Putin may think, like Shakespeare's Macbeth, that he is so far gone in imperial crimes that it would be as tiresome to go over as back. But in fact he has bet the farm on this adventure and given the West no choice but to insist that he take this risk.
Little or no real analysis went into the question of why, while at a conference on media in St. Petersburg, the president of Russia would say those things or what he hoped to achieve by saying them. So, why did he do it?
Do aliens exist? Of course they do! Does anyone out there really think that we are the only intelligent (questionable) life in the universe? Besides, how else could we explain Kim Kardashian and Gary Busey? Hello?
The Putin worldview carries with it the seeds of potential frictions with the West beyond the Crimea. It promises a hardnosed promotion of Russian national interest.
While the shouting but, notably, not shooting continues in the Ukraine crisis, and the Middle East peace process collapses, President Barack Obama is in the middle of his four-nation Asia-Pacific tour. How's it going, amidst very predictable distractions from Russia and Israel? Fair to middling.
This is a critical time for the the Asia-Pacific Pivot. Which is, of course, America's shift from its fateful post-9/11 fixations with the Islamic world of the Middle East and Central Asia to the rising Asia-Pacific.
Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlogDuring his two-day visit this week to Kiev, Ukraine, Vice President Joe Biden unfurled President Barack Obama's "U.S....
Behind all Russia's machinations lies Putin's fear that Ukraine in the Western camp turns into a success story with better economic living standard and a higher degree of freedom for its people.
Since the establishment of the United Nations, countries are not supposed to be allowed to take land from one another. More specifically, Russia agreed to respect Ukraine's borders when Kiev gave up its nuclear weapons 20 years ago. Putin has shredded that historical document.
Surely Putin has long understood, better than anyone else, how a few calls and promises from the Kremlin could readily recruit many of these local leaders in eastern Ukraine to win their cooperation in organizing local residents for pro-Russian demonstrations. To an unappreciated provincial councilor who has gotten words of assurance that he or she would be warmly welcomed into Putin's party of power, the idea of secession from Ukraine into Russia could become quite appealing. No bags of cash would be needed.
But it took years for Russians to develop their sixth senses about being propagandized. Perhaps they are backing Putin in the polls because they are out of practice after 20 years of relative freedom?
According to the Sunday Times, Barack Obama has had it with trying to build a partnership with Vladimir Putin. Like George W. Bush before him, Barack Obama has finally written off Vladimir Putin.
President Putin's ultimate ambitions are not known, though it is clear he is using the seizure of Crimea and threats against Ukraine in part to strengthen his position at home. Russia's economy is struggling, and government is riddled with corruption and cronyism.
The key to getting Russia to back away from any potential invasion of Ukraine is what it has always been, to ensure that Ukraine, just a few hundred miles from Moscow, does not become a leading outpost of the West and NATO.
Unlike the bloodless annexation of Crimea earlier this spring, a Russian invasion of eastern Ukraine may lead to a full-blown war between the countries, which neither Kyiv nor Moscow can afford to wage.
Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog
A legal controversy — critics would say scandal — has erupted in Alaska's statehouse over the ...