In someone's alternate universe. Maybe.
I was struck by this quotation in a piece by Anatoly Karlin; it is by one Adrian Bonenburger writing in Forbes in July. I am certainly not going to waste my time reading the rest of the Bonenburger oeuvre even though there may be more keepers in it.
This is the greatest risk we face for World War III. Not that Russia defeats Ukraine and moves toward Poland and Estonia, but that Ukraine wipes out the Russians currently in Ukraine, and Putin is forced to take some drastic action to prevent further losses. After all, why should Ukraine not feel entitled to take some of Russia’s territory in return for their lost Crimea? And who will be there to stop them, save demoralized and confused Russian conscripts?
I don't think "deluded" is a strong enough word. Bonenburger obviously believes that 1) Ukraine is soon going to be "Europeanised" 2) that "Putinism" is soon going to collapse and 3) that European armies squash Russian armies like bugs.
And, you know, he's right. The Ukrainian juggernaut did smoothly role over the pathetic rebels in the summer and Putin is said to be hiding out with his (only) friend in Pyongyang.
European armies do routinely crush Russia's demoralised and confused conscripts. We've all seen paintings of Charles XII crowning himself in the Kremlin. Who has not admired Napoleon's glorious summer house among the volcanoes of Kamchatka? Every schoolchild has heard of the historic Hitler-Tojo meeting in January 1942 in Sakhalin.
It's rather fascinating that anyone would pay Bonenburger to do anything more complicated than lifting heavy objects.