“War is in the Air”

Russia-Ukraine conflict has been all over the news.

And my company has taken actions to offer aid to employees affected.

Our prayers go to the people affected. War is always unfortunate and we hope a peaceful resolution will be reached soon.

Here, I do not want to advocate or even discuss who is right and who is wrong.

There are tons of “facts” and views out there. And Come on. Let’s face it. What I think does not matter shit.

Here, through this unfortunate event, I would like to discuss something that could be relevant for you and me — how we should approach the bottom-line of others.

1. My Personal Perspectives

To me, the cause of the conflict is that the expansion of NATO crossed the bottom-line of Russia.

Before Soviet Union fell in 1991, the world was in Bipolar pattern — NATO vs Warsaw Treaty Organization.

After 1991, Russia struggled while US led the world.

However, Russia never stopped being a strong power and a force to reckon with.

To further establish their advantage, NATO decided to expand east. However, NATO did not know where they should stop, aka where the bottom-line of Russia is.

So they adopted the “Salami tactics”.

In 1999, NATO incorporated Czech Republic, Hungary & Poland. It was all fine. These countries were far away from Russia anyway.

In 2004, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were accepted. Some of these countries were part of the Soviet Union.

Again, it was all fine. Russia was still on the defense.

So NATO continued to cut the “Salami”.

In 2014, NATO tried to get Ukraine. This time, the “Bear” was upset and started the Crimea War.

Well, that seems to be Russia’s bottom-line. Russia needs Ukraine to be the buffer zone between it and NATO.

Now, they tested it again. And the “Bear” just took over more territory.

So it is really clear where Russia’s bottom-line is.

2. NATO’s Response

In 2004, when Russian tanks rolled into Crimea, NATO was not able to help Ukraine defend its territory.

Of course, the Economic sanctions were painful for Russia.

This year, again, Russia will not be stopped until Ukraine gives in one way or another.

Of course, Economic sanctions will most likely come again, but how much more can be done?

Commodity prices, like oil, gas and wheat, are already rising like hell. Will the World really turn their back on Russia exports?

And do not forget the giant in the south who is always hungry for these resources.

In summary, NATO will not fight a war with Russia at the door-step of Russia. They cannot afford it and they cannot win it.

Even the Economic sanctions may not be as effective as they think.

As a result, Ukraine will suffer. This time around, the consequence could be really devastating to Ukraine as a nation. Putin denied its every existence.

3. Take-away

Stop where it is safe especially when you do not have strong enough counter measures against the counter measures of the other party.

The repeated testing of Russia’s bottom-line did not work well for NATO.

  • Credibility is on the line.
  • Economic sanctions work both ways.
  • For the other members of NATO, they have no choice but bond closer with US.

This applies to everyone of us in real life as well. We all face this type of choices:

  • Should I keep pushing my wife to do all the housework?
  • Should I keep requesting my colleague to do the work?

Leave some room. You cannot maximize your benefits every single time.

Endless greed and over-stepping will attract fight back and whatever benefits you have “secured” might only be a small part of the costs you have to incur in the “conflict”.

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