As China looks on, Putin poses risky dilemma for the West

a13-iconDavid Rohde writes: One senior Obama administration official called Vladimir Putin’s actions in the Ukraine “outrageous.” A second described them as an “outlaw act.” A third said his brazen use of military force harked back to a past century.

“What we see here are distinctly 19th and 20th century decisions made by President Putin,” said the official who spoke on condition of anonymity to a group of reporters. “But what he needs to understand is that in terms of his economy, he lives in the 21st century world, an interdependent world.”

James Jeffrey, a retired career U.S. diplomat, said that view of Putin’s mindset cripples the United States’ response to the Russian leader. The issue is not that Putin fails to grasp the promise of western-style democratic capitalism. It is that he and other American rivals flatly reject it.

“All of us that have been in the last four administrations have drunk the Kool-Aid,” Jeffrey said, referring to the belief that they could talk Putin into seeing the western system as beneficial. “‘If they would just understand that it can be a win-win, if we can only convince them’ – Putin doesn’t see it,” Jeffrey said. “The Chinese don’t see it. And I think the Iranians don’t see it.”

Jeffrey and other experts called for short-term caution in the Ukraine. Threatening military action or publicly baiting Putin would likely prompt him to seize more of Ukraine by force. [Continue reading…]

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3 thoughts on “As China looks on, Putin poses risky dilemma for the West

  1. Steve Zerger

    How can anyone fail to grasp the benefits of western-style capitalism these days?

    “We are tremendously more powerful than him.” Spoken like someone who is getting ready to do a face-plant.

    I see that Hillary pulled out the Hitler card today. Do we have any leaders who have even a tenuous grip on reality? The Ukraine is a failed state on the border of Russia. Some serious people ought to try to control the chaos. Unfortunately, we don’t have any serious leaders. Our leaders seem to have a decided preference for failed states these days.

  2. BillVZ

    Putin has also increased the capabilities of the Russian military; crushed or co-opted dissent; and gained iron control of Russia’s media.

    Oh, you mean the stuff the US has done and continues to do …?

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