The leader of Russia, Mr. Putin, is playing a very dangerous game. You can call it brinksmanship or truth or dare. Some are fearful that Putin’s foray into the Crimea will begin a new Cold War. Whatever name we give his actions, it puts the world at risk. We do know that Russia has nuclear weapons and that is why the current situation in the Ukraine is dangerous.
Mr. Putin’s claims that Russia is needed to protect those who are Russian speaking people in the Crimea fall on deaf ears when you ask the question, who is threatening them? The fact that they have had a so-called plebiscite, is not encouraging as in the days before World War II began, Hitler made the same claims about people who spoke German who lived in the Sudetenland.
The problem with dealing with a determined adversary, who has nuclear weapons, is that if Russia wants to take over the Crimea what can we do about it? Nothing!
The really scary part of this whole scenario is that leaders today are often too isolated from we the people. Not only are they too isolated, they are far removed from the time in history when a nuclear bomb was actually used. Nuclear War is not some video game. Real people die and the effects of radiation are deadly. I wonder if the nuclear clock is closer to midnight, today?
We can wring our hands and we can and should make the act of aggression, painful, but it is not likely that anyone would risk nuclear war by landing troops in the Crimea. We can make Putin’s act painful by enacting economic sanctions.
Russia’s economy resembles a petro nation’s economy, not much diversity and good health with too much of a reliance on one resource.
You would think that the long-term harm that will result from any take-over of the Crimea would make Putin pause. But, alas, when the head of the Russian Oil Company complained about what happened, especially to the price of the stock, Putin just replaced the man, with Putin now being the top dog.
Dictators have it so easy, they don’t have to wait on a Congress to act, they just do it.
When a dictator has nuclear weapons, he could and can use a strategy of nuclear terror. Let us speculate and say, that Putin’s next move might be to move into more of the Ukraine and just thumb his nose at the world.
One theory is that Putin wants to re-claim a lot of what was Russia’s empire. What should our strategy be?
War is not the answer, but doing nothing is not the answer either. The 1930’s give us a historical perspective, in that if you show weakness in the face of aggression, the aggressor may continue until he knows that the world will not accept and further conquest. The problem is that we have never had a situation when a country that has nuclear weapons has basically just flaunted international convention and opinion and went right a head into another country. What is encouraging is that the world body is virtually unanimous in its condemnation of what Russia has done.
This is not the time for political grandstanding, and political gamesmanship, this is the time to support the world’s effort to thwart the illegitimate aims of the wanna be Emperor, Putin.
This is an extremely dangerous time in the world. It will take calm heads and determined leadership to make it clear to Mr. Putin that the conquest of the Crimea will not be worth the long-term cost to his country’s economy and to his people.