It would seem that our Intelligence Agencies believe that Russia will invaded Eastern Ukraine. We should not be surprised. After the President’s ill-advised dismissal of Russia as a Regional power, Putin like a wounded bear will fight back.
Russia is no Syria, no Iraq, no Afghanistan. It is a nuclear power. Let me say that again, it is a nuclear power. It has missiles, it has bombs, and if further provoked they may use them. Nuclear weapons are not something you ignore and pretend they will not use.
Why now is Putin attempting to pull together the Great Eastern Europe and Central Asia Prosperity Zone? Since he took power he as been waiting. He has been playing a long game. Remember it was Churchill who said, “Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” He has pretended the very modern 21st Century leader, but in fact is nothing more than another Russian who wants to be Czar.
Putin has led the NATO nations to conclude that he is not a threat. In order to balance the books, most of the Western NATO nations have reduced the size of their armed forces in the name of fiscal austerity. The United States has reduced our forward based footprint in Germany to the 2nd Cavalry Regiment (Stryker) and some support troops, with an Airborne Brigade in Italy. For twelve years our troops in Germany, the United States and even a Brigade from Korea have rotated in an out of either Iraq or Afghanistan. Putin knows we are tired, he knows our troops are tired. He senses the growing isolationism of the American public. Moreover he believes he can bleed the US dry economically.
And he sense, what I have concluded, that the Obama, Rice, and Kerry foreign policy team are ineffectual. The adults of the first administration Clinton, and Gates are gone. The loss of Gates is particularly profound in that he was a Russian expert. In his recent book he described as seeing in Putin a stone cold killer.
An invasion into the Eastern Ukraine directly threatens NATO members Poland, Slovenia, Romania and the Baltic States. Putin is gambling that the NATO and US will not respond until after he takes the Eastern Ukraine. But the question that should concern the NATO and the US will he stop here?
How can we stop him if decides that Poland, Romania, and the Baltic States pine for a return to the umbrella of the Great Eastern Europe and Central Asia Prosperity Zone?