The Ukraine invasion might not quite be Russia’s last hurrah, but the frailties of a declining power are becoming ever more apparent. The failure of the Russians to achieve a swift victory only confirms a trend for superpowers: even with determination and military superiority, victory, if at all, is a hard slog. Meanwhile, economic sanctions have cut Russia out of the international financial system and it has little back-up, including from China. Even long-standing friends such as India have been unable to offer fuller political support to Russia given its obviously illegal action.
The United States, freshly chastened from its failure in Afghanistan, has resisted the temptation to take a more active military role in its support for Ukraine while simultaneously encouraging the Europeans to be more involved both diplomatically and militarily. Russian threats to use nuclear weapons do not change this reality, unless, of course, they actually use them, in which case, every other certainty of global politics, indeed of life, itself will change.