I’ve already written about the problem of winning wars these days. How Do We Win the Afghan War?
The secret is to get your definition of victory accepted… This is a big PR stunt for the White House, as it has to justify many deaths, and the expenditure of much blood and treasure without being blamed…
So now, as the Ukraine crisis fades from the brink of World War Three – that the media were doing their breathless and ignorant best to promote, we’re seeing the USA once again attempting to define another “victory” – over Russia.
Obama’s speech last week to West Point cadets was echoed by NYT columnist Tom Friedman who said Putin had “blinked” in the stand-off over Crimea. I thought he’d simply taken over. Winking perhaps, as he insisted that the “Quiet People” were not Spetznaz.
Friedman thinks this “blinking” by Putin has weakened Russia’s economy, and pressured Putin into giving China a bargain gas deal. He also thinks that it has forced a European debate to increase defence spending.
The reality is that Putin has stopped further NATO expansion for the foreseeable future. As an unintended extra, he has also flushed out NATO’s unspoken presumption that it would never have to honour its Article 5 pledge to defend new members.
This is obvious to all, but one doesn’t really want to draw attention to it. NATO simply does not have the capability, and its members are rather stupidly reducing defence spending. The political need to deny this impotence of both capability and intention may perhaps be the reason for NATO commanders’ having made such belligerent and stupid threats over the past few weeks.
As for Ukraine; it will eventually have to knuckle down to a cordial relationship with Moscow. But Putin isn’t pushing this. He’s waiting and biding his time; in a manner not even faintly reminiscent of Adolph Hitler – and he’s not going to let Hilary Clinton or anyone else who was daft enough to fall into that comparison forget it.
I’d love to be a fly on the wall if Hilary wins the White House and they meet… Putin has already said he doesn’t bother arguing with women; and that Hilary’s comments were a sign of weakness, which he believes isn’t the worst fault a woman can have…
But far more importantly Putin now owns Crimea, which seals him in power and relative popularity for the foreseeable future. This will also allow him, in due course, to claim trillions of dollars worth of Black Sea oil and gas.
Game set and match to Putin, as Obama limps slowly and ineffectually to the losers podium.
So as Putin appoints new governors to all the oblasts, and consolidates his power base, Obama’s next big effort will be to raise money for his Presidential Memorial Library – in Chicago? Maybe he should opt for the environmentally-responsible option, and make his library as virtual as the effectiveness of his foreign policy threats?
The Obama Presidential LIbrary doesn’t – like his threats – have to be empty. It can be full of fine words. But on a website – or Kindle perhaps – with clicks keeping the score.
I strongly supported Obama in both elections… Maybe unlike Putin who doesn’t much care for them, that’s what he was good at?