putin

On 2 August 1990, Saddam Hussein ordered the Iraqi army to invade and occupy Kuwait in an operation that led to Iraq’s defeat in war, rebellions crushed in blood, 13 years of UN sanctions, defeat in a second war, foreign occupation, and two decades of civil conflict that is only now drawing to an end.

More than thirty years later, Vladimir Putin sent his tanks and soldiers into the separatist republics of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine, enclaves whose independence he recognised, provoking a furious response and threats of retaliation from NATO states.

Putin’s actions may not provoke a wider war in the short term. Most immediately, this will depend on whether or not Russian forces press beyond the present front line and seek to expand the territory controlled by the separatist republics.

Patrick Cockburn is the author of War in the Age of Trump (Verso).


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