Skip to comments.As China Looks on, Putin Poses Risky Dilemma for the West
Posted on 03/04/2014 1:41:34 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
"......Fiona Hill, a former National Intelligence Officer for Russia and Eurasia at the National Intelligence Council, credited Putin with strengthening Russia economically since gaining power in 2000. Though Russia still has economic challenges, Europe's dependence on Russian gas supplies gives Russia a trump card that did not exist during the post-Soviet chaos of the 1990s, she said.
"In the years since Putin has come to power," she said, "he has removed our leverage."
Putin has also increased the capabilities of the Russian military; crushed or co-opted dissent; and gained iron control of Russia's media.
Throughout the crisis in Ukraine, Russian media have portrayed the protests that overthrew the country's pro-Russian president as an American-backed coup. Hill said recent public opinion polls show that 60 percent of Russians approve of Putin's actions in the Ukraine.
Secure at home, Putin also fears little backlash from abroad. He believes the United States and Europe will publicly condemn Russia but implement few economic sanctions because Europe remains dependent on Russian natural gas.
"The biggest blow would be the largest companies in Germany not doing business" with Russia, Hill said. "That is what Putin banks on: Russia is too big and important."
Stoner, the Stanford professor, said that Putin had outmaneuvered the United States and Europe. Officials in Washington and Brussels had failed to anticipate - or counter - Putin's methodical re-assertion of Russian power.....
... If Putin faces few long-term consequences for seizing Crimea, it will set a precedent for China and other regional powers who may be considering establishing 19th century-style spheres of influence of their own."......
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
Like Putin though, Obama enjoys a sychophant state media.
“In the years since Putin has come to power,” she said, “he has removed our leverage.”
No, dear, Obama, America’s chickensh*t-in-chief, has removed our leverage, and pretty much everything else.
He is an endless nightmare and a national disgrace.
He's secure until Russian servicemen start returning in body bags. Then the countdown to withdrawal begins. Drip, drip, drip...