Putin’s war on the West

[T]he contest he (Putin) insists on can no longer be dodged. It did not begin in poor Ukraine and will not end there. Prevailing will require far more resolve than Western leaders have so far mustered.

via The view from the Kremlin: Putin’s war on the West | The Economist.

Putin has held power in Russia for 15 years.  What has he gained?

From his tantrums over the Middle East to his invasion of Georgia and multiple misadventures in Ukraine, Mr Putin has sometimes seemed to stumble into accidental disputes with the West, driven by a paranoid fear of encirclement. In hindsight it seems that, given his outlook, confrontation may have been inevitable.

Putin has driven a wedge between the US and Europe over how to deal with him, and thus weakened both.

For Mr Putin the only good neighbour is a weak one; vassals are better than allies. Only the wilfully blind would think his revanchism has been sated. Sooner or later it may encompass the Baltic states—members of both the European Union and NATO, and home to Russian minorities of the kind he pledges to “protect”.

So what is the West to do?  Options include arming Ukraine,which some Americans but no Europeans want.  Putin wins.

Or, provide Ukraine with foreign aid that allows it to build a better state, which will then side with Western powers.  Putin loses.

Which way will the US and Europe chose?

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Black Sea Strategy

Ukraine, Iraq and a Black Sea Strategy | Stratfor.

The most critical issue for the United States is to create a single integrated plan that takes into account the most pressing challenges. Such a plan must begin by defining a theater of operations sufficiently coherent geographically as to permit integrated political maneuvering and military planning. U.S. military doctrine has moved explicitly away from a two-war strategy. Operationally, it might not be possible to engage all adversaries simultaneously, but conceptually, it is essential to think in terms of a coherent center of gravity of operations. For me, it is increasingly clear that that center is the Black Sea.

The Black Sea is the geographical center of the current conflicts.  George Friedman argues that it should be the center of our focus in dealing with the region.

Ukraine, Iraq and a Black Sea Strategy | Stratfor

One More Reason to Learn Geography

The less Americans know about Ukraine’s location, the more they want U.S. to intervene.

The less Americans know about Ukraine’s location, the more they want U.S. to intervene

A survey taken at the end of March asked Americans what they thought America should do with regards to the troubles in Ukraine.  And they included a map!  However, the results were very disturbing.

About one in six (16 percent) Americans correctly located Ukraine, clicking somewhere within its borders. Most thought that Ukraine was located somewhere in Europe or Asia, but the median respondent was about 1,800 miles off — roughly the distance from Chicago to Los Angeles — locating Ukraine somewhere in an area bordered by Portugal on the west, Sudan on the south, Kazakhstan on the east, and Finland on the north.

Younger people (27%) were more likely to know the correct location, as were college graduates (21%).  The fact that over 77% of college grads can’t locate Ukraine is disturbing enough, but it gets worse.

[t]he further our respondents thought that Ukraine was from its actual location, the more they wanted the U.S. to intervene militarily. Even controlling for a series of demographic characteristics and participants’ general foreign policy attitudes, we found that the less accurate our participants were, the more they wanted the U.S. to use force [.]

So people who have no idea where the place is want to send American soldiers there, wherever it is.  Way to go, American education system.

Ukraine and the ‘Little Cold War’ | Stratfor

Ukraine and the ‘Little Cold War’ | Stratfor.

Condensed from G. Friedman’s book The Next 100 Years.

The Orange Revolution in Ukraine, from December 2004 to January 2005, was the moment when the post-Cold War world genuinely ended for Russia. The Russians saw the events in Ukraine as an attempt by the United States to draw Ukraine into NATO and thereby set the stage for Russian disintegration.

If the West had succeeded in dominating Ukraine, Russia would have become indefensible. The southern border with Belarus, as well as the southwestern frontier of Russia, would have been wide open. 

 

Read more: Ukraine and the ‘Little Cold War’ | Stratfor

 

What lies behind Putin’s moves in Ukraine | Opinion | McClatchy DC

 

What lies behind Putin’s moves in Ukraine | Opinion | McClatchyDC.

An analysis of Putin’s move into Ukraine from an Eastern European.

[ ] his calculation of the costs of invading Crimea needs also to be understood as a move for his personal political survival.

The same street demonstrations that filled the Moscow streets after Putin’s reelection in 2012 were just getting warmed up to hit the streets again following the effective anti-Yanukovych actions throughout Ukraine. During this time of international crisis, Russian internal dissent will not be brooked.

Putin’s calculation is cold and clear. Muscovites and other Russians clearly understand that if Putin is willing to strike at others across borders, just imagine what he is willing to do back home.

 

Ukraine Conflict In One Map

 

Ukraine Conflict In One Map – Business Insider.

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