’s see how far I can escalate this.”
Nevertheless, Lenze thinks it was a miscalculation on Putin’s part. “I don’t think Russia will win at all because the United States has led the coalition of NATO forces to supply military aid to the Ukrainian government. There are reports coming out of Ukraine that the Russian troops are demoralized. Many are trying to flee.” Lenze also believes the economic sanctions could have a huge influence. And even though Russia has $630 billion in reserves, they can’t spend that money because the West is going to make it difficult to spend the money in the global market.