Beyond the Ukraine invasion (which is a given-only question is are we looking at partial annexation + puppet or total annexation) the rest is unpredictable at this point.
I think Russia would not go further than Moldova - but if Romania, Poland and Bulgaria keep piling on hostile American led forces then anything could happen. The Baltics are utterly exposed, it would be the quickest, cleanest deletion connecting kaliningrad with Russia and belarus. US and British troops in NATO bases would be surrounded then kindly evacuated with Russian assistance.
NATO would be stuck sitting there looking stupid facing a global nuclear exchange over useless little republics that brought absolutely nothing to the alliance. I think Putin's circle has done the math.
Finland is ripe for the taking too - if it starts moving toward nato. I think the fins will sooner oust their government than allow that to happen, for obvious reasons. Finland has cordial relations with Russia, any move toward nato would be purely US based pressure on the finnish regime and highly unpopular with the public in finland. And even if the propaganda turns public perception around in record time, Finland would be liable to deletion by Russia long before it formalized any sort of meaningful US overlordship.
Then going beyond that we have some dramatic but nonetheless possible scenarios as to how Russia could divide and conquer NATO in real-time should they come to limited conventional blows and especially if Turkey went full Ottoderp. Eg. offer Poland western Ukraine (Lviv). Offer Romania Moldova. Offer Greece Istanbul....suddenly NATO loses Poland, Romania, Greece...
And Germany has been dragging its feet all this time. It really does not want a conflict with Russia. Certain Russian sweeteners could arise to cement this stance and get it out of NATO too. How about 10 years of free gas?
Now...how about those massive 'covid' riots in Brussels, the EU capital. Government buildings smashed, no signs of it ending. Coincidental timing am I right?
Rugoz wrote:All signs point towards Russia's decline, externally and internally.
Uh...the opposite. All signs point to a period of rapid expansionism. With that comes tens of millions of fresh subjects, lands, resource bases. As we've learned with covid 99% of people even in the most self proclaimed individualistic societies are sheep and will play ball as long as you feed them and give them something to do.
All signs point to Russian incline, internally and externally. Cutting Russia out of Swift for example would further hasten the end of the international dollar system-China and others would redouble their scramble for the already existent alternatives, the largest of which is Chinese. US would be hastening its own decline just to temporarily hurt Russian international trade to the west. Russia's trade is already basic and easily de-dollarfied/bartered. Gas and oil. And all the goods it could ever need from China, bought directly with gas, rubles and yuan.