Rather than a lengthy post, I'm going to outline some salient points regarding Ukraine and the Russian invasion. I'm astounded by the stupidity of much of the commentary in the America media and by American and Western politicians and diplomats. The commentary is so far off that I suspect that many commenters don't believe their own words -- it's hard for me to think anyone in government really believes Putin is an honest player who is interested in "resolving the issues" with a "political solution" rather than conquest. I think he fully intends to invade Ukraine
well beyond Crimea.
1. Euromaidan was about liberalizing and better trade relations with the E.U.
2. Yanukovych was not just a criminal, but a kleptomaniac beyond belief; in his term in office he stole at least $12 billion, and probably a great deal more. He also began setting up an oppressive dictatorship and had demonstrators attacked and killed.
3. Yanukovych was not deposed. He voluntarily abandoned office and fled, to Russia. His flight had been organized
well in advance. There was no coup.
It's very easy to document all this, from multiple independent sources. There's no sensible way western leaders can believe this is something other than naked and coldly-planned aggression by Putin, that there could be a "political solution" that doesn't include Ukraine's surrender. As I've said elsewhere, I think Putin has two options. Either he can occupy Crimea and sabotage and subvert Ukraine until he brings it to its knees, or he can just get it over with "quickly" and invade..
As I've said elsewhere, I think Putin has two options. Either he can occupy Crimea and sabotage and subvert Ukraine until he brings it to its knees, or he can just get it over with "quickly" and invade. I think he'll do the latter. Otherwise why fool around with all the troop movements? He's not a wimpy post-modern progressive, trying to "send a message." He's a tough and nasty KGB officer.
Unfortunately, in either event, Ukraine is incapable of resisting the Putin. I think Putin has no plans of stopping with Crimea, it's just a matter of his time frame and methods. He might take his time and sabotage and subvert the rest of Ukraine, but then he might just roll in. The Ukrainians say they can't stop him militarily and I am sure that's right. The west is impotent. Obama is a weak man and pissed off the Brits a long time ago. The Germans are half subverted themselves. Putin thinks everyone would rather sell stuff to corrupt Russian oligarchs and buy cheap Russian gas than stand up to him, and he's right. This will be very bad, and it won't stop with Ukraine. So which do I think Putin will do: occupy Crimea and sabotage and subvert Ukraine until he brings it to its knees, or just get it over with "quickly" and invade?
I think he'll do the latter. Otherwise why fool around with all the troop movements? He's not a wimpy post-modern progressive, trying to "send a message." He's a tough and nasty KGB officer. Killing a lot of Ukrainians won't bother him at all (heck it's a Soviet tradition
Of course, there are things the West could do.
1. Freeze Russian bank and financial accounts in the west. Instead of "targeted" ones proposed, do it in general with "targeted" exceptions for dissidents, etc. But U.K. has already said they won't do anything to restrict Russian finance.
2. No more visas for Russians, again, with targeted exceptions. Gary Kasparov is keynote speaker for this year's Milton Friedman Awards Banquet. Let him come.
Those two things alone could lead to Putin's downfall. But there's more...
Deny all western ports to Russian ships. End the ban on exporting U.S. natural gas. Reverse Germany's ban on nuclear power. Kill Assad. (I don't have any particular preference for this opposition nor a desire to get involved in Syria, but if the U.S. simply killed Assad and then privately said to Putin "how's your boy Assad doing these days, Vlad?" Putin would respect that a lot more than Hillary's fricking "reset" button
I think none of these will happen. Remember when Obama told Medvedev
to tell Putin that after the election he could be "flexible" with Russia on defense and foreign policy? Putin correctly understood. No one has the balls to stand up to him.
Various people have warned what a post-American world would look like. Now we're about to see it.