President Putin and his country are there for the long haul. This has become more clear than at just about any time. Those who want to trash talk him would do wise to consider this, especially given the major changing political landscapes in the West. Yes, it has been said before but is more strongly resonating.
Both Putin and certainly Russia are not going to go away and loom larger in the geopolitical mix. President Obama in trying to marginalize Russia and Putin with major economic sanctions and demean Russia by describing its economy as not making things, has been unconstructive in improving relations between the West and Moscow.
By his calling it a regional power and reacting to it as if it were, when it is not, he and his fellow western leaders, more of the past ones by the way, have hopefully begun to learn some strategic lessons, even if the hard way and rather belatedly.
As Putin said, as he was marginalized and practically “spit on” at G8 meetings before he and Russsia were expulsed from that increasingly less important gathering of the cameras, Russia is too big to ignore. He said it without much fanfare or lecturing over the near histrionics of Obama’s bluster and huff and puff. And Putin said it with a feeling of cold reality, because it is so true.
And now, not only does Obama begin to run away from what he said in part by now calling Russia a superpower in his last whistle stop tour that took him to Berlin, but so does European Union Commission, head, Juncker. He instead, refers to Russia needing more nuanced treatment due its immense size, as well as complexity. My guess is that the seasoned statesman Juncker gave Obama another small wake-up call.
But what does Russia do whether Brussels and Washington rain or shine on Putin. It still keeps to its position about looking and responding to ground realities whatever the flavour of the month by western leaders in their words about his country or him.
In fact, he consistently sticks to his positions, all while his popularity remains stratospherically high. This occurs while a key lynchpin in the isolate Putin/sanction “strategy”, Mr.Hollande of France has but 4 percent popularity. This is instructive.
Whatever the sweet nothings or poisonous soothing liquids put into the Kremlin bear’s ear at times, the Russians are still cognizant that there remains NATO creep, dangerous so-called anti-ballistic missiles by NATO near Russia’s borders and no reductions in sanctions.
And one does not even know whether the fairly recent attempted assassination of Putin in Moscow has some degree of western fingerprints. Interestingly, we do not hear anything more about it.
Mr.Putin does not forget these ground realities whatever the western media or fluctuations in tone from various G7 leaders. In fact, I personally find much of the old leadership of the West that has been defeated as moving towards being extremely embarrassing from the position of statecraft.
So what does President Putin specifically do in response to western rhetorical flip flops and internal political divisions, He does not back away from capitulating on Ukraine, he keeps Crimea, and he puts dangerous major Russian missiles in the Kalingrad enclave that can much more quickly blow away mainstream economic juggernaut countries to the West and in minutes. In the face of western war games around him and troop and navy manoeuvres, he buzzes the US military, including billion dollars worth of US ships and with near immunity.
In light of low price oil and these sanctions which also have brutalized important sectors in European countries, some would have thought his government might have collapsed by now. What a foolish prediction that was that shows that too many western leaders more and more appear to be very uninformed of the nature and history of Russia in the face of a real opponent. Putin, love him or hate him is second to few on the geopolitical strategizing front, as Kissinger would no doubt conclude with his many meetings with the Russian head.
Russia , after all is not Venezuela, as Kissinger knows and those of the brilliant minds of people like Professor emuritus Stephen Cohen of Princeton and a number of top people around Trump.
Rather, it has vastly huge internal resources, a very large population, and incredible strategic importance to the West regarding the radical Islamic file. And it has even more historical resolve to deal with brutal external forces that just about no one in the West could imagine, including willingness to sacrifice to the nth degree of pain to retain a reasonable degree of sovereignty and global relevance.
The Russian people as I pointed out in an article almost some years ago would rather eat sunflower seeds then give in to Obama and certainly to the belicose neo-cons. Instead, Putin and certainly Russia have outlasted many western leaders including the current US president.
Too many strident western leaders – though less strident these days- think it is all a Wolfowitz game of domination by inches or by leaps that will eventually put asunder independent thinking countries not open to the “American Way”.
They think of good cop, bad cop and maneuvering rhetoric thrown in with a hooked charm bait can bring Putin to give in. It does not work with someone so experienced and with such steely resolve and greater smarts than many of the leaders in the G8. Just ask Victoria Nuland who headed the failed Obama policy on Ukraine. She is not to be seen around.
Again, the Russians watch with worrisome disdain as western economies, particularly in Europe and Japan stagnate while they need the Russian market to help grow them and Russian energy especially if anything goes really wrong in the Middle East, Arabian Gulf area.
The Russians realize that their mission of military modernization now gives them a greater negotiating position to wreak not just military offensive havoc if forced to the wall, but the further sucking away of critical fiscal resources for Europe’s emergence from stagnation.
Much of the West is in a certain degree of decay and a near political “New Silent Revolution”, is well in the way I currently call that which is undermining the Western neo-con, liberal elites. This is in the form of populist, anti-liberal, global elite uprisings.
You might then wonder who is in the driver seat for the long game. It is beginning to look by massive debt, central bank policy and panick reactive policies that too much of the western governments have no long haul strategy but to hold on till the next election. As well, they are not doing that very well in many instances. Just look at what hapoened to Cameron in the U.K. and Renzi in Italy.
If they were strategic, they would realize that major blockades (sanctions) of Russia even of enormity never worked before such as the ones against St.Petersburg (then cal,ed Leningrad) put into place by the Nazis during World War II.
Read your history Obama on geopolitics. Had you done so and had you certainly listened better to Henry Kissinger, which you so wrongly “maligned” for his realism, you might have not so badly fouled up. If Merkel, who is essentially in charge of the EU and the German neo-cons cannot understand this, then what hope for the West.
Only a “nutter” could have come up with the sanction policy and tone against Russia that we saw from Obama and to some degree from people like Hollande and Merkel. The West even seems manic at times going from expulssung Russia from its cute club of the G8 to saying what a big boy they are with all those muscles. It is just plain weird, not only embarrassing.
For Putin and Russia, after looking at the internal diviseness in the West and merry-go-round electioneering, they further believe it is a waiting game that is going their way. They would be largely right given the election of President Trump, Brexit and the inevitable election of a French president who will be much more sympathetic to Russia.
They just hope that their neo-con ” western partners” in the mean time, do not lose the plot internally and go looking for an enemy to generate a distracting war from the madness of western neo-con “liberal” elites’ hungry to hang onto power at all costs.
Hillary Clinton, for instance tried so hard to “go to war” with Russia over the US elections to distract from the horrendous exposures from Wikileaks. It is an old story of weakness looking for foreign distractions that can at the worst lead to the unnecessary deaths of young innocent Americans and others.
Russia , worryingly no longer sees the West as a fully reliable and sane enough partner. That should worry us. And its patience will not last forever.
My book “Operation Golden Bear ” is salient in exposing the dangers that Russia represents if the silly games too many the West play with Russia to try to corner it badly play out. Now, that could truly represent an insanity that we as a civilization caring about our children do not want to go to. That is tactical or even strategic nuclear war.
It is time to get into serious negotiations with Russia to cut a deal that is sustainable for both the West and beyond the nonsense of what is largely the anachronistic politics of people like Obama, Hollande and Merkel. And before it is too late.