Skip to comments.What does Vladimir Putin want next?
Posted on 03/22/2014 10:48:07 AM PDT by Jim Robinson
Simferopol, Crimea (CNN) -- Is Russian President Vladimir Putin an opportunist, grabbing at chances to poke the West in the eye, or a clever strategist with the longer-term goal of restoring a greater Russia? Is he simply riding a tide of Russian patriotic fervor over Crimea? Is he a rational actor aware of the delicate balances within the international system, or as one observer put it, "drunk on power" and oblivious to sanctions?
These are the questions preoccupying western governments and Russia's neighbors, after the swift annexation of Crimea and Russian military maneuvers close to the Ukrainian border.
There were some tantalizing clues in Putin's pugnacious speech to the Duma this week. He described the fall of the Soviet Union as unfortunate -- because it had separated Russians. "The Russian nation became one of the biggest, if not the biggest ethnic group in the world to be divided by borders," he said.
"It was only when Crimea ended up as part of a different country that Russia realized that it was not simply robbed, it was plundered." He went on to say, "if you compress the spring all the way to its limit, it will snap back hard."
Heady, populist rhetoric -- but it has propelled the Russian President to his highest approval rating -- 71% -- in recent years, according to the Russian Public Opinion Research Center.
Putin said Russia had no intention of violating Ukraine's sovereignty (beyond the 5% of its territory it has absorbed this week.) "Do not believe those who want you to fear Russia, shouting that other regions will follow Crimea," he told Ukrainians.
(Excerpt) Read more at cnn.com ...
McCarthy's thesis is a real stretch. Countries have been doing these things since before man first put chisel to stone tablet. Germany annexed the Sudetenland because it could, not because of any legal rationalizations. If the EU had hit Russia with serious sanctions, Putin would have backed down. The reality is that Putin acted because nobody moved to stop him - not the Ukrainians, not the EU, and not the US. We are not the only players on the chessboard. If the Ukrainians are not prepared to fight for their territory, how is it our problem? And I would extend that logic to the rest of NATO, which has been steadily cutting defense budgets and simultaneously expanding their welfare states while lowering their debts even as our government debt rises in leaps and bounds.
Galtieri invaded the Falklands because he could.
The difference is there’s no Thatcher to oppose Putin.
My point is that Obama (and the EU) can make Putin's adventures extremely costly without doing much of anything. Obama doesn't want to confront Putin because he's really not interested in foreign policy entanglements. So he's decided to let Putin do whatever he wants. But he has the power to make Putin's life unbearable, the way *any* US president can, simply because of the size of the US economy.
But here's the thing - while we are whaling away at Obama, we also need to recognize that the US is not the only independent actor in this situation. The Ukrainians haven't exactly covered themselves in glory. If they can't work up the motivation to fight for what's theirs, how is that our (or the EU's) problem? We backed the Afghans against the Russians with billions of dollars in weaponry *after* they took fearful losses going up against superior Russian weaponry and training. The Afghans were the plucky underdog. The Ukrainians are certainly the underdog here, but plucky is not how I would describe their response to the annexation of the Crimea. In the long run, Ukraine needs to be responsible for its own territorial integrity. We don't need another military dependent added to the laundry list of former Warsaw Pact dependents tacked on a decade ago, all of which have been as useful in practical military terms as teats on a bull.
Putin acted because he knew that no one would act to stop him. BP is now a partner in the Russian oil company and the rest of Europe has put itself in a position of dependence on Russian natural gas.
There is another article on the WSJ on how the Greens made Germany vulnerable to the Russian aggression.
You didn’t read the article. This is a history lesson. Obama did not start this feckless foreign policy, he only doubled down on it.
Same is true for Moldavia and Estonia as well. Putin's henchmen are already there fomenting discontent according to one of my Amateur Radio contacts. Putin made a particular statement about the "treatment of Motherland Russian natives" in Moldavia, that statement was eerily similar to statements he made about the Crimean Peninsula less than a week before unbadged/unmarked Russian Military showed up.
Putin's end game is about restoring as much of the old Russian Federation as he can, and complete control over the territories the Russian natural gas pipeline goes through. That same pipeline delivers natural gas to Europe.
That's why the Euro-weenies aren't saying anything (besides Merckel anyway.)
