Friday, March 14, 2014

Putin's Trap

What is Putin up to?  Here is the most cogent analysis I've seen.  From Lilia Shevtsova in The American Interest.  A crucial bit:

"The Kremlin’s intervention in Crimea and involvement in the destabilization of southeastern Ukraine exemplifies the Putin Doctrineformulated by the Kremlin in 2012­–­13. One of the goals of this doctrine is to find ways to reproduce the traditional Russian state and Putin’s regime, and to respond to new domestic and international challenges. This doctrine is based on three premises: Russia is a “unique” civilization and must contain the demoralized West; Russia can only exist as a galactic center, around which orbit satellite-statelets; Russia is the civilizational pillar whose mission is to defend “traditional values” globally.
"Many have viewed the Putin Doctrine as an exercise in empty rhetoric, but Putin has proved that it is the real thing. He has also proved that foreign policy is now the key instrument serving his domestic agenda. What a lesson this has been for those Western politicians who believed they could rest their Russia policy on the basis of “de-linking” domestic and foreign affairs!"
And ...

"The government will use both psychological and physical terror tactics to ensure dominance and guarantee obedience—both here and over there. This is an up-to-date version of the Brezhnev Doctrine used in 1968 against Czechoslovakia, an aggression which was also meant as a warning to Soviet society."

Shevtsova tries to come up with something positive at the end, but that's just window dressing.  The West is impotent, not because it has no power, but because it has abandoned principle.

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