Dear Mr. O'Donnell,
Well-crafted, insightful analysis. One point of clarification, if I may: Stalin may have built an industrial nation; however, necessary consumer goods were never available. Now, without the ideology of communism (as the Russians did it), the consumer goods market for the elite was immense. The economic sanctions are acts that take patience. To disassemble, as Musk would say, a relatively complex oligarchic economy takes patience. The elite proletariat (an oxymoron) centered in the West of Russia, the ultimate decider in Russian politics, IMO, is losing access to Western consumer goods; life ain't so grand on the Moscow boulevards. And a bigger question is why are we NOT providing fighters and antiaircraft weapons as if OUR lives depended on it to Ukraine? They need aiir-superiority to evict the trespassers. Biden will go down as our FDR; however, he is TOO cautious about fighter jets. Russia will NOT employ nuclear arms against the West- even if Putin orders it. I doubt the command structure would carry out such an order. We must, as per your article, ensure the Ukrainians are victorious and Putin is deposed.
The underlying tragedy of China, Russia and other autocracies is the wastage of human potential at a time when we all need to be aligned to handle the problems of a dying Earth.