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How to Stop Putin in His Tracks [a bitter autocrat with a head....can be a dangerous creature]
Slate ^ | March 19, 2014 | Fred Kaplan

Posted on 03/20/2014 2:06:30 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife

Is the crisis in Ukraine almost over or just beginning? The answer depends on Vladimir Putin really wants and what the West does next.

Did Putin want nothing more than to seize Crimea, to turn Russia’s control of the republic from de facto to de jure—or does he want to creep deeper into southern and eastern Ukraine on the pretext of “fraternal assistance” to ethnic Russians?

Either way, two things should be understood. First, Putin’s actions have been driven less by a belief that the West is weak than his knowledge that Russia is. Second, he dreams of restoring Russia’s empire—his March 18 Kremlin speech is, at heart, a cry of resentment against the West for its humiliation of his country during the early years after the Soviet Union’s collapse. A bitter autocrat with a head full of grandiose daydreams can be a dangerous creature.

..............Lawrence Freedman, the pre-eminent scholar of strategy, has a long blog post in Wednesday’s War on the Rocks, noting that the “basic challenge of crisis management is to protect core interests while avoiding major war.” Part of this challenge, he adds, involves “a sense of knowing when to exercise restraints and respect limits,” as well as “a grasp of what the adversary needs to enable it to de-escalate or at least to desist from further escalation.”........

(Excerpt) Read more at slate.com ...


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Government
KEYWORDS: kerry; obama; putin; ukraine
I read this and all I can think of is the 3 Stooges:

Kerry, Obama and Hillary

1 posted on 03/20/2014 2:06:31 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: All

I messed up the title but it sort of has an interesting ring to it.

I meant to do this: [A bitter autocrat....can be a dangerous creature].


2 posted on 03/20/2014 2:08:31 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
driven less by a belief that the West is weak than his knowledge that Russia is

I remember the 1st grade bully - compared to any adult, he was weak, but he was a terror to kids who were all a year younger and much smaller. There may be an element of Russian weakness in Putin's desire to expand, but a far greater factor is that Russia will never (I hope) face a West led by anyone as weak as Obama.

3 posted on 03/20/2014 2:16:41 AM PDT by Pollster1 ("Shall not be infringed" is unambiguous.)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Quite a few people ask themselves "what can be done?" but IMO a far better question is "what, if anything, should be done?"

This was posted just a moment ago.

If you ask me, Ukraine is not worth starting a World War III over. Ukraine made their bed, that much is certain. Popular support for separation is also quite obvious. There ought to be no surprise that heavily nationalist Western Ukrainians have no traction in Crimea that is historically Russian.

The USA should not waste political weight (if any is left by now) on unattainable goals. As they say, "choose your battles wisely." This battle is not worth fighting. It's Europe's affair, let them take care of it. If EU cannot handle even such a simple event, when people in Crimea are seemingly happy, then EU is worthless.

4 posted on 03/20/2014 2:26:31 AM PDT by Greysard
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
I just stumbled upon this curious article:
Olomouc, North Moravia/Prague, March 18 (ČTK) — A few dozen families of Volhynian Czechs living in Ukraine have asked the Czech Republic to help them return to their homeland for fear of the escalating conflict, Interior Ministry spokesman Vladimír Řepka told the Czech News Agency (ČTK) today.

Here is the link. The author quotes some heavy criticism of the situation in Ukraine. But at least they aren't trying to separate their village from Ukraine :-)

5 posted on 03/20/2014 2:35:17 AM PDT by Greysard
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Much of the media-caused anxiety in America was generated to distract people's attention to Obama's failures in the US.

After all, friction between Russia and Ukraine is much more important than American citizens losing their health care.

6 posted on 03/20/2014 2:36:10 AM PDT by Cowboy Bob (They are called "Liberals" because the word "parasite" was already taken.)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

In Obamaworld weakness is strength, strength is weakness.


7 posted on 03/20/2014 3:27:28 AM PDT by Hugin
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To: Greysard

This administration’s actions and inaction has pushed the world [our allies and our enemies] to this point.

If Obama had acted in our interests and for our national security, the world would not be facing this slippery slope.


