Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, there has been much speculation about whether Putin's original goal was to subvert Ukraine and then eventually move on the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, even though they are part of NATO and such action could likely trigger an Article 5 response.
Article 5 covers "collective defense," which means that an attack on one ally is considered an attack on all allies. Amid the current crisis, Article 5 could mandate a more direct response from the U.S. and other treaty members if Russian aggression escalates beyond Ukraine or if Putin does "the unthinkable" and detonates a nuclear bomb. So far, countries from the NATO alliance have refused to supply warplanes or fly patrols over Ukraine's airspace – something that is expected to come up following the recent airstrike that killed hundreds of civilians.
"I think that he expected to go through Ukraine pretty quickly and then set himself up to be able to go into the Baltic region, but I think that he has been dissuaded of that now," says Army Lt. General (Ret.) Jerry Boykin, executive vice president of the Family Research Council (FRC). "I think that there's very little chance he's going to do that anytime soon because he's got some major rebuilding to do with his military. And I will say this: The good news is I don't think Putin will be around to do that because he will not be in power when this thing is all said and done."
In the meantime, Boykin believes the Russians will get further bogged down.
"I think that a couple of things are going to happen," he submits. "The pressure from home, the pressure from the people of Russia is going to increase. And secondly, I think the pressure on Vladimir Putin is going to increase from not only the Russian people, but certainly the oligarchs and those that he has chosen to criticize right now."
He also thinks it is possible that Putin could actually be "taken out."