Commerce is a two way street. Europe depends on Russian gas. Russia depends on European gas money.
Sad but true.
While that may be true, the impact of cutting off gas supplies to Europe would be more immediate.
Ultimately, the question has to be whether Ukrainians have either the inclination or the determination to resist re-absorption into Russia. If they don't, any equipment we hand over to them is wasted. They need to decide whether they want to be an independent country. We can't make that decision for them, given that it may involve significant costs in Ukrainian blood and treasure. In the course of the Revolutionary War, the French extended serious aid to the Patriots only after they showed that they were not only determined but capable. The Ukrainians need to cross that threshold before they get a thin dime from us.
I read the whole thing. It's a dubious lesson. National leaders don't do things because of historical precedents. They do what they want, and dress it up in whatever historical precedents are available. Pro-Russian commentators have mostly justified the invasion by pointing to it as merely the restoration of a sliver of the old Russian empire.
I'm sure they have the determination, what they don't have is a military force big enough, strong enough or well equipped enough to repel a Russian invasion.
"YOU NOT SAY UKRAINE WEAK!"
Well played! We do however have an indication of how the conversation between Obama and Putin went with Putin getting the best zinger in.
Serious topic but damn that made me laugh out loud!
I'm sure they say they are determined. Maybe they even believe they are determined. But the true measure of determination comes from deeds, not words. We knew the Afghans were determined, because they fought the Russians against overwhelming odds and kept on fighting despite taking serious losses. The Ukrainians may say they are determined or even think they are determined. But to a disinterested observer, it looks like they are determined mainly to avoid fighting for what's theirs. And when I say fighting, I don't mean that in a metaphorical way.
More than anything Putin wants respect...Obama can’t even spell respect.
The internet - but that’s okay, we’re gonna give that to him. :)
Tyrants of the world know they can do pretty much anything they want right noe
The article doesn’t say that things were done because of the precedents. The article is a history of how this feckless US foreign policy got us to this point and how Putin is taking advantage of it.
It is obvious that precedents aren’t binding, or we would not be aiding the Islamists, while they are at war with us.
He wants a Diet Coke.
Check out this post:
I have better questions for you : What do the US want in Ukraine? or “Why are they there?”
Would you mind sharing what country you are from. In fact it would be courteous to place it on your FR homepage. I believe you have the right as all posters on this board to state your opinions and try to explain the viewpoint of your home country, as long as you are polite, but it would help those reading your posts to know where you are from.
Go see the movie “The world is not enough” and you’ll have your answer.
What does Vladimir Putin want next?
Harper has more than just the Ukrainian horse in this race, Canada is vulnerable to exactly the same Russian incursion in its far Northern reaches, where the Russians have been bullying Canada for over 20 years.
Few Canadians know that in 2011 Putin approved the formation of 2 brigades of 10,000 soldiers each ( 20,000 in total) dedicated to patroling Russia’s border with Canada, wher they make regular incursions using submarines, scientists and the Russian Army who do not wear their Russian ID markings, just as in the Crimea invasion.
This all drives Harper to distraction, understandably so, for Canada has no FOBs in its far North, a small standing force totalling a mere 100,000 soldiers in a nation which has a population of 35 million.And whats more Canada does not have the money to expand its Armed Forces either, 50% of its federal budget is dedicated to socialized medicine Health Care.Thanks to former Liberal governments, dedicated social programs have tied Harpers hands to the point where the whol national existence of Canada is under threat by Russia.( Which is what Obama Care will do in the USA, destroy the military budget as it has in Canada)
With Obama rapidly diminishing his military support for the USA’s traditional allies, Harper realizes that he too is about to be had by the Russians , royally had in fact. The Russians can enter Canada’s far North anytime, unopposed.Putin knows this very well and continues to covet Canada’s rich far Northern unexplored oil fields, biding his time.He could make his move anytime and there is not a damned thing Harper could do to prevent it.
No wonder Harper is crying foul while in Ukraine, he can feel the breath of Vlad the Shirtless down his very neck.