8 posted on 03/20/2014 3:49:41 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Greysard

Ukraine is not the issue. It’s Europe and its dependence on Russian natural gas. While Russia needs the income for oil and gas sales, it finances 50% of the federal budget, it can use energy to apply pressure on Europe. There’s a reason Europe has taken the low road in their response to Russian aggression.

Even with a real leader in the White House instead of Obama, Europe would still chose that path since Russia has them on a leash with a choke collar.

Ukraine is not the only path Russia is exploring. The plan to base long range bombers in South America is something that directly affects us.

The “what can be done” has already been addressed in numerous article in print and online. Use our own energy resources to beggar Russia. Venezuela’s ongoing collapse is largely the inadvertent result of us buying much less of their oil than in the past. The heavy crude they produce isn’t suitable for many refineries around the world unlike the ones located near the Gulf of Mexico that have long taken it.

The simply answer is to allow the export of oil and gas and issue the permits to allow the construction of the LNG facilities to export natural gas to Europe. Russia will still sell gas to Europe. They will no longer get the premium price. Given the inexpensive American gas which is currently 1/3 the price of gas delivered to Europe any additional charge for transportation and opportunistic profit taking will still significantly cut Russia’s income.

Russia already has financial problems that are acknowledged by Putin. We need to exacerbate them. The icing on the cake is it need not cost the taxpayers anything. What’s not to like about that?


9 posted on 03/20/2014 4:23:53 AM PDT by meatloaf (Impeach Obama. That's my New Year's resolution.)
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To: Greysard

Agreed - Crimea is historically Russian land - it is shall we say, a unique case not a global crisis.

We can’t go too far with sanctions since we will need Russia’s cooperation in yes - Ukraine where it has vital interests.

Russia doesn’t have to invade Ukraine to make life very difficult for any pro-Western government there. Any Ukrainian regime will have to live with Russia as a fact of life.

Keeping that fact in mind means we must stop treating every incident the precusor to World War III. And insulting and belittling Russia will not move it to do what we want.


10 posted on 03/20/2014 4:24:37 AM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives In My Heart Forever)
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To: meatloaf

Your entire post is excellent, and spot on as to what we should do.

The only possible silver lining in this cloud is that Putin may have bit off more than he can chew. The Russian economy is a mess, but Ukraine’s is much worse. Putin will be taking on a huge liability if he attempts to annex the rest of Ukraine.


11 posted on 03/20/2014 4:51:51 AM PDT by wayoverontheright
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To: meatloaf

I have a better idea, use the domestic natural gas resources to rid the United States of that nasty Middle East oil habit and let the Europeans and the Russians sort things out on their own without our interference.


12 posted on 03/20/2014 4:53:38 AM PDT by mac_truck ( Aide toi et dieu t aidera)
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To: meatloaf

Exactly.


13 posted on 03/20/2014 5:02:58 AM PDT by Grzegorz 246
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

If the creatures at Slate want to stop Putin then he must be doing something right.


14 posted on 03/20/2014 5:12:24 AM PDT by Count of Monte Fisto (The foundation of modern society is the denial of reality.)
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To: mac_truck

That’s is already happening. When you drill for natural gas, which has been going on like crazy to exploit the shale oil plays, you also get oil. We’re well on the way to becoming energy independent. Why do you think Venezuela is such a mess. Their dictator is the victim of us buying less of their oil. Finishing Keystone will finish the Marxist regime in Venezuela. We won’t need any of their heavy crude. Keystone will supply all of it we need.

Exporting natural gas at some point also means less cash flow to the Middle East and less money for financing terrorism. That will hurt Iran as much as Russia. What’s not to like about an Iran with less money to finance terrorism and their quest for nuclear weapons?

That won’t cost the taxpayers a penny.


15 posted on 03/20/2014 5:27:04 AM PDT by meatloaf (Impeach Obama. That's my New Year's resolution.)
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To: goldstategop
a unique case not a global crisis.

I think I remember hearing that when Russia invaded Georgia in '08.

16 posted on 03/20/2014 5:27:43 AM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: mac_truck

By the way it also means more jobs for Americans.


17 posted on 03/20/2014 5:28:06 AM PDT by meatloaf (Impeach Obama. That's my New Year's resolution.)
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To: wayoverontheright; MinuteGal

“The only possible silver lining in this cloud is that Putin may have bit off more than he can chew. The Russian economy is a mess, but Ukraine’s is much worse. Putin will be taking on a huge liability if he attempts to annex the rest of Ukraine.”

