Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Putin’s Failures Leave Russia Reeling


 Image: Vladimir Putin, Barack Obama


The first price a nation pays for reckless aggression is the complete unity of all potential enemies that it may face.  Even talking a good war is dangerous as the Kaiser learned a century ago.  and this article is quite right.  All the begging in the world by the USA could not have produced a more advantageous playing field for the USA and NATO.  Putin has even given them strategic options that they can morally take while blaming Putin.

One of those is a NATO deep sea fleet in Romania on the Black Sea.  This secures the Dardanelles for NATO and provides a hard point on the southern flank against Russian adventurism.  A little like sticking your chin out.  The second is worse news for Putin.  The Ukraine can ask NATO for military support even to simply protect the Ukraine provinces themselves while Ukraine forces contend to resolve who controls rebel held country.

Add in that the Baltics and Finland will certainly now join NATO sooner or later and Russia gains nothing at all except to regain the Crimea which was an accident of recent history to begin with.  A far better solution for Russia was and is to establish an international boundary commission to determine useful post soviet borders once and for all.  From that and deft use of referendums and all the issues will go away.

Then with no unfinished business, his successors can work at integrating Russia into the EU  and NATO for that matter.  Recall, that Russia will always have the largest voting bloc in such an arrangement.

Putin’s failures leave Russia reeling
It was poised to be the biggest arms deal ever between a NATO country and Russia. France had a deal worth more than 1 billion euros to deliver a warship to Russia, and given Europe’s economy and the number of jobs involved, French President Francois Hollande really wanted the deal to go forward.
But it did not. President Obama urged Hollande to leave Vladimir Putin isolated and the French president agreed, announcing last week that the warship delivery was off “until further notice” in light of Russia’s aggression towards Ukraine.
Late yesterday, Putin suffered yet another failure.
President Vladimir V. Putin said Monday that he would scrap Russia’s South Stream gas pipeline, a grandiose project that was once intended to establish the country’s dominance in southeastern Europe but instead fell victim to Russia’s increasingly toxic relationship with the West.
The New York Times characterized this as a “rare diplomatic defeat” for Putin, though I’m not sure why. Indeed, diplomatic defeats appear to be the only thing the Russian president has accomplished lately.
As Kevin Drum noted, “Ukraine is more firmly allied to the West than ever. Finland is wondering if it might not be such a bad idea to join NATO after all. The Baltic states, along with just about every other Russian neighbor, are desperate to reinforce their borders – and their NATO commitments. Russia has been dumped from the G7 and Putin himself was brutally snubbed by practically every other world leader at the G20 meeting in Brisbane. Economic sanctions are wreaking havoc with the Russian economy. China took advantage of all this to drive a harder bargain in negotiations over the long-planned Siberian gas pipeline. Even Angela Merkel has finally turned on Putin.”
For months, Republicans in the United States ran around singing Putin’s praises, convinced that it was the Russian autocrat gaining power and prestige on the international stage, while President Obama “failed to lead” and American influence waned.
It seems painfully obvious now that Republicans had it backwards.
George Packer has a fascinating new piece on German Chancellor Angela Merkel, which included a classic anecdote.
Putin’s brand of macho elicits in Merkel a kind of scientific empathy. In 2007, during discussions about energy supplies at the Russian President’s residence in Sochi, Putin summoned his black Lab, Koni, into the room where he and Merkel were seated. As the dog approached and sniffed her, Merkel froze, visibly frightened. She’d been bitten once, in 1995, and her fear of dogs couldn’t have escaped Putin, who sat back and enjoyed the moment, legs spread wide. […]
The German press corps was furious on her behalf – “ready to hit Putin,” according to a reporter who was present. Later, Merkel interpreted Putin’s behavior. “I understand why he has to do this – to prove he’s a man,” she told a group of reporters. “He’s afraid of his own weakness. Russia has nothing, no successful politics or economy. All they have is this.”
I’ve long believed this is the detail that Putin’s American admirers have never fully understood: some people act tough to hide their insecurities, while others actually are tough and see no need for pretenses. Putin belongs in the former camp, which seems to impress GOP politicians in the United States, but which doesn’t actually produce positive results for Russia.
So, while Republicans run to the Sunday shows to announce that Putin is playing chess to Obama’s checkers, Obama is helping scuttle Russia’s warship deal. All the while, Putin is increasingly isolated, leading a country with a collapsing economy and neighbors eager to strengthen alliances with the West.
And as the price of oil continues to fall, Russia’s problems are likely to get worse before they get better.
I’ll be eager to hear all the apologies from GOP politicians who spent the year heralding Putin as the strategic mastermind the United States needs in the White House.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is possibly THE MOST idiotic article you have ever referenced to or written your opinion upon,

please stay out of politics, you don't have a clue !