Russia Acting From Weakness — ?

President Obama says Russia is actually acting out of weakness.

Maybe the most fatuous thing I’ve heard a president say. If this is weakness, we could use some in the oval office.

The Economist’s latest editorial (worth reading) suggests that even China should feel threatened by the principle Russia is asserting in Crimea — if Crimea can secede, why not Tibet? This too is fatuous. Russia and China don’t recognize any principles. They do what suits them, and justify it howsoever.

20140322_LDP001_0(From The Economist’s cover. The sign says STOP or the West will put you on the naughty step)

But The Economist is right that Crimea represents a profound undermining of the world order, requiring a robust response. We’ve grown complacent in recent decades, taking for granted that military conflict among major powers (and grabbing territory by force) is a thing of the past. But in fact this modern world system is not on automatic pilot, somehow governing itself. It requires a hands-on system operator. The UN isn’t that. America is the only entity capable of filling that role.

However, lately, we’ve been asleep at the switch – disengaged and dreaming. And we see the consequences. They are severe. While Obama emolliently suggests that, well, after all, Russia is merely a regional power and no direct threat to us, that is fatuous too. This concerns the way the whole world works. If you don’t think Russia is a big concern, how about China? If Russia can grab Crimea, why can’t China grab those islands it’s been disputing with Japan and other nations? Or grab Taiwan? Every small or weak nation in the world is threatened by the “principle” of Crimea.

UnknownThe Economist deems it urgent for America to reassert leadership – right away. Mr. Obama, no more of your low-key constitutional law professor, have-it-both-ways, split every difference, lead-from-behind, “false choices” self. Wake up, damn it!

Specifically, The Economist says Russia must see the cost of its crime being more than expected – whereas so far, it’s actually been even less than the cocksure Putin might have expected. While Europe does need Russia’s gas, Russia’s need to sell it to Europe is greater, because that’s a critical prop to Russia’s economy. Cutting off the gas would hurt Europe, but hurt Russia more. We should act swiftly to supply Europe with liquefied gas from our newly abundant fracked production.

The President always stresses consultative, collective approaches. That’s fine, but you know how it is when a committee has no leader (as with the Obamacare website). Obama must press the Europeans hard, for a strong collective response, even if it entails some economic pain, which we should share.

It’s unfortunate that German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Europe’s lynchpin, has a personal style much like Obama’s. Maybe if the Germans won’t get with the program, we should threaten them with economic sanctions.

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3 Responses to “Russia Acting From Weakness — ?”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    If we had not fucked Germany to death, this would never have happened. America chose to aid Stalin. America has no bearing regarding what is ‘right’ in the world. Satan himself could not have done it better.

  2. njmolinari Says:

    Great post, Frank.

  3. Alexander WJ (@reopentainment) Says:

    well Crimea is not worth it. If Russia wants to continue unilaterally acting to its own benefit, then NATO is prepared to act collectively and punitively. The priority now is to reshape Ukraine so that it is not dependent on Russia’s political economic will. If Russia is willing to stop at Crimea, then its an acceptable sacrifice in the context of the bigger picture.

    For instance, we don’t want Russia’s economy to completely tumble as that would lead to more erratic moves of desperation. The reason why authoritarian regimes don’t work is because they are not exempt from economic forces. They can’t stamp out natural disasters or commodity shortages just by silencing the opposition. If we push them too hard, Putin might decide to take the poison pill and decide if he’s going down, the whole world might as well go down with him. We strengthen our weaknesses this time (help Ukraine get back on its feet and self sustainable) and look for opportunities next time. It’s a delicate situation and too much at once may implode the entire ecosystem.

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