For John, BLUF: We need to deter President Putin, not provoke him. Nothing to see here; just move along.
I am not unhappy with current US foreign policy regarding Russia and Crimea. Yes, Russia must be resisted with regard to its threat to Ukraine, but right now the most important foreign policy action must be finding a way for Putin to dismount, without provoking an even worse outcome.
From our friends up North, at the Globe and Mail, we have an insightful article by Mr Mark Mackinnon, headlined "Why Putin can’t back down now". Published today.
From the article:
The pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin grows each day. He must end his support for the rebels accused of shooting down a passenger plane over eastern Ukraine, Western leaders say, or face tougher economic sanctions and greater political isolation.So, we need a foreign policy that, on the one hand deters further Russian excursions into Ukraine and on the other hand provides Mr Putin a path that does not endanger his rule. Along the way we need to involve the Europeans, if for no other reason than to not let them sit on the sidelines jeering us. And, we need to reassure our Asian allies that we don't think China should be out poaching property from other nations. This stuff is never easy.
And each day, Mr. Putin makes it clearer that he’s not about to bend.
Mr. Putin is in a trap of his own making following the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. He’s unable – even if he were willing – to meet the West’s demands, in large part due to the anti-Western opinion in Russia he and his Kremlin have moulded over 15 years in power.
Having cast the West as Russia’s enemy for so long, and having personally vowed to protect ethnic Russians everywhere, analysts say Mr. Putin would be fiercely criticized at home if he pulled an about-face and abandoned the separatists of the Donetsk People’s Republic under pressure from Washington and London.
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.
Regards — Cliff