What Does Putin Want With Ukraine? The Collapse of the Dollar?


Philip Mahoney, Staff Writer


Putin’s covetous tendencies have (once again) plagued the nation of Ukraine, and as the threat of Russian invasion looms like a raincloud above Kyiv, we must ask ourselves what Putin really wants with Ukraine? 


It’s apparent that Putin is a Soviet Union apologist, which is logical, as he is a former Colonel of the KGB who was stationed in East Germany during the waning hours of the Cold War. Putin’s evident love for Communism cannot be overstated enough; he famously stated that “the greatest geopolitical tragedy of the 20th century” was the collapse of the Soviet Union, ignoring the Holocaust, Holodomor, the Atomic Bombings, and the two World Wars. 


Putin’s burning, carnal desire for Russia’s glorious past manifested itself in the form of his annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, a move that led to little retaliation from then-President Barack Obama. The motive for Putin’s theft of Crimea was the fact it was gifted to Ukraine by Soviet Leader Brezhnev, a Ukrainian, despite being a majority ethnic and linguistically Russian territory. He also wanted access to the Black Sea for the fledgling Russian Navy which, previously, had no convenient method of transportation to Europe. Now, some believe he has his eyes set on annexing Ukraine entirely and the 125,000 Russian troops sitting on their Eastern border have done nothing to quell these fears.


And, yet, as a matter of practicality that would be impossible Ukraine is far too large and diverse to hold. The Ukrainian people are proud: opposed to submission and would fight to the bitter end to save their homeland from the brutality of Kremlin occupation. He can’t take all of Ukraine and occupy it without meeting too much resistance for what it would be worth. But without occupying the entirety of Ukraine, Putin cannot truly realize his goal of rebuilding the USSR. 


However, like with Crimea, he could be looking at a more limited objective the Sea of Azov is a useful connector to the Atlantic Ocean running through the Black, Marmara, Aegean, and Mediterranean seas. While Russia has a bridge connecting to Crimea, in an actual conflict, that bridge would logically be the first on the list of “things for demolition”. Therefore, it is highly plausible that Putin seeks a land route to his territory. The border buildup in reality, could be a distraction akin to Sun Tzu’s art of war: “Attack them where they are unprepared, appear where you are not expected.” Putin would also gain an advantage in seizing Ukraine’s largest ports: Mariupol and Odessa. 


But how does Putin win? Taking a strip of land has little effect on Ukraine’s status as a major player in Europe, as one of the largest countries. Many people assume the repercussions from Washington would be so severe it would deter any Russian aggression. Alas, the Biden administration’s foreign policy team is really the Junior Varsity Obama cabinet: young, inexperienced, generally incompetent academics such as Jake Sullivan who in fact have no real-world credentials. 


With Republicans and Democrats fervently united in Congress in wanting to sign off on, as Bob Menendez (D-NJ) calls it “[the] mother of all sanctions”, could this truly be what Putin is after? Could Putin potentially want the sanctions to come? There are several reasons he could answer “yes.”


First, the United States does not have the capacity to sustain sanctions placed on Russia. Russia is one of the largest producers of oil and natural gas, and oil prices could hit as high as $120, which would send the stock and energy market into a frenzied panic. Putin has spent the past decade or so living with American sanctions, and comforted with the idea of being the boogeyman of Europe, he simply doesn’t care. Additionally, thanks to the Biden White House’s weak energy policy and resources crisis, you will see a country with gas reaching as high as $6 a gallon, parts of California jumping to as high as $8. The stock market’s panic would set the US economy into a downward tailspin and would shift the country’s attention away from foreign affairs to trying to keep the house in order.


Secondly, another possibility emerges that he is in collusion with Xi Jinping in China, who has already spent years purchasing Russian land and cozying up with Vladimir. The naïve fools in Congress have floated the idea of barring Putin from the payment-messaging system SWIFT, which is the global way money is sent digitally. SWIFT is largely dominated by United States and European Banks and is how financial agencies manage security trades or send money overseas. 


SWIFT has only disconnected a country once before, when they banned Iran after pressure from the United States and the EU. What if China, Iran, and even the Germans, who have shown sympathies toward Beijing and Moscow recently, decide that they will continue to do business with Russia outside of SWIFT in a new banking system? 


Xi Jinping wants to surpass the West as the dominant world power. China’s ambitious rise to power has been motivated in part by their intention of replacing the United States politically, economically, and geographically, and it would be a logical step for the Chinese Communist Party to take in their rise to glory. Putin – a staunch opponent of the West and what he views as an unhealthy American monopoly world stage – has begun recently shifting his diplomatic efforts to wooing Xi Jinping and building an alliance of shared interests. If Russia wanted Xi to save Russia’s economy China could easily conjure a banking system in a manner of months, and the only hardship they would face would be recruiting nations to join it. If the United States faced the threat of an Eastern banking system, they would raise a temper tantrum over trading the Dollar, to which China need only bemusedly laugh. 


By so eagerly jumping to punish Russia, as D.C. has been desperately wanting to do for years, we would be providing our adversaries with the very conditions to replace the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. This would take the United States from being able to print fiat money on a daily basis to lavishly spend on Keynesian-economic stimulus to a nation as poor as Greece or Argentina in a matter of weeks. Then, all of a sudden, a great nation is reduced to rubble at the cost of its own lack of foresight.