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Putin's Strategy for Russia
Everyone is aware of what Russia's Putin is doing. President Obama and the Europeans are quite determined to stop his aggression, they just are baffled what to do. This was sort of the same situation in 1938 with Hitler massing 100,000 troops along the Czech border. Back then, he stated he would invade the border areas to protect ethnic Germans living there if they were not annexed into Germany. Deja vu! Well, the French and British, like their modern counterparts, said it had to be stopped without military force.
That was then. Hitler got what he wanted and continued to want more and did so. Putin has so far, only used a few pages of the Hitler playbook because the world IS different. But, he did get Crimea through subterfuge soldiers claiming to belong to no one. Of course, no one believe it, but Putin can claim it. The so referendum vote was under the gun and was not fair, but so what, Putin can claim it is what the people want! Actually, it is what Putin wants, to restore the Russian empire to its Cold War size.
Now, the game is what is Putin goals now? With 50,000+ combat troops massed along the Ukrainian border on one side, and the Ukrainian army digging in on the other, all Putin has to say is-Go! Instead, he is keeping the West off balance- he claims that Russian troops have no intention of invading Ukraine and wants diplomacy to work. But, only on his terms with 50,000 troops sitting waiting along the border!
What is there to chat about? How much Ukraine will be allowed to be pro-West to Putin's approval? Joining NATO is nyet! How much of the Ukraine that Putin wants? Maybe he will simply state that he wants the eastern part where most ethnic Russians live. Maybe he wants a trade, say, Moldova, which is adjacent to the Ukraine, or, make the Ukraine region a protected province with Russia in charge.
Of course, whatever the chat is about, Obama wants him to withdraw from Crimea, which we all know is a joke. This demand only makes Obama look like a silly fool. Putin is in the Crimea to stay. Putin knows NATO is powerless to intervene there or anywhere. Both Putin and Obama are playing hard poker and Putin has the advantage for now. With the West in such a weak position, the eastern Ukraine is Putin's for the taking. A temptation. He did this in Georgia in 2008 with even less troops
Putin has 25,000 troops in Crimea and along the Moldova border another 2000. The 50,000 near the Ukrainian border show Russian troops concealing their equipment and bringing in more food, as if there IS an invasion plan. All total, 100,000 troops are in and around the Ukraine. Is Putin for real? Is it a bluff to get what he wants with diplomacy? Moldova has been independent since 1990, and this small country wants close ties to the West. A red light to Putin! Maybe Putin wants the smaller Transnistria, the odd thing about this is that in 2006, it voted to become part of Russia again, but Russia, then, was not interested.
So, with all the pressure Putin is applying and the West unable, so far, to get meaningful sanctions in place, maybe Putin wants the West to concede the Crimea and Ukraine, then we can all go home and be good neighbors.
None of this is going to end well.