Canada has a lot to worry about, but not a newspaper in Canada is writing about it....( go figure, they all love Communism)
Canadas Poofter Northern Security Assessmant, redacted,
with my SIC where warranted
RUSSIAS ACTIVITIES IN THE ARCTIC
The announcement by Russian Minister of Defence, Anatoly Serdyukov,  on 1 Jul 2011 to create two new brigades for the Arctic follows through on commitments made in Russias Arctic policy released in 2009.
There is no doubt that the economic potential of the Arctic is a major driver of Moscows calculations. However, the extreme environment and long distances make the actual economic feasibility of [resource] extraction in the High North, beyond its [Russias] Exclusive Economic Zone prohibitively expensive. [redacted] (SIC)
On 1 July 2011, Russian Minister of Defence Anatoly Serdyukov announced that Russia will create two new military brigades in the Arctic (nearing 10,000 troops) to protect [Russias] interests in the North. This announcement follows through on commitments made in [2009s] Fundamentals of the Russian Federations Policy in the Arctic for the Period Up To 2020 and Beyond which calls for the creation of a new group of forces (primarily border guards) and a functional Coast Guard system. These measures, in addition to increased Arctic domain awareness, are intended to secure Russian Arctic borders.
Since Russia embarked on its most recent iteration of military modernization and reforms in 2008, the emphasis has been on consolidating and amalgamating existing divisions and brigades to find efficiencies and reduce costs. With respect to the Arctic, ... [redacted]
[redacted] ... Among the Ministry of Defences top priorities during the past several years of reform has been the modernization and sustainment of its strategic nuclear forces and their means of delivery (eg, through development of the Bulava intercontinental ballistic missile). [Note: the RSM-56 Bulava is a submarine-launched ballistic missile for Borei-class SSBNs.]
[redacted] ... t also endorses the sanctity of international law and established global governance mechanisms as the preferred means of dispute resolution [redacted] Indeed, the recent conclusion of an agreement between Russia and Norway to delineate their maritime boundary in the Arctic is illustrative of Russias long-held public stance on international law and demonstrates a willingness by Moscow to act in a cooperative manner on Arctic issues. ( SIC)
Russian Surveying of the Seabed in the Arctic
Russian surveying of the seabed is consistent with the activities of littoral states all over the world, including in the Arctic, that are in the process of delineating their continental shelves pursuant to the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). ( SIC)
It is possible that the extended continental shelves of the Arctic Ocean coastal states will overlap but the extent and the location of these overlaps is not yet known. Any overlaps will be resolved by the states concerned through discussions, negotiations and/or arbitration, in accordance to international law. All Arctic Ocean coastal states reaffirmed this commitment in the May 2008 Ilulissat Declaration. 
The Economic Potential of the Arctic
With energy exports making up roughly one quarter of the total Russian GDP, there is no doubt that the economic potential of the Arctic is a major driver of Moscows northern strategy. At the end of 2010, Russia proper (i.e, not including any claims to the Arctic) possessed over 77 billion barrels of oil and nearly 45 trillion cubic metres of natural gas. Revenues from energy exports to Europe (and increasingly China) have steadily become the key enablers of Russias foreign and defence policy for over a decade, and there does not appear to be any signs that this situation will change in the near- to mid-term. That said, it is important to note that despite the broad range of estimates on the total amount of oil and natural gas reserves stored in the Arctic (up to 90 billion barrels of oil and 1.7 trillion cubic feet [.048 trillion m3] of natural gas according to the US Geological Survey, which was both probabilistic and based on limited data), the extreme environment and long distances make the actual economic feasibility of extraction from the Arctic basin probitively expensive and even beyond current technological means in some cases. What has received little attention is the fact that the majority of known energy resrves in the Arctic already fall within the well-established Exclusive Economic Zones of the littoral Northern states, including Canada, and are therefore not subject to the UNCLOS-prescribed process to delineate the outer limits of the shelf beyond 200 nautical miles.
