Saturday, March 1, 2014

Ukraine & Putin's Reign, Explained

Said Putin, regarding Crimea:
"Don't get the mistaken idea.
I may not contain
The western Ukraine,
But the east is a part of my spheah."

I don't want to hold myself out as an expert on Russia and the Ukraine, but I did spend a few years doing business with both countries and got to know them from the safe distance of New York.  I am therefore surprised by some of what I read and hear from my fellow citizens about this situation.  Much of it seems rooted in anachronistic Cold War thinking - a misunderstanding of the relationship between the Ukraine and Russia, and an overestimation of America's ability to do anything about it.

For a dose of reality rendered in soulful journalism, turn to The New Republic's Julia Ioffe, a former Moscow correspondent who recently reported from the Maidan in Kiev. Vladimir Putin, says Ioffe feels that -
it is better to be feared than loved, it is better to be overly strong than to risk appearing weak, and Russia was, is, and will be an empire with an eternal appetite for expansion. And it will gather whatever spurious reasons it needs to insulate itself territorially from what it still perceives to be a large and growing NATO threat. Trying to harness Russia with our own logic just makes us miss Putin's next steps.
I highly recommend reading the complete article to grasp this chaotic, fast-moving situation.

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