By Sal Bommarito
The percolating conflict between Ukraine and Russia is not ending anytime soon and is making many leaders around the world increasingly nervous. Russia has backed a separatist group in its former satellite. The concern is that the rebellion could lead to a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
When the incursion first began, the Russian objective appeared to be the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula located in the southern part of Ukraine. It provides unfettered access to the Black Sea, something that is strategically important to Russia.
The citizens of Crimea have close ties to Russia, and so the people in this area were mostly supportive of the rebellion and the possibility of, once again, becoming a part of Russia. The forays by rebels were only possible with Russian materiel. President Vladimir Putin created a subterfuge about the persecution of Crimean Russians to justify the actions of Russia.
Ukraine was one of 12 Soviet republics that became independent nations when the Soviet Union was dissolved in 1991. Many people believe that Putin continues to be embarrassed that Soviet Union dominance has waned since that time. He still reminisces about the days when assured mutual destruction afforded the Soviets equal status with the U.S. Some observers are concerned that the action in Crimea may be the beginning of a massive re-annexation of all the former Soviet states.
What is peculiar is that Putin’s ego and imperialistic motivations are creating a political storm that will likely be detrimental to Russia in a number of ways. From history, we know that arming allies threatened by other nations deters aggression. Generally, global outrage of aggression leads to greater tension and could ignite a new world war. So what the hell does Putin think he is going to achieve? What’s his endgame? He is alienating every civilized country in the world with his grandiose plans to reestablish the Soviet Union.
Putin is being demonized for his actions, even by nations that are dependent on Russia for critical trade. Yet, if he sends Russian troops into Ukraine, the global community will circle the wagons, and they will likely try to bankrupt Russia with economic sanctions. No other country, including the U.S., is going to start another shooting world war over the Ukraine incursion. The war against Russia will attack its cash flow.
Ronald Reagan effectively ended the Cold War by outspending the Soviet Union. In an instant, the Soviet Union ran out of money, agreed to end the nuclear arms race and enabled a dozen Soviet states to form new countries. The Russians will once again be crushed economically if Putin does not back off.
All of the blathering about the EU’s dependence on Russian energy will end if Russia insists on following in the footsteps of Nazi Germany. The international community of nations cannot have any of its members unilaterally annex other nations.
In the meantime, the U.S. is tossing marshmallows at Russia. The sanctions already imposed by President Obama are not strong enough to make a sustainable impact. Mr. President, stop dillydallying. Take an economic bite out of Russia, and the crisis will surely end soon after. Putin will have no choice other than to face discontent in his own country because military aggression is not good for business. If Putin wants to play global domination, he should play a game of “Risk.”