The time line of recent events in the Ukraine has been full and fast changing. Just a few weeks ago before the Sochi Olympics there were news reports was about two American war ships entering the Black Sea. The Montrose Convention rules limits non-Black Sea countries like the U.S. to one war ship at a time so when Turnkey allowed two it must have outraged the Russians. Having two U.S. war ships 20 miles off the coast while Putin lorded over the Russian celebration of success and a new place in the world must have also enraged Putin. Then, while the light of the Olympic torch was fading out, the largest of the former members of the Soviet Union and a Russian speaking country was lost to Russia as a client state. The Maidan protests were able to change the security of Russia’s western border. It now has a real possibility of a hostile Ukraine on Russia’s border. That would not be an acceptable outcome for Putin.
Putin is quoted saying that the disintegration of the U.S.S.R. was the greatest geopolitical tragedy of the 20th Century. While he was still glowing in the light of Sochi the largest remaining Russian satellite state changed overnight into a hostile western democracy. Such a thing happening must have been incomprehensible, especially in light of Russia’s proclamation of national superiority in Sochi where Putin stood center stage. Putin failed to foresee that the Russian Kleptocracy would result in so fast and complete rejection of Russia and its culture of theft by the people of the Ukraine. In light of Putin’s well stated view that world was better with the U.S.S.R., being the Soviet soldier on watch at the time of this loss of friendly territory would taint his developing mythology as the tough guy fighting bears without a shirt. The mob in the Maidan had beaten him. A mob of Russians might be next.
Russians, like most folks, enjoy a day at the beach. The Black Sea is their only moderate coast. Putin’s theft of Crimea was necessary to preserve Putin’s myth of toughness. So, he stole some ocean front property that would make the Russian people happy. Put a few masked special forces in and they slowly overcame the outnumbered unprepared Ukrainian forces. Hardly an epic story of military courage. But for a heist, it was a good week’s work. Russians, who exist in a nation run by thieves, applaud Putin’s boldness.
Will Putin advance on the rest of Ukraine? Yes. First, he’s been shown to be a liar regarding annexation so any statement to the contrary should be ignored now and forever. Second, he is drunk with his own power and he will take the industrial cities of the Ukraine because it’s easier to steal a factory than build one. After all, stealing is what a good kleptocrat does.
Third, the Crimea is attached to Ukraine not to Russia. Geography mandates Russians steal access.
The U.S. and western allies have been firm and have and will impose increasing sanctions that mean that the already weak Russian economy will get much weaker. The question should be whether Putin end with the Ukraine? Moving on NATO members will by treaty turn into a fight between Russia and the U.S. Putin leaving the nuclear war implications aside, Putin may like his new harbor in Crimea but he doesn’t have much of a navy. He still has a few missile submarines and ships that can reach Cuba without breaking down. But, within a week of the moment that Putin makes the mistake to move on NATO, Russian will have no more Navy. The Russian enclave at Kaliningrad will be unsustainable and the Black Sea likely closed to Russian ships. The result of Putin’s foolish gamble will be a smaller and weaker Russia that no longer has a functional navy.
A new economic wall will go up built by the west and Russia and its shirtless buffoon declared anathema. The Russian mob with their bellies growling under sanctions will turn on Putin who will go down in Russian history as the man who destroyed what was left of Russia after the Soviet Union collapsed. In the future, totally mucking something up will be known as doing a “Putin.”