Author Topic: Five Questions and Answers That Tell you Everything You Need To Know About US Response to the Ukraine Crisis  (Read 279 times)

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Offline Oceander

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The problem is that this is part of precisely the same sort of strategic chess game that was the Cold War.  That means that you have to have had your pieces in motion long before an actual flash-point erupts if you want to have any hope of being anything other than an impotent observer.  Unfortunately, that is where Obama's utter incompetence shows through so badly.  Mr. Obama cannot even think tactically when it comes to foreign affairs - as witness his absolutely idiotic response to Syria - so it shouldn't be any wonder that he cannot think strategically either.  And that is the real tragedy here:  absent a president wise enough to think strategically and, more importantly, retain advisors who can think strategically, US foreign policy will bounce blindly from one crisis to the next, with the US never able to do anything constructive because it has nothing in reserve and has set no pieces to check the moves of its enemies.  That leads to a failure of reputation as fewer and fewer people believe that the US really stands for freedom and liberty, and a failure of power as more and more people realize that they can act contrary to US interests without suffering negative consequences.

Obviously this isn't carte blanc, and if another country moves against a sufficiently vital US interest, then they will suffer consequences.  But the game here - a game that Putin is a grand master at - is tweaking the level of your actions so that you accomplish something of substance to yourself while at the same time keeping the perception of your threat to US interests as low as possible.  For example, Putin could have simply waltzed into Ukraine the way the Soviets waltzed into Czechoslovakia in 1968, with tanks and all, and taken over everything at once.  That would have allowed him to obtain in one fell swoop the goal of fully bringing Ukraine back into the renascent Russian empire; however, the audaciousness of a full invasion like that would have definitely started a "hot" war with Ukraine's armed forces and could very well have led to the military involvement of Western Europe and the US in a supporting capacity, perhaps using some sort of no-fly zone.  That sort of an invasion would have also shocked the Europeans out of complacency and would most likely have triggered full economic sanctions.  Both of those results would have done a lot of damage to Russia, and Putin, both economically and politically (at home and abroad).  So instead Putin carefully calibrated his attack on Ukraine - using the same methods he honed to perfection in Georgia - and managed to take a number of significant steps towards a de facto incorporation of Ukraine back into Russia:  he how has full control over Crimea, which means he has permanently inserted Russia into Ukraine's internal affairs, and which allows him, through threats of further internal violence, to pull the rest of Ukraine along the path he wants them to follow.

Mr. Putin's grasp of international politics is as masterly as it is dastardly.  Not since Reagan have we seen a strategic leader of this caliber; unfortunately, Putin is not a leader of good guys, he's a leader of the evil.


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