Victor Davis Hanson joins Mark Levin: Here’s what Putin will do if he can’t take Ukraine

(Video: Fox News)

Victor Davis Hanson joined Fox News host Mark Levin on Sunday and answered the question about what Russian President Vladimir Putin would do if he is unable to successfully take Ukraine, asserting the only victory that could be found now would be in the creation of a “desolate borderland.”

During his appearance on “Life, Liberty & Levin,” the senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and author of “The Dying Citizen: How Progressive Elites, Tribalism, and Globalization Are Destroying the Idea of America,” was asked by Levin, “What is Putin going to do, particularly if we ramp up our support of the Ukrainians and NATO ramps up its support of the Ukrainians?”

“What is Russia going to do,” the host reiterated his question, “just keep bombing cities and killing civilians?”

“I think he’s got a second strategy,” Hanson explained, “a lot of people have remarked upon it…he can’t take the country, they didn’t surrender, so he’s gonna take maybe from Kyiv in a line from the Black Sea through Kyiv to the north to Belarus and everything to the east he’s gonna have a Carthaginian solution.”

“That means he’s gonna create his own desolate borderlands and, in his mind, he has to justify to the Russian people why 15 to 20,000 of their young people have been killed and I think he’ll say,” Hanson determined, “‘I destroyed Ukraine for 30 years and they will have no military, they’ll have no ability to have a nation and this will send a signal to everybody else.'”

“The strategy is nihilism now,” the scholar determined based on Putin’s inability to defeat the Ukrainian forces and institute his own puppet government there.

Levin remarked on the sentiment that has been instilled in the Ukrainian people by the invasion who will likely desire revenge in the future and asked whether Hanson saw that as something Russia would have to contend with.

“Absolutely,” he replied, before explaining the West’s failure to address support for Ukraine as early as October when Russian forces had amassed at the border. Stating the allies had caught up in supplying defense weaponry, Hanson described the situation as “tens of thousands of weapons in the hands of groups of two and three people.”

Any attempt to push into Ukrainian cities would “look like Leningrad in 1941-1944 or Stalingrad or something like that, or maybe the Russian siege of Berlin, it’s gonna be messy,” he stated before arguing that negotiations by Ukraine at this point would be perceived as coming from a position of weakness.

“We want them to get the edge in the battle,” Hanson determined, “even though that’s going to take more casualties, and tragedies and devastation. But, the only way they’re going to survive if they choose negotiation is to they have some kind of leverage.”

This turned the conversation to Russia’s relatively small economy and its ability to fund a prolonged engagement, a matter that involves China by Levin’s assessment. To Hanson, the open alliance has left Chinese President Xi Jinping feeling “troubled.”

“I think when the invasion started, he green-lighted it and thought we’ll cover” it, the guest said based on China’s need for Russian resources which they could then get at a discount for providing aid. Furthermore, he determined the “blueprint in Ukraine would work for [China] in Taiwan because the international community won’t do anything.”

“Now, all of a sudden, Mark, I think [Xi] thinks, wow what if the Taiwanese fought like Ukrainians?” Hanson theorized. “What if the West poured weapons into Taiwan as they did in Ukraine? What if these world sanctions were applied to us?”

“We’re with you if you win,” he suggested the Chineses are thinking, “but if you don’t, don’t count on us.”

Hanson still foresees a problem arriving if Putin does create a “desolate borderland” in eastern Ukraine and calls it a victory. This, he believes, would be enough cause for China to act similarly in Taiwan and lay waste to the nation.

Considering the course of events in Ukraine, the pair agreed that bolstering support of Taiwan should happen now before a crisis can begin there in earnest. This situation and what is going on in Iran are potentially devastating ripple effects from the initial failures in de-escalation in Ukraine.

“All of this,” Hanson concluded, “gets back to that moment of weakness that convinced Putin to go into Ukraine.”


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