“In the days since Vladimir Putin sent Russian troops into the Crimea, it has been amateur hour back in Washington.
“I don’t mean Barack Obama. He’s doing pretty much everything he can, with what are a very limited set of policy options at his disposal. No, I’m talking about the people who won’t stop weighing in on Obama’s lack of “action” in the Ukraine. Indeed, the sea of foreign policy punditry – already shark-infested – has reached new lows in fear-mongering, exaggerated doom-saying and a stunning inability to place global events in any rational historical context.
“But this crisis is Putin’s Waterloo, not ours.
“Which brings us to perhaps the most bizarre element of watching the Crimean situation unfold through a US-centric lens: the iron-clad certainty of the pundit class that Putin is winning and Obama is losing. The exact opposite is true.
“Putin has initiated a conflict that will…result in greater diplomatic and political isolation as well as the potential for economic sanction. He’s compounded his loss of a key ally in Kiev by further enflaming Ukrainian nationalism, and his provocations could have a cascading effect in Europe by pushing countries that rely on Russian’s natural gas exports to look elsewhere for their energy needs. Putin is the leader of a country with a weak military, an under-performing economy and a host of social, environmental and health-related challenges. Seizing the Crimea will only make the problems facing Russia that much greater.”
Michael Cohen, “Don’t listen to Obama’s Ukraine critics: he’s not ‘losing’ — and it’s not his fight,” The Guardian
This is almost exactly what I said to my right-wing brother-in-law. They think Putin is showing strength, but it looks more like desperation to me. Putin knows that he has lost Ukraine both politically and economically. He grabbed the area where his Black Sea fleet was located and the only part that had a large Russian population. But this is going to cost him with the rest of the world. We and the EU need to quickly come to Ukraine’s economic aid and push to turn the screws on Putin economically. When the Russian people are feeling the economic pain caused by Putin’s foreign adventures, our leverage over him will go up. We could use that leverage in other areas like Syria and Iran. Thank god McCain, the angry old man, did not get elected.
I’ve been saying the same thing! Why do these people fail to understand the concept of diplomacy? Why do they all seem to possess a damn time machine and keep rolling us back to 1960? I keep wondering what is going on in the Russian inner-circles that has prompted Putin to take such a seemingly risky move?
I don’t see it as a risky move. Going into Poland would be a risky move. Russia’s power/prestige hit rock bottom in the early 90’s. I see Putin’s reign as a “reversion to the mean.” When the Soviet Union fell apart, our status as the world’s only super power had nowhere to go but down, and Russia had nowhere to go but up.