A number of other consideraions should also be kept in mind with respect to Russias activities in the Arctic. First, Russia is on the verge of presidential elections in 2012, and [redacted]
Second, not withstanding disagreements with NATO surrounding the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty, Russia has the sovereign right to station its troops wherever it wants on Russian territory. While developments such this are no doubt of interest to Canada from a defence and sercurity perspective, [redacted]
Third, this latest announcement is also consistent with other lofty announcements in recent months, most notably Moscows stated commitment to increase military spending by $740 billion by 2020 ( [redacted] ... [redacted] Finally, [redacted]
While many observers have commented in the media on Russias perceived provocative actions in the Arctic, there has yet to be any serious cause for alarm. [redacted]
Moreover, DFAIT has noted in the past that both countries also share common challenges related to policy making in the Arctic. Indeed, these commonalities could yield political and commercial opportunities for cooperation between Moscow and Ottawa. From a Defence perspective, in spite of disagreements over Russian LRA flights,  there is mutual interest in regard to cooperation in SAR and Arctic domain awareness. Defence is continuing to explore the potential for further cooperation with Russian in these fields.
Russia/Soviet/Coldwar 2 PING!!! To be added to or removed from this list, please FReepmail me...
Putin will likely expand his “Protect Russians” stance to include other Slavic popluations, such as Ukrainians and Belarussians (should Loshenko fall and someone who is not a Russian puppet come to power there).
Low taxes, great property rights. Less nationalism of land and banks..
Obama is the communist. Putin is an energy tyrant.
I think you have a point, he wants to put the USSR together minus a lot of the Communism, maybe more like a 21st Century version of the Russian Empire.
He is interested in Ruthenians - Russians don’t view Belarussians or Ukrainians as separate nations.
The USSR was smaller -- Tsarist Russia in 1914 included Finland, most of Poland, then Bessarabia
If Vladimir Putin said, A Russia for all Russians., and with the USSR, how many Russians are located in those bordering areas, outside of the old Warsaw Pact nations? -- that's shown above. But the largest are in Estonia, Latvia, Kazakhstan
Turkey probably more than Western Ukraine. To retrieve Constantinople is a Russian dream since 1453
Crimea is land-locked?? It’s an island and has a bridge on the eastern side connecting it to Russia. The straits there are just 3 km across I believe
Pan-slavism is dead. It’s only parroted by Russia and Belarus and has some adherents in the Czech Republic
Ruthenians came late into the Soviet Union fry, in 1921, after the Polish-Russian-Ruthenian war, while Belorussia (White Russia) and Malorussia (Little Russia) were part of Imperial Russia since the 17th century.
Ruthenia (actual Western Ukraine) moved between Poland and the Hapsburg Empire for centuries. Contrary to Eastern Ukraine, they are not Ortodox but catholic or uniates. They were renamed ‘Ukrainians’, and the region ‘Ukraine’ in 1921. The name comes from the Russian word ‘krai’, which means ‘border’. ‘U-kraine’ is translated ‘on the border’
Lwov was a Polish town for most part of 19th century until 1918, with a large Jewish community. During the Polish-Ruthenian war in 1918, numerous massacres and pogroms took place from both sides and Jews in the middle took the brunt. They served as scape-goats to the belligerants.
A second wave of pogroms happened in 1941 in Poland occupied Lwov, when the nationalist Ukrainians allied themselves with nazi German invaders. 60,000 Jews were massacred by Einsatzgruppen with the help of Ukrainian nationalists and militia. In July 1941, one month after the start of the German offensive against the Soviet Union, the Ukrainian militia massacred 2000 Jews in three days. They called the massacre “Petliura days”.
The Western and Eastern Ukraine have almost nothing in common, except the Soviet Union period 1921-1991, neither language, culture, religion or traditions. “Ukraine” was a binational artificial republic, created by the Soviet administration and bureaucrats.
OK so I was typing fast and the term land locked is not technically accurate - but you managed two mis-statements to my one lol.
It’s not an island but an peninsula and there is no bridge on the eastern side - http://rt.com/business/crimea-russia-kerch-bridge-857/ - they would like to build one precisely because one doesn’t exist.
The point is that overland access exists via the Ukraine
but not via Russia. Maybe this map will help you visualize http://www.map.hu/galeria/20090118195134.jpg
Putin will probably be looking for whatever Obama was referring to when he asked him to wait until after the election, when he’d have more leeway. Then again, for all we know, Putin was referring to Ukraine in that very conversation...
Fact: the US used neo-nazis violent groups in Kiev to overtrow a democratically elected president and government and install at his place a puppet government cooked up by the US State Department..
It’s not about how people voted in popularity polls or elections, it’s about WHO TALLIED THE VOTES ... just like it’s done over here.