Monday, September 1, 2014

Finding Common Ground With Putin

When the Crimean crisis broke out this past winter, the White House's favorite talking point, at the time, was that Vladimir Putin needed an "exit ramp". The Obama Administration either believed - or was trying to spin - the Russian stealth invasion of Crimea as impulsive act on the part of Putin. All that was needed to resolve the crisis was to provide some face saving measure for Russia. Even German Chancellor Angela Merkel joined in the "Putin-doesn't-know-what-he-is-doing" chorus.

Six months later, the conflict in Ukraine opened a new front this past week and over the weekend Putin called for negotiations  on the "political organisation of society and statehood for southeastern Ukraine." It is quite clear that Putin's actions were never the result of impulsive or irrational behavior. He is an opportunist who saw the chance to expand the territory of the Russian Federation and took it. It is also clear that Obama and Europe are the ones who need an "exit ramp".