Plan A Failed in Ukraine. Putin is now on to Plan B.
An Iraq-like invasion failed. Now it's World War II.
The one-year mark of the start of Putin's full-scale invasion of Ukraine is approaching, with no end in sight. However, it seems likely that Putin never intended for it to be a long war. Instead, there was a Plan A in Ukraine that failed, and it has come to Plan B -- all-out war.
Plan A was to capture the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, oust the Ukrainian government, and install a puppet state. Putin did not declare a war, but a "special military operation"; to be sure, this was newspeak, but also reflected a hope that the operation would end in a few days. The Soviet Union executed regime changes before in Hungary in 1956 or in Czechoslovakia in 1968. The United States conducted a high-tech regime change in Iraq in 2003: a "shock and awe" blitzkrieg that forced Saddam Hussein from power. That campaign seems to have been Putin's blueprint: a show of overwhelming force that would oust, in this case, a democratically-elected government.
This playbook did not work in Ukraine. Russia had too few men. It failed to capture an airfield near Kyiv to land its paratroopers. Ukrainians resisted; Russian forces got stuck around the Kyiv suburbs, and committed awful atrocities. Zelensky refused to leave Kyiv, quipping that he needed "ammunition, not a ride." The United States provided massive amounts of military aid.
Putin is now onto Plan B.