Russian President Vladimir Putin is in "big trouble" both at home and internationally, and his presidency "cannot survive if he loses in Ukraine or seems to be losing," former deputy national security adviser K.T. McFarland said on Newsmax Wednesday.
"He just had international meetings with the president of China and other leaders in the Shanghai cooperation organization, and they gave it to him," McFarland told Newsmax's "National Report." "He's now getting beaten up in Ukraine and he's gotten to the point where he's going to have to call up his reservists for the first time since World War II."
Putin on Wednesday ordered a partial mobilization of reservists in Russia amid the Kremlin's battlefield losses in Ukraine and warned the West that he isn't bluffing over using all the means at his disposal, in what has been condemned as a veiled threat for the use of nuclear weapons.
McFarland pointed out that Putin's move to bring reservists into Russia will mark a clear sign to his nation that the war, which has gone unfelt in places like Moscow and St. Petersburg will now be more of an issue in mainland Russia.
"The Russians are losing the Ukraine war," she said. "Putin is losing his position internationally. He's certainly losing his position with his adversaries in Europe and the United States."
This leaves Putin with just one card to play, and that's his energy resources, said McFarland.
"We're now getting into the winter months and Russia is the main supplier of energy resources to the Europeans to get through those tough winter months, not just to heat their homes but to power their factories," she said.
If Russia cuts off all oil and natural gas to Europe, it will be "plunged into not only a cold winter, but a winner of great economic devastation," McFarland added. "All of these moving parts are coming to a head."
There is only one other card Putin can play, she said, and that is a nuclear attack.
"We don't even want to think about that, but we should actually start thinking about that," McFarland added.
Meanwhile, she said she has to assume that the United States is having conversations with senior leadership in the Russian military and with civilian leaders about the growing problems with Putin.
"I certainly hope that those contacts have not been cut off," said McFarland. "You've got to think that there are senior leaders around him who think, Wait a minute — we [need] a scapegoat for this. It may be the best scapegoat is the guy who caused the problem, Vladimir Putin. Then they'd take action into their own hands again."
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