The only caveat to your comment above is that Putin might wait until the West has poured vast amounts of money into the Ukraine to prop it up and get it back on its feet, and THEN Putin will attempt to hit on Ukraine and annex it or exert undue influence over it to milk it for all its worth. Ukraine was once the bread basket to that part of the world, rich in agricultural land, which is why Hitler had such a great interest in it.


18 posted on 03/20/2014 5:29:23 AM PDT by flaglady47 (Oppressors can tyranize only w/a standing army-enslaved press-disarmed populace)
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To: meatloaf
Exporting natural gas at some point also means less cash flow to the Middle East and less money for financing terrorism.

It might be easier to make a quick buck by selling LNG overseas but it is more important to completely wean the United States off foreign oil. This requires structural change and a long term commitment.

I agree that Keystone is an important link, but I would rather see energy policy oriented around domestic infrastructure and consumption than on exports.

19 posted on 03/20/2014 6:12:20 AM PDT by mac_truck ( Aide toi et dieu t aidera)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
a bitter autocrat with a head full of grandiose daydreams can be a dangerous creature

Ohmygosh. That would describe Obama, not Putin. Putin would be a nationalist who wants to restore the historic dominance of his homeland....and didn't daydream when there was opportunity to do something.

20 posted on 03/20/2014 6:18:12 AM PDT by grania
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To: mac_truck

Weaning has already started. Have you read any of the articles on America’s upcoming energy independence? The strategic value of restricting cash flow to Russia and the Middle East is of paramount importance. We have a way of doing through economics what blood and treasure have failed to accomplish.


21 posted on 03/20/2014 6:56:37 AM PDT by meatloaf (Impeach Obama. That's my New Year's resolution.)
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To: grania
"....a bitter autocrat with a head full of grandiose daydreams can be a dangerous creature..."

Ohmygosh. That would describe Obama, not Putin. Putin would be a nationalist who wants to restore the historic dominance of his homeland....and didn't daydream when there was opportunity to do something.

YES! YES! YES!

22 posted on 03/20/2014 8:39:46 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: goldstategop

“Crimea is historically Russian land.”

Your history is flawed. Crimea is part of Ukraine.

“We can’t go too far with sanctions since we will need Russia’s cooperation in yes - Ukraine where it has vital interests.”

Interesting seeing a FReep’r who is weaker than Obama in foreign policy. Russia is a failed economic nation with a third rate military.

I would also note that the stooge Crimean elections are invalid as they are unconstitutional. Historically, since Russia exiled inhabitants of Crimea and forcefully put Russians into Crimea...even if they elections were constitutionally valid, they are meaningless due to those actions.


23 posted on 03/20/2014 3:20:46 PM PDT by rbmillerjr (Lectio Divina...Adoration...Mass)
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To: grania

“Putin would be a nationalist who wants to restore the historic dominance of his homeland”

lol, a nationalist like Hitler.

He has been in charge of Russia for many years now, and has no clue on how to restore dominance to his homeland. He is an abject failure. And now his economy will get worse with sanctions. He is worse than Obama when it comes to the economy.


24 posted on 03/20/2014 3:28:49 PM PDT by rbmillerjr (Lectio Divina...Adoration...Mass)
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To: flaglady47

I don’t think the rest of Ukraine is his next stop. He’s been talking about what a raw deal Russians have who are living in Estonia. Look for a Baltic move next. He’d love for us to be shoring up Ukraine right now.


25 posted on 03/20/2014 3:39:21 PM PDT by Cyber Liberty (H.L. Mencken: "The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.")
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To: meatloaf
By the way it also means more jobs for Americans.

No doubt.

As an added bonus, the environmentalists opposing XL will end up with the dirty end of the stick...again.

26 posted on 03/20/2014 8:10:09 PM PDT by mac_truck ( Aide toi et dieu t aidera)
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To: mac_truck

Let’s use Ukraine to stick it to Obama and his happy, happy joy, joy environmentalists. It’s time to finish Keystone.


27 posted on 03/20/2014 8:52:58 PM PDT by meatloaf (Impeach Obama. That's my New Year's resolution.)
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