Putin’s Wars – NATO’s Flaws

Review by Martin Koenigsberg

This book is an interesting discussion of the present mess in Eastern Europe- but I’m not sure I agree with all the author’s assumptions, nor many of his conclusions. Paul Moorcroft is a prolific author and academic- from a base in Journalism and a recent focus on conflict history. He’s trying to lay out the case for all sides of the Ukrainian War of Independence matrix- and then trying to discern which way the wind will blow. He does an okay job with the explanation phase -but loses me when he keeps coming up with crappy scenarios for Ukraine’s future. It’s interesting and thought provoking, but I found it overly defeatist and limited in its vision.
NATO’s eastward expansion might look threatening to the Kremlin- until you view it through a lens of invitations sent by former members of the Warsaw Pact who actively wanted to be seen crossing the aisle. Moorcroft discounts the legitimate concerns all the former Soviet Russian Empire member states have . They’ve seen Russian hegemony, and they want none of it. If that annoys a rampant ultranationalist sadist like Putin- then so be it. Moorcroft is in the “Let’s cut our losses’ camp all too easily. Even with the fluid situation on the ground recently, I think there are more twists and turns to this tale- and far too early for a limited solution to this struggle. Still I think the framing of the situation and airing of possible outcomes does make this book interesting for many readers.
There are a lot of adult themes in this book- mostly political and falsehoods, so this is a book for the Junior Reader over about 12/13 years. For the Gamer/Modeler/Military Enthusiast, this book is not that useful. Moorcroft is arguing about reasons for going to war- not very much about the methods of those wars. This book is about political ideas, concepts and constructs- not about moves on a map or the gear that make those moves. The Military Enthusiast may understand the motivations of the Russian Federation and its leader, Putin, but they won’t understand his strategies or tactics better after reading this book. An interesting read- but not a requirement in understanding the present Ukrainian War of Independence.

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