Beren wrote:Because it's another Afghanistan basically, and we still have a cold war rather than a world war.
This war is going to end more-or-less the same way. Putin will be replaced by someone sooner or later and Russia's going to withdraw from Ukraine, then the regime collapses (and the issue will be perhaps if Russia stays together as it is).
That sounds like wishful thinking to me. The Soviet Union collapsed because of an ideological crisis of international Communism. In the West we have replaced nationalism with Cultural Marxism. What is Cultural Marxism? At its simplest just think of it as like Nazism, where "Der ewige Jude" has been replaced with "Der ewige Europäer" or "Der ewige Weiße Mann". I don't think Russia, or Ukraine for that matter is going to go Cultural Marxist any time soon. The only other serious ideological alternatives are Sharia Islam or some form of nationalism.
When I brought up the use of nuclear weapons, even some of the Liberals started to get a bit fuzzy on Putin's identity with Adolph Hitler. Putin has certainly been no Hitler and that's actually been part of his problem. One of the advantages Hitler had at least until defeat looked imminent (I hope I've spelt that right or @Potemkin will be on my case) was that when he captured a territory people expected Nazi rule to last, so they made their choices on that basis, whether they hated Nazis rule or hoped to gain from it. With Putin people could never be sure he wouldn't give back territory in some sort of deal.
Note I'm not saying that Putin was fair, reasonable, trustworthy or even realistic, but he really did seem to believe in the Minsk process. To many people the referendums and "annexations" of the eastern regions seemed like pointless theatre, but actually they were quite important in indicating that Putin was finally taking the war seriously. No I think from now on the Russians like the Ukrainians, will fight to defend every inch of the territory they control. If you're very lucky you might get some minor territory swaps to rationalise the border, but I suspect the armistice line will pretty much be the peace line.
In the minds of a western liberal, a moderate reasonable Russian patriot is someone who has no problem with an American naval base in Sevastopol. I think you might find that these "moderate" Russian patriots are in pretty short supply.