The green area on this map is what some believe is the ultimate goal of Dictator Putin. it is to take all of the east and south of Ukraine land annexing it to Russia making Ukraine a landlocked country. How much of his goal he will achieve remains to be seen.
Elmer who comments here has better connections inside Ukraine than I do and follows the news more closely than I am doing. He recently called my attention to an article that set forth the following: “Russia’s military goals are evolving. Moscow’s tactics are based on the principle of razvedka boem, or employing military means to assess an adversary’s strength and willpower.” (my emphasis)
I’ve been suggesting all along that that this is Putin’s mindset. He’s going to go as far as he can go (like they said in Oklahoma about in Kansas City). He will determine this by taking one step, gauging the reaction, and then deciding what to do next.
The article also talked about the genesis of the present situation. “Russia is in shock. Having stated as recently as December 2013 that “Ukraine is now ours,” Moscow suddenly finds itself with no influence in Kiev at all.” I put it another way stating that the Ukrainians decision to fight Yanukovych’s alignment with Russia was a slap in the face to Dictator Putin which he could not let stand.
George Kennan who probably knew the politics of Russian dictators better than anyone in the West told us about them. He said their sense of insecurity is too great, they consider themselves the repository of all truth and as being infallible, and are quick to take advantage of the weakness of others. I’d like to think people who run our country understand this.
In seeking his revenge for being rejected, Hell knows no fury as a Russian dictator scorned, he has set out with the use of his military to begin dismembering Ukraine. As he does he waits for the response from the West. I’ve noted that since he first gathered up his forces to enter Crimea all that he has heard is words, words, and more words. Nothing of significance has happened. You’d think that of all places, Europe, with its experience in not responding to invasions of other countries by a dictator, one would see a bolder response.
Our Secretary of State John Kerry has been dealing with Russia’s Foreign Secretary Sergei Lavrov since the crises began. We’re not privy to their discussions but from all it appears Lavrov has given Kerry nothing. That is why I wondered why Kerry was going to meet him again in London last Friday.
Remember they met in Paris on March 5. Laurent Fabius, the French foreign minister said: “Things have moved in a good direction.” Kerry said he was encouraged by signals from the Russians: “I believe I have something to take back to President Obama, and I believe Foreign Secretary Lavrov has something to take back to President Putin. All parties agree it’s important to resolve this issue through dialogue.”
Dialogue on one side, action on the other. Because of my background I could not but think of the dialogue between Henry Hill and Estee Lauder. She was upset that Hill and his hoods were robbing her apartment. He took her out for drinks to talk it over.
Kerry met with Lavrov the next day in Rome. When Kerry returned home on March 7 he had a telephone conversation with Lavrov where Lavrov tried to scare him. He told him: “that any sanctions against Russia “would inevitably hit the United States like a boomerang.”
President Obama in the face of Russian invasion took minor steps to impose visa restrictions on “individuals and entities responsible for activities undermining democratic processes or institutions in Ukraine” among other things.
The Russians invaded and then scheduled a vote in Crimea where the people will have two choices: one whether to join Russia; and two whether to join Russia.
Meanwhile words poured out of the White House about our dismay. Even German Chancellor Angela Merkel started to throw out words suggesting massive political and economic consequences. She said: ““None of us want it to come to this, but we are prepared and determined” to act.”
Meanwhile Dictator Putin saw nothing was happening. Merkel talked about a meeting coming up on Monday to talk about measures to take. Putin loves it when the West talks; usually nothing happens.
Kerry with the backing of Merkel’s threat of more talks, on Friday flew to London to meet with Lavrov again. Earlier in week he refused to fly to Moscow because of Moscow’s rejection of American proposals. Russia flat-out refuses to negotiate with the present Ukrainian government which it considers illegal and plans, as shown by the map, to take as big a bite out of Ukraine as it can.
Kerry met with Lavrov yesterday for six hours of talk. According to the article Kerry said the US “continues to favor a direct dialogue with Russia.” Lavrov said: “Russia will “respect the will of the Crimean people” [who they hold at gunpoint] and he criticized the threat of U.S. and EU sanctions on Russia as “counterproductive.””
The article said that Kerry stated: “there will be an even greater response if Russia further increases tensions in Ukraine.” If all we offer is a greater response to what we have done which is practically nothing I’m sure the Russians aren’t particularly worried.
He went on to say: “There will be consequences.” The White House said it is “regrettable” Russia is going forward and warned it will respond “quickly.” One feeble response decided upon is one of those U.N. security council resolutions drafted by the U.S. that says Sunday’s referendum on the status of Crimea “can have no validity.” That resolution will be vetoed by Russia and is such a feeble response it was not backed by Ukraine’s government.
The Speaking to reporters in Washington after the London talks, U.S. President Barack Obama said he remains optimistic for continued dialogue with Russia.
Maybe its me but isn’t there a time when you stop talking and acting. I know Obama prefers talk to action but really, he’s been talking with Putin and Kerry’s been talking to Lavrov since February 21 and Russia keeps moving forward as if nothing was ever said. There have been no real sanctions imposed and no specific ones have been proposed to deter Russia’s actions. It’s vague talk.
The overwhelming scent in Moscow is of weakness everywhere in the West. Putin knows Obama loves to hear himself talk so he’ll let him talk on and he will patiently listen. In the meantime he will rebuild his Russian empire. As for Kerry, could we have a worse guy than him in this position?